A Gentle Giant Lies Dead

A gasping review of The Cast Whale Project

The Cast Whale Project began as a dream (literally) for German based artist Gil Shachar. He wanted to create a sculpture of a large, dead beached whale by molding every inch of it and present it back to the land in the exact same manner as it lay on the beach.

When I walked into the exhibition hall that housed the result of this epic task I was overcome by the mournful sounds of whale song being played and the staggering sight of this enormous, true to life effigy of this majestic creature, dead, taking up almost an entire warehouse with its lifeless form. There had been no autopsy to prove the manner of its demise, it had just washed up on the beach at Lambert’s Bay on the Cape west coast one day. That day began the process of turning a dream in to reality.

The cast of the beached whale – Salt River Studios – Cape Town

The team had been preparing and researching how they could achieve this gargantuan vision for almost four years prior to the event and were able to mobilise within 24 hours of the whale’s beaching.  In August 2018 the Cast Whale Project team was able to take a mold from the dead  Humpback Whale and this was then cast at an old film studio warehouse in Salt River, Cape Town, during March and April 2019.

It is a staggering achievement and one that rendered me reverent of the artist and his team of sculptors.

“The encounter with a stranded whale brings to one’s imagination a parallel world, a world which has been imprinted upon one’s (sub)consciousness since early childhood. Whales appear in children’s stories, in mythology, in the great religious traditions, in fairy tales, fables, poetry and literature. In all these sources they invariably represent a tremendous power, a wonder of nature, of high intelligence – but one which is also capable of turning into a monster. The whale becomes a projection screen for our imagination, a container of transformation and of rebirth. The scarcer an encounter with a whale becomes, the more it gains in symbolic power. The direct presence of a whale often triggers feelings of being overwhelmed and of the sublime.”

I felt overwhelmed as I looked at its body that I realised was lying on its back after mistaking its lifeless penis for its fin, both equally useless in death. It made me think of the impotence of earth anxiety effecting millions of people who care about what is happening to the environment and who are unable to act out of the system that is causing this damage save to rage and create and draw attention to what is. Whales were once hunted ruthlessly for their oil that was used for many domestic and industrial uses. Now they are under threat from the results of ocean pollution, high density fishing lanes and hunting under the guise of scientific research.

I talked at length to Gil about his work and the impact this will have on raising awareness of the fragility of the environments and the creatures within them and found him an astute listener and a gentle champion forging ahead with an incredible task.

Contact: Gil Shachar – gilshachar@web.de https://www.facebook.com/castwhaleproject/

South Africa Artists and Sculptors who managed the project:

Lachlan Matthewslachlan@lachlanmatthews.co.za

Greg Dunn – gzero59@webmail.co.za

Anthea Delmotte – anthea.art1@gmail.com


Special thanks to The Department of Environmental Affairs, Republic of South Africa

The Cast Whale Project was supported by the NRW Art Foundation

Autonomous driving – just around the corner

I was fortunate enough to attend my second Pioneers event, held in Munich, Germany. Its focus: Game-changing technologies set to govern the future of mobility. To get there I took a bus from Vienna in Austria, thinking I would use the time to catch up on things. What I didn’t expect was a 10-hour journey complicated by log-jam traffic and punctuated by the bus driver’s union regulations that require him to stop for 30 minutes every six hours no matter what. The journey ended with a road-side stranding in sub-zero temperatures on a snowy highway just outside of Munich. What would autonomous driving have to offer this crisis, I wondered, and would technology ever be able to outsmart the weather?

As ever, the organisers of this Pioneers event curated a stage of mind-blowing innovators who are grasping the future with all their imagination and combining blue-sky solutions with the very best of technology to create products and services that will provide a variety of solutions to redefine our concept (and experience) of mobility. The future looks like a space-age version of the present, with plans for flying cars and artificial intelligence geared up to not only drive you around but map your route, monitor environmental conditions and sort out a few of your administrative tasks like the best PA. Linked to these innovations are increased security interfaces and new solutions for machine-to-machine payment that will enable transactions to happen in real time and with absolute transparency thanks to blockchain technology.

The event was opened by European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, who leads the project team Energy Union. In a video address, he said: “Thanks to your ideas, today’s kids might never have to learn to drive,” adding: “The concept of car accidents might be something they learn about in their history books. Air pollution could sound like a medieval epidemic to them.”

