Special Report

21 Most Important American Inventions of the 21st Century

The human race has in a relatively short period of time traveled a path of innovation that took us from making fire and stone-tipped arrows on the plains of Africa to building smartphone apps and autonomous robots worldwide. Technological progress is not only continuing but is arguably accelerating, especially in areas that could quickly change the way we work, live, and survive in the coming decades.

In the past 20 years alone, the world has witnessed the emergence of social media, smartphones, self-driving cars, and autonomous flying vehicles, as well as huge leaps in energy storage, artificial intelligence, and medical science. Men and women have mapped the human genome and are grappling with the ramifications of biotechnology and gene editing. We are facing immense challenges in global warming and food security, too, all the while keeping guard against whatever diseases or epidemics nature could throw at us at any time.

24/7 Wall St. examined media reports and other sources on the latest far-reaching innovations to find the most important 21st-century inventions that originate in the United States. In some cases, there were some precursor research and ancillary technologies before 2001, but the innovation did not become available to the public until later. This list focuses on the innovation (such as touch screen glass) that supports products rather than the specific products themselves (like the iPhone).

Click here to see the 21 most important American innovations of the 21st century.

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