Insights March 17th, 2017
Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day he reads through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.
In Future Trends – Solar Punks and Zero Waste we look at an innovative solar experiment in Brooklyn, zero-waste bloggers, Ford’s new 3D printer, sonic cyber attacks, and The Future of Agriculture with Nikolas Badminton.
Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves
Brooklyn is known the world over for things small-batch and local, like designer clogs, craft bourbon and artisanal sauerkraut.
Now, it is trying to add electricity to the list.
In a promising experiment in an affluent swath of the borough, dozens of solar-panel arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops are wired into a growing network. Called the Brooklyn Microgrid, the project is signing up residents and businesses to a virtual trading platform that will allow solar-energy producers to sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door.
The project is still in its early stages — it has just 50 participants thus far — but its implications could be far reaching. The idea is to create a kind of virtual, peer-to-peer energy trading system built on blockchain, the database technology that underlies cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Read more at The NY Times
Zero-waste bloggers: the millennials who can fit a year’s worth of trash in a jar
Kathryn Kellogg, a 25-year-old print shop employee, spends four hours a day on her lifestyle blog Going Zero Waste. She posts on Instagram, engages with Facebook followers, and writes about homemade eyeliner and lip balm, worm composting, and shopping bulk bins – anything to avoid unnecessary waste. Her trash for the past year – anything that hasn’t been composted or recycled – fits in an 8oz jar.
Kellogg is earnest, enthusiastic, and admittedly still figuring out what it means to be zero waste. The aspiring actor has also weathered her fair share of criticism. “I’m not even that big yet and I get so much hate mail,” says Kellogg, who draws 10,000 unique page views a month and has 800 subscribers.
Since the launch of Going Zero Waste in March 2015, she’s been criticized on social media and in private messages for driving and flying, for not installing a grey-water system, and, no joke, for using toilet paper (she does have a bidet, by the way). She’s been chastised by vegans for eating eggs, and one visiting relative walked around Kellogg’s house pointing out anything made of plastic.
She’s also been called out as overly privileged, even though she lives in a modest two-bedroom house in Vallejo, a blue-collar city 32 miles north-east of San Francisco.
Read more at The Guardian
Ford’s new room-sized 3D printer upends additive manufacturing as we know it
Like nearly every automaker, Ford is keen to figure out how 3D printing can improve its ability to develop and build new cars. Additive manufacturing holds the promise of shorter lead times, increased customization and lighter weight parts, among other efficiencies. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of blue-sky thinking out there, and still not a ton of actionable data. But that’s changing, including at the Ford Motor Company, which has an impressive new tool in its arsenal, the Stratasys Infinite Build 3D Printer.
Read more at CNET
Sonic cyber attack shows security holes in ubiquitous sensors
Sound waves could be used to hack into critical sensors in a broad array of technologies including smartphones, automobiles, medical devices and the Internet of Things, University of Michigan research shows.
The new work calls into question the longstanding computer science tenet that software can automatically trust hardware sensors, which feed autonomous systems with fundamental data they need to make decisions.
The inertial sensors involved in this research are known as capacitive MEMS accelerometers. They measure the rate of change in an object’s speed in three dimensions.
It turns out they can be tricked. Led by Kevin Fu, U-M associate professor of computer science and engineering, the team used precisely tuned acoustic tones to deceive 15 different models of accelerometers into registering movement that never occurred. The approach served as a backdoor into the devices—enabling the researchers to control other aspects of the system.
Read more at the University of Michigan
The Future of Agriculture with Nikolas Badminton, Futurist (CTV)
Nikolas Badminton joined CTV in Saskatoon on Tuesday March 14th 2017 to talk about the future of agriculture. Big Data, Vertical Farming, and Autonomous Vehicles are discussed.
See the video on CTV here