Certainly, the acceleration towards clean, connected and automated mobility could bring reductions in carbon emissions and an increase in road safety – but how will consumers feel about getting into a car that drives itself?

Rise of the machines

More than 20 start-up pitches were presented, each with their own game-changing technology and inspired solutions for the future of transport. The overall winner was Swiss start-up embotech, which has developed software that enables a car to literally drive itself and is already being explored by top vehicle manufacturers in Europe.

Electric cars were also under the spotlight and opinion is that autonomous driving will go hand in hand with electric vehicles, making human drivers obsolete in the process.

In his 2014 book The Rough Ride to the Future, scientist and futurist James Lovelock predicts the role artificial intelligence (AI) will play in changing the face of future humanity, noting how AI is already integral in our lives. He points out that aeroplanes are already able to fly themselves, but consumers can’t accept the fact that no pilot is required – we are not quite ready to hand over to a machine, no matter how smart it is.

Changing consumer perspectives is obvious and key to mass acceptance of the driverless car. Christoph Stadeler, Facebook’s Head of Automotive Strategy, delivered a keynote address reflecting on the role this social media megalith can play. However, with all high-tech solutions the threat of hacking into systems to steal information or conduct fraudulent payments is ever-present. It is dangerous territory, but therein offers opportunities for high-tech security innovations.

Stadeler said that the four main things driving automation are connectivity, electrification, shared mobility and autonomy with the number one interface being your mobile phone. This makes consumer centric software a necessity; consider a smart car that offers a range of digital services with mobility an added extra.

A revolution in transport

Peter Campbell, renowned British motoring journalist from the Financial Times, said, “Driverless cars will bring a revolution in transport,” and begs the question: “Why would anyone ever buy a car again?” Consider the freedom of movement these cars will give to the elderly, the disabled and millions of carless commuters, not to mention the reduction in road accidents. Worldwide millions of people are killed every year due to human misjudgement on the roads – could automated cars solve this?

The innovators leading the development of the software for autonomous cars believe so. This new way of driving is will soon be making headlines despite the barriers to uptake that currently exist, including outdated legislative rules and regulations that have not caught up with new technology yet. Despite these barriers, my sense is the future of clean, connected and automated mobility is just around the corner.

Future Mobility Pioneers to keep an eye on

Electrification winner: ChargeX

Electric supercar: Rimac Automobili

Connectivity winner: High Mobility

Cyber Security: Karamba Security

Blockchain technology: Slovakian developers FinID

Shared-use technology: Getaway

About Pioneers

Founded in 2009 in Vienna, Pioneers establishes and facilitates direct, meaningful business relationships between start-ups, corporate executives and investors to champion growth and innovation. It is the ultimate one-stop hub for global tech innovators to access high-value, curated and qualified information about new and Series A European start-ups. Its annual flagship event takes place in the 500-year-old Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna from 24-25 May. The award-winning event will unite a community of 2 500 founders, investors, executives and public-sector representatives from over 100 nations.



Creatively addressing environmental concerns

There can be little doubt that our little planet is in need of attention; we’ve known for some years that we’re running out of fossil fuels and that deforestation is a major problem, and that the effects of climate change may soon become permanent or irreversible. Awareness surrounding global and environmental concerns is nothing new, but the campaigns created to highlight such issues have had to evolve to keep up with a bigger, brighter, and bolder world. Everyone is shouting to be heard; why should they listen to environmental concerns?

Capturing the public’s imagination

So, how can we ensure that our biggest, and most pressing environmental concerns are reaching a wider audience and making the required impact? With creativity, of course. You see, the main hurdle facing those attempting to showcase environmental concerns is that of indifference; people will often profess to have heard, or seen it all before, and yet issues such as global warming, plastic pollution, and the depletion of natural resources remain. It would appear that we’re becoming blind to the biggest issues facing our planet – words are falling on deaf ears, and we must shout louder than ever before. Indeed, you’re going to need to harness all of your creativity if you’re to make people sit up and take notice at last.

