Monday, August 31, 2015

Forecast #1: "Whatta ya got stock in the water company or something?! Turn the water off": The Importance of Monitoring Water Usage

Alright, so maybe you have heard your grandpa or someone's grandpa ask if "ya got stock in the water company" when you leave the faucet running. Maybe you haven't.

What do you think that grandpa comment really means?

Sometimes the best things can come out of dire situations. The drought in California is a prime example and it is forcing innovation.
A couple of examples of innovation with saving water.

-We lose millions of gallons of drinking water every year to pipe leakage
Pipes that are able to detect leaks...
-A shower that re-uses water and reduces water usages by 90% and energy by 80% without compromising awesome design and comfort of a nice shower

Water is seen as an inexpensive/free and expected commodity in the USA.
But what happens when we start to run out? Look at what is happening in California:

“The diminished hydro-power capacity of California’s dams cost electricity customers a total of $1.4 billion in the past three years.”


Global Impact:
Reduction of water usage: Setting an example for the rest of the world.
New innovations could make it possible to create new ways to provide clean water systems to developing countries. It also could help with farming in rural areas or areas where water is very scarce. You can look at things like the Re-Inventing the Toilet Competition that the Gates Foundation had a few years ago. The idea was to create a toilet that could not only create compost, but possible create clean water? Holy crappola. What a crazy idea.

If you want some comedic relief:
Jimmy drinks poop water...


National Impact:
Innovation is key. Again, the dire situation has shown that if we do not do something, we will have nada.

(This shower head looks cool and is cool. It uses more than half of the water a regular shower head uses)

Local/Personal Impact:

There are talks/rumors about tapping into Lake Superior for freshwater for the Southwest drought. Better efforts need to be made to reduce and reuse what is currently available before that would ever happen.
If you talk to people up on Superior (MN), the talk of protecting their freshwater is not a new thing.

(In 2008, laws were signed to protect the lake from diversions in Michigan. But that doesn't mean something can't change in the future)

What could you do or could be done to create the greatest positive impact on the future?
Making your home or business eco-friendly is not always cheap. Making efforts to reduce these costs and provide incentives would be ideal. Rebates for homes?

I just get really excited when I read about all these new ideas that are happening with agriculture, clean water and ways of collect and purifying water. It makes me really excited to see what can happen on a global scale.

What could you do or could be done to create the greatest negative impact?
Nothing. By sitting by and watching this happen, nothing will happen and water will become incredibly scarce. 

What is most frustrating is reading about the celebrities and wealthier communities in California that seem to ignore the water crisis. I believe that they fines that they charge people with should reflect the taxes/value of the neighborhood they live in. People that live in areas with higher taxes should be given greater fines. If it comes down to making people pay attention by making them pay money, by all means fine them. The same goes with those in other neighborhoods.

Which region of the future does this related closest most to or does this fit in between or perhaps a region of the future you'd like to define for yourself?

Do you think people need incentives for reducing their water usage?
Do you feel like it is invasive to regulated and monitor water usage?

Forecast#1: Active Contact Lenses



In 2014, Google announced a new partnership with Novartis (a drug company) to potentially develop a contact lens for diabetics. Using miniature sensors and a radio antenna thinner than a piece of human hair, this smart contact would monitor the user's blood sugar levels. The information obtained from these sensors could then be transmitted onto some sort of mobile device. 

Being a Type 1 Diabetic, this would be a dramatic advance in the health industry because it would relieve the typical diabetic from poking themselves five times a day. This smart lens would also track and provide a lot tighter control of blood sugars. 

After doing further research into this potential mechanism, I found rumors about other capabilities being added to this contact lens. If the glucose monitoring system goes accordingly, a small sort of camera may be added. This camera would would process the mage data to detect light, colors, faces, motion and any other other information that could be calculated through one or more images. It is noted that the smart lens could even contain two or more cameras. 

Photography being one of my biggest passions, this was extremely interesting to me because I have always dreamt of a product that would be able to capture any moment in time, directly through my eyes.

1. On the global aspect, this would be the start of extreme medical advances and could help to control blood glucose levels in diabetics. Though it is nothing close to a cure, companies and people who suffer with diabetes are always looking for new areas of growth-anything to maintain an easier, healthier lifestyle. The picture aspect of the lens could perhaps take over the camera industry and could benefit society in several aspects: safety, jobs, crime, and leisure alone. Nationally, this impact would be close to the same.
Personally, this smart lens could potentially save my body and life in the long run. A lot of times, I simply forget to test my blood sugar. Poking my fingers and my arm to draw blood five times a day can be exhausting.

2. Though reports came out about this monitoring lens being created for 2019, I think this lens will take ten or more years to even become successfully made. This idea has come to light in the past, but has never worked. The image capturing aspect would take several more years to create-maybe even thirty.

