9 min read

Abundance Insider: November 23rd, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 23, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Heliogen's concentrated solar power breakthrough, AI bots inventing new tools, and Lenovo's use of VR as an anesthesia alternative.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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Lenovo pilots VR as an alternative to general anesthesia for kids.

What it is: As doctors realize the immense potential of VR in medical training, practitioners are now exploring equally profound medical applications of VR, namely its use for distraction of patients during surgical procedures. In partnership with the Starlight Children’s Foundation and (mobile device management provider) SOTI, Lenovo is now testing VR headsets as an alternative to general anesthetics for kids. Using largely off-the-shelf headgear and software—Lenovo Mirage Solo headsets and games curated by Starlight—participating hospitals, such as Children’s Hospital Colorado, have already seen impressive results. Whether in alleviating panic, pain, or similar side effects, the VR distraction aid has proved successful in everything from lumbar punctures and dressing of damaged limbs to endoscopies when combined with a local anesthetic.

Why it’s important: While virtual reality’s use cases in entertainment and even education are fairly obvious, a slew of niche applications across medicine are only now beginning to surface. Particularly as VR grows ever more hyper-realistic, thanks to surging bandwidth and resolution, resulting virtual experience products will soon be capable of addressing immersive distraction (in medical and other contexts) and even potentially long-term pain relief in adults.

Lab-grown meat gains muscle as it moves from petri dish to dinner plate.

What it is: A Harvard research team has now created lab-grown rabbit and cow muscle cells that resemble the texture and consistency of their animal counterparts. By applying regenerative medicine to food, the team at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) created an edible gelatin scaffold that could transform the scalability of lab-grown meat. Animal meat is primarily composed of skeletal muscle fibers that must adhere to a structure to grow. The team decided to create this structure out of gelatin using immersion Rotary Jet-Spinning (iRJS), which uses centrifugal force to spin long nanofibers of specific shapes and sizes. The gelatin fibers resemble the extracellular matrix and promote muscle cell growth. Eventually, the team hopes to design meats with defined textures, tastes, and nutritional profiles— all at an affordable price.

Why it’s important: Livestock contributes 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Yet the global market for meat is worth upwards of US$1.8 trillion. One third of human-consumed calories come from meat products, and the average American today eats 220 pounds of red meat and poultry each year (up from 167 pounds in 1990). To curb the detrimental environmental damage associated with these consumption habits, we need an alternative that tastes just as good. While many lab-grown meat companies have mastered texture, issues of price and scale still hinder widespread adoption of their products. The SEAS team’s gelatin scaffold technology could solve both challenges, as it allows muscle cells to quickly grow and can be ingested alongside meat. Now increasingly price-competitive, numerous lab-grown products, like Clara’s egg substitute and Memphis Meats’ meatballs, will soon begin to undercut plant-based products on the market today. But beyond economics, a host of new food tech advancements are allowing us to customize nutritional content, flavor profiles, and texture.

Bill Gates-backed solar startup announces major breakthrough.

What it is: Bill Gates-backed startup Heliogen recently unveiled its solar concentration technology, one expected to “commercially replace fuels with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun.” Founder Bill Gross (who also founded Idealab) has been working on the company in his very own incubator, alongside numerous other clean energy startups. The first of its kind, Heliogen’s system consists of a computer vision software that coordinates a large array of mirrors to reflect sunlight at a single target, which can then supply up to 1,000 degrees C of heat. This extreme amount of heat is necessary for industrial processes like those used to make cement, steel, and other materials, the production of which contributes to one-fifth of global fossil fuel emissions, according to Bill Gates. If companies purchase Heliogen’s system outright, however, Gross claims the technology could pay for itself within 2-3 years, reducing firms’ fossil fuel emissions by up to 60%.

Why it’s important: Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of global energy demand. Heliogen’s technology addresses a large chunk of the remaining 75% by providing an alternative energy supply for large industrial needs. Sunshine is a free commodity, and this simple fact offers a tremendous economic incentive for businesses to invest in effective concentrated solar power. Although our individual daily energy decisions impact the environment, large corporations can stand to both gain from and contribute to the shared pursuit of a zero-emissions future. While most heavy industry players rely solely on fossil fuels to achieve high temperatures, systems like that of Heliogen could provide long-term energy alternatives, capitalizing on an essentially free asset: the Sun.

Playing Hide-and-Seek, Machines Invent New Tools.

What it is: Programming researchers at OpenAI recently taught a group of AI bots to play hide-and-seek, unleashing them in teams of up to three agents on hundreds of millions of back-to-back games. While the AI hiders and seekers began with a clean slate and no play instructions, they soon learned to chase and hide, build fortifications (at about the 25 million-game mark), and even uncover unexpected uses of unusual tools. Engaged in a cat-and-mouse battle, OpenAI’s bots gradually learned increasingly complex attack and defense strategies. After nearly 390 million games, for instance, seeker bots learned to use virtual boxes to “surf” around the arena and gain visibility— a strategy quickly stymied by hiders, which learned to lock these boxes and prevent surfing after about 458 million games.

Why it’s important: The rapid progression of OpenAI bots’ game-playing strategies over millions of iterations, yielding advantageous traits, has been likened by some to the evolution of human intelligence. Yet more importantly, OpenAI’s algorithms demonstrated the remarkable ability to identify creative uses for undefined tools, paving the way for AIs that might soon solve far more complex strategy-related problems in unstructured contexts. According to Danny Lange, VP of AI at Unity Technologies (a game engine company), “There’s nothing here that prevents this from [...] going on a path where tool usage gets more and more complex.” Such complex tool usage (a hallmark of human intelligence) appears to be further spurred on by AI game play, as competitive environments prompt algorithms to learn from and circumvent their own mistakes over time.

Quantum computers learn to mark their own work.

What it is: Researchers at the University of Warwick have now devised a method to check answers output by a quantum computer. By using problems for which answers are already known, the team is able to quantify the effect of noise within the computer, creating two percentage metrics for determining accuracy. The first metric is an estimate of how close the quantum computer’s answer is to the real answer, while the second is a confidence score of that closeness. In this way, quantum computer engineers can further refine the machines, identifying sources of error and paving the way for future applications.

