For a young industrial engineer, Shubhendu Sharma couldn’t have landed a gig much sweeter than Toyota. As the originator of “just-in-time production,” Toyota pioneered the lean manufacturing movement that helped make it a dominant global automaker. But when a venerable Japanese forestry expert visited the company’s Bangalore factory to plant some greenery, Sharma was captivated by the idea of engineering a new kind of efficiency.
“Each new invention requires the viability of previous inventions to keep going. There is no communication between machines without extruded copper nerves of electricity. There is no electricity without mining veins of coal or uranium, or damming rivers, or even mining precious metals to make solar panels. There is no metabolism of factories without the circulation of vehicles. No hammers without saws to cut the handles; no handles without hammers to pound the saw blades. This global-scale, circular, interconnected network of systems, subsystems, machines, pipes, roads, wires, conveyor belts, automobiles, servers, and routers, codes, calculators, sensors, archives, activators, collective memory, and power generators—this whole grand contraption of interrelated and interdependent pieces forms a single system.”—Kevin Kelly (via inthenoosphere)
For the first time, scientists have fundamentally changed the genetic code of an organism, raising the possibility that researchers might be able to retool nature and create potent new forms of proteins to combat disease. Scientists from Yale and Harvard have recoded the entire genome of an o
The last Biosphere 2 project ended 18 years ago. Correction: The failed Biosphere 2 project ended 18 years ago. That’s right, our only real attempt to create an artificial, materially closed ecological system ended in complete failure. As it stands, we still do not know how to create a viable self-sustaining ecosystem â a frightening prospect given the current state of our environment and considering our future plans in space. It’s time that we revived the Biosphere projects â and here’s why.
The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) tasted their own urine Wednesday — and NASA didn’t even have to double-dog dare them. Astronauts celebrated by “clinking” their drinking bags together in a traditional cheers before sipping water composed of recycled urine, sweat and atmospheric …
Harvest Automation Inc., a Billerica company that makes robotic systems designed to cut costs and improve efficiency at commercial nurseries and greenhouses, said that it has closed an $11.75 million round in Series C financing. The round was led by Mousse Partners Limited. Existing investors Life Sciences Partners, Cultivian, Founder Collective, Entrée Capital, and MassVentures participated in the round, Harvest Automation said in a press release. According to the release, the funds will be used to further commercialize Harvests first product, the HV-100, a robotic system being used in commercial nurseries and greenhouses. We are seeing strong product validation with first customers and are excited to continue our efforts to bring smart, mobile, adaptive robotics into agriculture, company chief executive John Kawola said.
The East River? Oh, we dammed that thing up and threw a new City Hall on top. The Hudson? Filled it with traffic years ago. New Yorkers have never been shy about changing the natural landscape of their city, but if you dig into the archives, you’ll find dozens of ideas so radical, they make present-day Gotham feel like a nature reserve.