Abundance Insider: September 23, 2016 Edition

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In this week's Abundance Insider: Delivery van drones, crowd-powered robot painters, and drone-delivered burritos.

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Peter, Marissa, Cody, Kelley and Greg

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Daimler to Work With Matternet on Delivery Van Drones

daimler matternet

What it is: Daimler AG has announced a partnership with Matternet to develop delivery drones for its networked electric vans. Daimler's vision is that a delivery drone would team up with a human driver to deliver packages. "If a parcel service provider stops his vehicle in a residential area, it will be possible to deliver multiple packages to nearby consignees autonomously by air -- even if they are not at home -- in addition to manual delivery," Daimler said. (Fun Fact: Matternet is a U.S.-based startup that came out of the 2011 Singularity University GSP.)

Why it's important: Here's a promising example of how legacy automakers can use their R&D budget. By partnering with disruptive startups in a different area of transportation -- in this case, drones -- Daimler can differentiate its networked van from the competition. Will this human-technology teamwork outperform Amazon's delivery drones, Starship Technologies' delivery robots, and human parcel delivery drivers? Join the Discussion

Spotted by Peter Diamandis

The Crowd-Powered Robot That Paints Like Da Vinci

crowd powered painting robot

What it is: Instapainting founder Chris Chen recently created the first painting robot that is entirely controlled online by the crowd. Using the Twitch social video chat platform, Chen's community can code commands that instruct the robot where to paint on the canvas. The resulting art is sold on eBay, with proceeds benefitting the healthcare crowdfunding organization Watsi.

Why it's important: We've been watching collaborative robots closely, primarily for their power to dematerialize and demonetize labor. Although most of these robots have been built for use in industrial, construction or healthcare settings, Chen's painting robot illustrates how a globally distributed group of human creatives in the arts and entertainment industries might collaborate with robots in the near future. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Aryadeep S. Acharya

Costa Rica Has Gone 76 Straight Days Using 100% Renewable Electricity

costa rica renewable electricity

What it is: For the past 2+ months, Costa Rica has been operating on 100% renewable power (mostly hydropower and geothermal energy). Unlike wind and solar, hydropower can run at all times, unless the source's output is impacted by weather. Recent heavy rains enabled four of the country's dams to perform above usual capacity, making it possible to serve the country's energy needs without diesel generators.

Why it's important: Although Costa Rica's strategy is a major step in the right direction, it's not one we can exactly duplicate around the world, as most of the world's countries lack the geography and climate necessary to build and sustain hydroelectric dams. That said, Costa Rica's governing body figured out how to leverage its unique location and natural resources to generate the most sustainable energy possible -- a technique other regions can still emulate, even if they must get more creative to achieve a similar result. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Prithvi Raj

Google Drones Will Deliver Chipotle Burritos at Virginia Tech

chipotle delivery drone

What it is: Google X's Project Wing plans to test the delivery of Chipotle burritos via drones to a closed site at Virginia Tech later this month. In the meantime, Google will excute hundreds of delivery tests before the project is prepared, using a Chipotle truck in a closed site on campus. The autonomous drones will carefully lower burritos to hungry students via a tether, all the while testing delivery techniques for sensitive cargo.

Why it's important: Drones are getting smarter, cheaper, more reliable and easier to deploy than ever before. As exponential technologies continue to advance, we can expect drones to autonomously deliver a variety of precious cargo, from meals to medical care. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Peter Diamandis

Google's Secret Plan For Quantum Computing Supremacy

google quantum computing

What it is: Google is developing a 50 qubit quantum computer that it believes will outperform the world's top supercomputers. Google's ambitious goal is to achieve "quantum supremacy," which would be achieved when "quantum devices without error correction can perform a well-defined computational task beyond the capabilities of state-of-the-art classical computers," as the authors of an arXiv paper explain.

Why it's important: The next paradigm in computation technology is shaping up to be quantum computing, with companies like Google, IBM and Rigetti Computing leading the charge. A quantum computer with 300 qubits can run more calculations in an in a second then there are atoms in the universe. This unimaginable leap in computing will have vast implications across new drug and material discovery, cryptography and machine learning. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Peter Diamandis

Boeing Unveils Gamechanging Autonomous Submarine

boeing echo voyager

What it is: Boeing has just announced its Echo Voyager unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), able to remain underwater for months using its hybrid rechargeable power system. New Atlas notes that the 51-foot UUV doesn't require a surface support vessel to launch and retrieve it; instead, Echo Voyager can surface at regular intervals, transmit data to researchers, and head right back to work.

Why it's important: Today's Boeing UUVs can only stay underwater for two- or three-day missions. Because Echo Voyager can operate autonomously for weeks -- or months -- at a time, it enables researchers to explore the oceans like never before. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Aryadeep S. Acharya

Looking for the Perfect Mattress? Try One You Can Customize

rest bed

What it is: Mattress companies, such as Helix Sleep, Reverie and ReST are working to bring mattress customization to a whole new level. What makes these mattresses different from mechanically controlled ones is that this customization happens entirely within the mattress. This article covers some of the leading innovators in a market that generates $7 billion of revenue per year.

Why it's important: Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our lives, but there hasn't been a significant change in how we understand and adjust our sleeping surface for years. Modern, "smart" mattresses could eliminate a variety of health-related hassles most of us accept as normal, from stiff necks to snoring. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Ron Bushman

Nemo-Inspired Drug Delivery Robot is 100 Times Smaller Than a Grain of Sand

drug delivery robot

What it is: Jinxing Li and his team of medical researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Harbin Institute of Technology have created a "nanofish" capable of carrying drugs to specific sites of the body, with a design inspired by the Pixar movie Finding Nemo. "We created a nanoscale robot which mimics the fish swimming [motion]," Li told Digital Trends. "The size of the nanorobot is even smaller than a red blood cell. We expect this nanofish robot would be used for precise medicine delivery, manipulation of single cells, or [performing] non-invasive surgery."

Why it's important: Peter's blog on nanorobotics mentioned the implications of nanotechnology on health and wellness. These "nanofish" are just the beginning of our biology's integration with machines. Could small antibody-mimicking robots be used to augment our immune system as we know it? Join the Discussion

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield

Chinese Visual Tech Company Launches World's First 3D+VR Handset

superd d1 phone

What it is: SuperD Technology recently announced the SuperD D1, the first smartphone to seamlessly integrate and switch between 2D, 3D and virtual reality content. The phone will have a unique approach to its camera technology -- as China Daily reports, the SuperD D1 camera will "...[deploy] a front dual camera, with one of the cameras recording the images and the other tracking the exact position of the user's eyes, [allowing] customization and the simultaneous generation of visual images based on the precise position of the eyes, as well as the interpupillary distance."

Why it's important: Most of today's mainstream smartphones, while more powerful than ever, represent incremental improvements. SuperD's approach of integrating 2D, 3D and virtual reality content in a single smartphone could represent the new wave of smartphone innovation -- should the Chinese market respond positively. Join the Discussion

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield

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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