In this week's Abundance Insider: 3D printed ovaries, autonomous zero-emissions ships, and India's solar power pricing breakthrough.
Peter, Marissa, Cody, Kelley, Greg, Sydney and AJ
What it is: Engineering undergrads at the University of Southern California recently designed, manufactured and launched a rocket from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The rocket--Fathom II--successfully reached 144,000 feet post launch -- setting a new altitude record at around five times the cruising altitude of a passenger plane. Every part of the Fathom II rocket was built by the USC team from scratch. In the future, USC's Rocket Propulsion Laboratorty aims to reach the edge of space at 333,000 feet -- otherwise known as the Karman line.
Why it's important: We are living during an age of incredible progress, where ideas once considered science fiction are now becoming science fact. The rate of this progress is accelerating. With growing access to large sums of private risk capital, and powerful exponential technologies, there is little that we can't try. Some may call this a "crazy idea", but at the end of the day, the formula for a true breakthrough is equal to “having a crazy idea” you believe in plus the passion to pursue that idea against all naysayers and obstacles. Share on Facebook
Spotted by Marconi Pereira / Written by Sydney Fulkerson
What it is: Infertile mice successfully gave birth thanks to 3D-printed ovaries created by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago. The synthetic ovaries were made by printing scaffolds from a gelatin ink, and then fillimg the scaffolds with fluid-holding sacs called follicles, which held immature egg cells. The project's purpose was focused on restoring fertility to young cancer patients who have been sterilized by their cancer treatments. In the future, researchers hope that ovarian bioprothesis evolves into the ovary of the future.
Why it's important: This example marks a major step forward in the development of artificial ovaries for young women with damaged reproductive systems as a result of their cancer treatments. As we continue to make advances in the applications of 3D printing, we will see this exponential technology rapidly transform not only the healthcare industry, but millions of lives. Share on Facebook
Spotted by Gaetan Soltesz / Written by Sydney FulkersonWhat it is: Wholesale solar prices in India recently dropped by 40%, reaching an unexpected new record low. India's drastic decline in the price of solar energy further undercut the cost of fossil fuel-generated power, which improves the odds of the country meeting -- and potentially exceeding -- their renewable energy target. India hopes to have the capacity to generate 175 gigawatts of power from solar, biomass and wind energy by 2022, and potentially increase to 275 gigawatts by 2027.
Why it's important: Each week, we have new evidence that solar technology has been demonetizing, signaling that true energy abundance is just around the corner. As Peter often writes, we are on the cusp of a solar revolution where the cost of solar cells will plummet, efficiency will rise dramatically, and the incentives for widespread adoption will become truly compelling. Share on Facebook
Spotted by Oleg Shteyner / Written by Sydney Fulkerson
What it is: NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang just offered the first public unveiling of a product based on the company's next-generation GPU architecture, codenamed Volta. Its new Tesla V100 accelerator is designed for AI and machine learning applications, and at the heart of the Tesla V100 is NVIDIA's Volta GV100 GPU. NVIDIA believes the V100 will become the new standard for high-performance computing: "By pairing CUDA® cores and the new Volta Tensor Core within a unified architecture, a single server with Tesla V100 GPUs can replace hundreds of commodity CPUs for traditional HPC.” Critical to the V100’s ability to break the 120 teraflop barrier, it incorporates: 640 Tensor Cores (equivalent to 100 CPUs), new GPU architecture with over 21 billion transistors; a 2x throughput improvement in NVlink, the technology that allows GPUs to communicate with CPUs; a 900 GB/sec HBM2 DRAM, a 50% improvement in memory bandwidth; and a set of Volta optimized software to AI and additional research.
Why it's important: With these huge advances at the GPU, memory, and network level between GPU and CPU, NVIDIA continues to make significant progress in demonetizing and democratizing AI workloads. When combined with libraries like TensorFlow, frameworks like Kera, and massive ecosystem support from AWS, Microsoft, Baidu, Google, and OpenAI, we're seeing AI applied to all kinds of problems, blowing away the performance of traditional algorithms. Share on Facebook
Spotted by Gaetan Soltesz / Written by Jason Goodwin
What it is: Norwegian fertilizer company Yara has entered a partnership with maritime technology leader Kongsberg to build the world’s first fully electric and autonomous maritime vessel. This is a first step for Yara in an effort to reduce the 100 daily truck journeys that take products from plants to port, improving road safety and reducing NOx and CO2 emissions by removing an estimated 40,000 truck journeys per year. The vessel, dubbed Yara Bikeland, will be manned until 2019, and thereafter begin operating autonomously under the guidance of Kongsberg’s integrated control, sensors and monitoring systems.
Why it's important: With the large advances and progress in autonomous cars and trucks, it’s easy to forget that maritime transport plays a massive role in global commerce and energy use. The application of these technologies to maritime reminds us that the exponential technologies we track daily have the power to transform every facet of the global economy. Share on Facebook
Spotted by Lars Ivar Igesund and Jacob Gemmel / Written by Jason Goodwin
What it is: As reported previously, Finland recently launched the first-ever UBI experiment in Europe, with 2,000 participants receiving a 560 euro monthly stipend for a full two years, regardless of employment status. According to Marjukka Turunen of Finland's social insurance agency KELA, early results indicate indirect benefits of reducing stress levels. This is particularly the case where the recipients are unemployed and trying to care for elderly parents, but UBI also helps people feel more secure in seeking work in situations where they might lose benefits under Finland’s generous and complex social security system.
Why it's important: We have talked recently about similarly promising results from direct cash transfer programs and UBI experiments like GiveDirectly. These early findings, though anecdotal, are important to highlight as they encourage further experimentation and are based in a technologically savvy culture like the EU. With further experimentation, can we uncover a better alternative to complex, overlapping social programs? Share on Facebook
Spotted by Oleg Shteyner / Written by Jason Goodwin
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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