Why it’s important: By definition, quantum computers are designed for problems that would take classical computers an exponential amount of time to solve. Thus, in the past, researchers required exorbitant classical computing resources to error-check their answers—a task that quickly becomes infeasible in the case of applications designed for quantum computers. Yet with the researchers’ newly developed protocol, quantum computing systems can check themselves, independent of large servers, and thereby provide far more utility.

South Australia household batteries keeps lights on in Queensland after coal unit fails.

Story contributed by Tom Connor.

What it is: Last month, after a large power plant suddenly went offline in Queensland, Australia, an unlikely renewable contender came to the rescue. A distributed solar and battery project, the South Australia Virtual Power Plant (VPP)—led by US Battery and Tesla—aggregates stored solar resources from hundreds of homes with rooftop photovoltaic power stations (or rooftop PV). On October 9th, when the coal-fired Kogan Creek power station in Queensland tripped, reducing supply by 784 MW and putting the grid at risk, the VPP had a chance to prove its utility. Detecting the drop in frequency, the VPP immediately injected power from its 900+ systems back into the grid, helping to stabilize the system.

Why it’s important: Kogan Creek is the largest single power plant in Australia, so a distributed renewable energy network’s ability to immediately step in has drawn significant praise throughout the country and beyond. Today, energy storage is a key limiting reagent in our efforts to popularize renewable sources, critical to buffering the variability of solar and wind. Demonstrated successes in distributed storage at grid scale could thereby have a considerable impact on widespread adoption of solar and microgrid technologies, particularly in the case of residential rooftop solar PV systems.

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Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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Topics: Abundance Insider Energy AI Longevity machine learning Artificial Intellegence Drones Batteries Autonomous Drones IoT solar solar energy internet of things aging drone technology solar power energy storage energy abundance future of energy genetic engineering brain genome sequencing water battery Alzheimer's dementia neuroscience optimization Apple Yeezy
6 min read

transforming sick care into healthcare - part 1

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 17, 2019

The U.S. healthcare industry is in for a major disruption in the decade ahead.

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots Drones Autonomous Drones materials networks connectivity smart cities nanobots construction connection entrepreneur augmented manufacturing convergence catalyzer additive manufacturing convergence disaster relief humanitarian aid humanitarian aid exponential technology drone technology smart tracking mobile connectivity hyperloop
8 min read

Abundance Insider: November 16th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 16, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Memory-mapping neurons, FAA-approved ‘blind’ drone flights, and Fukushima’s renewable energy future.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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Japan is reinventing Fukushima as a renewable energy hub.

What it is: Japan is now working to revamp the Fukushima nuclear meltdown zone to once again produce electricity, but this time using solar and wind power. Thanks to a loan from the state-run Development Bank of Japan and the Mizuho Bank, the region will soon produce about 600 megawatts of electricity, courtesy of 11 new solar plants and 10 new wind farms. With expected completion in March of 2024 at a cost of $2.7 billion, the power plants are predicted to generate enough power for about 114,000 average American homes.

Why it’s important: Nearly 43,000 Japanese citizens remain displaced by the Fukushima disaster, while about 143 square miles of the prefecture stand in a permanent evacuation zone. Yet Japan now seeks to capitalize on this seeming “dead zone,” leveraging the expanse of uninhabitable land to power residential regions. Contributing to the prefecture’s goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy-derived power by 2040, this power infrastructure will help pave the way for similar initiatives worldwide.

Drone company Iris Automation makes first-of-its-kind FAA-approved ‘blind’ drone flight.

What it is: In partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation, drone startup Iris Automation has successfully completed the first FAA-approved BVLOS (“beyond the visual line of sight”) drone flight. Until now, the FAA and most other jurisdictions have required human observers and on-ground radar systems for testing of new services, costing companies up to $50 million and thereby hindering development of viable drone services. Yet with newfound FAA approval, Iris Automation utilized solely onboard detect-and-avoid systems. The flight follows the company’s successful test run in Alaska earlier this year, wherein its autonomous systems beat out human-operated drones 95 percent of the time in avoiding head-on collisions with other vehicles.

Why it’s important: We’re now seeing a massive surge in the development rate and approval of autonomous drone use for delivery of critical supplies and commerce. Meanwhile, numerous regulatory agencies—including state-level government departments in even technologically lagging regions—continue to define and refine the right guidelines of operation. As the immediacy of retail interactions, aid delivery, and small-scale cargo transit continues to skyrocket, expect the proliferation of drone manufacturers, complex sensors, and AI navigation software systems.

Specific neurons that map memories have now been identified in the human brain.

What it is: Scientists at Columbia University have found the first-ever evidence that individual neurons target specific memories during willful memory recall— think: recalling navigation details when a stranger asks you for directions. In their experiment, the neuroengineers first used electrodes implanted in neurosurgical patients to track brain signals. In particular, they monitored signals that were active when patients searched for objects from memory in a virtual reality game. Ultimately, they found that specific patterns of neuronal activity were matched with specific memories.

Why it’s important: Researchers have long known that certain activated neurons correspond with specific geographic locations, demonstrated by a Nobel Prize-winning discovery that linked “grid cells” and “place cells” to spatial location. However, prior to this experiment, it was unclear how spatial cells relate to memories made (through events or experiences) in that location. As explained by the study’s lead author Salman E. Qasim, “This discovery might provide a potential mechanism for our ability to selectively call upon different experiences from the past and highlights how these memories may influence our brain's spatial map.”

Apple plans standalone AR and VR gaming headset by 2022 and glasses later.

What it is: Apple recently announced its latest plan to release a series of AR/VR devices over the next four years. Just next year, the company will introduce 3D sensors to the iPad Pro, allowing users to reconstruct rooms, people, and objects in three dimensions. After their initial debut, these sensors will next be rolled out on iPhones (expected by end of 2020), building on current Face ID technology. In the following two years, Apple then aims to release its standalone AR/VR headset for use in virtual meetings, gaming, and entertainment. And by 2023, lightweight Apple glasses will reach consumers for everyday use. Although Apple’s release dates are later than anticipated, the tech giant’s 1,000 AR/VR engineers are forging ahead to deliver perfectly fine-tuned devices. Resulting technology will represent the beginning of Apple’s next big hardware push, building upon the wearables segment that now offsetts a decline in iPhone sales.

