Things Changing Technologies
Big dog robots, LTE-connected balloons floating around the stratosphere, 3D printers that produce living cells, and a machine that turns your sewage into drinking water are all innovations, but not the ones that should come in 20 years.
On the contrary, all this exists today and is already having an impact on science, medicine and technology.
Just what can a robot dog or internet ball do for the world?
Today we’ll talk about how scientists and engineers came up with these four incredible technologies and why they believe that these innovations will help millions of people live better and lead a healthier lifestyle.
What is the most useful object a 3D printer can create ? A guitar? Maybe a pair of shoes?
What about biological tissue or blood vessels that can lead to the appearance of artificial organs and cybernetic parts of the body?
While early 3D printers used mostly plastic and metal alloys, today scientists mix and match various materials, some of which are living.
Last year, for example, Jennifer A. Lewis, a material scientist at Harvard University, printed biological tissue with a vascular network that helps keep cells alive after they exit the printer.
To do this, Lewis and her research team developed a printer that can accurately reproduce structures with components of the size of one micrometer, reports MIT Technology Review .
All inks used in the Lewis laboratory are designed to preserve their properties before, during and after the printing process, where they are subjected to various pressures, as well as the influence of living and non-living materials.
This fluorescence image shows a four-layer lattice printed by sequentially applying four PDMS inks, each of which is colored by a different fluorophore.
Scientists are still far from printing a living organ, but the ability of the Lewis team to print complex tissue with healthy vascular systems is a vital step in process.
In the end, the medical community hopes that printed biological tissues will be able to speed up drug testing (now it can take decades) and will provide an opportunity to replace damaged organs.
"With the ability to directly print functional tissue, you can get a much more thorough approach to pharmaceutical drug screening as well as tissue engineering," Lewis told C&EN.
Scientists at Princeton University printed an ear made of electronic components and biological tissue, while their colleagues from Cambridge University printed retinal cells. Researchers hope that these technologies will ultimately lead to a breakthrough in medicine.
Many of us know that robots can now perform various mundane tasks, such as washing, servicing hotel guests and filling shelves in warehouses.
Most of us do not yet know (and perhaps not yet ready to find out) that scientists and engineers create so advanced robots that they are able to perform tasks that we cannot or do not dare to complete due to physical risk.
Do not worry, these robots are not created to destroy people or make us redundant. They are designed to help us.
So is Spot from Boston Dynamics - a 160-pound four-legged robot that looks like a dog. However, he will not doze next to him and will not ask him to scratch his stomach.
Instead, Spot robots can be used during search and rescue operations or in disaster relief thanks to their hydraulic legs, head and self-correcting balance sensors, which allows them to recover from wrong steps and overcome obstacles.
Old robot designs on wheels couldn’t move on uneven surfaces, so it’s even more interesting to see how Spot works on flat and hilly territory and quickly recovers from some good-natured kicks from observers from the board of directors.
In the future, it’s easy to imagine how robots like Spot find lost tourists on difficult tracks or assist in the disposal of hazardous materials.
Worldwide, 4.3 billion people do not have a reliable Internet connection.
But what if relatively inexpensive balloons would allow more people living in remote areas to access the Internet?
This is a project that Google engineers have been working on since 2012, when the company launched test balls equipped with technology on California.
Since then, more advanced balls have been developed that have crossed the whole world. Loon balloons are cheaper to manufacture and operate than satellite systems.
To potentially give billions of people access to the Internet, Google has developed a fleet of inflatable balloons with electronics inside that is powered by solar panels.
Each ball covers 40 km and is capable of catching an Internet signal from the earth and transmitting it to remote users
Flying 20 kilometers above the stratosphere, which is much higher than the flight altitude of commercial aircraft, Loon balloons connect via radio networks to existing telecommunication networks to provide high-speed Internet ( provides stable communication at a distance of up to 40 km) to devices that may be out of reach of the signal.
Google has created algorithms that calculate where to place their balloons in the stratosphere so that they can move with the wind. Engineers can track planes using GPS.
Loon balls have already been used by major communications providers in Brazil, New Zealand and Australia.
While the first balloons remained in the sky for only a few days, today they are able to fly for more than 100 days and can go around the globe.
At a training ground outside Christchurch, New Zealand.
After leaving Microsoft's CEO position in 2000, Bill Gates gradually switched to ongoing philanthropy with his wife Melinda, setting up The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which paid out nearly $ 4 billion in grants last year.
Gates-funded projects, like the person after whom they are partially named, are rarely traditional.
Instead, they are usually brilliant solutions to unpleasant problems: for example, an improved design to increase the time you use condoms; pre-vaccinated cows that smell like humans to attract mosquitoes; remote monitoring to prevent vaccine spoilage.
Gates' new project is a machine that turns wastewater into clean water.
Omniprocessor is a machine that was designed and built by Janicki Bioenergy. Her job is to absorb the sludge and its boiling, to separate the water vapor from the solid particles that are fed into the fire and converted into steam, which in turn feeds the processor and generates an excess of electricity.
How does clean drinking water get out of this technology giant?
The Omniprocessor filters the water vapor created during the boil through a purification system that draws clean drinking water.
Why not build a sewer? In the developing world, they are costly and energy inefficient.
The result is waste that is transported by truck to the oceans, burned using natural gas, or sent to the water supply. Almost 700,000 children die each year from diseases caused by unsanitary conditions.
The Omniprocessor, which is currently undergoing a trial run in Senegal, will ultimately be able to manage waste from 100,000 people and turn it into 86,000 liters of clean drinking water and 25 kilowatts of clean electricity per day, the Gates Foundation expects.
Omniprocessor Can Turn Wastewater Into Clean Drinking Water