It’s time to get creative

Choosing your cause, researching its heart, and creating a soapbox or platform are just the beginning of the battle when it comes to engaging the masses. Your creativity is your main asset; many of our planet’s issues have remained the same for several decades, and yet there are still plenty of new, and engaging ways to shout about them – as long as you’re prepared to let your imagination run riot.

Use the skills you possess

Perhaps most obviously, it’s essential to use your strengths to your advantage. If you’re a keen writer consider the words that will make the biggest impact; if you’re a web designer think about the layout and content that will grab people’s attention. Rather than attempting to learn something new, embrace the talents you have and use them to your advantage. How can you channel your creativity towards producing something really special?

Raise awareness with a video, or ten

In this age of technology, visual media and video are perhaps two of the best ways to grab attention and showcase an environmental concern. Videos allow us to chart the cause and effects surrounding certain issues, and to tell a story in a way that actively engages the people it’s supposed to appeal to. A videomaker app or service is an excellent idea if you’re hoping to draw the public’s attention to a particular campaign. Such sites provide templates, which will ensure that all of the hard work is done for you – and leave plenty of time for you to demonstrate your concerns in a creative way.

Don’t be afraid to make a statement

Using your creativity doesn’t have to involve a written testimonial, a visually stunning set of photographs, or a video campaign, you could showcase an environmental concern in any number of ways. Take sponsored events and impact awareness, for example. Cycling during a drought, living on recycled goods and dumpster groceries, and living without plastic are all great ways to highlight particular plights – as long as you remember to keep a video diary, blog, or social media page to tell people about your adventures, of course.

Use the media to your advantage

Social media is your friend when it comes to showcasing environmental awareness; sites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are among the best ways to reach the biggest audience in the shortest amount of time – particularly as hashtags and trending topics have begun to take precedence in users’ newsfeeds. Creative input such as visuals and viral videos work well on social media platforms, while local news and media outlets are perhaps your best point of contact if you’ve got an event or campaign to advertise.

Above all, it pays to conduct your research; what environmental campaigns have been and gone? Which movements have stood the test of time, and which would you struggle to remember once they were out of sight? Dare to be different and embrace the resources that are available to you. After all, until you’ve tried everything can you actually admit defeat? Our planet is magnificent, inspiring creative minds and encouraging us all to head on out there and make a difference. We owe it to the world to demonstrate a little of that imagination; be brave and save the world!

Pioneers’17 Start-ups Inspire – Empower- Re- Create

Melissa Baird stepped out her comfort zone and attended the Pioneers17 Top 50 Start-up event in Vienna Austria to discover how Artificial Intelligence and smart tech innovation is changing the world one app at a time and at a rapid eye movement pace.

The venue was Vienna’s Hofburg palace; an astounding architectural masterpiece (and relic) of the grand Austro – Hungarian empire replete with ornate frescoes on its ceilings, wide staircases and thick marble columns in enormous halls lit by glossy chandeliers and whispering ballrooms that spoke of a glamorous past, and survival in the face of the destruction of war.

There were five stages showcasing the best in tech and inspiration, info -tainment and empowerment; masterclasses to help start-ups pitch their product to investors – and the media – and inspiring interviews with the likes of Virgin Galactic (yes, they are going to the moon) Google discussing their AI assistant (you can ask it anything and it will search your files for the answer and the whole internet too).

I listened to start up pitches as the inventors took the challenge to present their ideas to investors. They included BeeAnd.me – smart monitoring for bees that enable apiarists to monitor changes in hive behaviour and develop scientific knowledge about the habits of the world’s most precious and productive pollinating resource. Another included using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enable doctors to make better diagnosis and have access to the latest research – who on earth can read 150 000 research papers and still have a life or enable it in a patient? No problem – AI can do it and feedback. Sen wants to ‘consumerise space’ by recording videos and capturing space data to send it back to earth – what is out there soon to be ‘brought’ to you by a famous brand. Their aim is to share information ‘universally’ so what happens on earth is also taken out there for there to the Moon and Mars (missions planned) “as the space economy and activities expand in these worlds” – yes other than earth.

That was just the first few hours and, while I was taking lots of deep breaths as I processed the information overload, I met a robot named Pepper that responds to human touch through mechanical undulation and murmurs sweetly like a cat would purr. Astonished I was at ‘her’ responses and I challenged her creator Dimitrios Prodromou, the co-founder of Humanizing Technologies GmbH, to explain how emotions could be mechanised; what of love, could that awe-inspiring and unstoppable force ever be programmed?

