Tag: Hypernature


Hacking Human Cells to Use Solar Power

Our cells are not that different from a car engine: they depend on carbon-based fuels for energy. But using carbon for energy is an inefficient process. This is what the biotech startup BiPlastiq seeks to resolve, using solar energy instead of carbon and oxygen, by hacking our cells.

The founder of BiPlastiq, Christopher Powell believes that by hacking our mitochondrial structures to use solar energy, the power output of our bodies might increase dramatically. This upgrade could arguably transform human bodies into regenerative machines and extend human lives by decades.

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Plastivore – A Bird that Feeds on Plastic

Imagine humankind would magically disappear from the planet today. We would leave the ruins of cities, roads, cars and… plastics. Since its invention in 1907, plastic steadily worked its way into the geology of Earth. As plastics hardly break down they could survive humankind.

Artist Britt Duppen envisions that, in due time, new species might evolve that could feed on plastic. Her speculative ‘Plastivore’ bird (Latin for ‘plastic eater’, plasticio meaning ‘plastic’ or ‘food that contains particles of plastic’ and vorare meaning ‘to devour’) thrives on a diet of fungi and plastics.

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Turning Cockroaches into Rescue Robots

Certain natural disasters such as earthquakes and Tsunamis often trap high numbers of people under unstable rubble, making search-and-rescue operations very difficult. Cyborg cockroaches might be of critical help for these disasters.

North Caroline State University carried out a study in 2012, where researchers attached electrodes to the antennae of Madagascar hissing cockroaches to steer them. Currently, the team is working on tiny backpacks attached to the back of cockroaches, to transform these critters into moving networks of sensors.

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Hydrogel farming
Food Technology

Soil-Free Farming in the Desert

Throughout the lands of the Persian Gulf, desertification is a fact of life. As a result, the countries of this region import 90 percent of their food supply. A new technology developed by visionary researchers at the Waseda University, in Japan, might have found the solution to this problem. A special absorbent film that require no soil may be able to grow plants more efficiently than soil farming.

The research team, lead by Professor Yuichi Mori, has developed a hydrogel film that can hold 1,000 times of its weight in water. The scientists are already testing these films in 180 film farms.

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Food Technology

The World’s Largest Indoor Farm

Humans have mastered agriculture for the last 10.000 years, during which different climates, cultures, and technologies have driven and defined farming development. Nevertheless, a summer storm, voracious pests or a bad drought can still ruin the harvest and destroy months of hard work. But not anymore, according to Japanese plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura, who transfered intensive agriculture under the roof.

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‘Flowerworks’, by Sara Illenberger. Photography: Sabrina Rynas

Happy Next Nature!

Time measurement tools are perhaps among the most inventive technologies mankind has produced, as it enables us to articulate ‘natural’ time (in the form of lunar years, sun eclipse, tidal waves, seasons…

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Palm Tree Antenna

Spotted near Las Vegas and Hurghada, Egypt. If you know any cellphone tree antenna masts in your neighborhood. Use the Next Nature spotting app for iPhone to add them.

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Domestication as a Last Refuge

Domestication of flora and fauna is a concept that humans have been using to control nature in our advantage already since 33000 BC. A nowadays example are ‘house plants’ which have gone through generations of selective breeding to eventually give the best flowers, in extraordinary colours and unexpected shapes.
A usual by-product of domestication is the creation of a dependency in the domesticated organisms, so that they lose their ability to live in the wild. From an animal and plants perspective this could be considered as a deprivation of their right to freedom. Human interventions in the last couple of decades resulted often in a shrinking natural habitat for many species and populations. Being on the edge of extinction, domestication might be their only refuge?

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Urban Green

In the 18th century French philosopher Voltaire said “God created the world, but the Dutch created The Netherlands”. Ever since, we have been doing everything we can, to live up to his statement; as illustrated by this series of pictures by photographer Jacob Gesink shot in various Dutch cities.

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