3. The greatest way to create a positive future with this lens is to start by first nailing the basics. Because a camera may be unnecessary  I think the first and main priority is to successfully create the glucose monitor. Health advances are much more crucial than any toy or modified camera that already exists.

4. Though a photographic contact lens would send the camera industry booming, I think there would be a negative impact on the future if the camera was successfully created before the glucose monitoring lens. Because the original goal was to create a mechanism for diabetics and bettering their health, I think putting as much effort possible into helping millions of lives, rather than solely enhancing entertainment is much more important.

5. Super Tech, Human/Social Tech.

1. How much will this smart lens cost to make?
2. How much money would it be sold for?
3. Will this lens be combined with a lens for seeing capabilities?
4. How will the glucose information be transmitted to other devices?
5. How will the glucose numbers be tracked (by a blink of an eye, every given number of       minutes, etc)?
6. Will the user have to wear a contact in both eyes, or just one?

Forecast #1 : DNA Modifications

PART 1: à

B)   To my understanding scientist have found how to modify an embryos DNA. They have found that they can cut strands of an embryo’s DNA with the power to have the strand grow back but without the bad gene such as cancer or any other illness or disease as well as intelligence. They have the power to scan and read each strand of DNA and from there decide what strand should be cut to regrow and avoid a negative outcome. Scientist are aware of the risk this implies which is why they have put a pause on the study until ethical guidelines for modified embryos is established.

1)    The global impact- Illnesses and diseases could be prevented which could lead to an over-population as well as a decrease in medical jobs.
2)    National Impact- Ethical guidelines would be questioned and it could arise political issues.
3)     Personal Impact- My future family could be exposed to the option of ‘custom’ DNA which would change “family genes.” 

4)    For the first two months to two years of this innovation I believe DNA modifications would be a big trend people wanting to have children with higher IQ’s and free of illnesses and family genes would be greatly modified and will effect future generations.

In the long term, the next 20 years to 20+ decades generations would be suffering the consequences of modified DNA’s with an over-population of people on the globe, humans standards would raise and non-modified humans would be compared to modified humans.

5) What could you do, or could be done to create the greatest positive impact on the future.”
Agree on ethical guidelines.

6) “What could you do, or could be done to create the greatest negative impact on the future.”
Not agree on any ethical guidelines.

7)    “Which region of the future” does this related closest most to or does this fit in between – or perhaps a region of the future you’d like to define for yourself.
                  Human Tech

Forecast 1: The Transformer House


Years ago there was an interpretation I made from a graduate program I came across while procrastinating and surfing the world wide web. I believe it was called "Architectural Robotics" - with out fully reading the program description - and with my idea of robotics [which can be summed up by the two images below... ]

I was beyond amazed that there was a program out there where people were learning how to design robot houses and buildings. Since a couple years have gone by and I have yet to come across the robot house I had envisioned these graduate students designing and building, I reevaluated what that program really meant by 'Architectural Robotics'. 


However, the idea of a building, being able to transform itself in accordance to the inhabitants physical needs/limitations/etc. and desired aesthetic is something that has stuck with me and after reading this article, on building materials of the future, followed up with this article, which expands the list of building materials of the future - the idea of this 'robot home' has been revived in a pleasantly and unexpected way - to something beyond mechanical and my stereotype of 'robotics' - to something more organic.   

The bit from the first article shared, Construction: Three Cutting-Edge Building Materials of the Future, that really added definition to this future forecast was this one line: "...materials that are programmed to later transform their shape in response to movement or environmental factors, such as the presence of water, air and temperature changes..." Combined with the other materials discussed... 

*growing bricks from bacteria (similar to car Abbi shared in our first class)
*Graphene - 200 times stronger than steel but almost weightless
*self-cleaning materials
*self-healing concrete
*new materials that could give structures the capability to strand strong during catastrophic natural disasters
*technology [way above my level of understanding] that gives materials the ability to ‘possess previously unheard of characteristics…’ 

... completely transforms the way I see these materials from something static and inorganic to something animated and alive.


1. Global/National/Local/Personal Impact
The global/national/local/personal impact will depend on affordability of such structures, at first very limited access - eventually will be world wide - similar to most new technology introduced into society.
2. Range of impact
Short term: an increase in innovation and inspiration sparked by these new advances, and the first stage, smaller in scale products produces.
Long term: large scale constructions that have the ability to change form, self-healing, grow with and to the needs of the inhabitant.
3. Positive impact
Resources saved [decreasing the amount of damage done to the environment] from the ability to heal itself, and with that money saved. Huge amounts of people injured and killed from natural disasters could be a horror story from the past. Ability to further promote human well-being.
4. Negative impact
The beauty that comes with aging materials or aging in general, proof of time passed. Unknown long term impact of new technology - industrial revolution was most likely seen as only a positive at its birth, only in recent years are we understanding the level of harm done. Defects in material could lead to dangerous environments, specifically self-destruction capabilities of materials. The buildings advance human intelligence, robot vs. humans world war scenario.
5. Region of future
{see number 1 & 2 above}
6. Trends/Tech Solutions
A STEEPA trend (mixture of everything)
Level of negative vs. positive potential for this forecast fluctuates between all lenses.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Forecast #1: Virtual Touch