Why it’s important: By adding AR/VR glasses to a growing list of wearables—including the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones—Apple is now making the leap from the iPhone revolution to far more accessible smart interfaces, seamlessly integrated in our everyday lives. Advancing steadily within the deceptive growth phase, AR glasses will soon allow you to navigate the streets of a new city without staring into a phone screen. Learn about the history of a new place, keep up to date on news alerts, and stay in touch with your favorite contacts, no intermediary 2D digital portal needed. Apple’s wearable revolution will transform the way we interact with our physical environments, converting every surface into an opportunity to work, learn, or play.

DNA is just one of more than one million possible ‘genetic molecules,’ scientists find.

What it is: A new study published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling suggests that more than 1 million chemical look-alikes might encode biological information, as does DNA. So far, DNA, RNA, and a few man-made molecules are the only known nucleic acids capable of linking up, storing and relaying data, depending on their sequence. By designing a computer program that can generate chemical formulas, researchers at Emory University tested countless generated molecules to determine whether they resembled nucleotides. A surprise to everyone, their results identified over 1,160,000 molecules that could couple up in distinct pairings and assemble in a line, akin to DNA and RNA.

Why it’s important: Prompting us to fundamentally rethink optimal means of genetic data conveyance, this discovery has vast new implications. As a number of current drugs resembling nucleotides are effective in combating viruses and some malignant cancer cells, the team’s generated list could pave the way for novel pharmaceutical products. Within evolutionary biology, the finding that DNA and RNA have plenty of company may yield new truths about how life first evolved on Earth.

Kanye West’s sustainable Yeezy concept uses algae foam.

What it is: Kanye West’s Yeezy line is now diving into algae foam. West’s latest shoe, revealed at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival this week, is an algae-based creation modeled after the Yeezy foam runner. While its khaki color does not necessarily draw the eye, the shoe’s designers and engineering team are working to refine the color with environmentally friendly dyes. Meanwhile, Yeezy now plans to move its headquarters to a 4,000-acre ranch in Wyoming, enabling the company to grow algae in a hydroponic farm to further iterate on and rollout the new shoe product. The line’s transition to sustainable materials aligns with its parent brand’s eco-friendly initiatives. Driven by similar motives, Adidas recently pledged to manufacture solely with recycled plastics by 2024, and has already released the 100 percent recyclable Futurecraft Loop shoe.

Why it’s important: Second only to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world. Even once clothing reaches buyers’ shopping carts, consumer waste of textile products further contributes to the problem. The average American, for instance, throws away roughly 80 pounds of used clothing every year, much of which can be recycled but instead goes to the landfill. Yet big name brands hold tremendous power to popularize sustainable fashion and decreased production waste by innovating in the materials science realm. Boosting consumer awareness, Yeezy’s transition marks a key step towards ecologically responsible footwear, helping reduce fast-fashion waste.

Want more conversations like this?

Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy AI Longevity machine learning Artificial Intellegence Drones Batteries Autonomous Drones IoT solar solar energy internet of things aging drone technology solar power energy storage energy abundance future of energy genetic engineering brain genome sequencing water battery Alzheimer's dementia neuroscience optimization Apple Yeezy
7 min read

Hyperloop, Rocket Travel, and Avatars

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 13, 2019

What’s faster than autonomous vehicles and flying cars? 

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots Drones Autonomous Drones materials networks connectivity smart cities nanobots construction connection entrepreneur augmented manufacturing convergence catalyzer additive manufacturing convergence disaster relief humanitarian aid humanitarian aid exponential technology drone technology smart tracking mobile connectivity hyperloop
11 min read

Revolutionizing Disaster Relief: A Tale of Convergence

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 10, 2019

Between 2005 and 2014, natural disasters have claimed the lives of over 700,000 people and resulted in total damage of more than US$1.4 trillion.

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots Drones Autonomous Drones materials networks connectivity trillion sensor economy smart cities nanobots construction connection entrepreneur augmented manufacturing convergence catalyzer additive manufacturing convergence disaster relief humanitarian aid humanitarian aid exponential technology drone technology nanorobots smart tracking mobile connectivity
9 min read

Abundance Insider: November 8th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Nov 8, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Toshiba's IoT alliance with Softbank and KDDI, an energy breakthrough in solar power storage, and new genetic clues for Alzheimer's prevention.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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Toshiba's IoT alliance with Softbank and KDDI, an energy breakthrough in solar power storage, and new genetic clues for Alzheimer's prevention.

What it is: Copper-producing giant Freeport-McMoran is introducing a machine learning model to its production processes. While intended to increase the mining company’s annual output of copper by 90,000 tons (or 200 million pounds), the use of AI aims to minimize capital investment in doing so, as explained by chief executive Richard Adkerson. Developed with the management consulting firm McKinsey, Freeport-McMoran’s model integrates data from sensors across the company’s Bagdad mine in Arizona and suggests methods to optimize production, including adjusting the processing pH level to recover more copper.

Why it’s important: A production bump of this scale typically requires capital investment on the order of US$1.5 to 2 billion— not to mention far more industrial equipment. Harnessing the power of machine learning, however, Freeport-McMoran is planning to use the excess cash generated by increased production to pay down debt and power shareholder returns. Yet beyond mining, the use of integrated sensors and AI in even the most technologically lagging sectors is a tremendous validator of machine learning’s potential. By integrating data from key industrial processes and checkpoints, machine learning models can identify sources of inefficiency, non-intuitive shortcuts, and optimization decisions that create economic value far exceeding needed expenditures.

UPS and CVS deliver prescription medicine via drone to US residential customers.

What it is: Just this week, UPS announced that its drone delivery subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward, has completed its first two prescription medication deliveries to consumers in Cary, North Carolina. Both deliveries utilized the Matternet M2 drone system, now FAA-approved (as of last month) for UPS’s commercial use. Although a remote operator remained on hand, both deliveries were entirely autonomous, as drones hovered roughly 20 feet over each residential property to slowly lower packages by cable and winch to the ground. The announcement comes just one month after Flight Forward achieved its Part 135 air carrier certification, allowing the company's drones to “fly over people, at night, and out of an operators line of sight.”

