Plastic ocean
Plastic Planet

Getting Wasted on Plastics

Life in plastic, it’s fantastic. The iconic words of Aqua’s 1997 smash hit Barbie Girl. But we are rapidly coming to terms with just how fantastic plastic really is. Plastic is an incredibly versatile material. Forms of plastic occur naturally such as rubber, chewing gum and shellac, but in 1907 humans synthetically produced plastic and have never stopped manufacturing and consuming it. For good or bad, we now live on a Plastic Planet.

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Suburban Utopia

ReGen, the Autarchic Off-Grid Village

It is well-known how modern agricultural methods are damaging our surroundings, environment and the quality of the goods we consume. Is it possible to truly liberate us from this burden while keeping the same quality of life? A Danish architecture firm, EFFEKT, developed the creation on California-based builder ReGen Villages, which envisioned an utopian future where self-sustained communities could be completely autonomous by producing their own food and energy.

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3d printed shell fred tortoise
Manufactured Animals

3D-Printed Shell to Save Tortoise’s Life

It is widely known that 3D printing is a revolutionary technology. Several surgeons and medical students are using it to improve the learning process and to advance medical science, forging new frontiers in the field. Of course bio-printing will be the next step, but until it becomes widely adopted, 3D can still save lives. We are familiar with several interventions where this technology helped save human lives, such as the 3D printed face and skull, but in this case we’re talking about saving defenseless, animal lives.

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Wild Systems

What’s Flying There? Coloring Book

Drones are controversial, they are either seen as killing machines or as the next pizza delivery guy. There is not much room for imagination in between. This new species has a great potential that needs to be discussed. Today we launched What’s Flying There?, a coloring book that opens up new perspectives for drones applications in the human habitat.

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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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Fruit flavored candy
Food Technology

What Is Next Nature? #2

…Or is it candy-flavored fruit? The fruit we buy in the supermarket is not as natural as we may think. Centuries of selective breeding have made our fruit juicier, sweeter and bigger. For instance, the tree that produces the bananas we find in the supermarket cannot survive without the help of humans. Originally this fruit used to contain seeds, but our supermarket banana does not have any seeds. Don’t be fooled by artificial candy, our fruit is equally human made. It goes without saying, though, that this doesn’t mean that fruit is not healthy or that candies are!

Read the entire Next Nature is… series.

teaching assistant jill watson
Wild Systems

Your Teaching Assistant Is a Robot

We tend to think that there are certain categories of jobs that can’t be replaced by machines, yet. Something like a college teacher, for example. Jill Watson performed as teaching assistant for several students of the Georgia Institute for Technology. The thing students didn’t realize is that she wasn’t a real person. The experiment lasted five months during which Jill’s task was to help students, by answering their questions online. Her responses were so credible and elaborate, that they didn’t doubt her identity.

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Microbial Factories

Using Feces as Medicine

Meet freelance-biophysicist Josiah Zayner. He’s one of those people who decided to take matters into his own hands when his life became substantially affected by severe gastrointestinal pain. Taking the matter into his own hands proved to be quite messy, since the matter he was handling consisted of human feces, and not even his own.

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reputation monkey whispering
Wild Systems

Rating the Reputation Economy

A ten part series exploring the design of an invisible technology: money.

Our online reputation permeates throughout our digital world. With every website we visit, comment we leave, person we “friend”, spammer we flag or badge we earn, we leave a trail of how well we can or can not be trusted. Though it may not seem like it, our reputation is becoming a valuable currency that is hard to earn and easy to lose.

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recreating second skin to look younger
Augmented Bodies

Creating a Second Skin to Look Younger

Staying young has been a human desire for as long as we can remember. Cleopatra used to take milk baths to preserve her beauty and youth, today we apply expensive creams to achieve the same result. But all these special treatment didn’t even come close to what we wanted to achieve. So in the end, we just had to accept the reality of time. Until now. Scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs managed to create what every woman has been dreaming of: a second skin to reduce wrinkles and tighten the skin.

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