50 Major Breakthroughs of 2022
After the disastrous years that 2020 and 2021 were, I think it's safe to say everyone was looking forward to 2022, and glad to say it did not disappoint. 2022 was a year of getting back on track and moving forward with new technologies and discoveries. During the year there were many discoveries in technology, the medical field, and history, but because everyone was so focused on just getting their own lives back on track, a lot of these discoveries may have gone under the radar. But fear not, we have compiled a list of 50 major breakthroughs that took place in 2022, so if you are interested in finding out what they were, scroll through this gallery and find out for yourself.
OrganEx, tech for reviving the organs of dead animals
One of the many remarkable discoveries and breakthroughs made in 2022 is scientists found a way to kind of reverse death, in animals at least. Yale researchers got the hearts of animals that had been dead for roughly 60 minutes to start beating again by pumping a substance into their arteries and veins.
While the technology and experimental substance can’t be used for humans yet, it brings lots of hope for preserving the organs of humans that have recently passed away so transplants can be made to those in need of vital organs. There’s also hope on the horizon that sudden deaths might be reversed by the substance with more development.
Synthesizing life in a lab without egg or sperm
Again in 2022, scientists found a way to synthesize life in a lab by growing an embryo without using a womb, eggs, or sperm. As you might have guessed, they did so with a mouse, but the animal they used for it doesn’t quite matter because, with only stem cells, a couple of Israeli scientists managed to create an embryo in their lab.
By the sixth day, the embryo had grown a tail, two days later it had a beating heart and began to grow a brain too. The results of this experiment were published, and many people regard it as one of the most significant developments of 2022.
A wave of new vaccine discoveries
The 2020s have been a crucial age in the world of vaccines as several breakthroughs have been made in recent years. First, we had the mRNA vaccines that suddenly made COVID less deadly, and then in September 2022, scientists at Oxford University announced the development of a new malaria vaccine that has been touted as highly effective.
They came up with a trial with 450 children in Burkina Faso and found that the vaccine had up to 80% efficacy in preventing malaria infection after just three doses and a booster shot. This is quite a big deal since malaria still kills hundreds of thousands every year.
NASA’s beginning of time snapshot
2022 was a year of unprecedented discoveries and sights, and these images of the first galaxies in the universe are some of the most exciting things we witnessed last year. NASA’s James Webb Telescope sent some images of ancient light from the universe back in July, and the images are characterized by blistering clarity.
The infamous telescope captured striking nebulae, red mountain ranges, and more in a black ocean. Among the many things captured is a red light blot believed to be over 13 billion years old, so that is essentially the oldest snapshot of the universe ever taken. The pictures indicate that some more striking discoveries in cosmology might be on the horizon, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Remarkable advances in the battle against cancer
2022 was also the year that significant advances were made by scientists in the never-ending fight against cancer. A novel immunotherapy was prescribed to 18 rectal-cancer patients, and researchers soon found that the cancer vanished in every single one of them. That’s no small feat to manage especially since getting cancer to recede alone can be such a tall task, the feat is basically unprecedented in the world of cancer research.
A couple of months later, similar miraculous results were recorded during a trial of a new metastatic breast cancer treatment. What scientists did was develop an antibody treatment that targets tumor cells with a mutant protein called HER2, which is a known cause of cancer. Every cell featuring the mutant are sought and destroyed by the drugs with incredible precision, enabling patients to live for longer than projected.
For years, many shady companies had cheated people out of their hard-earned resources by marketing and selling miracle weight-loss drugs that delivered little to no results. Before now, diet and exercise or bariatric surgery were the most viable options for obese patients but thanks to a fortunate accident, a revolutionary treatment has been found. Somehow, diabetic patients being treated with semaglutide discovered that they were losing a lot of weight in what is far more than a fluke side effect.
In 2022, the FDA approved the use of injectable semaglutide for weight loss under a brand new name, Wegovy. The drug works by reducing the pace at which the stomach becomes empty, and it does so without serious side effects.
Hope for multiple sclerosis
An unfortunate aftermath of the COVID pandemic is the fact that a significant amount of people still suffer the long-term effects of the virus. In the US for instance, over 1 million people live with multiple sclerosis but thankfully in 2022, scientists found strong evidence to indicate that the mononucleosis-causing Epstein-Barr virus is also the leading cause of multiple sclerosis.
