Special Report

How Technology Has Changed the World Since 2010

Source: AndreyPopov / Getty Images

21. Advancements in robotics

While a robot uprising in the style of “Terminator” or “I Robot” is still a futuristic scenario, robots today can do a lot more than just answer basic questions. Now, at least one humanoid robot — named Atlas — can run through a park all by itself and even navigate around obstacles such as a log. Atlas can also jump and climb. Robots have also been used as restaurant hostesses and for social interaction.

Source: opengridscheduler / Flickr

22. Powerwalls

Powerwalls are a residential battery, a stationary energy storage product. Tesla’s second version is one of the most advanced of its kind. Everything in the house that needs electricity — all appliances and gadgets — can use it. The powerwall itself is charged by the sun during the day. Demand is high, according to a nationwide survey from EnergySage and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, but manufacturing has been a problem as the company has prioritized electric car manufacturing.

Source: fotoquique / Getty Images

23. Serum screening tests

Testing for Down syndrome, genetics disorders in general, and other possible conditions during pregnancy used to involve, and in some places it still does, a large needle inserted into the mother’s uterus, a process that carries some, albeit small, risk for the baby. This is no longer necessary after MaterniT 21, a noninvasive prenatal test, was introduced in 2011. Birth defects as well the sex of the baby can now be detected using a blood sample.

Source: Goldcastle7 / Getty Images

24. 3D replacement organs

3D printing technology has improved considerably over the last few years. (Today, even low-budget printers are available for anyone who can spare $50.) The technology has advanced so much that today it can be used to produce fully functional replacement organs from a person’s own cells. Production for treatment is still years away, however. Among other remaining challenges, scientists still have to find a way to get blood supply to the artificial tissues and to remove waste products.

Source: Julie Clopper / Getty Images

25. Drone delivery

Soon products you order online may be delivered by a drone all the way to your door. Amazon and Wing, which is owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, were approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry out state-to-state or even overseas drone deliveries earlier in 2019. In October, Wing announced that it would partner up with FedEx, Walgreens, and Sugar Magnolia retail store in Virginia for drone deliveries.