Weekly 'Pulse' Issue 41

Our weekly round-up of thought-starters, opportunities & ideas... 


Developing Good Habits

Jen-Hsien Chiu, a student in the Royal College of Art's Innovation Design Engineering Programme, has designed an innovative new way for people to develop better habits - and more importantly - how to stick with them. Phabit is a digitally connected pot plant that will feed or starve a plant based on its user's behaviour. This modern approach to plant maintenance incorporates an app which monitors behaviour using phone data and geofencing (the use of GPS to create a virtual geographic boundary). The connected plant is only given water and sunlight if its owner maintains their stated habits, such as going to the gym. Certainly one way to keep those New Year's resolutions! 

Read more at goo.gl/fZEdvF

How can we re-contextualise consumer incentives to drive greater awareness of behaviour and elevate productivity? 

Creating Resilient Textiles

Nanotechnologists at Belgium-based Nanex Technologies have developed a coating that repels dirt and water, allowing the production of shoes and clothing to be stain-resistant, water-resistant and generally more durable. The team behind the coating were inspired by the lotus plant, which despite growing in muddy, semi-aquatic water, has a special coating so that water droplets forms an almost perfect sphere, and captures any dirt or dust on the leaf surface as it rolls off the edge. 

Read more at goo.gl/kufqBt

How can we intersect technology with nature to enhance product durability and prolong lifecycles?

Where The (Bio) Rubber Hits The Road

A biodegradable car may not sound particularly roadworthy, but a student team from the Eindhoven University of Technology has managed to create one that has been given the all clear by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority. The 300kg "ecomotive" vehicle, known as LINA, is made entirely from biocomposite materials including flax and sugar beet, taking only 20% of the energy required to make today's aluminium or carbon-fibre based cars. The battery powered four-seater can travel 100km on a single charge and is expected to hit Dutch roads soon.

Read more at goo.gl/SahheB

How can we become more creative in our approach to bio-materials and move closer to genuinely sustainable and closed loop manufacturing?