69. Cheap Foldable Homes, Simple RNA Tweak Increases Food Production, Launch of MiamiCoin
69. Cheap Foldable Homes, Simple RNA Tweak Increases Food Production, Launch of MiamiCoin
These Foldable Houses Cost $50k and Go Up in a Day | Singularity Hub (01:19)
- One company is taking a totally unique route to affordable, easy-to-build housing: foldable homes
- The company producing the homes is called Boxabl, and they’re made of steel, concrete, and EPS foam (this stands for expanded polystyrene, and it’s used as insulation).
- The houses were unveiled at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, where Boxabl is based, in March.
- The company’s first model, and the only one currently available, is 400 square feet—about the size of a studio apartment—and they’re calling it the Casita.
- Costs $49,500
- Set up in a day
- Can be shipped on an 8-foot footprint; meaning it can be hauled by a pickup truck or SUV
- Homes are resistant to bugs, water, fire, wind, and mold.
- The kitchen and bathroom are on the same side of the house, with items like the refrigerator, toilet, and sinks already built in.
- Upon arrival, the house just needs to be “unfolded,” and bolted to any foundation using connector plates.
- Boxabl co-founder Galiano Tiramani, discusses the building process:
- “The actual setup of the unit itself is very fast … We’ve done it [in the factory] in under an hour. It really just unfolds and bolts down, and you’re good to go.”
- By “here” he means in the factory, where setup is likely easier than in a real-world setting, particularly because the home’s electrical, plumbing, and HVAC all need to be hooked up.
- The $49.5k doesn’t include the necessary utility hookups, foundation, and permits.
- Boxabl estimates these costs could range from $5,000 on the low end up to $50,000, depending on location and complexity of the site.
- Boxabl will soon open a new factory in Las Vegas that will be able to produce one house every 90 minutes
- The company plans to expand on its offerings with new shapes and sizes, which will likely be modular so customers can design their homes to fit their needs.
- When will Boxabls be available?
- According to the website FAQ, We are working hard to make housing more affordable for everyone. At the moment we are upgrading to a much larger factory to meet demand. We hope to be shipping Casitas within a year.
3D Concrete Printing Robots Cut Rail Construction Carbon Emissions by 50% | Interesting Engineering (10:55)
- The UK is set to speed up the construction of its High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network with the aid of on-site 3D reinforced concrete printing carried out by robots.
- Reinforced concrete with graphene
- The technology, called “Printfrastructure,” was developed by HS2 Ltd’s London tunnels contractor SCS JV, and it will aid in the construction of the UK’s second high-speed rail line.
- Benefits of Utilizing 3D Printing:
- 3D print structures on-site, saving them from having to transport those structures by road before lowering them into place using large cranes.
- Structures built in tight spaces meaning that otherwise challenging and expensive logistical operations will no longer be necessary
- Carried out on-site by 3D printing robots, no need to suspend services in order to ensure the safety of human workers.
- All of this will speed up the construction time and cause less disruption to local communities.
- The Concrete benefits:
- The reinforced concrete structures are built using a strengthening internal lattice pattern that reduces the amount of concrete required while also generating less waste.
- Strengthened with graphene, the strongest material on the planet, instead of steel strengthening rods which makes the structures easier to build at the same time as giving them greater strength and a smaller carbon footprint.
- Graphene innovation was developed by ChangeMaker 3D.
- ChangeMaker 3D Director Natalie Wadley discusses the innovative project:
- “ChangeMaker 3D stands for sustainability in the built environment. Through our Printfrastructure innovation project with SCS JV — a UK-first for this technology —…we are proud to support the rail sector to unlock lower carbon construction.”
- 3D printing has the potential to completely change the way the construction industry operates, in the process reducing its carbon footprint and the amount of waste generated on construction sites.
Simple RNA tweak boosts potato and rice yields by 50 percent | New Atlas (16:53)
- Recommended by someone in the Discord Community.
- Food security is a major potential problem, it has been all throughout history.
- Now, researchers have shown that manipulating RNA in plants can drastically boost the amount of food they produce, and make them more resistant to drought conditions.
- At its most basic level, the team inserted a single gene called FTO into potato and rice plants. Resulting in:
- Plants were much more efficient photosynthesizers
- Grew much larger and produced much higher yields
- Three times more produce in the lab, and 50 percent more in the field.
- Chuan He, co-lead researcher on the study, provides even more excitement to this finding:
- “The change really is dramatic … What’s more, it worked with almost every type of plant we tried it with so far, and it’s a very simple modification to make.”
- This statement is inline with the fact that the technique had similar results in both rice and potato plants, which aren’t particularly closely related.
- He also mentions the fact that in their field studies that this process can be scaled up.
- He continues to talk about the process and how it could in the future not have the dreaded GMO label:
- “This is a brand new type of approach, one that could be different from GMO and CRISPR gene editing; this technique allows us to “flip a switch” in the plants at an early point in development, which continues to affect the plant’s food production even after we remove the switch … It seems that plants already have this layer of regulation, and all we did is tap into it. So the next step would be to discover how to do it using the plant’s existing genetics.”
