DESIGN TO IMPROVE LIFE HEADLINES – APRIL 21

Making ‘Design to Improve Life’ headlines this week: fingerprint currency, a startup turning former coal miners into coders, some huge breaks in the medical industry, AND news that a global fossil fuel phase out could be much closer than you think…

NO MORE FOSSIL FUELS WITHIN A DECADE?
A new study from a major British think tank has revealed that a total phase out of fossil fuels could be possible within just 10 years.

BRAIN IMPLANT HELPS PARALYSED MAN MOVE AGAIN
Scientists have developed a brain chip and thought-controlled wearable that have allowed a quadriplegic man to regain control of his arm. Ian Burkhart played guitar hero for the first time since an unfortunate diving accident five years ago.

MOVE OVER WEARABLES, HERE COME SMART ‘TATTOOS’
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have made an ultra-thin smart “E-skin” that can be applied like a bandaid. Simply stick it on and get all your body’s key info like heart rate, blood sugar and much more.

FROM COALMINER TO CODER
Coalminers of Kentucky are trading in their hardhats for HTML and CSS. A startup in Pikeville, a small town in the middle of coal country, is now teaching former coal miners, now jobless due the industry collapse, to code. “We found out that coal miners are really just engineers that get dirty,” said one of the entrepreneurs behind the startup.

IN THE OPERATING ROOM: FIRST LIVE STREAM VR SURGERY
The lucky owners of VR headsets were able to watch a live surgery last week in a world-first event. The company behind the event say the technology “will eventually help students develop their skills and learn what to do in a crisis, without them needing to observe every situation first-hand”. If you missed it, check it out below.

NEW VACCINE TO ELIMINATE POLIO
The World Health Organization has launched a vaccine that aims to stamp out polio for good. Over the next two weeks, 150 countries will switch to a two-strain vaccine to tackle the remaining variations of the wild polio virus – type 1 and type 3.

AIRBNB TO BECOME ARCHITECTS?
“People are sharing homes at a rate that no one ever predicted, but residences and homes weren’t designed for it.” Airbnb Founder Joe Gebbia eyes the next horizon – making homes designed not only for the owners, but for sharing with all your visiting guests.

JAPAN TESTS FINGERPRINT CURRENCY
Japan is testing out the concept of tourists being able to use their fingerprints to pay for things while visiting. It’s received quite a few damning reviews, mainly concerned with safety. What do you think?

GOOGLE DONATES $20 MIL FOR DISABILITY AID DEVELOPMENT
To help address accessibility challenges all over the world, Google has awarded $20 million to 30 nonprofits they believe will be most successful in designing to help the disabled. Make sure to check out the inspiring list of organisations and companies!

DRONE TO DELIVER MEDICAL SUPPLIES IN RWANDA
Similar to the concept of the Ambulance drone (INDEX: Award 2015 Finalist), this July a company called Zipline will begin delivering medical supplies, like blood donations, to hospitals in remote areas of Rwanda.

 

GAME ALLOWS ORDINARY CITIZENS TO REDESIGN CITY BUDGET
We’ve seen gaming used to address a number of global challenges. But, none that encourage participatory budgeting. Citizens of New Orleans can now try redesigning the city’s budget using new website the Big Easy Budget Game.  You can get the low-down on how the city’s money is spent, and then tell them what you would change – all in just 10 minutes!

MUST READ: HOW TECHNOLOGY COULD HELP MILLIONS OF FEMALE REFUGEES 

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