Recap #41: molecular 3D printers & acoustic t-shirts

This week's Recap covers molecular 3d printers, space 3d printers, microalgae, acoustic fabrics and more.

2 months ago   •   3 min read

By Caroline Barrueco, Michell Zappa,

AI generative illustration by Caroline Barrueco made with using the prompt "3d printing" 

Welcome to the Envisioning Community Recap, a weekly publication in which we curate the best stories about emerging technology and futures literacy.

This week, as the southern hemisphere moves into fall and the northern reaches spring, consider asking yourself if our technology is equanimous. Are our choices balanced or lopsided? Have we externalized our responsibilities, or are we acting responsibly when it comes to the unintended consequences of our choices? None of us are immune from technical debt & dependency โ€“ all organizations and individuals alike are intertwined with choices made in the past โ€“ some of which offload the weight onto the โ€œotherโ€. Polluted waterways and precarious gig workers represent part of such imbalance. If each equinox represents balance, consider this an opportunity to identify where it might be missing. ~MZ

Emerging Technology

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿš€ Unlimited 3D Printing for Space
The European Space Agency is developing a 3D printer to be used in space. Besides printing in zero gravity, the printer can print objects bigger than the printer itself, overcoming one of the main limitations of 3D printing today.

Future Perspectives: Today, space travel involves taking an overly redundant amount of spare pieces and tools to space. Such waste and weight could disappear once tools could be 3D printed on demand.

๐Ÿฅป Researchers Create a Fabric That Can 'Hear' Your Heartbeat
MIT researchers have developed a fabric that acts both as a microphone and speaker. This acoustic material could be used for many tasks, such as: answering phone calls, amplifying or recording conversations, and monitoring a baby's fetal heartbeat and respiratory condition, among others.

๐Ÿท A 'Molecular Printer' Claims to Make Anything From Iced Coffee to Cocktails
Cana One, a countertop machine, claims to be able to print thousands of different beverages, including juice, soft drinks, iced coffee, sports drinks, wine and cocktails, reducing the waste created by packaging.

Future Perspectives: We are getting closer to being able to copy any drink at the molecular level. Would a synthetic wine that is identical to a 100-year-old wine, have the same appeal? Would it taste the same or do we need the mystique and rareness surrounding the beverage to fully appreciate it?

๐ŸŒŠ Microalgae is Nature's 'green gold': a Pioneering Project to Feed the World More Sustainably
This Conversation long read presents an overview of the uses of microalgae โ€“not to be confused with seaweedโ€“ a plant that converts waste nitrogen and could become an efficient source of protein.

๐ŸŽฎ Technology Trends 2022 | Meet me in the Metaverse
This report presents the main characteristics of the programable world, pinpointing how businesses can take advantage of this accelerating change on how the internet presents itself. Shared by Luma.

Futures Literacy

โœจ Phil Balagtas: The Future Of Futures Thinking
This podcast brings a didactical conversation about different strategic foresight and futures thinking techniques. Shared by Ariel.

๐Ÿ“š The CoFuturisms Bibliography
CoFutures has put together a stunning list of global futures research and publications.

Tech and Culture

๐Ÿฅฒ We asked the community: What are some of your pains when it comes to managing technology in daily life?

Dave: ย Too many different mental models between similar products.
Micha: Marketing hurts not technology.
Carol: Usability updates and "improvements" bother older people, because every time the app changes they need to relearn.
Greg: Having to switch back and forth from incognito modes because I just want to look something up and not be chased around with content nags for the rest of my life about it.
Jt: Screens, stress on the eyes. Also, audio assistants that do not understand questions.
Peter: Keeping all of my software up to date is my biggest pain point after email overload.
David: I'm a bit concerned with the prevalence of the AI and ML systems not considering basic user experience.

Head to #-07-question-of-the-week to add your perspective to the conversation.

Caroline Barrueco
Research Fellow

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