Someone Unearthed A 1997 Wired Article Predicting ’10 Things That Could Go Wrong In The 21st Century’ — And Nearly All Of Them Came True

By James Crugnale

As they say, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future — but it appears a duo of futurologists made some extraordinary prognostications about the world that, as it turns out, were nearly dead on.

The internet unearthed an old article, written by Pete Leyden and Peter Schwartz, from the July 1997 issue of WIRED magazine that made some eerily prophetic predictions about the 21st century that have “come true in one way or another” — including a pandemic, skyrocketing energy prices, climate change and Brexit.

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Harvesting water from the air, 24 hours a day, with no energy input

Pilot condenser used at ETH Zurich.

Fresh water is scarce in many parts of the world and must be obtained at great expense. Communities near the ocean can desalinate sea water for this purpose, but doing so requires a large amount of energy. Further away from the coast, practically often the only remaining option is to condense atmospheric humidity through cooling, either through processes that similarly require high energy input or by using “passive” technologies that exploit the temperature swing between day and night. However, with current passive technologies, such as dew-collecting foils, water can be extracted only at night. This is because the sun heats the foils during the day, which makes condensation impossible.

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Researchers develop ultra-thin ‘computer on the bone’ using NFC for bone health monitoring

By Tom Phillips 

Researchers at the University of Arizona in the US have developed an ultra-thin NFC sensor that could be directly attached to human bone and enable physicians to monitor a patient’s bone health and healing from fractures and other traumatic injuries.

The battery-free osseosurface electronics device is as thin as a sheet of paper and “roughly the size of a [US] penny” and draws power from and communicates information to an NFC-enabled smartphone or other NFC reader.

The device’s thin structure means that it can form a “tight interface” with a bone without irritating surrounding tissue, while the adhesive that the researchers have developed to attach it contains calcium particles that allow it to “form a permanent bond to the bone and take measurements over long periods of time”.

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Fast Company Says Li-Cycle Is One Of The “Next Big Things In Tech”


By Johnna Crider

In its first-ever list of the “Next Big Things in Tech,” Fast Company listed several companies in the technology industry that are making an impact on various topics from sustainability, health, and AI to money and smart machines. Li-Cycle, which has North America’s largest battery recycling facility, is one of the companies mentioned on that long list.

Li-Cycle was noted for its goal of keeping batteries out of landfills. The company is on a mission to make lithium-ion batteries into circular and sustainable products. Next year, it plans to open its Commercial Spoke 3 facility in Arizona, which will have the capacity of recycling 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year.

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Quantum computers to explore precision oncology

Quantum processors can potentially tackle massive calculations at speed

By Alison Abbott 

Life scientists are preparing to test quantum computers for applications beyond computational chemistry, such as selecting responders to cancer therapies.

Cancer researchers will be among the first to test the potential of Europe’s first IBM quantum computer, which was unveiled in Germany this summer. The 27-qubit IBM Q System One is among the most powerful commercial quantum computers in Europe. Based at IBM’s German headquarters in Ehningen, near Stuttgart, it is jointly operated by IBM and the Fraunhofer Society, Germany’s multidisciplinary applied research organization headquartered in Munich. The Fraunhofer Society is making the quantum computer available to researchers wishing to test ideas for practical applications of quantum computers, including in life sciences.

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Exotic New Material Could Be Two Superconductors in One – With Serious Quantum Computing Applications

Work has potential applications in quantum computing, and introduces new way to plumb the secrets of superconductivity.

MIT physicists and colleagues have demonstrated an exotic form of superconductivity in a new material the team synthesized only about a year ago. Although predicted in the 1960s, until now this type of superconductivity has proven difficult to stabilize. Further, the scientists found that the same material can potentially be manipulated to exhibit yet another, equally exotic form of superconductivity.

The work was reported in the November 3, 2021, issue of the journal Nature.

The demonstration of finite momentum superconductivity in a layered crystal known as a natural superlattice means that the material can be tweaked to create different patterns of superconductivity within the same sample. And that, in turn, could have implications for quantum computing and more.

The material is also expected to become an important tool for plumbing the secrets of unconventional superconductors. This may be useful for new quantum technologies. Designing such technologies is challenging, partly because the materials they are composed of can be difficult to study. The new material could simplify such research because, among other things, it is relatively easy to make.

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Texas will soon get an entire neighbourhood of 3D-printed houses

In Austin, construction of the largest 3D-printed neighbourhood will begin in 2022.

Will the future of housing and construction involve 3D printing? In a city in the US state of Texas, a new kind of real estate project will break ground in 2022.

An entire neighbourhood of 100 single-storey, 3D-printed homes will be built in an Austin neighbourhood. This method of construction is faster, cheaper and less polluting than conventional construction methods, according to the three companies behind this unique project.

