Could spraying chemicals into the sky reverse some impacts of global warming? Scientists are considering the possible benefits and risks of solar geoengineering, a controversial concept that could possibly cut global temperature increases in half.
Watch MIT's Unsettling Brain-Burrowing Robot Designed to Help Stroke Victims in Action
Robotics engineers at MIT have built a threadlike robot worm that can be magnetically steered to deftly navigate the extremely narrow and winding arterial pathways of the human brain. One day it could be used to quickly clear blockages and clots that contribute to strokes and aneurysms, while at the same time making the current state of robotic evolution even more unsettling.
Biophilic Design Benefits Students, Even in Schools with Tight Budgets
Long before the term ‘biophilia’ entered the scientific lexicon in the 1970s, it served as an innate design practice. In Hellenistic Greek and Roman architecture, open-air courtyards functioned as the center of the home, providing a calming respite with fresh air, natural light, and views of nature. Though few homes today are built around secluded outdoor oases, biophilic elements enable designers to create similarly stimulating and restorative spaces in built environments, ultimately improving the health and wellness of those within them.
Despite all the pro-coal bluster from the Trump administration, solar has been steadily gaining popularity in rural areas across the U.S. This push for sustainable energy is driven primarily by local energy co-ops that can take advantage of the reduced price of solar power, as well as marketing and campaigning by the National Rural Electricity Cooperative Association. Today, the NRECA has reduced its reliance on coal to just 40% in 2017, down from 54% in 2014.
Burger King Will Give You A Free Whopper In Exchange For Virtual Arson
Who says crime doesn't pay deliciously? In Brazil, Burger King will give you a coupon for a free whopper if you use their app to burn rival fast-food chains' advertisements in augmented reality. The campaign is tied to the launch of Burger King's mobile payment technology.
New Solar Blind Harvests More Power Than Window Coatings
Soligami may sound like a delicious cured meat, but it's actually the next development in transforming windows into solar panels. While there are currently coatings that can generate solar energy from windows, they darken rooms and aren't particularly efficient. Soligami, developed by Australia-based design firm Prevalent, would hang like a drape and use unique origami-inspired folds to bounce light around across multiple panels, generating large amounts of energy.
Compared to the early days of psychoanalysis and psychiatry, we know a lot about treating mental health. But what we know still isn't enough. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 American adults—18.5% of the population—experiences mental illness in a given year, with about 1 in 25 experiencing one that significantly impacts their ability to function in society. For psychiatrists who attempt to treat the brain with medication, finding the right combination and strength of medicine can be a challenge. AI, data mining, and machine learning may make the job a whole lot easier in the near future.
The Robotic Future of Farming
Thanks to advances in zoological sciences, we know that humans are not the only species that have the capacity for self-awareness, language, or even farming. But one cognitive ability we do have over other animals is thinking into the far future, which is a skill we've been under-employing as we face the looming threat of cataclysmic climate change and a swelling global population. But changes in the way we do agriculture, which currently produces 33% of green house gas emissions, could have long term positive effects on our planet. And a lot of these changes will be the result of robots taking on most of the tasks on large and small farms.
More Unsettling Tech Developments Arriving in 2019
New year, new future tech to be equally wowed and disquieted by. As we leave 2018 and all of its tech-related scandals and outrages behind, it's tempting to look ahead to this year's developments with a futurist-friendly outlook. In an ideal world, tech would be used solely for good or entertaining purposes — sadly, we don't live in an ideal world. Read on to find out what future developments you should keep a discerning eye on in 2019.
The news about climate change may not be getting any better on the ground, but there's some hope up in the stratosphere. Scientists at Harvard will launch the first solar geoengineering experiment this spring, which will attempt to reflect some of the sun's rays back into outer space and keep our planet from reaching the dreaded 1.5-degrees celsius mark. This idea, known as stratospheric aerosol injection, mimics a natural global cooling phenomenon that can follow volcanic eruptions.
Dreaming in Digital
Artificial intelligence may be a nascent technology but its capabilities are already startlingly advanced. The next industry to be touched by AI's incredible potential may be gaming. A new software developed by chipmaker Nvidia could take a huge burden off developers with its ability to dream up incredibly detailed scenes in mere minutes.
Moooi Smacks Down Counterfeiters With New App
Cheating sucks, in relationships, in school, and definitely in business. Everyone, from individual designers to giant design houses, goes to great lengths to make sure their intellectual property stays out of the hands of counterfeiters, but Moooi may have found a solution that is foolproof and looks cool, too. Going forward, all Moooi products will come with a small floral button that contains a identifying microchip. Shoppers with the brand's new authentication app can scan the button and confirm if what they're looking at is a real Moooi product.
The Water Abundance XPrize awarded two designers from California the $1.75 million prize purse for an invention that pulls drinkable water straight out of the air. Called WeDew, the winning project extracts moisture from its surroundings and transforms it into 2,000 liters of clean water per day, satisfying the daily needs of 100 people. It's composed of two devices, SkyWater and a biomass gasifier, and housed inside a shipping container.
Coming to a Night Sky Near You: The Moon 2.0!
Chinese scientists announced plans to launch a "second moon" into the night sky over the city of Chengdu in 2020, resulting in a worldwide eyebrow raising. The artificial moon would reflect sunlight back to Earth through reflective coating, and could be eight times brighter than the OG moon. If successful, the team says three more moons could rise by 2022.
In the Future, Couples Will Break Up Over Everything Except Assembling Ikea Furniture
Ikea furniture may look innocuous, but it has a well-documented history of destroying new couples before they even leave the store. And when lovebirds do escape the commercial behemoth's clutches, they inevitably fall apart when it comes time to assemble the pieces. Two researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore may have finally given couples everywhere a solution to the latter problem with a robot that can (partially) put together Ikea products in under a half-hour.