Smart homes are the homes of tomorrow. They are energy efficient and can control temperatures for better living conditions. I interviewed Morten Bremild co-founder of Anyware Connected Living. They have created a smart device that acts as both energy regulator and intrusion detector in your home. The device looks like a light bulb, is as easy to install and what will be of interest to South Africans is its one system sensors that can detect intrusions, turn lights on and off while you are away and regulate the temperature of your home. The indoor climate monitoring sensor detects humidity levels and if above 75% humidity the sensor alerts you. Their aim is to make smart homes simpler and – Morten is very keen to find partners in the energy utility and insurance industry in this country.

Currently smart homes are in the realm of the early adopters of technology (16% of the overall market) and their target is for the early majority market who want a meaningful smart home experience so the product is easy enough for anyone to install and there is valuable data for insurance companies and energy companies to give back to the customer in terms of health and safety.

The device was a great success at the largest consumer expo in the US and the product will also be available via Amazon.com. From an energy perspective, a household can save 5-7% per degree Celsius – over a year if temperatures are regulated correctly.

There is an app to help you develop your happiness muscle – HiMoment that I have been trying out.  The ‘happiness industry’ is massive (USD 60 billion) but this is not about encouraging more social media narcissism, rather it is a personal timeline of sorts but complete with videos, images and voice records. A good ‘get out blue’ use for your phone. I rely on my memory and pictures for that but I could see its point and purpose.

On the music front an amazing speaker Zylia.com that can record all the instruments in a room making sound engineering unnecessary and helping musicians record top quality clips without having to spend fortunes on sound studios. In sport, there is a fabric (SUPA.AI) that records your biorhythms and reports on fitness levels.

Capitalising – or aiming to – on the legal cannabis growing industry is a start-up called Leaf that has created their own fridge which is a grow room and monitoring system -all in one -so medical cannabis can be grown free of pesticides and by individuals who require the prescription. The developer calls it the ultimate gardening and health tool.

But it’s Artificial Intelligence that is making the biggest impact on our present and – ergo- our future. James Lovelock – in his Rough Guide to the Future speaks of this as being the single most disruptive technology event ever. It will impact how we manage our home life, investments, diagnose illness, have sex and work. If you are stuck on any question or need to speak a different language – just ask Babel or Google’s assistant (being engineered to outsmart Apple’s Siri). The live demonstrations of the capabilities of these interventions was astounding.

This gathering of new economy CEO’s was like a fashion shoot for the world’s top hipsters and they were well supported by engineers, musicians, doctors, scientists and investors. This reinvention space shows a snapshot of how the world is changing and at a pace that most won’t keep up with.

But what really grabbed my attention was the concept of impact investing – Silicone Valley is the home of the start-up and Ela Madej who is the founder of Fifty Years – an impact investment fund that is there to solve the world’s biggest problems spoke clearly about the fact that all business is being called to understand the finite resources of the planet and adapt. The venture capital market has never been called to account for the impacts of the investment itself; what it does to the planet, does it help solve climate change, social inequality and injustice? Technology and capital need to be in service of the planet – not purely profit. Research shows that most MBA students would take a cut in salary to align their work to the personal values they espouse. There is a new generation of business leaders emerging who see the solutions need to come from business as well as consumers who have more developed intrinsic values.

What was alarming is that AI already makes high level investment decisions and will do so more in the future. But you can’t transfer your values to a piece of software that is programmed to seek out profit above anything else. “More and more aspects of the economy are not being run by humans” she said and therefore we need impact investing. Charly Kleissner of Impact Assets – also Silicone Valley based – agreed and he said the human face of investing – the ‘consciousness’ is what is needed above just great algorithms.

Consider the impacts of industrial agriculture on water and animals and the dystopian future is already here. In the future, all meat will be farmed outside of mass animal farming – in laboratories “cellular agriculture” as animals no longer can be efficiently farmed for their meat and by products. In 1931 Winston Churchill predicted laboratory meat and this turns out to be the most resource efficient (and ethical) way of eating meat. You can do whatever you want with animal cells without hurting the animal or taking away valuable water resources used for industrial abattoirs and factory farming.