Gene therapy could treat eye disease without surgery | Futurity (24:03)
- A new gene therapy could eventually provide an alternative treatment for Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy, a genetic eye disease that affects roughly one in 2,000 people globally.
- Currently, the only treatment is corneal transplant, a major surgery with associated risks and potential complications.
- According to a study, in 2012, 39% of all corneal transplants performed were due to Fuchs’ dystrophy
- Fuchs’ dystrophy is the result when cells that normally pump fluid from the cornea to keep it clear, die.
- This results in fluid build up, the cornea gets swollen, and vision becomes cloudy or hazy.
- Bala Ambati, a research professor at the University of Oregon who led the gene therapy development, discuss the impact this therapy can have:
- “When you do a transplant you make a huge difference for that person, but it’s a big deal for the patient with lots of visits, lots of eye drops, lots of co-pays, and if you had a medical treatment that did not require surgery, that would be great … Not only could it help patients who need a transplant, but it could also help a lot of other people who could have used that (corneal) tissue.”
- Researchers used CRISPR-Cas9, a powerful tool for editing genomes, to knock out a mutant form of a protein that is associated with the genetic eye disease.
- There was a lot of technical difficulty in using CRISPR gene editing technology on corneal cells.
- Researchers developed an innovative technique, called start codon disruption, that increases the utility of the CRISPR technology and could lead to treatments for other diseases involving non-reproducing cells, including some neurologic diseases, immune diseases, and certain genetic disorders affecting the joints.
- Additionally, the researchers tested the safety of the treatment by examining surrounding tissues and other genes to make sure they had not been adversely affected by the therapy.
- Future research will examine the therapy in human donor corneas from eye banks and other animal models with an eye toward eventual clinical testing in humans.
Now open: this Tokyo café has robot waiters controlled remotely by disabled workers | Timeout (31:13)
- This was reported back in late June, but I missed it, so I’m bringing it to you now.
- On June 22, Tokyo’s latest café run by robots officially opened in Nihonbashi.
- Unlike other “robot” cafes in Tokyo which are humans dressed up as robots, Dawn Avatar Robot Café features real humanoid robots waiting on customers and serving food and drink.
- Before you freak out about robots taking over here is the cool part: These robots are operated by disabled workers.
- How it works
- Robots are operated remotely via the internet, serving as avatars for people who can’t leave the house for long periods of time due to physical disabilities, childcare or for other reasons.
- The restaurant is the latest venture of Ory Laboratory Inc, a Japanese robotics company working to create an accessible society.
- The idea came from company co-founder and CEO Kentaro Yoshifuji who thought of the idea to design remote-controlled robot avatars after his own experience of being bed-ridden in hospital for the greater part of three years.
- The OriHime-D robots, as they’re called, are 120cm tall and equipped with a camera, microphone and speaker to allow them to ‘speak’ and receive orders as they move around a space.
- Additionally, the robots can be controlled just through eye-movement, so even people who are immobilized have the option of working in the café
- This is a significant breakthrough as using a robot avatar can give the physically disabled more opportunities to interact with others and lessen the sense of isolation that can come with disability.
Miami Launches ‘MiamiCoin’ to Make Millions and Fund the Police | Vice (36:08)
- Miami launched its own cryptocurrency, MiamiCoin, which claims to allow city citizens to earn Bitcoin “in their sleep.”
- On Tuesday, Aug 3rd, Okcoin was the first crypto exchange to list MiamiCoin.
- CityCoins, the company behind this idea, says that “Now that the contract for MiamiCoin has been deployed to the Stacks mainnet, miners may activate the mining process. Once activated, all additional miners will be able to mine $MIA after a 150 block (~24 hours) countdown period.”
- People can mine the coin (which is less difficult and thus less energy intensive than mining Bitcoin or Ethereum), and revenue from the coin will be diverted to the city’s treasury.
- According to the Miami Herald, up to 30% of the funds raised by the new digital asset will be used to pay for fresh city initiatives.
- The project works hand in hand with the city.
- Explaining the use of MiamiCoin (MIA), Michael Sarasti, Miami’s chief information officer and its director of innovation and technology said:
- “We could use it for roads, parks, regional resilience — the idea is [MiamiCoin users] are making an investment in the quality of the city’s future. They’re betting on Miami to be successful, and from a holder perspective, when Miami does better, their coin does better.”
- As investors buy the coin, its value will ideally continue to go up, and that cash will be used to fund infrastructure projects or events in the city.
- MiamiCoin is the first CityCoin to be released, though a cryptocurrency for San Francisco is on the way, too, according to the website.
- CityCoins told Motherboard in an email that MiamiCoin is “a project that aims to make citizens of any city stakeholders that are incentivized to participate in their city’s success”