13 min read

Abundance Insider: February 8th, 2019

By Peter H. Diamandis on Feb 8, 2019

 In this week's Abundance Insider: Climbing robotic plants, a diabetes breakthrough, and a bigger-than Woodstock virtual concert in Fortnite.

Cheers,
Peter, Marissa, Kelley, Greg, 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.

P.P.S. Want to learn more about exponential technologies and hone in on your MTP/ Moonshot? Abundance Digital includes 100+ hours of course work 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.

Watch A Super-Fast 3D Printer Scientists Call The “Replicator”

What it is: Using synthetic liquid resin and CT-like scanning technologies, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a 3D printer that can produce replicas of nearly any scanned object in record time. Nicknamed “the Replicator” a la Star Trek, the printer draws largely upon CT scan-like technology, reverse engineering multiple 2D images of a 3D model at various angles. This sequence of computed images is then projected onto a rotating cylinder of liquid resin that selectively solidifies when exposed to given thresholds of patterned light.

Why it's important: By printing complex objects from photosensitive resin in one go — as opposed to mounting material layer by layer — this system enables researchers to produce smooth and flexible components at unprecedented rates. Beyond seamlessly high-resolution prints, however, these figures can even encase other objects embedded in the resin, allowing for the fabrication of multi-material components. Perhaps most exciting is the combination of the UC Berkeley team’s method with computed scans of 3D targets. Such a system could have dramatic implications in healthcare, for instance, offering rapid-fire prints of bespoke medical pieces, anatomical replicas and other multi-material devices.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

The World’s Fastest Supercomputer Breaks An AI Record

What it is: Summit, the supercomputer built by Oak Ridge National Labs, recently became the fastest supercomputer to run the TensorFlow AI system. The supercomputer, about the size of two tennis courts, leveraged its 27,000 GPUs to run at speeds exceeding an exaflop (a billion billion operations per second). Its mission is to tackle climate change by predicting weather patterns and events up to 100 years in advance.

Why it's important: While we’ve been successful in doubling computing power every 3.4 months, on average, we’ve never applied TensorFlow and GPUs to a supercomputer’s specialized high-speed connections. This development will inform other large-scale efforts elsewhere, and is an excellent application of machine learning to address problems considered unsolvable.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Claire Adair / Written by Jason Goodwin 

The First Tendril-Like Soft Robot Able To Climb

What it is: In an excellent example of biomimicry, italian researchers replicated the unique hydraulic actuation system that climbing plants like vines use to grow and climb. Essentially, plants deploy different concentrations of the molecule cytosol to cause water to flow to a desired location in the plant’s structure (osmosis). As the water flows, the plant’s structure changes shape. The researchers replicated this phenomenon in their lab-made “tendrils" by using plastic tubing, a 1.3V battery, and a solution of small ions. Applying a voltage caused the ions in the solution to behave like cytosol and enabled the plants to curl and grow. While roboticists have implemented osmotic actuation before, this development marks the first time that the soft robot can reset after its curl and climb.

Why it's important: The rapidly approaching trillion-sensor economy will transform our understanding of our bodies and the world around us. Similarly, the trillion actuator economy enabled by soft robotics will give unprecedented control of our environment. Imagine the ability to instantly change not only the layout of your apartment, but the millimeter-scale details of your couch design, kitchen table, or standing desk. What new possibilities emerge when technology can interact with the physical world?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Max Goldberg / Written by Max Goldberg 

Amazing Self-Healing Coating Erases Scratches and Cracks in Seconds

What it is: Materials scientists from Northwestern University recently developed an oil-based coating for metals that self-repairs small chips and scratches within seconds. Almost everything that we build has a coating to protect the core structural material from environmental damage. Metals in particular are highly susceptible to corrosion (for example, rusting steel), and once chipped, scratched, or scrapped, the metal directly underneath the damaged coating weakens. In a robust demonstration, the researchers scratched the same spot 200 times in a row, each time showing that the coating returned to its undamaged state within seconds.

Why it's important: Some of the most catastrophic engineering disasters in history have resulted from coating damage, which means materials engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly presented with billion-dollar opportunities specifically related to coating. What age-old engineering problems can we solve with the power of modern materials science?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

Functional Insulin-Producing Cells Grown In Lab

What it is: In a new feat for type 1 (T1) diabetes research, scientists at UC San Francisco have generated fully mature insulin-producing cells in the lab from human stem cells. Given T1 diabetes’ destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, researchers have long attempted (in vain) to produce lab-grown versions of these cells. However, only now has a critical facet of beta cell maturation been discovered: a process by which cells separate from the pancreas to form islets. By replicating this process artificially, UCSF’s team found that the cells’ development suddenly accelerated. Most importantly, however, once transplanted into healthy mice, these lab-grown “islets” yielded fully functional cells that produced insulin in response to blood sugar.

