Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day I read through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.
Top-5 Futures for October 16th – Bikinis and Killer Mosquito Swarms. This week we see bikinis that clean the oceans, how killer mosquito swarms in Alaska need to be avoided, floating greenhouses, light powered contact lenses, and using Lego as an urban planning tool.
We live in a time when climate issues are real but so are the technologies that could potentially help rectify some of the harm we have caused our planet. Meet the SpongeSuit, a 3D printed bikini that has built-in nanotechnology that cleans the ocean while you swim. This eco friendly bikini recently won the first prize in the Reshape15 Wearable Technology competition
The SpongeSuit is “swimwear that is environmentally proactive, economically sustainable and intelligently manufactured combining cutting edge 3D printing and nano-scale clean-tech material research.” The suit is designed to clean the ocean “one stroke at a time”.
Arctic Warming Produces Mosquito Swarms Large Enough to Kill Baby Caribou
Apparently, because of the earlier thawing of the permafrost, and the increasing amount of permafrost that is melting each, each because of climate change, the Alaska state bird, aka the mosquito, is swarming in unprecedented numbers. The article tells us that mosquitos can kill a baby caribou calf by draining its blood, because the calf is already weakened by the scarcity of food sources also attributable to climate change.
Here’s a video, showing mosquitos swarming in Alaska and annoying a baby owl and a herd of caribou.
This floating greenhouse may be the future of our food
Architects’ visions for the future often take the shape of costly, large-scale utopias. Most of them never get built, others quickly turn into white elephants, decadent buildings in the future they were trying to anticipate. Yet a recent project seems to belong to a different breed.
Composed of a wood and plastic dome and a base of recycled plastic drums, the Jellyfish Barge is a floating greenhouse that desalinates seawater to irrigate and grow plants. Mimicking the natural phenomenon of the water cycle, one solar panel located by the base of the barge heats up the salted or polluted water and makes it evaporate, turning it into 150 liters per day of clean, fresh water. This water gets recycled over and over into a hydroponic system, which allows crops to grow in an inert bed of clay enriched by mineral nutrients.
Google’s Light-Powered Contact Lenses to Serve As Added Layer of Interactivity
Google wants to build contact lenses that charge wirelessly and communicate with other devices, and in a patent granted this month, they shows off plans to build contact lenses that are powered by and communicate through light pulses. The patent, numbered 9158133, gives a peek on the role contact lenses can play in the future.
The idea is that these contact lenses will be light-powered. Using embedded cells that turn light into an electronic current, these contact lenses don’t need wired charging. They can use solar power or harvest energy from a beam of light. The patent does not mention batteries so these contacts have to constantly generate power.
Using Legos as a Legitimate Urban Planning Tool
MIT researchers unveiled something earlier this month that will please toddlers and serious urban planners alike. It’s a model of Dudley Square—a neighborhood in the greater Boston area—about the size of a kitchen table. The roads, sidewalks, bus stations, and buildings are all made out of Lego blocks. Wee Lego figures represent pedestrians. Laid over it all is a computer-generated projection of the actual neighborhood, filling in the details of current green space and traffic in Dudley Square.
The project is a collaboration between the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the Changing Places group at the MIT Media Lab, and the Barr Foundation, all of whom are are using the new tool to test how bus-rapid transit systems could affect the city. The test includes three components, each representing the city of Boston on a different scale. There’s the Lego model of Dudley Square, another 3-D model (also made of Legos) of a Boston street, and a touchscreen interface to illustrate the potential effects of different plans on a regional scale—such as how changes to public transit might affect people’s access to jobs
— Phil Tinn (@TinnPhil) October 1, 2015
Via The Verge
See the last 4 week’s Top-5 Futures here:
Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.