A Nuu World: with technology convergence, fast change is getting faster

May 28, 2017 |

Not long ago, we started covering the convergence of a group of technologies — advanced industrial biotechnology, genetics, robotics, data processing, machine intelligence, transmission speed and storage – a new publication which was titled, simply, Nuu.

There are immensely exciting technology advances happening in every one of these fields — and convergence may well bring some additional opportunities to change the way we live, but not always with consequences that are positive for everyone, in every way.

We are living our lives at immense speed, surrounded by devices and tools for connecting and conversing. Yet a recent survey found that half of us are feeling more lonely.

It’s a world of Facebook, Twitter, Tesla, superfoods made from algae, ties made from spider silks, drones above our heads. We have stores without cash registers, taxis from an app, TV without the cable, sweeteners without the sugar, cars without the driver, meat with out the cow, milk without the cow, and leather without the cow.

We live in a strange world that is getting stranger.

Way Way Back Then

23 years ago, a 300 baud modem was decent transmission speed at a good-sized company doing advanced communications. That’s 38 bytes per second, enough to transmit a single color page in 12 hours, if you could hold a signal continuously for that long, which you almost never could.

By 14 years ago, speed and storage increased to the point, where you could have 1000 songs in your pocket, and you could transmit 33 kilobytes per second using an affordable device.

The Incredible Now

Today, Toshiba is ready to deliver, a 100 terabyte flash drive into the market.  that would hold 285 million songs in your pocket, and last year, a denial of service attack on a website cluster set an internet speed record of 500 gigabits per second. That’s 13 billion times faster than data moved commercially just 25 years ago.

 

What discoveries are technologies convergence uncovering? Where is technology change taking us? Here are 10 stories we are tracking in Nuu that will illuminate the path.

10 stories to watch

Plants Really Do “Talk” to Each Other

Been playing Mozart for your plants? Smart move. In this story, a curious high school teenager teamed up with University of Delaware botanists to see if they can prove that plants communicate to each other. Using mustard weed plants for their testing, they found that when one plant had leaves nicked or cut, similar to a pest eating a leaf, the plant located near it developed deeper and stronger roots even though it wasn’t touched. They found that the unharmed plants near the injured plant had higher levels of auxin, an important growth hormone.

Bacteria-powered fabric flaps could make your next jog less sweaty

In this story, we reported about active wear gone wild — MIT researchers have developed active wear that automatically opens flaps in the fabric when heat and sweat are present. The breakthrough comes from incorporating humidity-sensing E. coli  cells into the fabric. The cells are “printed” onto sheets of latex, which is then joined with a second, bacteria-free layer. When placed on a hot plate, the material curls and flaps are opened. The second layer keeps the bacteria from making contact with the wearer’s skin, but still allows the E. coli to sense humidity. The MIT team made a running shirt out of the material, placing flaps on areas of the body that generate heat and sweat.

Bacteria-powered flaps could make your next jog less sweaty

A Wooden Motorcycle that Runs on Algae Biofuel

We reported on these two Dutch friends who built a motorcycle from wood that runs completely on algae based biofuel. Their goal was to look at algae as a sustainable biofuel for a new book called “De Dikke Alg” or “The Thick Algae.”

Biomaterial Bone Graft Used 1st Time in U.S. Surgery

Biopolymers are going inside the body.  We reported that for the first time in the U.S., a surgeon used a pliable biomaterial in a bone graft for a knee fusion procedure. The foam biomaterial, called CERASORB, was made by North Carolina-based biomaterial company CURASAN Inc. and was approved by the USDA in December 2016.

Pineapple-based leather substitute 

We reported on freakish materials in this story where Ananas Anam, a maker of a leather alternative based on pineapple leaf fiber, has completed a financing round for an undisclosed amount. The funds will help it increase supply to meet demand from brands such as Hugo Boss, Adidas, John Lewis, and KangaROOS Shoes.

Bioink 3D Printing of Human Tissue

We reported on this group from Sweden, Cellink, that is using bioink and 3D printing technology to create biomaterial structures with living cells. Long are the days of waiting on a list for transplants for new body parts or of having to test consumer products on animals, now that you can 3D print them.

Cellink Expanding to China for Bioink 3D Printing of Human Tissue

New Stronger than Steel Biomaterial That Superman Would Approve Of

We reported on a grouo of Japanese researchers who combined hydrogels that had high levels of water with a glass fiber fabric to create a biomaterial that is stronger than steel. Hokkaido University scientists used a method similar to that used to make reinforced plastics, which resulted in a flexible material with unprecedented strength.

New Stronger than Steel Biomaterial That Superman Would Approve Of Developed in Japan

Design Your Own Baby? Could Be 5 Years

We reported on this interview with Jef Boeke, Director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at New York University, told The Daily Mail that artificial human DNA will be created in the next four to five years. As part of the Human Genome Project, this new project is called Human Genome Project-write (HGP-write) and the goal is to artificially create human DNA grown in a lab.

Meat Without the cow: The Beyond Burger goes to Yale

Here we reported on Beyond Meat, announcing that its Beyond Burger will be available at Yale University’s thirteen on-campus dining halls; making the 315-year-old Ivy League institution the first university to carry the plant-based patty on a campus menu.

The Beyond Burger goes to Yale

Leather without the cow: Pineapple-based leather substitute on the rise

We reported on Ananas Anam, a maker of a leather alternative based on pineapple leaf fiber, has completed a financing round for an undisclosed amount. The funds will help it increase supply to meet demand from brands such as Hugo Boss, Adidas, John Lewis, and KangaROOS Shoes.

Your next pair of pants could be made out of mushrooms

Mice from 3D Printed Ovaries = More Fertility Options for Families?

We reported on this amazing 3D printing story where Northwestern University researchers created 3D printed ovaries and placed them in lab mice that were able to ovulate, get pregnant and give birth to baby mice. Scientists took preserved ovarian tissue from the mice and used a 3D printer and gelatin to print a complete ovary with cultured ovarian follicles, which was then transplanted into the mice. Because blood vessels formed, it allowed hormones to get into the mouse bloodstream and basically restored the female endocrine system so they could become pregnant and lactate after giving birth.

The Bottom Line: “Just 30 Days”

What’s just incredible about these 10 stories of transformational technology — what’s really fascinating —  is that every one of them happened in the past 30 days. The velocity of change is on the rise. Fast is getting faster.

 

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