Why it's important: Up until now, T1 diabetic patients have been limited to treating symptoms through frequent insulin injections or otherwise face the risk of invasive pancreas transplants. Even in the latter case, however, only about 1,000 out of 1.5 million patients in the U.S. are able to get such transplants in a given year, many of which are unsuccessful. Generating, let alone transplanting, fully mature lab-grown beta cells has long been an elusive dream in regenerative medicine, one that could finally offer a cure to this autoimmune disorder. Now capable of bringing these cells to maturation, UCSF’s scientists are charging forward with new research to ensure safe transplantation into diabetic patients, thereby ensuring healthy insulin production for life.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Live Concert Inside “Fortnite” Drew More Viewers Than Woodstock

What it is: Fortnite Dance Fortnite, the world’s most popular massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), recently launched a shared experience centered on a 10-minute mini-set from electronic artist DJ Marshmello. Leveraging lessons from past gamewide events like its rocket launch, Epic Games teased the show with virtual posters, and even displayed visuals of the stage construction. An estimated 10 million concurrent users viewed the concert, with players emoting and dancing throughout. Epic monetized the event with in-game purchases of special skins and other virtual items.

Why it's important: This digital concert is a massive validation of what’s possible in the metaverse even without VR. Millions of users from around the globe participated in an entirely virtual live experience. What opportunities do you see to bring your community together in similar ways?  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

Abundance Digital is Peter’s 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.

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 healthcare soft robotics nano technology biotech Stem Cells regenerative medicine diabetes fortnite
14 min read

Abundance Insider: September 29th

By Peter H. Diamandis on Sep 29, 2018

In this week's Abundance Insider: CRISPR addiction resistance, universal robotic skins, and swarm AI diagnosing pneumonia.

Cheers,
Peter, Marissa, Kelley, Greg, 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.

P.P.S. Last week, Abundance Digital streamed an exclusive webinar with Ray Kurzweil. If you missed it, or wish to watch again, you can view the recording here.

 

AI-Human “Hive Mind” Diagnoses Pneumonia

What it is: Unanimous AI — the company behind the Swarm AI system that correctly predicted the Kentucky Derby superfecta and the final score at the Super Bowl — has moved into healthcare. Partnering with Stanford University School of Medicine, the team worked with eight radiologists in different locations to read X-rays of possible pneumonia. The doctors read the X-rays and rendered an opinions in real time, while the AI system determined tallied the results based not only on the collective decision but their confidence levels as well. The resulting assessments were 33 percent more accurate than individual practitioners, and 22 percent more accurate than CheXNet, a machine learning algorithm from Stanford that previously beat out radiologists last year on a similar task.

Why it's important: We often think about AI systems as replacing human intelligence rather than facilitating collaboration to improve decisionmaking. What other problems can we solve through increased connection and biologically inspired innovation?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

CRISPR Gene Editing Creates Cocaine-Proof Mice, Aims To Crack Addiction Puzzle

What it is: Researchers from the University of Chicago recently used CRISPR to genetically engineer cocaine resistance into mice. After receiving the gene editing treatment, the subjected mice were less likely to seek out cocaine. The mice became immune to overdosing on amounts of cocaine that would kill mice without the treatment. To accomplish this feat, the researchers used the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BCHE), which naturally breaks down cocaine. Because this enzyme cannot be administered orally and is short-lived in the bloodstream, there’s no way to maintain the enzyme in high enough concentrations for it to effectively combat cocaine. To approach this, the researchers used CRISPR to modify skin cells (which were grafted onto the mice) to more readily secrete BCHE, thereby replenishing the rapidly broken down BCHE in the bloodstream.

Why it's important: Extraordinary progress is being made every day in the biotech and genomics world. Earlier this month in Abundance Insider, we saw CRISPR gene editing to eradicate malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Prior to that, we saw CRISPR used to cure muscular dystrophy in dogs. Mitigating the effects of cocaine in mice may one day have profound applications for combating cocaine addiction in humans, saving countless human lives and helping many others overcome their addictions. What other diseases, disorders and addictions can researchers address in the CRISPR revolution?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

Machine-Learning System Tackles Speech And Object Recognition, All At Once

What it is: In a new win for machine learning, MIT computer scientists have just developed an AI system that can identify objects within an image based only on a spoken description of the image’s features. With an input image and accompanying audio caption, the model can highlight described regions of the picture in real time, associating pixels with their corresponding descriptions, such as “girl,” “brown eyes,” “red roof,” and any other verbal descriptor. Unlike most current speech-recognition technologies, however, the model needs neither manual transcriptions nor annotations of those examples on which the system is trained, instead learning words directly from recorded speech and objects within raw images.

