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MindBullets is a part of the global FutureWorld Network, constantly sensitive to changes in the technological, economic, social, political and business landscape.

The MindBullets Contributors scan this rapidly changing environment for clues about possible future trends.

The results of this synthesis are combined by our contributors into an on-going series of MindBullets: News from the Future - with a summary emailed to you every Thursday and the complete MindBullets data base available online to explore each scenario in more detail.

Exciting scenarios of alternative futures based on breakthrough thinking today.

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Filtered by tag: New Materials
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ROSES ARE RED, BATTERIES ARE GREEN
Published on: 9 March 2017  
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A field of daffodils can power a town
Dateline: 8 March 2023
Once we thought that batteries were made of corrosive chemicals and heavy metals. But what happens when you can grow e-plants that store solar energy like super-capacitors? Back in 2017, scientists discovered they could grow nanowires inside a red rose, using the plant's own capillary system to create an internal network, and absorb electrolyte. It's a little like that old school lab experiment, where you run an LED off a potato - natural, organic electricity. Except that, in the case of e-plants, ...
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SMART NANOBOTS FOR CHRISTMAS
Published on: 22 December 2016  
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Keeping you healthy - from the inside
Dateline: 21 December 2023
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, an ingestible nanobot called 'Nanoboy', which I found wrapped up under the tree. It used to be that an apple a day kept the doctor away, but now it will be Nanoboy who keeps me out of the GP's office (or off his iPhone screen, if you're a fan of telehealth). This little wonder is so intelligent, it will alert me on my phone if my organs need help or any cells are going mad. Instead of having to go for my annual check-up, I will be pinged the ...
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CREEPY CRAWLIES CLEAN THE HOUSE AND POOL
Published on: 8 December 2016  
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Combining biotech with 3D printing and robotics creates quantum leap
Dateline: 7 December 2019
Another breakthrough has been revealed, this time in the arcane science of biobotics; not bionic appliances for humans, but organic robots. These are machines built with ceramics, metals and living tissue - usually cells cultured from lab rats. Biobots are not really living machines like radio controlled cockroaches or zombie moths. Rather they are a combination of biological material like muscle and synthetics like silicon, controlled by electronics, enzymes and light pulses. In 2016, scientists ...
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LET YOUR SHIRT FIX ITSELF
Published on: 29 September 2016  
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Self-repairing clothing works like magic
Dateline: 26 November 2019
With Millennials lacking basic needlework skills and only thinking of Twitter when you say 'thread' - someone had to come up with a sewing solution that is so easy, even the laziest among us would have no excuse. Researchers at D-IT in Paris have created a detergent that can infiltrate torn or damaged clothing fibers and enable them to re-attach. Just use cold water, a spoonful of Mendy (provisional name) and 25 minutes later your sweater will really be as good as new! Mendy was developed from an ...
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DEADLY DISAPPEARING DRONES
Published on: 4 August 2016   1 Comment
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The technology is neutral, the applications not
Dateline: 12 December 2023
It's a dream come true for gadget geeks and Bond-aficionados alike: tech toys that self-destruct and leave no trace. That's not always a good thing. Initial research conducted by the US military lead to the development of VAPR (Vanishing Programmable Resources) systems. Labelled "Snapchat for hardware," VAPR aimed to develop an electronic system that could literally disappear into thin air when triggered. This made 'object evaporation' possible - systems would not be of any value beyond enemy ...
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DASHY FACTORY TO BE MOVED AND RESTACKED LIKE LEGO
Published on: 14 July 2016  
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New construction models will enable reassembly in 21 days
Dateline: 27 June 2021
After a massive flood, caused by a higher-than-expected rise in sea-level for this year, the Bangladeshi textile industry has been mired in chaos. The behemoth factory of Indami textiles is a mess of drenched material and soiled garments. Critical machinery has also been rendered totally useless. They have cancelled all orders and are only expected to be back in production six months from now. Fortunately, not everyone remained unprepared. The owner of the small, but always nimble Dashy factory ...
