Here are five indicators, observations or articles that caught the eye of FA futurists today.
- An effort by ExxonMobil and Craig Ventner’s Synthetic Genomics to develop algae based biofuels is heading back to the drafting board. As a general rule, alternative biofuel technologies that look promising in the laboratory tend to fail when scaled up to industrially scaled fuel production.
- Researchers have developed a new one-step process for inserting multiple genes into bacteria. The process, dubbed “clonetegration,” could dramatically reduce the time and effort required to engineer genetically modified bacteria.
- A Chilean research team has created the first 3D printed object based on the thoughts of the user. The team linked a brain computer interface to as 3D printer, and the wearer was able to control the production of a simple object using thoughts picked up by the interface. This could lead to a more simple “think it, print it” version of 3D printing.
- A “bookless” library is set to open in a rural Texas county. The BiblioTech will have hundreds of e-readers to loan out, as well as screens on site for users to read on. The library is seen as a test in how to provide library services to communities, that can’t afford the cost of buying printed books.
- A futurist offers a positive long-term scenario for Africa, in which issues of infrastructure and agriculture have been overcome.