Why it's important: While currently capable of recognizing only several hundred different words and object types, this combined speech-object recognition technique is quickly advancing and could one day save a tremendous amount of time in manual labor. As explained by CSAIL researcher David Harwath, “We got the idea of training a model in a manner similar to walking a child through the world and narrating what you’re seeing.” And with this much more organic and data-light model, a variety of applications abound. One use case, for instance, might involve language translation, whereby the model would use two different-language speakers describing the same image, parsing the language signals from each description and matching words on the basis of their correspondence to objects in the same image.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Claire Adair 

Building A Better Brain-In-A-Dish, Faster And Cheaper

What it is: What: Researchers at the University of San Diego School of Medicine have developed a proof-of-principle procedure for rapidly and cost-effectively creating cortical organoids from primary somatic cells -- think of these as mini sections of a brain on a dish. Organoids have been useful in studying the developing brain, sidestepping a number of difficulties inherent to studying the developing brain, but have been expensive and time-consuming to produce. In a process published in “Stem Cells and Development” last month, the UCSD team was able to compress and optimize a number of steps in the traditional process, generating a large number of cortical organoids with only minor manipulation required.

Why it's important: The potential use cases for this are vast, from creating repositories for testing to studying the potential genetic causes of disorders to more generally understanding human variability in cognition. With a large roadblock to experimentation and discovery removed, look for insight into neurological disorders to accelerate, not to mention a potential adjacent benefit in brain-computer interfaces.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Dave Carder / Written by Jason Goodwin 

This “Robotic Skin” Can Turn Pretty Much Anything Into A Robot

What it is: Yale researchers have developed hardware that turns any inanimate object into a robot. The researchers originally developed this hardware for NASA, so that actuation and sensor technology could be repurposed and recycled while in space. Applications demonstrated by the researchers include enabling locomotion of a toy horse and a variety of foam objects. Beyond bringing everyday objects to life and multiplexing space hardware, these soft robotics can augment humans as wearables. A video from the research group shows a wearable application of the robotic skin applied to a person’s back. The sensors in the robotic skin detect posture, and the actuators in the robotic skin can activate to help the person be aware that they should straighten their back if they slip into a bad posture.

Why it's important: Today’s robots typically excel at narrow tasks in highly curated environments. They often lack the ability to adapt to the natural world around them. Imagine future iterations with more degrees of freedom, different types of actuation, and more powerful sensors. Embedding artificial intelligence within the soft robotics will one day enable a user to merely apply a robotic skin to an object, specify an action, and watch as the robotic skin teaches itself to locomote the object as instructed.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Max Goldberg 

The 'Game-Changing’ Technique To Create Babies From Skin Cells Just Stepped Forward

What it is: Scientists in Japan have recently found a way to generate precursors to human egg cells in a dish with the sole ingredient of a woman’s blood cells. Researchers have already been successful in creating egg cells from mouse tail cells (viable for fertilization), and now, researchers like Mitinori Saitou at Japan’s Kyoto University are trying to replicate these methods for human gametes. After creating stem cells from human blood cells, Saitou and his team guided them to develop into “primordial” reproductive cells. And while at a very early stage of egg development, the nascent cells were kept alive for an unprecedented four months, developing into oogonia -- precursors of mature egg cells, which appear in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Why it's important: While not yet at the milestone of a mature human egg capable of being fertilized to create an embryo, the study is a tremendous leap towards one day achieving human “in vitro gametogenesis” and revolutionizing modern-day reproduction. “This is farther than anyone has ever gotten with human eggs before,” said Stanford’s Henry Greely. And while in vitro gamete production poses tremendous implications to reproduction and accelerated genetic screening in the long-term, many in the field already foresee current applications for the technology. With large numbers of developing reproductive cells, researchers could systematically test and probe how medicines or environmental conditions affect human eggs as well as the impact of chemotherapy, toxic chemicals or radiation.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / 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

Abundance Digital is Peter’s 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.

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

Topics: Abundance Insider Artificial Intellegence soft robotics biotech CRISPR
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