Why it’s important: So far, UPS and Matternet have focused principally on deliveries to large healthcare campuses, with over 1,500 revenue-generating drone deliveries completed to date. The move to partner with CVS and to include residential deliveries is yet another signal we have been tracking, indicating that urban airspace, cargo transit and personalized deliveries are about to change significantly. What new opportunities open up when last mile delivery is no longer tethered to trucks and road transit?

Toshiba to form IoT alliance with SoftBank, KDDI and others.

What it is: In partnership with SoftBank, wireless carrier KDDI, and utility Tokyo Gas, Toshiba will launch an IoT platform called ifLink Open Community. To be formally established next March, the association aims to include over 100 Japanese companies, making it far easier for participating businesses to build IoT solutions without significant coding and technical hardware experience. Akin to Amazon’s model—which grants connection kits to smart device manufacturers that use Alexa—ifLink will similarly offer access to products sourced from the open community. This way, member companies no longer need to design prototypes and services from scratch.

Why it’s important: Standing at the intersection of connectivity, sensors and AI, the IoT market is booming. IDC projects the global market could top US$1 trillion by 2022, almost 2X last year’s US$646 billion market valuation. As major players like General Electric and Hitachi build their own proprietary IoT systems, IoT’s rise has largely been fueled by exponential advances in the price-performance ratio and miniaturization of sensors, surges in computing power, and the rapid emergence of 5G. With these converging foundations in place, we are about to witness a Cambrian explosion in new business models, smart and connected systems, and even intelligent urban networks. What intelligence would you gather within your own business if IoT platforms were readily buildable? What new products might you create?

An Energy Breakthrough Could Store Solar Power for Decades.

What it is: Swedish researchers have recently identified a molecule that can trap and store solar energy for up to decades, ultimately releasing the energy as heat on-demand. The secret sauce: a molecule made of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen that absorbs the Sun’s energy and holds it until a catalyst triggers its release. The team, led by Kasper Moth-Poulsen at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, also created a unique storage unit that can outperform the 5- to 10-year lifespan of standard lithium-ion batteries. Lastly, the group developed a transparent coating that absorbs sunlight and converts it to heat energy on the spot. Now working to demonstrate the technology at scale, the researchers are coating an entire building on campus with this material to reduce electricity requirements for heating and thereby curve carbon emissions. Once successful, the team aims to bring the storage unit to market in six years and the coating in only three— a timeline contingent on necessary funding streams.

Why it’s important: The big challenge that remains for Moth-Poulsen’s team is long-term energy storage for not only heat, but also electricity supply. While cost is yet another factor in recent solar-harnessing technologies, Moth-Poulson’s approach does not require expensive rare elements. Converting solar energy into heat through the team’s transparent coating could supply enough heat for vehicles and small buildings without any intermediary emission-producing machinery. Moving forward, this technology could even be incorporated into clothing to insulate humans in lightweight designs. In construction, window coatings could transform architectural designs in frigid regions, allowing more access to natural light during the winter. As demonstrated here, sometimes the greatest innovations begin on the micro-scale, harnessing unique chemical combinations for local use.

Three-story water battery cuts university's energy usage by 40 percent.

What it is: Having switched on its three-story “water battery” in September, Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is now receiving enough power to cut its reliance on the grid by over 40 percent. Essentially a giant thermal energy storage system, USC’s “water battery” harnesses 6,000 solar panels (lining campus roofs and carparks), which comprise a 2.1 megawatt photovoltaic system. In turn, this generated energy then serves to cool 4.5 megaliters of water within a three-story tank. As air conditioning constitutes two fifths of the campus’s energy costs, water cooled using solar-generated energy can offset this, saving the university an estimated “US$69 million in energy costs over the next 25 years,” according to USC’s COO Dr. Scott Snyder.

Why it’s important: Charging ahead full force, Australia’s USC has pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2025. Now operational, the university’s battery system is slated to cut CO2 emissions by upwards of 92,000 tons in the coming 25 years (already having reduced USC’s carbon footprint by 42 percent). Further earning the university international acclaim—through an award at Iceland’s 2019 Global District Energy Climate Awards—USC’s water battery is now inspiring similar energy innovations. Through customization around niche energy uses, renewable energy generation and storage systems are gradually fulfilling distinct slices of the energy needs pie, edging us closer to a carbon-neutral future worldwide.

Rare genetic mutation might hold clues to preventing Alzheimer's.

What it is: In an unprecedented new case, a Colombian woman developed early-stage Alzheimer’s yet experienced no common dementia symptoms for decades, likely due to a unique genetic mutation. While most Alzheimer’s cases are not linked to genetics, about 1,200 people in Colombia do face high early-onset genetic risk for the disease. Individuals with the E280A mutation of a gene called Presenilin 1 (PSEN1) are prone to developing Alzheimer’s in their forties or earlier. Yet while this female patient experienced the same unusually high level of brain amyloid-beta deposits as typical E280A individuals, she entirely evaded dementia symptoms like confusion and memory loss. When investigating this seeming anomaly, researchers found that she carried two additional “Christchurch” mutations in the APOE3 gene. While some E280 peers carried one version of this mutation, they were not protected against dementia in the same way.

Why it’s important: These findings open up a new realm of Alzheimer’s research, focused on preventing the development of dementia even as Alzheimer’s may progress. Without memory and normal brain function, it becomes almost impossible for Alzheimer’s patients to function independently. If effective in delaying the onset of dementia, however, a genetic treatment would not only increase lifespan but also vastly improve quality of life. While the genetic underpinnings of this newly discovered correlation will require further exploration, the recent surge of gene-editing tools can surely help apply these findings to therapeutic applications in the future. As genome-sequencing continues to demonetize, tracking mutations and their correlations with disease incidence will be easier than ever before.

Want more conversations like this?

Abundance 360 is a curated global community of 360 entrepreneurs, executives, and investors committed to understanding and leveraging exponential technologies to transform their businesses. A 3-day mastermind at the start of each year gives members information, insights and implementation tools to learn what technologies are going from deceptive to disruptive and are converging to create new business opportunities. To learn more and apply, visit A360.com

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated news feed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

(*Both Abundance 360 and Abundance Digital are Singularity University programs.)