Impact Investing throws away the Keynesian perspective that business is above humanity and success is measured by profit alone. Now more than ever before the global corporations are being called upon to solve the world’s problems and not capitalise on them.

But what about sex. there is an app for that too and the intimacy problems that are resulting from a disconnected world – sex robots exist, sex toys exist but what of an intelligent sex toy? One that reads your body and your pleasures? Is this a sexual revolution that doesn’t involve people?

I was asked the question what happens to start up when they grow up? I reckon they just might offer astounding solutions to some of the problems this world is facing.  Technology is replacing people and helping them too – but what is the balance and where will it be found?

Creative Work Hub Embraces Biomimicry – Creating Conditions Conducive for Life

On the East side of Cape Town, on the road parallel to the best coffee shop in the world (Truth) you will find a small building that is attempting something incredibly innovative—turning to nature for solutions to how to properly work and live in harmony. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Melissa Siko, one of the partners on the project with a background in chemical engineering and systems analysis, to learn about all that is going on behind those walls.

75 Harrington Street

Currently, 75 Harrington Street is functioning as a collaborative, creative, co-working environment. Happy people move about the ground floor, grabbing world renowned cappuccinos (for only R 12 – best price in town), typing away behind laptop screens, and engaging in lighthearted meetings. In the floors above them, countless offices boast fun and unique interior design, open spaces, and large windows letting in soothing natural light.

Plants soaking up the sun - 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Plants soaking up the sun – 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Developed by the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI) and Steven Harris of The Bank, the building is meant to encourage “co-creation” and is ideal for any and all creative businesses, organizations, or startups that prefer an open network and a communal working space. As if this wasn’t interesting enough, 75 Harrington is now making strides to become the go-to example of environmental creativity and resilience and an example of an amazing workspace in its city location.

Sustainable Ideas - 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Sustainable Ideas – 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

The ultimate goal for this colorful and creative space is to create a living example of a fully functional urban ecosystem. Melissa, alongside likeminded creatives and professional engineers, has been working on a 3-floor building model based on the principles of biomimicry—using nature’s intelligence to make human systems more sustainable. The top floor, roof farming, is already showing signs of progress.

Beginnings of a rooftop garden - 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Beginnings of a rooftop garden – 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Several plant design systems and gardening boxes are already scattered on top of 75 Harrington waiting to be put to good use. The GoPro urban vertical gardening kits even have some leafy greens poking out of their holes and reaching for the sun. Melissa hopes that this space will encourage members of the community to come together and grow their own plants and food. The first floor of the building will then become a food market, where farmers can come and sell their locally-grown produce together rather than being in constant competition. In between these two levels will be a floor dedicated to community education, where meetings and workshops on topics such as urban agriculture can be held to further the sustainability initiative.

Biomimicry Basics - 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

Biomimicry Basics – 75 Harrington Street, Cape Town

The main principles for this biomimicry project (as detailed above) include evolving to survive, being resource and energy efficient, adapting to changing conditions, integrating development with growth, being locally attuned and responsive, and using life-friendly chemistry. By following these guidelines, Melissa hopes 75 Harrington Street will become more than just a creative workspace—it will be an environment where people can come together and participate in reinventing our current way of living so that are we are more in tune and adapted to life on earth.

It was a pleasure to see these creative ideas being put into action and I wish the best of luck to everyone involved! A special thanks goes out to Melissa for all of her insight into the project. If you are ever in town, I recommend grabbing a coffee there and seeing the space for yourself!

If you want to learn more about biomimicry, check out Melissa Baird’s recent post on the future of engineering.

What has the fins of a whale, the skin of a lizard and the eyes of a moth? The future of engineering

By Melissa Baird

Faced with designing products and cities that are sustainable and able to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of climate change, engineers and scientists are turning to nature – and learning from its endless innovations that enable life to thrive in all of its five kingdoms.

Biomimicry is the practice of learning from and then emulating nature’s genius, and the brightest designers are latching on to what they can learn from species in order to create sustainable solutions for human living. All of nature is locally attuned and responsive and does not ever create more than what is needed; all waste is re-assimilated into the system and energy is generated by the organism that needs it.

