Weekly 'Pulse' Issue 51

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Algae Abodes

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The team at Space10 (Ikea’s innovation lab for sustainable living) have just unveiled the Algae Dome, a closed system that houses a bioreactor that rapidly produces vast quantities of microalgae – approximately 450L in three days.

Algae is rich in nutrients, containing double the protein of meat and packed with vitamins. The plant also helps to reduce carbon dioxide. With the Algae Dome, the creators are looking to initiate conversations about tackling the problem within the global food system and the associated challenges of malnutrition and climate change.

Read more here: https://goo.gl/ZLi2Me

 

How can we rethink the application of abundant materials to address the universal problems of waste and deficiency?   


Bone-Healing Bubbles

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Bone grafts and plaster casts may soon be a thing of the past after a team of doctors and researchers at Los Angeles-based Cedars Sinai Medical Center derived a new method of healing fractures by using a combination of gene-therapy, stem cells and ultrasound-activated ‘microbubbles’.

In oversimplified terms, gene-therapy is used to attract stem cells to the area, while a mix of microbubbles with DNA encoding a bone protein is injected at the break. In trials, the fractured tibias of 18 pigs completely healed within eight weeks of the procedure, compared to the standard 3+ months for bone grafts (many of which never fully mend). 

Read more here: https://goo.gl/oEP96g

In what other ways can we combine technology with biology to accelerate treatment, recovery and mobility... and to boost overall health and wellness for the elderly and other vulnerable demographic groups? 


Self-charging Sensors

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Researchers at Northeastern University have developed a new type of sensor that remains on standby power until it senses infrared wavelengths – the very energy source required to recharge itself. Infrared light waves are invisible to the human eye but emitted from any heat sources such as fire, cars and people. Being event driven, these sensors can be placed in remote areas for long periods of time and only “woken” when there is activity and in the extreme case, sensors can remain active for years without the need for a single recharge.

Commissioned by DARPA, the device is part of the Near Zero Power RF and Sensor Operation which develop devices that have close to no power consumption and thus do not rely on external power sources.

Read more here: https://goo.gl/7baSz5

How can we leverage technology to not only condition the consumption of energy and resources to productive activities, but also move closer to a closed loop system where outputs can be recovered as inputs, enhancing aggregate efficiency?