Topics: Abundance Insider Energy AI Longevity machine learning Artificial Intellegence Drones Batteries Autonomous Drones IoT solar solar energy internet of things aging drone technology solar power energy storage UPS energy abundance softbank future of energy genetic engineering brain genome sequencing water battery CVS Alzheimer's dementia neuroscience Toshiba optimization
9 min read

Abundance Insider: September 6th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Sep 6, 2019

In this week's Abundance Insider: Agricultural drone swarms, first-ever remote heart surgery, and Insilico Medicine's AI-driven drug discovery.

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and home in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital, a Singularity University Program, includes 100+ hours of coursework and video archives for entrepreneurs like you. Keep up to date on exponential news and get feedback on your boldest ideas from an experienced, supportive community. Click here to learn more and sign up.

A Molecule Designed by AI Exhibits 'Druglike' Qualities.

What it is: AI startup Insilico Medicine, alongside collaborators from the University of Toronto and WuXi AppTec, has now used AI to identify drug candidates that could one day prevent tissue scarring. Using a subset of AI known as generative adversarial networks (GANs), the team took a mere 3 weeks to generate 30,000 computerized designs of candidate molecules for targeting a key protein in fibrosis. After synthesizing six of these designs in the lab, the researchers ultimately refined a shortlist of four novel compounds that could inhibit DDR1 kinase, an enzyme involved in scar tissue buildup within organs. Once experimentally tested, the team’s final four yielded a single most promising molecule for testing in mice, which not only proved potent against the targeted enzyme but demonstrated clear “drug-like” qualities.

Why it’s important: Today, it costs on average US$2.6 billion and often takes more than a decade to bring a new drug to market. Even of those drug candidates that enter Phase I clinical trials, nine out of ten never reach patients. While Insilico’s use of GANs does not circumvent the need for molecules’ refinement in the lab — nor would GANs prove as effective in data-deficient drug discovery challenges — AI could vastly speed up the process. By generating numerous molecule leads for researchers to pursue, GANs and AI-driven drug discovery pipelines could decimate the time and labor required for getting a drug to clinical trials. As AI converges with massive datasets in everything from gene expression to blood tests, novel drug discovery is about to get >10X cheaper, faster, and more intelligently targeted. | Share on Facebook.

First long-distance heart surgery performed via robot.

What it is: In a new coup for telemedicine, cardiologist Dr. Tejas Patel has now performed five percutaneous coronary intervention procedures (PCIs) through a precision vascular robot. Enabling Patel to conduct the procedure a full 20 miles from his surgical patients, vascular robotics company Corindus has refined its now FDA-cleared CorPath GRX robot. Using a hardwired internet connection, the CorPath System allowed for extreme precision in vascular and coronary procedures, yet proved intuitive enough for Patel to manipulate the robot using joysticks and a video monitor. While only just published in The Lancet spin-off EClinicalMedicine, Corindus’ remote heart surgery achievement has now been replicated several times in the U.S.

Why it’s important: Riding the convergence of low-latency networks, mixed reality, high-precision robotics, and advanced sensors, telemedicine is making high-risk, life-saving procedures far more accessible. By allowing some of the world’s best doctors to operate in remote communities from afar, robotics and virtual interfaces will soon decentralize, delocalize and democratize healthcare. As explained by Corindus’ CEO Mark Toland, “The success of this study paves the way for large-scale, long-distance telerobotic platforms across the globe.” As 5G, satellite constellations, and balloons bring high-speed connectivity to today’s most inaccessible regions, distance to care could grow immaterial over the next 15 years. | Share on Facebook.

Facebook Publishes New Research on Hyper-realistic Virtual Avatars.

What it is: Facebook’s augmented and virtual reality R&D group has now built a headset capable of mapping facial expressions to virtual avatars in real-time. One of two headsets involved, the first “training” headset contains 9 cameras (3 pointed at the eyes and 6 at the lower face and mouth). Wearing this more sensor-laden device, the user is initially prompted to make a variety of facial expressions. These data points are then fed into an algorithm that maps out distinct muscles in the face. After completing this training phase, the user then wears a much leaner “tracking” headset (geared with only 3 facial cameras). By “filling in” the tracking cameras’ blind spots with training headset-collected data, Facebook’s software ultimately produces a hyper-realistic, real-time representation of a user’s face— now compatible with a range of VR hardware and software.

Why it’s important: Social VR has the potential to fundamentally change how we navigate both our personal lives and professional discourse. Yet one of the most stubborn obstacles to scaled adoption involves the stiffness and non-expressiveness of virtual avatar face renditions. By using advanced facial tracking, however, Facebook’s headset provides a remarkably lifelike virtual extension of each user, while avoiding the pitfalls of the ‘uncanny valley.’ With the advancement of both sensor precision and high-fidelity VR rendering over the next 5 years, we will soon be able to send a virtual version of ourselves anywhere in the world, transforming the way people think about human presence, distance, and time. As machine learning minimizes the number of sensors needed for facial tracking, VR will continue to plummet in price, boosting commercialized headsets and everyday use. | Share on Facebook.

China Drone Attack on Crop-Eating ‘Monster’ Shows 98% Kill Rate.

What it is: AgTech drone manufacturer XAG has now successfully deployed a pest-targeting drone swarm operation with partner Bayer Crop Science. Having spread from the Americas to Africa and Asia, the crop-devouring fall armyworm has affected 950,000 hectares of crops across 24 Chinese provinces in just the past three weeks. Yet XAG’s autonomous drones have come quick to the rescue, targeting the pests with low-toxicity insecticide on farmland in China’s Guangxi autonomous region and Yunnan province. Already stemming outbreaks in 90 percent of affected areas, the drone swarm operation has even recorded mortality rates as high as 98 percent.