There are short feedback loops so that adaptation can happen, and collectively, the principles that enable nature to function ensure the most effective use of resources and the survival of biodiversity.

As the stressed environments of the human built world are buckling, and resources like water and oil are becoming more depleted – the principles of biomimicry can be a vital guide to creating a future based on products and systems that are more adaptable, functional and resilient.

We are already seeing products and services that have been transformed as a result of applying principals of biomimicry to design innovation. Consider the carpet company that designs flooring solutions that mimic a dappled forest floor. If a section of the carpet becomes damaged or needs replacing – then all that needs to be done is replace a section of it, rather than an entire room. This reduces maintenance costs, waste and the need for toxic adhesives. A glass manufacturer uses spider web designs to manufacture glass birds will not smash into. The aerodynamics of the box fish has informed the design of an automaker’s new energy efficient vehicle. A manufacturer of wind turbine blades has based its design on the propulsion mechanism of a southern right whale’s dorsal fins. The shock absorption capabilities of a woodpecker is causing flight engineers to redesign the black box recorder, which holds vital information after aeroplane crashes. The remarkable camouflage mechanisms of the octopus has got the US military interested to the tune of a US $ 6 million grant for further study.

(Watch an octopus literally disappear from sight)

The principals of biomimicry can also be used in creating behaviour change campaigns for and devising communication strategies. One of our key challenges is communicating messages about water consumption and use. How could we communicate – like nature does – to as many people as possible?

So I asked nature how communication happens amongst organisms and from the myriad examples chose the communication methods of stromatolites and ants as a guide.

Stromatolites have an astounding way of spreading messages and responding, as a collective, to change.  Affluent communities are the least responsive to change and tend to care less about the impact of their lifestyles on the environment. By considering the feedback loop as an integral part of engendering a change in habit we devised a communications campaign that will have short feedback loops and resultant messages that will positively impact behaviour change. A key factor is to show connectivity of all parts of society so individuals feel part of the solution, i.e. an integral part of a functioning ecosystem.

Nature recycles, re-uses, re-constitutes all its waste and is highly energy efficient. As we need to move out of critical stage and into a regenerative phase we can learn tremendous lessons from the natural kingdom.

The lexicon of biomimicry and the way in which it enables human conundrums to be solved by interrogating the function, form and life friendly chemistry of an object will have profound impacts on cities and products of the future.


It’s the Flies that Will Save Us

The impacts of big agri(culture) on the environment can be massive and, as resources continue to dwindle, how farmers adapt to the increasing financial pressures of farming is going to pose a real challenge; or a real opportunity for innovation.

Khepri Biosciences is a biotechnology company in Gauteng, South Africa, whose mission is to become the number one bioconversion research and sustainable animal feed producer in the world. On 15 October, they came one step closer to reaching this goal by taking home the grand prize at the 5th annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards in Johannesburg.

SAB Innovation Award winner Bandile Dlabantu (centre) with SAB corporate affairs and transformation executive director, Monwabisi Fandeso (right), and SAB Foundation chairman Moss Mgoasheng.

SAB Innovation Award winner Bandile Dlabantu (centre) with SAB corporate affairs and transformation executive director, Monwabisi Fandeso (right), and SAB Foundation chairman Moss Mgoasheng.

Owner of Khepri Biosciences and bio-entrepreneur, Bandile Dlabantu, was awarded a prize of R1.2-million for the commercialisation of their invention—a low-cost insect production unit for animal feed that helps manage waste in a most remarkable way.

The unit works by collecting and processing agricultural waste in order to produce fly larvae. These larvae are then converted into protein-rich animal feed, a process that results in a 40% reduction of total waste products. By using this feeding method instead of buying traditional fish meal, farmers can reduce their input costs (with cost savings for communities), divert waste away from landfills, and reduce pressure on fast dwindling marine sources for land based animal feed.

We look forward to seeing the impact this unique invention has on current agricultural and social problems, as well as how it may benefit the people of rural areas through food security and job creation.

Khepri Logo via Khepri Innovations

Khepri Logo via Khepri Innovations


To find out more about Khepri Biosciences and their mission, visit their website.

Learn more about the SAB Foundation and their goals, or read about the runners up here.