The odds of developing multiple sclerosis rise significantly after infection with EBV. Fortunately, only a small percentage of the infected develop MS so infection might be the most crucial consideration.
Lab meat that is legal
The FDA recently granted a company called Upside Foods approval to manufacture chicken grown in a lab. This is a significant development since it is the first time cultivated meat will pass the hurdle of regulation. It isn’t a sealed deal yet since there are other obstacles like approval from the Department of Agriculture but lab-grown meat represents a real option for consumers, beyond the regular arguments against meat.
Environmentalists and animal-rights activists protested and appealed for years while Americans simply consumed more chicken than ever before. With the development of lab-grown meat, we know that things like the protein density and fat density in meat will be perfected in the nearest future.
Discoveries in the world of green energy
Combating climate change requires the development and deployment of technology we already know like wind turbines and solar panels. But these aren’t sufficient for achieving the goals of climate activists because new developments must be made in other fields like geothermal technology and nuclear technology.
Thankfully, the world made significant advances in both fields in 2022; small and safe reactors that are cheaper to build and easier to approve were developed and approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The technology is called the NuScale Power Module, which at less than 80 feet tall can generate sufficient power for about 60,000 houses.
Remarkable fossils in a prehistoric rainforest
Early on in 2022, scientists discovered a southeastern Australian site where a stunning record of life in a prehistoric rainforest has been preserved over the years. They found the fossils at McGraths Flat, and they believe they are anywhere from 11 million to 16 million years old.
These fossils represent some of the few known rainforest ecosystems that date back to the Miocene epoch. Soft-bodied creatures like spiders and fish with midges-filled bellies have been preserved in remarkable detail and scientists could see remarkable details like the leg hairs of the spiders and the pores in the leaves that once breathed carbon dioxide.
Spanish shipwreck discovered on Oregon Coast
In 2022, what is left of a 17th-century Spanish galleon was found on the northern coast of Oregon. Researchers believe the remains were part of Santo Cristo de Burgos, a Spanish ship that veered off course and disappeared during a voyage from the Philippines to Mexico in 1693.
The vessel is surrounded by several blocks of beeswax that sometimes wash on shore, so it’s little surprise that the wreck is known as the Beeswax Wreck, neither is it that the wreck has been talked about for decades. Scientists did an analysis of timbers discovered in a sea cave close to Astoria and found that the same hardwood used to construct Asian ships in the 17th century was used to build the timbers.
The unusual Tonga Volcano Eruption
An eruption unlike anything recorded in recent memory was witnessed in the Kingdom of Tonga in January 2022. The eruption immediately sent a pressure wave across the world several times, and it also caused huge tsunami waves to hit shores far and near.
The volcanic dust would eventually settle, but scientists made it their priority to source data about the many things that made the eruption odd so they could understand the underlying factors responsible for such a powerful blast. Roughly 2.3 cubic miles of rock were excavated from the seafloor by the eruption, so this was the biggest volcanic blast in 100 years or so.
Discovery of the world’s smallest snail species
In 2022, scientists were searching for creatures in the soil in two Southeast Asian spots when they stumbled upon some new snail species, two of which are smaller than any other on record. One of them was dubbed Augustopila Psammion, derived from the Greek word for grain of sand in ancient times.
This snail species can be found in Vietnamese cave walls and is only 0.6 millimeters in diameter. A single US quarter can literally hold hundreds of these tiny snails so you have an idea of how tiny they are. The other snail species they found is slightly bigger, and it was found in a Laotian limestone gorge; this one has a shell that has pointy projections and is called A. Coprologos.
The anticipated fracture of Antarctica's ice shelves
West Antarctica lies to the south of Argentina, and there’s enough ice there to raise sea levels across the world by 10 feet. That’s a significant risk considering how much climate change has affected the South Pole but even climate scientists have no idea how quickly it will melt or if all of it will melt.
However, in early 2022, scientists found some clear indications that a significant collapse was on the horizon; they found a huge ice shelf that suddenly cracked, and their belief is that rupture had the potential to set off a chain of reactions that would destroy scores of icebergs.
