The 7 technological wonders of the 21st century

The Royal Academy of Engineering in the U.K. has come up with a list of the seven engineering wonders of the 21st century.

The list was compiled with input from experts and a panel drawn from the Academy’s programs for young engineers. The goal is to raise awareness of the wide range of careers in engineering, the Academy said.

(Credit: Gore-Tex)

Gore-Tex Fabric 

Gore-Tex Fabric is waterproof and breathable while allowing perspiration to pass through. Bonded to clothing and footwear, it reduces the use of waterproofing sprays and waxes that previously had to be reapplied as they wear off.



Hawk-Eye is a computer system that “visually tracks the trajectory of a ball and displays a profile of its statistically most likely path of movement,” as described by the Academy. It's used most notably in sports like tennis and soccer as a way to accurately referee tight calls.

Dolby Atmos

Atmos allows sound to move almost anywhere in a theater. Traditional stereo surround sound, like that used for Star Wars in 1977, delivers sound from only a few angles. Dolby Atmos allows artists to treat specific sounds as individual audio objects, which can be “precisely placed and moved by the soundtrack creator anywhere in the cinema's three-dimensional space, making the cinematic experience far more immersive,” the Academy said.

FILE- In this Jan. 31, 2019, file photo Grant Thompson and his mother, Michele, look at an iPhone in the family's kitchen in Tucson, Ariz., on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.  (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff, File)


Apple's mobile phone “launched a mobile communications revolution in 2007,” according to the Academy. The iPhone introduced the world to apps and put the internet in your pocket.

It also “revolutionized the user interface” and the “simplicity brought a whole new audience to smart devices.”


YouTube has democratized video distribution, according to the Academy. The video-sharing service took internet video “from a relatively minor service to something used by all and paved the way… for services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.”

3D printed bone implants

For bone implants, 3D printing is used to create “custom structures and scaffolds, made of ceramics similar to natural bone.” And new bone can grow around and even integrate with the implant. These techniques are used in surgery on the jaw and face.

Clean water

“Diarrhea caused by dirty water and poor sanitation kills a child under five every two minutes,” the Academy said, adding that globally one in six people still do not have access to clean water. Engineering innovation is critical in water sanitation, distribution and treatment.


New efforts include recycling energy from sludge treatment to developing smart filters made of graphene, according to the Academy.