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A LAPTOP THAT FITS IN YOUR HAND
Published on: 9 June 2016  
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New meta-lens makes your phone screen the size of a laptop
Dateline: 7 June 2020
We'd all love to have a phone with a screen as big and clear as a laptop - but it must still fit in your pocket. There have been many attempts at roll-up, fold-up screens, and they've all been dismal disappointments. Now there's an entirely new approach that seems to break the rules of optical physics. Samsung's Galaxy 14 has a 4-inch screen; but when you turn it on, a 12-inch image of the screen appears above your hand; and it's crisp and square. This magic is performed by a new nanotech device ...
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CATALYZER CAPTURES CARBON
Published on: 25 February 2016   1 Comment
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New process integrates solar power into the hydrocarbon economy
Dateline: 26 February 2026
A new process for capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turning it into usable liquid fuel has been commercialized and scaled up. Originally invented ten years ago, the process uses a unique catalyst to bond hydrogen in water with CO2 in the air to form methanol, a useful liquid chemical that can be burned in combustion engines or used to manufacture more complex chemical compounds. The key to making this a viable industry is the low cost of solar power, which is sufficient energy input ...
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SOLID HYDROGEN BREAKS THE RULES OF PHYSICS
Published on: 21 January 2016  
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Hydrogen compressed beyond a liquid into a metallic state is the ultimate super conductor
Dateline: 25 January 2035
Imagine a stable, solid metal that is made of pure hydrogen - the ultimate solid fuel and lightweight material. That is now within our grasp, as scientists perfect a new method of 'growing' hydrogen crystals and nano-wires. Twenty years ago, scientists saw the first signs that achieving metallic hydrogen was possible. By compressing microscopic amounts of hydrogen between two diamonds with massive force, the gas was observed to partially solidify, proving the theory that, with sufficient force, ...
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PLASTIC UNFANTASTIC
Published on: 22 October 2015   2 Comments
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EU to ban plastic packaging for groceries - unless you can eat it
Dateline: 29 January 2018
It started slowly. First we stopped giving away plastic bags for free. Then water bottles died a quick death. Now, in a revolutionary move, European grocery stores are ready to call it quits - completely. After marathon meetings behind closed doors that apparently started back in 2017, we have learned that consumers will have two options starting from 1 July. Shoppers will be able to bring their own Tupperware-like containers or they could choose to pay more for products with edible protective ...
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214 SUCCESSFUL TRANSFUSIONS DESPITE HUMAN BLOOD SHORTAGE
Published on: 30 July 2015  
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Artificial blood saves earthquake victims
Dateline: 17 April 2021
"We're out of blood," was the chilling statement released by Sichuan University School of Medicine in Chengdu. 4,700 people were left homeless following the earthquake which struck Chengdu yesterday. Rescuers and volunteers are still working through the rubble of the Tianfu Times Tower, but Chengdu's hospitals are overwhelmed. "We called for blood donors," says Doctor Wang Changjiang, "but we can't process the blood fast enough to meet our needs." Despite this critical shortage, no-one has ...
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THE SECRET LIFE OF PAPER
Published on: 30 April 2015  
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Still here to haunt and help us
Dateline: 25 April 2025
Decades ago, we used to joke that the paperless office would arrive about the same time as the paperless toilet. And to be sure, we're still using paper centuries after it was invented in ancient China. For hundreds of years, paper has been used to communicate, to record information, to store it for the future, and to convey secrets. Paper was the earliest conveniently portable technology to become information-enabled, and one of the most versatile. Right from the start, paper was used for secure ...
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DRIVERLESS CARS HURT INSURERS
Published on: 9 April 2015   4 Comments
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Collision claims have fallen to a record low
Dateline: 2 February 2027
The roads have never been safer - 12 years ago, more than one million people died in car accidents worldwide, every year. This number has shrunk to an astonishing 250,000. Road rage is history. Commuting is a pleasure as passengers are able to do what they please while waiting to arrive at their chosen point B. It's just that for the insurance industry, self-driving cars have become a real pain. Lower claims mean lower premiums, and that's bad for business. One of the first weak signals, that ...
