Right now, most people don’t want a smart home. And while about 13 percent of people have an internet-connected device that isn’t a computer, phone or tablet in their homes, according to research from Parks Associates, the marketing of the smart h…
Operating successfully for over a year, the Bio Intelligent Quotient (B.I.Q.) building in Hamburg, Germany is the first to be fully powered by algae. The building is covered with 0.78-inch thick panels—200 square meters in total—filled with algae from the Elbe River and pumped full of carbon dioxide and nutrients. The panels, which display the bright green algae, are not only aesthetic, but performative. When sunlight hits the “bioreactor” panels, photosynthesis causes the microorganisms to multiply and give off heat. The warmth is then captured for heating water or storing in saline tanks underground, while algae biomass is harvested and dried. It can either be converted to biogas, or used in secondary pharmaceutical and food products. Residents have no heating bills and the building currently reduces overall energy needs by 50%.
Cycling across the country barefoot in search of a simpler life
Rob Greenfield’s Goodfluence bike tour promotes the ‘being’ in ‘human being’ while also encouraging gardens in urban spaces.
Can Jim Mason solve the developing world’s power problems with a temperamental machine that runs on garbage?
It is a challenge just to find the door to All Power Labs, an upstart alternative-energy concern in the industrial wastelands of far west Berkeley, California, and it’s not unusual for visitors to circle the block several times before realizing that the only way in is through a rolling gate with a small sign. Beyond that is what appears to be a scrap yard filled with old shipping containers and rusty hunks of metal. Welding torches spark and flare; walnut fragments litter the ground. And all around are iterations of APL’s main product, the Power Pallet, a contraption consisting of a large silver barrel on top of various other metal parts, all connected with pipes and hoses. It looks like something you’d use to cook meth. In reality, the Power Pallet is a small refinery, which converts biomass (nutshells, wood chips, corncobs) to hydrogen-rich gas, attached to a four-cylinder engine, which burns the gas to generate electricity. The weirdest part: It is, potentially, the most important and transformative energy product that no one has heard of.
A world where food is plentiful and drugs are personalized may not be as far off as it seems.
What world-changing scientific discoveries might we see by 2025? Will we have more energy technologies that move us away from fossil fuels? Will there be cures for cancer and other diseases? How will we get around and communicate?
To make some predictions, the Thomson Reuters IP & Science unit looked at two sorts of data: current scientific journal literature and patent applications. Counting citations and other measures of buzz, they identified 10 hot fields, then made specific forecasts for each.
“A powerful outcome of studying scientific literature and patent data is that it gives you a window into the future—insight that isn’t always found in the public domain,” says Basil Moftah, president of the IP & Science business, which sells scientific database products. “We estimate that these will be in effect in another 11 years.”