The 10 most important inventions of the 21st century

So far in the 21st century (although we still have plenty of time until we reach 2101), there have been a series of developments or inventions that have grabbed the headlines of all the media for their innovation and the changes that their integration into our lives suppose.


This revolutionary gene editing technology that allows scientists to easily edit specific genes in living organisms is representing a revolution in areas such as medicine, agriculture or bioengineering. This technique identified as genetic scissors by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier has been the subject of numerous studies and tests. Its precision and efficiency have made it a valuable tool for gene research and therapy. Both scientists received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020 for the creation of this technique. 

3D printing

This technology of creating three-dimensional objects layer by layer from a digital model had and has applications in various industries, including healthcare, automotive, aerospace and fashion. In 2009, the expiration of a key patent enabled the development of affordable 3D printers, paving the way for widespread adoption.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality combines digital information and content with the real world, improving the user experience. What caused or triggered your breakthrough? In 2016, the launch of Pokémon GO brought augmented reality to the forefront, with millions of users interacting with digital creatures in real-world environments. AR currently has applications in gaming, education, medicine, navigation and much more.

Self-driving cars

Autonomous vehicles use sensors, cameras and artificial intelligence to navigate roads without any human intervention. The goals of this technology were to increase safety and reduce traffic congestion. Google or Tesla are some of the companies that have developed autonomous vehicles. The transportation revolution is upon us.

Internet of Things (IoT)

We have become accustomed to it, but IoT has become a reality in the 21st century, referring to everyday objects connected to the internet, used for areas such as home automation, healthcare and agriculture. It has all been thanks to the widespread adoption of smartphones and advances in wireless technology.


This decentralized digital ledger that securely records transactions across multiple computers is another product of the 21st century. We have seen its most prominent application in the field of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but also in other industries, including finance, supply chain management and voting systems.


Graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, known for its remarkable strength, flexibility and conductivity, was first discovered and isolated by researchers Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim in 2004. The properties of this related chemical with graphite, make it a very attractive material for use in electronics, energy storage and medical devices. Its discoverers received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010.

Lab-grown meat

This meat is produced by growing animal cells in a laboratory instead of raising and slaughtering animals. The objective of its development is to provide a more sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional meat production. It all started from the first laboratory-grown hamburger by Dutch scientist Mark Post in 2013. Since then, the laboratory meat industry has not stopped growing, although slowly.

Quantum computing

This technology that takes advantage of the principles of quantum mechanics to perform calculations faster than traditional computers is another of the most notable inventions of the 21st century. It intends to revolutionize fields such as cryptography, artificial intelligence and drug discovery.

Brain-computer interfaces (BCI)

These devices that allow direct communication between a brain and a computer, round off this list of inventions. Neuralink is one of the companies immersed in its development, whose objective is to achieve implantable brain-machine interfaces (BMI) in human beings that allow direct communication between the brain and external devices, such as computers or smartphones. Neuroscience is one of the fields that is trying to advance in this sense, with the possibility of making advances such as being able to read the minds of patients who have conditions that prevent them from speaking.