Scientists at Atlanta-based Aderans Research Institute are researching a way to create a nearly inexhaustible supply of hair plugs. Instead of merely transplanting hair cells from a patient's tissue, researchers extract the cells and grow them in a lab, multiplying them about a hundredfold before injecting them into the scalp.
Availability: Projected within five years.
Most hearing aids are bulky and unsightly. California-based InSound Medical has created perhaps the most discreet hearing aid yet. The Lyric rests deep in the ear canal, out of sight, and out of the way of wind. A wireless keychain remote controls volume, and the device can be left in the ear for up to four months at a time.
Availability: Available since January 2009.
Color-changing s have been around for years, but they are easy to spot. NewColorlris lenses, developed by Panama-based KMD, are surgically implanted on the iris (the procedure takes 15 minutes), with a donutlike hole for the pupil to peep through. The result: a permanent, more natural-looking pair of baby blues.
Availability: In Panama and Switzerland now. FDA trials will begin soon.
Researchers at Tufts University are working on a way to use stem cells to repair tooth decay. How it works: Tooth-growing cells are seeded into polymer scaffolds. The scaffolds are then implanted into the jaw, where they regenerate tooth enamel, dentin and pulp. The operation has been successfully tested in pigs and rats.
Availability: Could be available for humans within seven years.