This development is set to be the largest neighbourhood of 3D-printed homes ever built. Behind this project of unprecedented size are Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), home building company Lennar and 3D printing construction technology company ICON.

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Researchers create ‘transparent’ holographic camera to make self-driving cars safer

Researchers have managed to create a powerful holographic camera that is capable of seeing through objects such as corners, fog and even humans reveals a new study.

Developed by researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, it uses a technique called synthetic wavelength holography.. It works by reconstructing the path taken by a beam of light as it propagates through various objects, bouncing off surfaces until the beam returns to the source, where it is recorded by a detector.

An AI algorithm tracks the path of scattered light, allowing the viewer to see the world from the perspective of a remote surface, even if they are behind the camera’s line of sight.

This field of research, called non-line-of-sight (NLoS) imaging, is quite nascent, yet the Northwestern researchers’ implementation is well advanced as it rapidly captures high-resolution full-field images with submillimeter precision. 

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Top 10 future technologies you’ve definitely never heard of

And how they will change the world

By Adrien Book

CRISPR, Quantum, Graphene, Smart Dust, Digital Twins, the Metaverse… You’ve heard about it all. Seen it all. Read it all. These technologies no longer hold any secrets for you. Hell, you even regularly mention them over dinner and at work, and have become the go-to person for questions about future innovations.

Yet, technology is ever-changing, and this precious knowledge must be both managed and updated regularly. With this in mind, I’ve put together a list of 10 technologies that are likely to make big waves in the future, but are not on the public’s radar as of today.

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The cost of 3D printed houses in 2021

3D printed houses bring the benefits of additive manufacturing to the construction space. The material costs incurred by construction 3D printing are usually an order of a magnitude less when compared to conventional methods. This is while we take into account the fact that 3D printing concrete tends to be more expensive than normal construction concrete.

As for labor costs, they drop down basically to the daily wages of at most two or three operators. And that too is for a much shorter length of time as the 3D printed house would be ready for finishing and furnishing in days instead of months.

The cost to build an average sized 3-bedroom house with conventional building methods is from $250,000 to $320,000. Building the same home with 3D printing technology would cost from 20 percent to 40 percent less to build. So that same 3-bedroom house would presumably cost between $140,000 to $240,000 to build with 3D printing technology.

It should be noted at this point, that most construction 3D printers will not build, or 3D print the foundations, nor would the construction 3D printer be of any cost-saving benefit when it comes to roofing the house.

All those things: the roof, the windows, the doors, electrical wiring, paint and finishing – all of these costs remain the same as with a conventional house, as all this fall outside the scope of what a construction 3D printer is capable of.

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The Cow That Could Feed the Planet

Limousin cows in Farmer John’s pasture. Mosa Meat will cultivate their cells in a lab to grow into hamburger that is genetically identical, no slaughter required 

BY ARYN BAKER

The cows in Farmer John’s pasture lead an idyllic life. They roam through tree-shaded meadows, tearing up mouthfuls of clover while nursing their calves in tranquility. Tawny brown, compact and muscular, they are Limousins, a breed known for the quality of its meat and much sought-after by the high-end restaurants and butchers in the nearby food mecca of Maastricht, in the southernmost province of the Netherlands. In a year or two, meat from these dozen cows could end up on the plates of Maastricht’s better-known restaurants, but the cows themselves are not headed for the slaughterhouse. Instead, every few months, a veterinarian equipped with little more than a topical anesthetic and a scalpel will remove a peppercorn-size sample of muscle from their flanks, stitch up the tiny incision and send the cows back to their pasture.

The biopsies, meanwhile, will be dropped off at a lab in a nondescript warehouse in Maastricht’s industrial quarter, five miles away, where, when I visit in July, cellular biologist Johanna Melke is already working on samples sent in a few days prior. She swirls a flask full of a clear liquid flecked with white filaments—stem cells isolated from the biopsy and fed on a nutrient-dense growth medium. In a few days, the filaments will thicken into tubes that look something like short strands of spaghetti. “This is fat,” says Melke proudly. “Fat is really important. Without fat, meat doesn’t taste as good.”

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This Holographic Camera Can See Around Corners, Under Human Skin

By Robert Lea

Researchers have invented a new high-resolution camera that may be able “see the unseen.”

The camera could utilize scattered light to see around corners, and potentially even see through skin to allow doctors to observe organs inside the human body.

The camera represents an advance in research in a new field of science called non-line-of-sight imaging, which concerns picturing objects that are obscured or surrounded by material that prevents them from being viewed.

“Our technology will usher in a new wave of imaging capabilities,” Northwestern University researcher Florian Willomitzer said. “Our current sensor prototypes use visible or infrared light, but the principle is universal and could be extended to other wavelengths.”

The method used by the team also has the potential to image fast-moving objects, such as a beating heart through the chest or speeding cars around a street corner.

Willomitzer is the author of a paper detailing the development of the camera published in the journal Nature Communications. 

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