Will the homes of tomorrow be an assembly of printed parts? On 18 January, the company WinSun set a record: the erection of the tallest printed building in the world, a 5 floor residential building located in Suzhou. To achieve this feat, the company created its own huge 'printer': 6 meters high, 10 meters wide and 40 meters long. It also developed an inexpensive 'ink' that meets seismic standards and consists of construction and mining waste mixed with cement and fiber glass. Once printed, the parts are then assembled by workers, who have to insulate the building, install electricity, plumbing, doors and windows. According to the company, this method reduces construction time by 70% and reduces production costs by up to 80% compared to conventional construction methods.
At peak times, it is difficult to attract the attention of a server. To improve the quality of service, the restaurant Timbre@Substation decided to use drones. Their job is to constantly shuttle between the kitchen and set points in the restaurant bringing food, tableware or drinks. The staff then just has to serve the tables. Leaving the constant back and forth to the machines, servers can focus on customer needs. Currently in the testing phase, the drones designed by local firm Infinum Robotics can also avoid obstacles and coordinate movements between them.
Technology is even taking to the slopes! An Israeli startup has designed the first connected ski and snowboard goggles. This technological gem has a battery of sensors, a microphone to communicate with friends who also have the goggles, and a camera to film your exploits in real time so you can post them on social networks. It also has a see-through display that projects AR layers and features on the snow as if they’re floating 15 feet in front of you. Currently under development, the RideOn will be released in September 2015 for $ 899 (795 €)
Progress or a worrying trend? Since the beginning of February the Swedish IT company Epicenter has had RFID chips implanted under the skin of 450 of its 700 employees. All volunteered for the experiment. The stated goal: to simplify the lives of employees and management. Now there is no need for badges, keys, cards and codes to open doors, use the copy machine or pay for a meal in the cafeteria. Implanted on the back of the hand between the thumb and index finger, this chip as big as a grain of rice saves and carries all the data necessary for the identification of the employees, who only have to put their hands on the sensors the company has installed.
The German stylist Anke Domaske creates beautiful clothes with... milk! It took several years of testing before she came up with the perfect recipe for 100% natural milk fiber, Qmilch. Similar to silk, it is an environmentally friendly alternative to cotton and has many virtues (antibacterial, absorbent, anti-UV). The manufacturing process is short, uses relatively little water and requires no chemicals: the milk is treated and skimmed to remove impurities and fatty content. Anke uses only sour milk that is no longer fit for consumption. The mixture is then squeezed into yarn ready to be woven. The resulting fabric is soft, comfortable and hard-wearing. Some manufacturers and designers have included milk fiber in their collections – for example Machja, Fabricha and even Nina Ricci, Dior and Célio.
What if cities were no longer seen as a source of problems but as part of the solution? Zero use of fossil fuels is the goal of the creators of BedZED, a London eco-village where everything has been designed to reduce the inhabitants’ ecological footprint: efficient building insulation, renewable energy, cogeneration, recycling, car pooling... Residents have a garden and a communal allotment for growing vegetables, as well as a number of services (nursery, cafe, gym). This reduces the need to travel and thus CO2 emissions, and creates a real sense of community. The result? BedZED residents consume 45% less electricity, 81% less energy and 50% less water than an average resident in Greater London. Ten years after its official inauguration, the eco-village has successfully shown the world that it is possible to reconcile sustainable development with urban living.
Teachers of the world, unite! Last October the British entrepreneur Aldo de Pape launched TeachPitch, a worldwide social network for teachers. Teachers are invited to share their experiences, teaching tips, and sources to build their own courses and tutorials with the entire community. The site is divided into four categories: personal issues, running a class, education and technology, with subcategories such as 'training', 'online tutorials', 'lesson plans' and 'videos'. 2,000 teachers in 55 countries are already registered, in particular in North America and Asia.
Is medical research on the verge of its first victory against Eboba? While the number of infections rose again in January in Africa (nearly 9,000 people have died since December 2013), a new antiviral showed very positive results in Guinea. Developed by Inserm (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale - national institute of health and medical research) and a subsidiary of the Japanese company Fugifilm, Avigan uses a molecule called favipiravir, originally developed to fight certain severe forms of influenza. Tested with 80 patients, the drug has resulted in better resistance to the virus, accelerated healing and fewer deaths. If these promising results are confirmed on a larger scale, Avigan could become the first really effective treatment against the Ebola virus.
At the forefront of the development of green energy, in 2020 Chile will be the home of the largest photovoltaic solar plant in the world. Located in the Atacama Desert - one of the sunniest places on earth – the installation will cover 2,150 hectares and produce 1,000 MW of power. Built by the Spanish group Cox Energy, the plant will be the backbone of Vallenar PV Park. It will help power the main Chilean electricity grid, which supplies more than 90% of the population. Construction will begin in 2015 and will cost 340 million euros.
Lots of children wear braces to straighten their teeth. But what if we applied the same principle to the spine? This is what the Sainte-Justine university hospital in Montreal is proposing with its new 'growth modulation' surgery. To avoid scoliosis in adulthood, adolescents at risk have between 6 and 9 implants placed in the vertebrae by thoracoscopy, an operation that requires minimal incisions. These implants are connected by a wire like those used on dental devices to ensure the spine does not deform as it grows. When the skeleton has stopped growing, the device is removed.