*** VIDEO ***


Advancements in communication technology have made vast improvements when it comes to maintaining long distance relationships. From sending letters, making phone calls, texting, to video chatting, our methods of communication have become a lot easier, faster, and more personal, but what comes after screens and skype? Virtual touch. Physical touch from a partner releases oxytocin in the brain, helping to form a stronger bond within the relationship. The HugShirt was invented by Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz the co-founders of CuteCircuit, and was named one of 2006's best inventions of the year by Time Magazine. Sensors are embedded in the shirt, and can sense strength, duration, location of touch, skin warmth, and even the heartbeat rate of the sender. Along with these sensors, are actuators, which recreate the sensation of the touch and warmth of the hug that was "sent" to you. The fact that we can instantly communicate with someone across the globe is incredible already, but to be able to add the sensation of physical touch to that, would be close to magic. 


global- globally, this technological advancement may encourage more people to travel for business, or just travel for longer periods of time. It might increase productivity if they know that they can still hug their loved ones goodnight, even while doing business in a different timezone. 

national- I could see this product, or another virtual touch product, being distributed among Americans enlisted in the military, and their families. Long distance relationships can become a huge part of their lives, so a product like this could get a lot of use and appreciation from them.

local/personal- Being in a long distance relationship and knowing their hardships, I would definitely be open to trying something like the HugShirt. It seems cheesy and a little weird, but it'd be really interesting to experience!


2 months- continuing to work on and test the product for it to become readily available to the public

20 years- expanding from products like the HugShirt into technology that uses a combination of virtual touch and holograms, getting even closer to face to face contact without being in the same space


positive- increase of travel for business, more successful long distance relationships, and generally better mental health for people experiencing LDRs 

negative- people may feel abandoned if a loved one chooses to start traveling more due to new technology, and there could be potential health issues when it comes to wearing technology (cancer)


social tech/human tech/bio tech


  • would you have any interest in purchasing something like the HugShirt?
  • how do you feel about the look of the HugShirt?
  • would you feel weird using one in public? or do you think that they would become something that people get used to seeing? (ex. selfie sticks, people taking weird snapchats, etc.) 

National Healthcare Will Require National RFID Chips
A) A quick glance at one article:
RFID ChipWhat is the RFID chip? It is a small electronic computer device placed into the skin of a person that can be used for identification, tracking, information storage and interfacing with external sources, such as for financial, business, commercial, governmental, educational, and medical institutions. In other words, an RFID can be utilized for every area of life.
Many legitimate and natural questions have been raised about RFID chips, like: What are the societal risks of the RFID chip? What are the foreseeable or likely governmental abuses? How does its implementation relate to the principles of freedom in a Constitutional Republic? Will I be able to maintain my rights of privacy and other liberties if I have an RFID implanted in my skin for societal and governmental purposes? As we will show, the answers are very relevant, because it is known that the federal government will likely mandate that these RFID chips be implanted into all persons in America.
The German IT industry group BITKOM recently conducted a survey that found that one out of four Germans would willingly, without force of law, have a RFID chip placed inside their skin for societal and governmental purposes. Perhaps those in the United States are not much different. The idea of a microchip being implanted into your body for these purposes has been around for several years and is only becoming more popular and accepted.
Written by  Timothy BaldwinB) Analysis by me:This topic has been very interesting to me for a while and it seems to be growing very quickly within our country. I am not one to be worried or creeped out that someone can track my Iphone whenever they feel, but this reaches a whole new level. The second article in the link above mentioned that 1 in 3 people didn't even know they had one in them! Scary.. C) Bullet Answers:This type of technological advance can really help launch our medical care within the nation. Not only will it create better use of time and organization, but it can hold people and hospitals more accountable with every move they make. Globally this technology could help advance and connect information regarding anyone who may need medical attention outside of their home country if they are unconscious and cannot explain any medical conditions they have, the RFID tag would help with that. Locally and personally this would help communities save money and stay much more on top of people who need medical attention when in an accident and follow up help. Long term this could help people understand and keep track of their medical history and well being much better that relying solely on the hospitals database. Within 20 years, people could have access to probably what is going through their blood, what vitamins they need and that would probably cater to their advertisings within a store if it recognized you were missing something. Keeping a "human" aspect of things would create the best positive impact in the future, privacy is a currency now and people take that very seriously, this could easily be abused within the government and be used to hack into peoples lives which would be the worst negative. This would be Human tech and likely spread into bio tech as well with its tracking and data development. This falls into really every category other that Aesthetics. 


