Recap #36: cleaning crows & synthetic teeth

This week's Recap covers privacy enhancing tech, smart windows, synthetic teeth, and more.

3 months ago   •   2 min read

By Caroline Barrueco
AI generative illustration by Caroline Barrueco made with

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

This week is about navigating uncertainty by recognizing the patterns behind complexity. Technology has a certain direction, it moves towards greater connectedness and interdependency.  Knowing this, we can extrapolate and anticipate that it will also wreak unintended consequences and bring changes outside its desired scope. We should be mindful of these patterns as we invest in new solutions or choose new devices in our daily lives. ~MZ

Emerging Technology

🕶️ The UN is Testing Technology that Processes Data Confidentially
The newly created  UN privacy-enhancing technologies lab (UNPETs Lab) aims to test out ways of harvesting the power of AI without compromising the privacy of people who share their data with machine learning datasets.

🛸 Drones as Big as 747s Will Fly Cargo Around the World With Low Emissions
Natilus, a startup from San Diego, promises to cut emissions by 50% and costs by 60% with autonomous cargo drones. The main innovation of the aircraft is it’s aerodynamic design, which allows for a faster flight while burning less fuel.

🧶 Scientists Develop Fully Woven, Smart Display
Researchers have developed a 46-inch fully woven display with smart sensors, energy harvesting and storage integrated directly into the fabric.

🏢 New Adaptable Smart Window Coating Could Help Heat or Cool a Home and Save Energy
The windows are coated with a chalcogenide-based material that changes phase in response to heat. In cold weather, this material absorbs the infrared rays from sunlight, and emits it into the room as heat. But when it’s hot out, the material can be switched to reflect heat from the Sun back outside, keeping the interior of the building cooler.

🍇 Machine Learning is Making Fruits and Vegetables More Delicious
A machine learning model correlated chemical components with better tasting fruits and discoveries that we have been selecting for less than half of the components that make fruits taste good.

🦷 New Synthetic Tooth Enamel Is Harder and Stronger Than the Real Thing
The new material closely mimics the composition and structure of biological teeth’s hard mineralised outer layer, exhibiting high stiffness, hardness, strength, viscoelasticity, and toughness that exceeds both the properties of biological enamel and previously manufactured materials.

Tech and Culture

👤 Tech + Culture: Individuality
Tech and Culture are a series of round-table discussions to explore the future at the intersections of technology & culture. Watch the recording of last week's conversation about individuality.

👋🏽 After the Great Resignation, Tech Firms Are Getting Desperate
The covid-19 pandemic started a movement that is being called “the great resignation” in which workers are voluntarily abandoning their jobs. How is this affecting the tech industry?


🐦 Sweden Is Using Clever Crows To Clean Up Litter Around the City
A city in Sweden created a machine that rewards crows for every cigarette butt that they remove from the streets. The birds soon learned how to use the machine by trowing cigarette butts in it, to get food in return.

Caroline Barrueco
Research Fellow

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