Discovery of a likely Denisovan Molar
Denisovan is a mysterious relative of the Neanderthals whose only discovered remains are a pinky bone, a skull fragment, and a handful of teeth. Fortunately, scientists announced they’d discovered a likely Denisovan molar from a Laos cave in May 2022, several thousands of miles from the other Denisovan discoveries.
Their discovery is an indication of the remarkably varied range of the hominin, as well as their uncanny ability to thrive in various climates. It also indicates how similar to us these creatures were as we’re both incredibly flexible.
Largest freshwater fish
Zeb Hogan is a National Geographic explorer that has made it his mission to search for the world’s biggest fish since 2005. His consistency paid off in mid-June 2022 when he and his team got a call from a Cambodian fisherman named Moul Thun who stumbled upon a gigantic freshwater stingray that dwarfs any other one he’d seen in his years of fishing.
The researchers soon arrived at the scene and found that it was a female ray that had grown to 13 feet from snout to tail, and it also weighed an astonishing 661 pounds, making it the biggest freshwater fish on record.
New details of the dino-killing impact emerged
A 6.5-mile-wide asteroid hit the waters off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the trajectory of life took a violent turn immediately as the blow immediately led to a mass extinction that led to the end of over three-fourths of all living species. In the aftermath, a huge undersea crater called Chicxulub was left behind.
However, in February 2022, scientists studying a couple of fossil fish that also died in the blast found that the impact occurred in the Northern Hemisphere during spring. A month later, they discovered that rocks that had formed in extreme temperatures rained down over 1,000 miles from the center of the crater.
Microplastics in the human body
In the deepest depths of the ocean and at the heights of Mount Everest, unidentified plastic fragments have been found. Recently, these fragments were also found in the lungs and blood of humans. Scientists soon found nano plastics that measure less than one micrometer in donated blood, likewise, they found two-millimeter-long plastic fibers in surgical patients’ lungs.
An unusual discovery indeed, but apparently one we should all be worried about since these plastic fragments have the ability to impact our health, and there’s no reason why we should have plastic in us. The reasons as to why humans are developing this are still unknown.
Discovery of dreaming spiders
Daniela Roessler, a University of Konstanz ecologist, was known for her work in the field of Amazonian rainforest research before she became intrigued by spiders that lived in a field not far from her residence in Trier, Germany. Roessler observed that the small arachnids dangled from a silk thread when they were asleep, and they’d also jerk like they were dreaming.
She found these twitches to be eerily similar to dreaming cats and dogs so she created a lab to study the spiders some more. In 2022, her published findings show that jumping spiders can go into a sleep-like state where their eyes move rapidly like humans’ do while dreaming.
The oldest dinosaur fossil in Africa
In August 2022 a National Geographic Society-funded research team discovered an astonishing fossil that is believed to be the oldest dinosaur found in Africa. The creature is called Mbiresaurus Raathi, and it lived roughly 230 million years ago in the Triassic period.
Its fossilized remains were found within the Pebbly Arkose Formation in Zimbabwe. The ancient dinosaur species is one of the earliest known sauropods ancestors, and while its family includes some gigantic creatures, the animal itself must have been less than two feet tall at its hip.
Chameleon-Esque cars: BMW IX Flow
Imagine owning a car whose color can change according to your environment and mood. Sounds pretty incredible, doesn’t it? Well, thanks to BMW, this kind of car will be on the horizon in the near future. The German automobile company unveiled a concept car called the BMW IX Flow, which will come equipped with blistering new tech that will enable it to switch its color from white to black and vice-versa with the click of a button.
BMW calls this new tech the E link, and the car’s exteriors will be equipped with a special type of film that contains tiny microcapsules that alternate their colors depending on the type of charge provided.
The humanoid robot: Ameca
In 2022, an advanced humanoid robot called Ameca was unveiled by Engineered Arts. Ameca was developed with a combination of a human-like body and artificial intelligence, and it is based on the company’s advanced Mesmer technology.
Engineered Arts’ new fancy robot was built to process emotions as humans do, and as such it possesses fluid facial expressions and arm movements to go along with realistic eye twitches. In the beginning, this robot’s design was inspired by lots of Bollywood and Hollywood robot-based movies, and it can be deployed for anything from entertainment to customer service and informational terminals.