Why it’s important: Mechanized agricultural tools, drones, and AgTech-oriented AI have long remained in the R&D phase. Nonetheless, many of today’s products are either incapable of navigating unstructured farm environments or are insufficiently versatile to integrate into existing workflows. As computer vision continues to advance year-on-year, however, autonomous farming solutions — think: UAV plant protection, precision spraying bots, and agricultural sensors — are beginning to decimate the need for intensive human labor. Part of a food and agriculture tech market projected to exceed US$729.5 billion in value by 2023, these autonomous farming tools will be vital in feeding our global population and maximizing crop yields, regardless of geography. | Share on Facebook.

Deloitte’s Plan for Fighting Employee Burnout: Let AI Take Over the Dreaded HR and IT Tasks.

What it is: Aiming to systematically improve the employee experience (EX) with workplace automation, Deloitte is now reaping the benefits of an AI system called ConnectMe. Designed to expedite HR-related answers to employees (whether about healthcare benefits or overseas transfer, among other topics), ConnectMe can even be customized to automate employee-specific tasks that are easily codified and repetitive. Pulling from in-house data, ConnectMe uses chatbots to eliminate lengthy email and phone tag processes often required to resolve minor issues. Yet while Deloitte introduced ConnectMe in 2016, recent studies are starting to quantify the aggregate effect of workplace combustion, now observed by nearly 96 percent of surveyed managers in their employees, according to a study by staffing company Robert Half.

Why it’s important: While automation begins to eliminate tedious tasks through improved UX design in smart devices and mobile apps, EX-aiding technologies, company workflows, and inter-department communication are still lagging behind. However, new reports suggest that up to 69 percent of job seekers turn down even high-paying positions due to poor EX reviews, and automation of workplace tedium could provide an effective fix. In response, companies like UiPath, Automation Anywhere, AIsera, and Moveworks have begun automating countless routine processes for SMEs and large corporations, democratizing AI assistants and freeing employees to engage in more thought-provoking work. Where might you employ similar automation tools in your organization to boost morale and productivity? | Share on Facebook.

What is Abundance Insider?

This email is a briefing of the week's most compelling, abundance-enabling tech developments, curated by my team of entrepreneurs and technology scouts, including contributions from standout technology experts and innovators.

Want more conversations like this?

At Abundance 360, a Singularity University program, we teach the metatrends, implications and unfair advantages for entrepreneurs enabled by breakthroughs like those featured above. We're looking for CEOs and entrepreneurs who want to change the world. The program is highly selective. If you'd like to be considered, apply here

Abundance Digital, a Singularity University program, is an online educational portal and community of abundance-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll find weekly video updates from Peter, a curated newsfeed of exponential news, and a place to share your bold ideas. Click here to learn more and sign up.

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Topics: Abundance Insider Robotics AI Insilico Drones Autonomous Drones autonomous vehicles automation drone technology agtech workplace automation telemedicine telesurgery
11 min read

Disrupting Real Estate & Construction

By Peter H. Diamandis on May 26, 2019

In the wake of the housing market collapse of 2008, one entrepreneur decided to dive right into the failing real estate industry. But this time, he didn’t buy any real estate to begin with. Instead, Glenn Sanford decided to launch the first-ever cloud-based real estate brokerage, eXp Realty.

Topics: Energy Abundance Materials Science AR/VR Transportation Abundance 360 Real Estate a360 virtual reality Autonomous Drones materials autonomous vehicles construction flying cars electric vehicles immersive worlds solar cells solar power cars ridesharing future of real estate future of construction new structures seasteading Boring Company floating cities future of cities
12 min read

Revolutionizing Disaster Relief: A Tale of Convergence

By Peter H. Diamandis on Apr 7, 2019

Between 2005 and 2014, natural disasters have claimed the lives of over 700,000 people and resulted in total damage of more than US$1.4 trillion.

Topics: 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science Manufacturing Sensors Entrepreneurship Exponentials Technology Artificial Intellegence robots Drones Autonomous Drones materials networks connectivity trillion sensor economy smart cities nanobots construction connection entrepreneur augmented manufacturing convergence catalyzer additive manufacturing convergence disaster relief humanitarian aid humanitarian aid exponential technology drone technology nanorobots smart tracking mobile connectivity
11 min read

Future of Cities Part 2: Visions of the Future

By Peter H. Diamandis on Mar 10, 2019

Tomorrow’s cities are reshaping almost every industry imaginable, and birthing those we’ve never heard of.

Topics: Energy Abundance Materials Science Data AI Real Estate Artificial Intellegence Autonomous Drones IoT materials connectivity solar energy trillion sensor economy autonomous vehicles China smart cities internet of things Spatial Web construction mobile devices cities infrastructure urbanization Estonia megacities microcities Dubai Xiong'an New Area traffic flying cars
14 min read

Abundance Insider: July 13th, 2018 Edition

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 14, 2018

In this week's Abundance Insider: Kroger's autonomous delivery pilot, robot stunt doubles, and self-learning robots.

Cheers,
Peter, Marissa, Kelley, Greg, AJ, Bri, Jarom, Joseph, Derek, Jason, Claire and Max

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

Disney Imagineering Releases Autonomous Robot Stunt Doubles

What it is: For almost 60 years, Disneyland has used animatronic figures -- dynamic robots that bring beloved characters to life. But Disney’s newly launched (literally) Stuntronics are a whole new ball game. Initially built out of a small research project called Stickman, Disney Imagineering’s Stuntronics are fully autonomous, self-correcting aerial performers designed to fly across Disney parks, striking heroic poses and following perfect trajectories to stick the landing every time. Geared with on-board accelerometers and gyroscope arrays, these robotic 'stuntpeople' can be flung into the air like trapeze artists, controlling rotation and center of mass with remarkable precision.

Why it's important: As VR and immersive digital technologies increasingly bring you into on-screen action, lifelike autonomous robots are now bringing the action to you IRL. Whether dressed as Elastagirl or Iron Man, Disney’s lifelike Stuntronics robots are beginning to electrify real-world entertainment, performing near-superhuman stunts throughout entire theme parks and ushering in an era of safe interactive spaces . An extraordinary step towards human-like bipedal walking robots, Stuntronics represents a major breakthrough in robotic dynamism and maneuvering precision.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Kroger Supermarket Chain to Test Driverless Grocery Deliveries

What it is: Grocery giant Kroger and autonomous vehicle startup Nuro have announced a partnership to change the face of grocery shopping, making same-day delivery affordable and accessible for everyone. Customers will utilize Kroger’s “ClickList” ordering system and Nuro’s app to set up delivery via Nuro’s fleet of fully autonomous vehicles. The pilot market will be named soon, with deliveries expected to begin in the fall.