Still curious about how the flies will save us? Check out The Story of the Fly and how it could save the world by Jason Drew and Justine Joseph, a fascinating read that we recently gave away to a few lucky subscribers!

Printing with a purpose

printgreen_11Each year, more than 300 million tons of paper is produced, and on average one office worker will print a staggering 10 000 pieces of paper per year, despite the widely used line that hovers at the end of many emails “think before y
ou print.”

Although the use of printing paper may be seen as a necessary evil, a group of students from the University of Maribor in Slovenia have taken the revolutionary concept of 3D printing to an entirely new level that could be seen as leveling out the playing field when it comes to paper waste.

Their design, Project PrintGREEN is turning 3D printers into on-demand gardeners after designing a “green” 3D printer in 2013. The printer produces living prints, printing customized objects in a variety of sizes and forms. The project’s goal is to unite art, technology, and nature, creatively producing living designs with the help of technology.

printgreen_15The “ink” in the machine is a combination of soil, seeds, and water, which can be designed to print in any shape or letter. After drying, the muddy mixture holds its form, and just like the bean sprout experiment many of us tried at school, buds will begin to appear. A play on the usual conservationist motto of “think before you print,” the students encourage people to print using the machine because it’s green.

To follow the progress of this marvelous design, visit Printgreen’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/tiskajzeleno.printgreen/timeline
Original article sourced from: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/07/living-designs-from-3d-printers/

The drive to succeed

wind-solar-powered-car-by-Segun-Oyeyiola-2When the race to walk on the moon began it was first considered to be a ludicrous notion ( and even today there are a few who believe it was all a hoax) but scepticism and disbelief don’t deter the truly brilliant. Without a shadow of a doubt, Nigerian born Segun Oyeyiola faced the same kind of scepticism when he turned his gas guzzling Volkswagen into a fossil-fuel free machine by installing a giant solar panel on top and a wind turbine under the hood.

Oyeyiola completed the project for just $6,000 using mostly scrap parts donated by friends and family, proving that everyone can make a difference with the right attitude and a bit of ingenuity. Oyeyiola still has improvements to make on his vehicle and he’s determined to make it perfect. He has faced a fair amount of criticism from some of the people in his area,  however he is determined to succeed and see if his prototype can be turned into something that can be used by many people in the near future.

To see how this is possible, watch this short clip on how a car’s battery can be charged by various wind turbines:

Funky furniture

By Jess Handley

The ocean is an abundance of natural wonders: coral that one could liken to diamonds (they are so hard), volcanic rock activity rumbling deep beneath the water, a kaleidoscope of fascinating marine life, and of course the ocean’s own garden: seaweed. There are over 9000 species of seaweed that span across the world’s oceans; some of which are edible, while others are used for herbal medicine or fertilizer compost for landscaping. Similar to hemp, the uses of this underrated, durable plant are extensive; going beyond a facemask or the wrapping of sushi, something which two 3040959-slide-s-7-this-furniture-is-made-from-seaweed-and-paperDanish designers fully embraced when they created a unique collection of chic furniture that is made from nothing more than seaweed and paper.

The project began as an investigation into using local materials, as designers Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt,  (both masters holders from Royal Dan ish Academy of Fine arts) wanted their objects to reflect the essence of the Danish landscape, most of which is dominated by seas making Denmark almost completely surrounded by water. The North Sea, the Skagerrak, the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea all enclose the various coastlines of Denmark, while one of its most iconic landmarks includes the little mermaid statue in Copenhagen.

In order to create these objects, the designers used fucus seaweed, a type of algae they harvested by hand from the Danish coastline, to create the Terroir chair and lamps. Fucus seaweed is the brown seaweed that is often found washed up on beaches around the world. In Scotland and Norway, up until the mid 19th century, this seaweed was harvested, dried, burned to ash, and further processed to become “kelp,” which was a type of soda ash that was less costly in Britain than the barilla imported from Spain. It also contains alginate; a naturally occurring polymer which when dried and mixed with a bit of glue can be incredibly durable. Additionally, despite what wet seaweed may smell like on this beach the high level of salt in focus acts as a natural preservative, ensuring that the furniture doesn’t have a sell by date.

Original information sourced from: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3040959/this-furniture-is-made-from-seaweed-and-paper?partner=rss#2