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PEAK OIL IS HORSE MANURE
Published on: 4 December 2014   1 Comment
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The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones
Dateline: 20 January 2021
Back in the day, when horse drawn carriages and buggies were the preferred mode of transport for anyone, there was a big fear in Paris, London and New York that there wouldn't be enough stabling for all the horses required in the future, to say nothing of all the manure that was piling up in the streets. Then we invented motor cars, and the problem of peak horse manure disappeared. That's a salutary tale to bear in mind when we talk of peak oil. There will be a time when our consumption of oil ...
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MARS MOTHERSHIP PRINTED IN 3D
Published on: 23 October 2014   6 Comments
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3D printing in space solves problem of launching huge rockets
Dateline: 3 November 2025
A decade ago the first 3D printer to go to space was sent to the International Space Station. It proved to be so useful, more, bigger printers soon followed. Within a few years there was a veritable factory in space, churning out all manner of spare parts and items necessary for the maintenance of the ISS. Then came the realization that it was much more efficient to send up printing materials by SpaceX courier rockets, than to build giant spacecraft and space hotels here on earth, and expend ...
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NEW DIMENSION FOR METAL MINING
Published on: 18 September 2014   4 Comments
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3-D printing creates unusual alliances
Dateline: 26 August 2016
Five years ago, it would have seemed an unlikely partnership. But the alliance announced today between BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining group, and printing technology company Hewlett Packard, makes perfect sense. And the reason? 3-D printing has gone mainstream as an industrial production technique, and HP-BHP wants to corner the market. There's hardly an industry within which 3-D printing is not hard at work, from construction to aerospace. And the demand for the specialized metal ...
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THE CURSE OF ABUNDANCE
Published on: 10 July 2014   8 Comments
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Free energy spawns hordes of wetbots and kills off big brands
Dateline: 13 July 2033
"We're closing up shop. Wetbots made us broke." The production chief of iRobot consumer products grins ruefully. "Luckily we've still got our military contracts!" Since open source, peer production of printed solar panels has made electric power almost zero cost, robots have taken over agriculture, mining and most manufacturing. With no jobs but plenty of creative spirit, the 'maker' movement has spawned millions of backyard factories, churning out low volume, low cost 3D printed products for ...
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SPACE POWER FOR TIMES SQUARE
Published on: 2 January 2014   2 Comments
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Space based solar station lights up New York City's New Year party
Dateline: 1 January 2024
A decade ago, people were fighting wars over energy; peak oil was a major concern; and shale gas was a short-term solution to the growing global demand for power. Now it's all changed. Last night the New Year was counted in, with Times Square ablaze with lights of every colour - courtesy of the energy beamed down from Space Power Station Alpha. "I've got 50,000 LED lights and every watt is free!" tweeted the Times Square Ball, from its perch high above the crowds. For the last decade the Times ...
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LIVING MACHINES TO CHANGE OUR WORLD FUNDAMENTALLY
Published on: 19 December 2013   4 Comments
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Get used to living in a world where products are grown rather than manufactured
Dateline: 27 October 2019
The promise of living biological machines, as well as industrial scale 3D printing, seemed just beyond our reach in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. Now, they are reality - and 'manufacturing' will never be the same. 3D printing is now completely mainstream, with millions of printers humming away all over the world, from dinky US$ 25 home models to vast industrial printers turning out large components and whole products - and even printing bio products like meat. But the real breakthrough has ...
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THE HYDROGEN ECONOMY IS HERE
Published on: 9 May 2013   3 Comments
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Hydrogen will be the dominant fuel of the future
Dateline: 15 July 2017
After two decades of disappointment, hydrogen is finally becoming a viable fuel and source of energy for the world economy. The breakthroughs in innovation that have allowed hydrogen to come into its own both rely on nano-catalysts and solar power. The first source of cheap hydrogen is the FireWater Electrolyzer, an efficient and effective device that uses ordinary solar panels to turn water into its two base elements - hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is collected and put through a fuel cell to ...
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