Why it's important: By partnering with startups, traditional "brick and mortar" businesses are adopting exponential technologies at an accelerating rate, and to everyone’s benefit. Here, Nuro gains access to a distribution network of 2,800+ stores in 35 states (presumably allowing the company to secure funding), while Kroger shows us that it can reinvent itself for the future to compete with the likes of Amazon and Instacart. How does change your go-to-market strategy?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

New Material Eliminates Need for Motors or Actuators in Future Robots, Other Devices

What it is: A new material (nickel hydroxide-oxyhydroxide) that can change shape and exert a force of over 3,000 times its own weight has been developed at the University of Hong Kong. The material can be stimulated to undergo its shape change by low-intensity incident light or electric current, as well as small changes in humidity and heat. Stimulation by light, heat and humidity can be carried out wirelessly -- making this material ideal for artificial microrobotic muscles. Since nickel is the bulk element of the material, the material is low-cost and easy to fabricate.

Why it's important: Soft robotics are essential for creating robots that can mimic human behavior and perform human tasks. Human muscle tissue is highly effective at allowing us to perform complex movements, like making a fist or throwing a ball. Materials that eliminate the need for dimensionally-restricted actuators by providing a new approach to moving components of mechanical systems are integral for moving forward soft robotics.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

Inside the Effort to Print Lungs and Breathe Life Into Them With Stem Cells

What it is: United Therapeutics 3D-printed a replica of an upper human airway. The windpipe plus two bronchioles were printed out of collagen -- biology's cement-like structural material. Right now, using stereolithography techniques (basically using light to selectively cure a polymer that reacts to light), the printer can print details that are on the order of 20 micrometers. For context, functional lungs require detail of less than one micrometer. While collagen lungs are not useful for organ replacement, United Therapeutics is working to embed lab-grown lung cells into a matrix of the collagen lung structure. The company plans to one day be able to print lungs and other organs en masse, bypassing organ shortages and the need for organ donors.

Why it's important: United Therapeutics projects they'll be able to produce fully manufactured organs in 12 years -- a negligible timeframe relative to human history, where we’ve needed to rely on nature to create replacements for defective body parts. We are right around the corner from a transformative, revitalizing technology. 3D printing technology is rapidly evolving with detail becoming finer and finer every year. Likewise, stem cell culturing technology will certainly impact the ability to engineer and grow lung tissue cells to embed in this 3D printed cellulose structural matrix.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

Kayak Launches Virtual Reality Exploration Tool

What it is: If we can sample food and try on clothing before a purchase, why not test-drive a city before committing to a flight? Enter Kayak VR, a virtual reality platform that lets you explore a city and learn about its most treasured landmarks from the comfort of your living room. Accessible through Google’s Daydream headset, Kayak VR is currently piloting two cities -- Venice and Kathmandu -- providing travel tips and trends, audio tours on landmarks, exploration of local hotels, and a sense of the real scale (and crowdedness) of a given destination. Perhaps one of Kayak VR’s more remarkable features is the app’s stereophonic sound option, adapting its audio tour to your visual focus within a given scene.

Why it's important: Targeted at the ‘pre-exploration’ of a city, Kayak VR serves both tourists on the fence about where to go and eager planners building out a trip agenda. Zooming out, tools like Kayak VR democratize and delocalize global tourism -- an industry that contributed nearly $8.3 trillion USD to the global economy in 2017. Offering visually coherent and educationally rich data on your surroundings, the platform may one day allow anyone a private tour of the Sistine Chapel or a view from Mt. Kilimanjaro. While nothing beats circling Venice in a gondola or reaching the peak of a hike, Kayak VR’s informational tours and visual immersion could one day offer unprecedented exposure to billions without a passport or the ready capital for a flight.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

AI-Powered Robot Mimics Any Action After Watching It Done Just Once

What it is: Scientists at UC Berkeley have developed a robot that can mimic an action purely by observing a person perform the task a single time, live or in video. By combining an imitation algorithm to allow it to pick up new skills with a meta-learning algorithm to incorporate prior tasks and movements, the robot is able to perform actions like pushing cups toward a target or pick up fruit and put it in a bowl.

Why it's important: Programming robots has typically been a highly technical and time-intensive coding process. Even where robots have learned by watching other robots, perfection has come only after thousands of repetitions. Could this be an interface moment, accelerating our ability to communicate and teach? And what other opportunities are unlocked when robots can utilize similar meta-learning programs to develop strategies for new situations?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / 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.

Want more conversations like this?

At Abundance 360, Peter's 360-person executive mastermind, we teach the metatrends, implications and unfair advantages for entrepreneurs enabled by breakthroughs like those featured above. We're looking for CEOs and entrepreneurs who want to change the world. The program is highly selective. If you'd like to be considered, apply here

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

Topics: Abundance Insider 3D Printing Robotics Materials Science AR/VR AI robots Autonomous Drones disney Kayak imagineering driverless kroger materials soft robotics bio-printing computer vision
13 min read

Abundance Insider: July 6th, 2018 Edition

By Peter H. Diamandis on Jul 6, 2018


In this week's Abundance Insider: 3D printed cardiac patches, Tesla and PG&E's California Powerpack plans, and shape-shifting dragon drones.

Cheers,
Peter, Marissa, Kelley, Greg, AJ, Bri, Jarom, Joseph, Jason, Claire and Max

P.S. Send any tips to our team by clicking here, and send your friends and family to this link to subscribe to Abundance Insider.

Alibaba Launches Automated Robot Restaurant in Shanghai

What it is: At one of Alibaba’s high-tech Hema grocery stores, China’s e-commerce giant has launched its first automated dining experience. Enter Robot.He, a fresh seafood restaurant navigable with QR codes and served by robots. As you enter with Hema app in hand, a quick QR code scan shows you your table and automatically notes your seat in the system for Hema's robotic waiters. Head next to a fresh array of seafood and handpick your own ingredients, paid for in-app and carried to the kitchen via Hema’s in-store conveyor belt system.

