Predicting which scientific discoveries will change the world is, arguably, a fool's game. Who knows what the future will bring? Yet every year a handful of developments—say, the arrival of the quickest, cheapest genome-editing tool yet—get us so excited that we cannot help ourselves. This year those breakthroughs include tools for reprogramming living cells and rendering lab animals transparent; ways of powering electronics with sound waves and saliva; smartphone screens that correct for the flaws in your vision; Lego-like atomic structures that could produce major advances in superconductivity research; and others. Read about them now, then pay attention in the coming years to see what they do.

The Gene Genie

Reprogrammable Cells

Transparent Organisms

Spit-Fired Cells

Vision-Correcting Displays

Atomic-Scale Legos

Ultrahard Recyclable Plastics

Wireless Charging with Sound Waves

Batteries that Capture Low-Grade Waste Heat

Video Cameras for Nanoparticles