If you could have another sense, which sense would you choose? Would you like to have the ability to sense electromagnetic fluctuations like sharks do? Would you prefer to hear the urban soundscape of WiFi signals? Or would you like an extra organ that regulates the usage and sensitivity of the senses you already have? Recently our NNN fellows, people from different disciplines working in and around the next nature theme, came together to explore the uncharted territory of a new project: Next Senses. How do we want to perceive the world? The world we live in has changed drastically over the ages, but our everyday means of perceiving it remained the same. Isn’t it time to reevaluate the way we access to the outer world?
It’s one of the biggest social issues of today. It’s a key predictor of depression, chronic illness and premature death, and 26% of Americans say they relate themselves to it. We are talking about loneliness. A recent study found that only face-to-face interaction, not device mediated interaction, could help to prevent it.
The Firefighter Drone is a very important figure for everyone’s safety. She flies around, covering search and rescue operations and, in case of fire, she will extinguish it. She also does a great job preserving the environment and natural resources, transmitting birds-eye video of a forest fire to incident commanders and mapping hard-hit areas after a natural disaster. With her nozzle-arms she saves the forest and its inhabitants from burning down!
The rainforest produces an extraordinary symphony that drowns out the threatening sound of the lumberjack chainsaws. To protect it, American start-up Rainforest Connection transformed recycled cell-phones into autonomous, solar-powered listening devices. This low-cost solar tracking system is able to intercept illicit activities, mainly deforestation, and alert the rangers in real time. His founder is Californian engineer Tropher White. With the help of indigenous tribes he was able to make his ambitious project operational.
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?
As a mostly urban civilization we are completely detached from wild nature. The little stretches of greenery in cities require constant maintenance. We want the grass to be this tall, the trees in this order and the flowers in this color. Untouched nature has become something for adventurous travelers. Yet to experience the freedom and primordial beauty of ‘raw’ nature, one has to spend half a day in a cramped airplane seat. And it’s precisely this eco-tourism that is also threatening the livelihood of ecosystems.
Read the entire Next Nature is… series.
Prolonged exposure to artificial light prevents urban trees from adjusting to seasonal variations. Notice how the leaves of this tree have fallen, except for those directly under the streetlight. Recent research demonstrated how high-intensity light sources have the greatest impact on delaying leaf senescence, throwing off a plant response to the change of seasons. Peculiar image of the week via Physics FAU.
“The question for us was: is a computer able to write a screenplay?” these are the words of Oscar Sharp, director of this short movie, written by an artificial intelligence system. The answer is clearly yes. Sunspring is the result of this attempt: a sci-fi short movie of nine minutes where the main actor is Thomas Middleditch, character of the cult series Silicon Valley.
What if we would split the world in half? Not literally of course, but set aside half of the Earth’s nature. Renowned biologist E.O. Wilson made this radical proposal in his new book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. His bold statement strongly underlines the problematic decline of biodiversity caused by the rapid loss of the natural habitat for countless species.
Inspired by Konami’s Metal Gear Solid, prosthetic artist Sophie De Oliveria Brata, founder of the Alternative Limb Project, designed a prosthetic arm for an amputee gamer. The unique prosthesis features an interactive screen, a flashlight, a USB port for charging phones and even a drone on the side. Why would you stick to an elbow, a wrist and five fingers if you could make anything?