Robotic furniture for the young professional
Suburban Utopia

Shapeshifting Robotic Furniture

Moveable walls and multifunctional components, the in-house architectural robotics from Ori combines functionality with design. Ori, deriving from origami, is a line of connected smart products, developed by MIT Media Lab in partnership with designer Yves Béhar. Designed for micro-studios with less than 28 square meters of space, Ori transforms the space with a single push on the button. Aiming at young professionals paying high rents in urban centers, Ori houses a media center, storage space, a bench, a fold out desk, and a bed. It’s morphing time!

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Seeing more airplanes in the sky than birds
Anthropocene

What Is Next Nature? #10

One and a half century ago birds and insects were the only airborne creatures. The largest movements in the sky were, for example, swarms of starlings, migrating geese or a lone circling hawk. From the twentieth century a new entrant made its rise: aircrafts. Today 8.3 million people are held aloft by airplanes everyday. Commercial air traffic accounts for the 4% of the total global output of greenhouse gasses. Indeed, the impact on the environment is clearly visible and widespread. Near urban areas a clear blue sky without contrails is close to non-existent. Not only airplanes have become part of the visible and audible horizon, they also directly transform our landscape by creating cirrus cloud formations.

Read the entire Next Nature is… series.

Nongenetic Evolution

Growing Drones From Chemicals

Researchers from BAE Systems together with the University of Glasgow are experimenting with a new technology that in theory would be able to grow small-scale Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) from chemical compounds. The breeding of drones explores how aircraft could be designed and manufactured in the future.

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Forward to Nature

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Virtual worlds, printed food, living cities, wild robots – we’re so surrounded by technology that it’s becoming our next nature. How can we live in harmony with it? The Next Nature Network is a 21st century nature organization that wants to go forward – not back – to nature. We stir debate, create events, exhibitions, publications and products that bring biology and technology into balance. Because ultimately, we may not just have to save the pandas but the people too. Will you join us?

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robots taking government jobs
Wild Systems

Robots Taking Government Jobs

Meet Amelia, the first virtual employee to work along with human coworkers in a council job. This robot will cover the frontline public services of the Enfield City Council, England, starting late summer. Available as text and as a digital avatar, her ability to communicate with humans in natural language enables her to validate licenses, handle requests for permits and take residents’ queries.

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What's flying there?
Next Nature

Drone Contest Winner: VR Drone for Elderly

The lucky winner of our What’s Flying There? contest is Jiska, Dutch 10-year-old girl who imagined a virtual reality drone for the elderly and won an actual drone for herself. Among the submissions there was a great variety of ideas that should not go unmentioned: love drone, cleaning & recycling drone, guide drone for blind people, police drone, and many other good concepts! The drawings have been evaluated and rated on originality, positivity, necessity and drawing skills.

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Office Garden

Interview: Govert Flint, Designer Applying Motion to Everyday Life

He is mostly known for his Bionic Chair, an exoskeleton chair in where the user can control a computer through body movements, but beside product design Govert Flint has worked as an architect in Shanghai, he is a self-taught artist and he’s got the moves, as you can see in this video clip of Run Boy by Keymono. In dancing he found the rationale of his work, exploring how movement can be implemented in everyday life. According to Govert “the body complements the brain” and our environment needs to be designed to that end. To emotionally release ourselves we need to stand-up – away from the computer – and move freely. However, as his Bionic Chair shows, the solution lies not in abandoning the computer but by offering alternative ways of interacting with it.

In 2014 he joined the Eindhoven-based design collective Collaboration-O and started his own studio: The Institute for Applied Motions. Today he is working with Enrichers, a company merging design with neuropsychological principles. We talked to him about the relationship between body movement and emotional expression, mind-controlled computers and more.

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Young people who are afraid of making a phone call
Society of Simulations

What Is Next Nature? #9

There is something about texting and chatting that makes it so interesting for young people. It might be that in the turbulent transition from a child to an adult text messages take away many social insecurities. The digital medium gives a sense of anonymity, and typing allows for more control over the conversation. Typing costs more time than speaking, but it permits to think about the content and to correct or rewrite something before pressing enter, managing the irrevocability of direct social contact. As children grow up using this reassuring medium they become awkward in making, for example, phone calls, where the safety net of text messages is absent.

Read the entire Next Nature is… series.

wageningen-ur-crops
Food Technology

Edible Crops Grown in Martian Soil

Colonizing Mars has always been a human fantasy, and scientists now brought us a step closer to this dream. Since 2013, researchers at Wageningen University have been investigating the behavior of crops on Mars and Moon soil simulants. They demonstrated the growth and edibility of these crops, and several of them are also safe for human consumption.

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