When you think of technology and new technologies, what are the first things that pass through your head? If I were to take a stab in the dark, I would say that the average folk would think about their phone or laptop, or a big-ass smart TV. And that’s normal in a way, because these are the things that we use on a daily basis, however if one were to think again, I am sure that a more representative image of technology will come to mind. Or at least it should… I know that ignorance is bliss, but this comforting blissful state is and will only bring us trouble in the long run.
We have reached a point in time when we can no longer say the almost cliche saying “Think of your children!” because we have started feeling it ourselves, in this lifetime, and the symptoms are only about to get worse. Unless, we act upon it. Now, I am not saying that we will make the world an utopia in this lifetime nor is this an incentive to make you clean the oceans or invent a way to harness the energy of the Universe. There are plenty other people who are doing just that, let’s take a look at some interesting technologies that will perhaps one day save the world.
Water from poo
Sounds funny. But at the same time it is an amazingly useful thing, especially for under-developed regions where clean water is a problem but also for emerging environmental changes, like droughts, that are happening as we speak all around the world, due to climate change.
People like Bill Gates and Manoj Bhargava took this problem into their own hands and came back with and incredibly effective solution. To make it short, what these machines do, is take the most dirtiest water, seawater or even polluted water and turns it into fresh water suitable for drinking and agriculture.
Manoj Bhargava calls it the Rain Maker, Bill didn’t came up with such a fancy name, but this picture of him drinking poo water says more than a thousand words would.
“It’s water :-)” Said Bill
This wonder material is basically an allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, honey-comb lattice in which one atom forms each vertex. It is the basic structural element of other allotropes, including graphite, charcoal, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. This technology has the potential to revolutionize green technology and offers us the possibility to build ultra-lightweight vehicles to ultra-efficient solar cells or ultra-effective supercapacitors. Many of the most exciting graphene research projects are focused on tackling climate change.
Watch this cool educational video that describes most of the amazing properties of Graphene:
So far, advancements in the Biofuel area have yet to provide a sustainable solution that can cater to all the current needs, something that is required in order to make fossil fuel obsolete. A bio-fuel is a fuel that is produced through contemporary biological processes, such as agriculture and anaerobic digestion, rather than a fuel produced by geological processes such as those involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum, from prehistoric biological matter. Biofuels can be derived directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes.
It has been proven that all transport can run on them, including air travel, which is very high in carbon. So far producing Biofuels consisted in growing vast acres of crops which then can’t be used for food. So then comes the question, how do you get enough energy crops to power the global aviation industry while leaving enough land free for agriculture? The answer may lay in the most common of marine flora, which is algae.
So far US Air Force have already successfully trialed Biofuels containing algae, and wider test flights are imminent.
Solar panels are good enough on their own, however solar paint can be the kicker that can make solar power more popular and accessible. Solar paint is exactly what it sounds like. This technology makes solar power much cheaper and easier to install, almost any surface could be transformed into a cheap solar panel. Roofs, walls, cars, trucks, cell phones, you name it.
You only need to apply a few coats of technologically advanced paint with a light-sensitive dye on top, and you’ve got yourself electricity-generating paint to power your day. This technology is developed by theUniversity of Sheffield – UK, the University of California – San Diego, and Lucelo Technologies in Texas.
“In theory, anyone could do this; it would be almost as straightforward as painting a wall in a house,” says Bill Gates.
Since the list is long and there are a lot of other interesting technologies that are worth mentioning I plan on making a series out of this. I aim to change your perception on how you see technology, and direct attention to technology that can cater to our most current problems and basic needs. You don’t need to be a scientist to change the world, sometimes being informed can prove enough to make a difference.