Physalia, an Amphibious Garden Cleaning European Waterways

Water, a Common Good for the Planet

Inspired by the global water issues

The Inspiration Video

The Global Water Crisis


  • Fresh water makes up 2.5% of the worlds entire water supply, of that less than 1% is easily accessible.
  • High Stakes Tradeoffs;
    • food
    • energy
    • human drinking water needs
  • Waters Critical Role in Earths ecosystems
  • Developing Innovative Solutions

A Developing Innovative Solution

Physalia - Its Own Inspiration

Photo by Matthew Smith



  • 100% self sufficient in energy;
  • Bionic structure is inspired from the pneumatophorous called also
    “Physalia physalis”;
  • Greek physalis that means “water bubble”;
  • Architecture with carbon zero emission is eco-designed from renewable energies to make it as a prototype with positive energy, that means producing more energy than it consumes;
  • The silver-plated dress is covered by a TiO2 layer of anatase shape that by reacting to the ultraviolet rays enables to reduce the water pollution;
  • In addition to being a self cleaning vessel, it enables to absorb and recycle by photo-catalytic effect, the chemical and carboned waste from the fluvial water rejected by the traditional boats and by industrialists 

“ ‘Physalia’  is thus an innovative scientific equipment dedicated to set investigation fields as much innovative too! It is a “clean” vessel, of new generation, a floating purification station, a tool of ecologic promotion with sulphur and carbon zero dedicated to sensitize the populations”
Vincent Callebaut

The Future of Water in 2050



How are our current infrastructures for our water sources in place maintaining supply and do they do so adequately and are those infrastructures sustainable? As of now, the freshwater available throughout the world is less than 3%, of that, less than 1% is easily accessible. According to UN-Water, out of the 7 billion people on earth, only 780 million have access to clean water. So Physalia ability to generate more energy then it uses itself, while purifying waterways in Europe, could have the potential to vastly improve the waterways around the world, cleaning up the major rivers that need it the most. 

"Physalia" travels Europe’s rivers, purifying water, simultaneously generating more energy than it uses. With the silvery shell that absorbs ultravioloet energy enabling it to purify the waterways. But what if it did more? What if Physalia did more than just purify the water

Source: World Water Development Report 4. World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP),
March 2012.


I think if this idea was expanded to reach areas beyond Europe, reaching parts of the world that lack access to clean water and purify their water resources, it could change the way the world thinks about water. Not only that, it could mean cleaner water in areas of the world that truly need it.

We have the resources. Nationally, we really need to find more effective ways at keeping our waters clean. What rivers would be it be the most beneficial if Physalia was implemented here? First river that comes to mind right now, would be the most recent environmental disaster in Colorado, the Animas River, after the EPA accidentally release 3 millions of toxic water that had been stored in the Gold King Mine. was released into the Animas river. After seeing the damage of the river, it's really apparent that even state side, we have a real issue with protecting our OWN water. The river has since been clearing up, but the lasting effects and damage are yet unknown. They are "planning to install a treatment plant that would indefinitely clean the water from the Gold King Mine"

In Minnesota alone, industrial agriculture is creating access to clean water within our own state problematic and is becoming readily apparent in Minnesota counties, such as "Dakota, Washington, Central Sands region (which includes 14 counties), and Karst region". The families in these counties have limited access to well water due to elevated levels of nitrogen in the drinking water, that is caused from the neighboring farmlands that use fertilizers. 

"Industrial agriculture is not the only threat to our drinking water. Hydraulic fracturing, the method used to drill for natural gas, also known as "fracking," is becoming yet another major source of groundwater contamination." 
What is fracking and why is it controversial?

I wanna continue into that... but that's another assignment...

Down the line
5 years
If we are more proactive in our own communities, by reducing our own water pollution around the house, and in our own neighborhoods, we'd be contributing to healthier water right at home. Just by picking up solid waster from our animals, or using natural fertilizers, not over watering our lawns, and washing our cars at professional wash places, because they are "required to drop their wastewater into sewer systems, there it is treated before being discharged"  (How to Clean up our Water)

25 years
If we start cleaning the most polluted rivers around the globe, it would definitely be improving the way of life in the rural areas that are in the most need. Physalia could mean healthier, more cleaner water for areas that are in the most need.

Questions posed for the class

  1. What areas of the world would be in the most need for something like, Physalia, that would benefit the most?
  2. How are we, ourselves, attempting to be more proactive about our own water sources?
  3. In what ways can we improve the overall infrastructure when it comes to healthier water in the long term?