Extended-Use grid battery
Energy collected from renewable energy sources like wind power and solar power are typically stored in grid batteries, which store significant amounts of energy that provide sufficient power when the original energy sources are off.
It is against this backdrop that the extended-use grid battery was unveiled in 2022, and it’s safe to say it’s one of the most intriguing inventions of the year. As its name suggests, this battery type was created for extended usage, and because its battery lasts longer than others, it stores significantly more energy while also being more damage-proof.
Smart bathing from PerfectFill
These days we have so many smart appliances that you’ve probably lost track of all the home and office devices that now have smart variants, but you can now add smart bathing to the list thanks to PerfectFill. PerfectFill is a smart bathtub that was created to give users an experience not far from what they get at spas, only this time they get it in their bathrooms.
You get to control everything from water temperature to the timing of the drain and the filling amount. The best part is this device can be easily controlled with your smartphone or via voice commands.
COVID-19 breathalyzer test device
You no longer have to wait for days on end before getting COVID-19 test results thanks to this handheld breath analyzer called ViraWarn Freedom. It functions by detecting Covid-19 and its many variants with an accuracy that approaches 100%, and it only takes a few seconds to do that.
All it takes is for you to blow into the device before a signal is released; a red signal means the user is positive while a green one indicates a negative result. The small device was verified by George Mason University, and it is quite handy for public zones like restaurants and classrooms.
2022 was the year of multiple advances in technology as the year was characterized by scores of new inventions in the tech space. We saw lots of AI-powered inventions, including the DALLE 2 text-to-image system that takes text input and creates a corresponding image from it.
The text provided is split into words, with each one being represented by a pixel in the subsequent image. Also, the color of each pixel is dependent on the color of the corresponding word. This system can be used to create images of logos, text, and more.
Withings body scan
With technology, the impossible suddenly becomes possible and we get to do so much more than we ever thought possible. Thanks to the Withings body scan, an innovation like no other in the health space, you can now measure body vitals like heart health, weight, muscle mass, and vascular age by simply getting on a scale.
With this blistering new tech, everyone can now easily keep tabs on their health status and also benefit from the insights the scanner provides. While the tech is all quite exciting, it still has to pass through several regulatory tests before it will be made available to the public.
SkyDrive’s flying vehicle
Flying vehicles have been talked about for many long years now, and while we know the tech is possible, few companies have actually ventured into the space to make these special vehicles an everyday sight.
However, that story is quickly changing thanks to companies like SkyDrive, which aims to eliminate problems like heavy city traffic and delayed deliveries. Their flying vehicle was unveiled as a prototype model SD-03 at CES 2022, and some of the things we know so far are that it will be emission-free, compact, and extremely quiet.
Coral reef printer
This is one of the most unusual inventions of 2022, but that’s not to say it’s one of the least useful because it isn’t. Roughly a fourth of all marine species live on coral reefs so preserving these reefs is a crucial venture for ecological balance. The problem with preserving reefs is doing so is a time-consuming undertaking.
That’s what makes this 3D coral reef printer such a life-saver; it scans a reef to know its core properties so these can then be recreated to build a new reef. It is essentially a unique printer that was created in collaboration with the Technion Institute of Technology, and it uses Terracotta clay in place of plastic filament.
Intelligent machine for protein folding
AlphaFold2 is one of the more exciting inventions of 2022. It is a protein folding machine that predicts the 3-dimensional structure of a protein with stunning accuracy. It does so from the amino acid sequence, and it is based on a neural network that has been integrated with a huge dataset of proteins.
With this incredibly intelligent machine for protein folding, you can easily predict how protein functions based on its structure, and it enables the identification of potential drug targets. The machine also enables the design of new drugs that will bind to the targeted areas.
Synthetic human microbiome
In 2022, Stanford University’s scientists unveiled a complicated synthetic microbiome that they created from scratch. Comprised of 119 species of bacteria that humans abhor in their guts, the microbiome was transplanted into mice and all the bacteria remained stable and were found to be capable of holding off pathogens as well.
According to the Stanford team of researchers, this new microbiome is a broad representation of the human gut microbiota, one that can be modified via the addition and subtraction of species to develop a comprehension of how they function and their many impacts.