Why it's important: Alibaba’s Robot.He is only the beginning of a wave of companies transforming the restaurant experience with robotic servers and digitally streamlined dining. Just last month, Alibaba’s main rival JD.com announced that it will be launching 1,000 entirely robot-run restaurants by 2020, and U.S. restaurants like Creator and Spyce Kitchen are now riding the wave with their own meal-customizing robotic chefs. But while restaurant automation may seem threatening to traditional service jobs, it could also unlock myriad new roles in retail and service industries, allowing humans to do what we do best -- assisting and interacting with consumers, educating diners on cuisine -- and building out a broader experience economy.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Phillip Stutts / Written by Claire Adair 

Study: No Known Upper Limit to Human Longevity

What it is: An international team of scientists have come to the conclusion that there is no known limit to human lifespan. Published in the journal Science last week, the findings are based on a new set of high-quality data collected on Italians over the age of 105. While risk of death increases exponentially from age 65 to 80, the range of risk increases after 80 -- meaning that risks are more varied person to person -- and after age 105, overall risks seems to plateau at an average 50 percent of living another year.

Why it's important: Even without the many advances we have made in recent years to save lives and extend healthy lifespans, this analysis suggests that mortality is not a foregone conclusion, as many might believe. Look for this to begin to turn public opinion, and for an increased acceptance of longevity research overall.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Tesla and PG&E Announce Massive Powerpack Battery System for California

What it is: Tesla is well known for its bold entrance and disruption in the auto industry. Bleeding-edge battery technology, however, is at the core of Tesla's electric vehicle development and innovation. That battery technology has implications far beyond longer-range electric vehicles. Tesla and Pacific Gas & Electric are developing a massive 1.1 Gigawatt-hour battery storage bank in California -- enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes. If successful, this collaborative project would more than double the 1 Gigawatt-hour of battery storage already deployed by Tesla around the country.

Why it's important: Disrupting an industry and driving exponential growth requires rethinking all aspects of an industry -- supply chain and strategic partnerships alike. One of the greatest barriers to transitioning to a fully renewable energy (namely solar and wind power) economy is our ability to store the energy that we harvest from these renewable sources. To date, battery costs have been enormous -- but they are plummeting, thanks to heavy investment and research and development from companies like Tesla.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

Scientists 3D Print Human Cardiac Patch

What it is: Chicago startup Biolife4D just announced the successful 3D printing of a human cardiac patch, a major milestone in the quest to 3D bioprint fully functioning organs. According to CEO Steven Morris, the achievement is notable for two critical advancements: "First, it demonstrated Biolife4D’s ability to take a patient’s own blood cells, reprogram them back into stem cells, reprogram them again to make the different type of cells which we need to 3D bioengineer our human heart viable for transplant, and then successfully 3D bioprint with those cells to make living human heart tissue. Second, this is the first time that a cardiac patch was 3D bioprinted [with the] multiple cell types of which the human heart is made, includ[ing] preliminary vascularization."

Why it's important: While this is just a piece of the goal of printing a human-scale heart replete with valves and blood vessels, printing with multiple cell types and vasculature simultaneously is a major breakthrough. Look for this methodology to lead to innovations in other organs such as the liver, and increased life expectancies in the very near future.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Skye Lininger / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Flying 'Dragon' Drone Can Change Shape in Midair

What it is: Researchers at the University of Tokyo have built a drone that can change shapes, and slither through the air like a snake. The drone is comprised of several small drones that can move with respect to each other, changing the shape of the overall drone. The system uses AI to autonomously manipulate itself through narrow spaces. Each of the small drones propels itself with a fan that it can thrust-vector to change its direction on the fly. The entire drone runs on one battery, which can power the drone for three minutes of flight.

Why it's important: Achieving autonomous flight of a complex system of several sources of thrust is extraordinary. Controlling vehicles is difficult enough, and programming vehicles to control themselves is a completely different challenge. Beyond the impressive control system, this drone architecture will have some practical applications once it’s further developed. Imagine a flying AI-powered robot to help you around the house. We will also see interesting applications of these flexible drones in industries like insurance and infrastructure maintenance.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

Why China is Spending Billions to Turbocharge its Economy With Robots

What it is: The world's largest manufacturing economy, China produces about one-fourth of all global goods. But as rising wages and an aging population cut into company profits, President Xi has called for a robot revolution in manufacturing. Driven by the state’s Made in China 2025 campaign -- an ambitious plan to lead in areas like automation, microchips and self-driving vehicles -- China deployed 87,000 industrial robots in 2016, and this growth is predicted to surpass 20 percent year-on-year through 2020. As companies like Foxconn aim for 30 percent automation by 2020 with full-time “Foxbots,” others like Geekplus Robotics have joined the 3,000+ robot manufacturers launched with generous government funding and local policy support.

Why it's important: China’s tremendous government push in robotics is only one of the many tech initiatives on Beijing’s agenda. And as Chinese companies find it increasingly difficult to compete on cheap labor, local government officials and private sector players are more than matching Beijing’s efforts, slashing hundreds of thousands of jobs and pouring in tens of millions (USD) in funding for everything from robot-operated warehouses to automated cake companies. But while some fear mass unemployment and growing wage gaps, almost two-thirds of Chinese survey respondents seem optimistic about AI’s impact on their lives. Already planning ahead for the automated age, China’s Ministry of Education has unveiled plans to enroll 23.5 million students in 3-year vocational programs by 2020, targeting 21st century skills and new economic opportunities.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Morgan McDermott / Written by Claire Adair 

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.

Want more conversations like this?

At Abundance 360, Peter's 360-person executive mastermind, we teach the metatrends, implications and unfair advantages for entrepreneurs enabled by breakthroughs like those featured above. We're looking for CEOs and entrepreneurs who want to change the world. The program is highly selective. If you'd like to be considered, apply here

Know someone who would benefit from getting Abundance Insider? Send them to this link to sign up.

Topics: Abundance Insider 3D Printing AI Artificial Intellegence robots Alibaba Drones Tesla Batteries Autonomous Drones