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In this week's Abundance Insider: Swallowable health sensors, diamond nanothreads and biometric military tattoos.

Peter, Marissa, Cody, Maxx, Kelley and Greg

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StarStream Gives Tap Water Ultrasonic Cleaning Power

Ultrasonic Cleaning With Water

What it is: Researchers at the University of Southampton have created the ideal micro-scrubbing solution that cleans without the use of chemical detergents or bleach: tap water. Their StarStream device uses ultrasound waves to activate bubbles' surface, creating shear and rubbing. And it cleans in nearly every application: common household cleaning, removing dental bacteria from medical appliances, and scrubbing away biological contaminants from surgical steel.

Why it's important: StarStream and devices of its ilk can help maintain sterile environments without using antibiotics or antimicrobials. "You've got a whole different pathway for tackling this anti-microbial resistance catastrophe," explains Tim Leighton, who led the research.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


This Filter-Free Water Desalination Relies on Electrical Shockwaves

Desalination Process

What it is: Chemical engineers at MIT have created a new desalination process, shock electrodialysis, that uses an electrically driven shockwave to separate water from salt, or toxic waste from water.

Why it's important: While this desalination method won't outcompete traditional processes, shock electrodialysis requires substantially less infrastructure and energy to run -- making it ideal for use in remote locations or in emergencies.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


Is Diamond Nanothread the New Graphene?

Poly-Benzene Rings

What it is: A team from Penn State has created a promising new material: diamond nanothreads. It's manufactured out of two different configurations of benzene molecules, which are rings of carbon atoms. Researchers can tune the nanothread to adjust the material's rigidity or flexibility.

Why it's important: Another advancement in materials science. Diamond nanothreads are a promising alternative to graphene with their versatility, ultra-light density and impressive strength. Another advancement in materials science. Diamond nanothreads are a promising alternative to graphene with their versatility, ultra-light density and impressive strength.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


Biometric Tattoos for Medicine and the Military

Biometric Tattoos

What it is: Chaotic Moon has made a high-tech temporary tattoo that can gather and upload location, air quality, and health information like body temperature, sweat, hydration level and heart rate. The temporary tattoo offers more durability than, say, a watch-style wearable, as it can't be easily removed, but it isn't as expensive or invasive than permanent solutions.

Why it's important: In addition to the clear applications for healthcare and the military, Chaotic Moon's temporary tattoo also has more mainstream uses: for example, helping you track your kids at an amusement park or your friends at a concert.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


New Graphene Production Technique is 100x Cheaper than Other Methods


What it is: Glasgow University researchers have developed a way to produce graphene that's stronger and 100 times cheaper than conventional methods like chemical vapor deposition. Instead of using pre-treated copper as a base, which costs about $115 per square meter, they used commercial copper foils -- commonly found in lithium-ion batteries -- at a cost of about $1 per square meter.

Why it's important: Graphene is an important innovation with drastic effects on energy, water purification and electronics -- but it's still currently expensive to produce. This low-cost process demonetizes graphene production, and paves the way for mainstream applications.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


MIT's Ingestible Tracker is a High-Tech Stethoscope

Swallowable Health Sensors

What it is: Inspired by the classic stethoscope, MIT has created an ingestible, all-in-one vital signs tracker the size of a multivitamin. Over the course of a day or two, it can measure everything from heart and respiratory rates to temperature and acoustic data.

Why it's important: Ingestible trackers dematerialize the uncomfortable external monitors used for long-term patient monitoring, while collecting and storing more accurate data. Imagine medical military personnel being able to track vital signs for soldiers and evaluate conditions like fatigue, hypothermia, shock and dehydration while in war zones.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


Watch These Guys Make a Shark Swim With Their Minds

Open-Source Brain-Computer Interfaces

What it is: Brooklyn-based OpenBCI has created an entirely open-source brain computer interface using electrodes connected to a battery-powered circuit board, which sends your body's electrical signals to a computer program. At its inaugural hackathon, these programs included: making a robotic arm move by flexing your arm, working together with two other people to make three robot spiders move across a table, and working with a team of four other people to control an inflatable shark's movement by focusing on one of five direction-based commands.

Why it's important: We're one step closer to controlling all our machines with our minds. OpenBCI is dematerializing and demonetizing access to its brain-computer interfaces, which in turn will catalyze innovation in this area.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


Li-Fi is 100 Times Faster Than Wi-Fi

What it is: Scientists in Estonia have just completed real-world tests of Li-Fi, a wireless technology that's 100 times faster than average Wi-Fi speeds and far more secure. Using visible light communication, Li-Fi can transmit high-speed data at 1 GB per second. Their next challenge is retrofitting our current Wi-Fi devices to use Li-Fi.

Why it's important: Li-Fi could revolutionize safe, fast Internet access, but because this technology uses Visible Light Communication, it has another potential benefit: enabling LED light bulbs that act as wireless routers.

Spotted by Joshua Voydik


Polo's Fitting Room Gets Touchscreen Mirrors and RFID Detection

Polo's Smart Fitting Room

What it is: Ralph Lauren has teamed up with Oak Labs to install a smart fitting room in its Polo flagship store on Fifth Avenue. The interactive experience recognizes what you brought in to try on, and lets you perform a variety of activities (e.g. selecting a different size or color, adjusting the lighting in the fitting room, or purchasing desired items) without leaving the fitting room.

Why it's important: This intimate interactive fitting room blends the ease of e-commerce with the fun of an upscale retail experience. It gives the retailer an unparalleled level of data on their customers and their buying process from start to finish.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


An Algorithm Just Made the Latest Diabetes Breakthrough

Graph showing subtypes of diabetes

What it is: Machine learning has revealed a groundbreaking discovery: there are not one, but three different kinds of Type 2 diabetes, each with their own distinct health implications. Researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center mined a database of 2,500 diabetes patients' clinical and genetic data to create an algorithm that modeled patients' similarity and clustered them into subtypes.

Why it's important: By leveraging the exponential technologies available to us -- in this case, machine learning and precision medicine -- we're able to spot patterns, personalize treatments, and make brand-new discoveries. The researchers imagine expanding this method to other diseases in the future, enabling even more breakthroughs.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


See Microsoft and Volvo's New HoloLens Showroom

HoloLens Volvo Showroom

What it is: Microsoft and Volvo have collaborated on a virtual showroom for the upcoming S90 sedan using the HoloLens mixed reality headset. Unlike previous augmented reality car showrooms, HoloLens spatially maps and adapts to the wearer's surroundings. In this article, The Verge's Adi Robertson explores the showroom.

Why it's important: This early glimpse into mixed reality retail hints at the promise of HoloLens and the future of immersive shopping experiences.

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield


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Peter H. Diamandis

Written by Peter H. Diamandis


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