Tech breakthroughs in 2017 that will change the world forever

Pay with your face
Technology Review

MIT Technology Review has recently revealed its "10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017", and most achievements included on the list are currently being used. These advancements have been chosen due to their benefiting factor and potential contribution and influence to the society at present and in the years to come.

"These technologies all have staying power. They will affect the economy and our politics, improve medicine, or influence our culture. Some are unfolding now; others will take a decade or more to develop," reads the report.

Check out the 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017 list according to Technology Review, as follows:

Paying with your face

In China, paying for goods and services is now possible using one's face. Pioneers Baidu, Face++ and Alibaba have raced through this era where face recognition becomes accurate enough to be used in financial transactions, as an access pass to facilities and even in hunting down criminals.

The Face++ software is being used by mobile payment app Alipay to validate the face as credentials, as well as ride-hailing firm Didi to allow passengers verify that the driver is legitimate. In September, one branch of fast-food chain KFC in the country used face detection to pay through Alipay.

KFC China
A customer tries Alipay's facial recognition payment solution "Smile to Pay" at KFC's new KPRO restaurant in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China September 1, 2017 Reuters

Reversing Paralysis

French neuroscientist Gregoire Courtine succeeded in using brain implants to heal injuries affected by the spinal cord. Using a paralysed macaque monkey whose right leg cannot move, Courtine and his team experimented a recording device beneath the skull of the primate, touching its motor cortex, and a pad of flexible electrodes around the monkey's spinal cord, below the injury, and made the monkey's right leg move through a wireless connection.

Technology Review

Self-driving vehicles

The autonomous driving industry has begun to see the light of day as tests have been conducted in the US, China, South Korea and Singapore, among others. American self-driving technology firm Otto had its series of tests for driverless trucks this year; so does Volvo Trucks, Peterbilt and Daimler Trucks. In Singapore, Belgian logistics firm Katoen Natie piloted the city-state's first driverless truck back in October.

Otto self-driving truck
An autonomous truck start-up Otto vehicle is shown during an announcing event in Concord, California, US, August 4, 2016 Alexandria Sage/Reuters

The 360-degree selfie

Gone are the days that spherical images have to be captured using expensive cameras and top-grade equipment. After an ecological researcher devised a Ricoh Theta S camera that creates 360-degree images, consumer cameras of the same function have been hitting the shelves since. Next thing we knew, Samsung Gear 360 came out, as well as Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K, GoPro Fusion, ALLie Camera, 360Fly 4K and others.

GoPro Fusion selfie
A 360-degree selfie shot using the GoPro Fusion camera GoPro

View the complete list of 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017 by Technology Review here.

This article was first published on December 29, 2017