Abundance Insider: April 8 Edition

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In this week's Abundance Insider: Synthetic skin that sweats, smartphone 3D printers, and sensor-packed fake eggs.

Cheers,

Peter, Marissa, Cody, Maxx, Kelley and Greg

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A Drone Startup Just Conducted the First Legally-Sanctioned Urban Drone Delivery

urban drone delivery

What it is: Last year, we covered Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney's first-ever legal drone doorstop delivery of medical supplies to a rural Virginia health clinic. Now he's made history once more with the first autonomous urban drone delivery in the U.S. -- an emergency supplies parcel that traveled about a half-mile using GPS coordinates.

Why it's important: This test proved that drones can safely deliver goods to their destination without hitting street lamps, rooftops, power lines, or other obstacles (like pedestrians).

Spotted by Aryadeep S. Acharya

Sensor-Packed Fake Eggs Are Helping Revive Endangered Vulture Populations

sensor eggs vulture

What it is: UK conservationists are using sensor technology to help researchers learn more about endangered species. The EggDuino is a 3D printed egg that looks and feels exactly like a vulture egg, but it's packed with sensors that measure movement, humidity and temperature -- valuable information to understand vultures' natural incubation behaviors and processes.

Why it's important: By understanding how endangered animals naturally reproduce and incubate their young (without disturbing their natural habitat), conservationists can replicate these natural processes in captive breeding environments. Combined with complementary emerging technologies like synthetic biology, and conservationists have a powerful toolchest that could help us slow down or even eradicate extinction.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield

Artificial Skin That Can Grow Hair and Sweat

lab skin grows hair sweats

What it is: We've seen lab-grown skin grafts and even 3D printed skin, but scientists at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan have created lab-grown skin that can sweat and even grow hair. Unlike today's lab-created skin, which has just one or two layers, RIKEN has the typical three layers of tissue found in human skin, which is why it can hold hair follicles and sweat glands.

Why it's important: One step closer to truly lifelike artificial skin -- which will revolutionize how we treat burn victims and those with skin diseases.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield

Africa Internet Group is the Country's First Unicorn

africa internet group unicorn

What it is: Africa has its first billion-dollar company: Africa Internet Group. Founded in 2012, AIG operates 71 companies in 26 industries -- all of them focused on bringing Africa online and into the 21st century. Most recently, AIG landed an $85 million investment from French mobile company Orange, which will no doubt help AIG increase its influence in Africa's mobile space.

Why it's important: We've heard Peter say that the best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people. AIG is doing exactly this in Africa, and we're excited to see what happens as millions of its clients/consumers begin participating in the global economy.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield

If Google Built a Tech-Filled City From Scratch, Would You Move There?

google tech city

What it is: Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Alphabet subsidiary company Sidewalk Labs, recently made a comment at The Information Summit in New York that piqued journalists' interest. When asked about a rumored technology city test bed, Doctoroff coyly replied that it "would be a great idea," and that "thinking about a city from the internet up is really compelling…[but] cities are hard. You have people with vested interest, political, physical space…But the technology ultimately cannot be stopped."

Why it's important: Technology is changing how we do just about everything. Why not city planning? If we were able to run Google-like experiment sprints on social programs, recreation, transportation, employment, education and environmental issues, we'd gather priceless data -- and possibly world-changing insights.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield

New Implantable Device Alleviates Pain by Tricking Your Brain With Electrical Pulses

electrical pulses pain management

What it is: Researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a pain management solution that involves electrical stimulation of the brain. Unlike similar technology available today (for example, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), this UTA device works at the spinal cord level to block pain signals before they reach the brain.

Why it's important: This pain management technology doesn't have the dangerous side effects of prescription painkillers, like risk of addiction. UTA's studies have shown that this brain stimulation not only blocks pain, it also triggers dopamine release, making it a viable solution to alleviate chronic pain.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield

OLO: The First Ever Smartphone 3D Printer

olo smartphone 3d printer

What it is: We've seen how a variety of physical devices have been dematerialized into smartphone apps, and OLO's new Kickstarter campaign indicates 3D printers might be next. This $99 device enables users to print 3D objects from their smartphones; according to the OLO campaign page, an iPhone 6 can print 1 inch of material in just under 2 hours.

Why it's important: Think there isn't a market for inexpensive consumer 3D printers? Think again: OLO has raised over $2 million thus far, with 12 days left in their campaign. By dematerializing and demonetizing the traditional 3D printer, making it available to anyone with a touchscreen smartphone, OLO is poised to catalyze democratization of 3D manufacturing.

Spotted by Jeffrey Krause and Cliff C. des Ligneris

Tiny Autonomous Robots Repair Circuitry Without AI

autonomous nanorobots

What it is: Joint research from the University of California at San Diego and the University of Pittsburgh has yielded an autonomous nanobot that can do its job -- repairing broken circuits -- without guidance from artificial intelligence. The researchers were inspired by nature, and specifically how blood platelets aggregate after you cut yourself to catalyze the healing process.

Why it's important: Autonomous nanobots could be used to intelligently deliver drugs within the body, or for self-healing materials. Imagine cellphones that can repair their own cracked screens!

Spotted by Ian Pitchford

Paul Allen Doubles Down on AI Research in Seattle

Paul Allen ai research

What it is: Paul Allen's Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has announced plans to advance its Aristo technology to an eighth-grade level, and is scaling up its team and Seattle office quarters to do so. Aristo is an AI that is training to be a science expert -- a unique challenge, considering they don't have an unlimited number of scientific test questions at their disposal for training purposes.

Why it's important: "Eventually, AI2 wants to have a smart enough system that it can act as an assistant in different fields of science," reports the Seattle Times. "For example, it could scan hundreds of thousands of medical-journal articles in an instant to give doctors immediate answers to their questions." Eventually, Aristo could potentially create its own hypotheses.

Spotted by Sarah Black

What is Abundance Insider?

This email is a briefing of the week's most compelling, abundance-enabling tech developments, curated by Marissa Brassfield in preparation for Abundance 360. Read more about A360 below.

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