Even though there are lots of people who are upset by the fact that we still don’t have the hoverboards that were promised to us by Back to the Future 2, the truth of the matter is that while society has fallen short on some of the things people had hoped to have by now, scientists have progressed far beyond what anyone could have imagined possible just 30 years ago. And if you want to get an idea of where humanity is heading in the next 30 years, you should be sure to pay close attention to these 10 scientific breakthroughs that have the potential to change the world.
Originally designed to help soldiers in the field carry all their gear, wearable robotic enhancements like the the hydraulic-powered Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) have been in use for more than 15 years. But now the U.S. military is in the process of developing something much more advanced. Dubbed the “Iron Man Suit,” The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) is a bulletproof and weaponized exoskeleton that also has the ability to monitor a soldier’s biometrics and provide augmented strength. Though, with a weight of 400 pounds, it’s unlikely the suit will be seen popping out of a briefcase, it does some have other high-tech features including an electricity activated shield referred to as “liquid body armor,” which uses a current to instantly transform the armor from a liquid to a solid—making the suit more comfortable and easier to wear in non-combat situations.
There have also been exosuits designed for use outside the military. The ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with spinal cord injury to walk again. And the Assist Suit AWN-03 exoskeleton developed by Panasonic is essentially the power loader from the movie Aliens, able to lift more than 200 pounds to help move cargo or clear disaster areas.