Future

The Future Of Work – “You Snooze, You Lose”

Posted on March 5, 2007. Filed under: Drugs, Future, Stimulants, Work |

Want to keep pace with the competition? Forget coffee—a new class of FDA-approved stimulants will keep you working harder, better, faster and stronger.

  As a species, we’ve hit the bedtime barrier. You can eat at your desk, socialize in the break room, and answer text messages on a date, but sooner or later, you’re going to have to sleep. “After 18, 19 hours awake, your brain function starts to fail,” says Dallas, Texas, sleep-medicine specialist Andrew O. Jamieson. Coffee might keep you up, “but you’re not going to be focused.

  Coffee? You might as well be commuting by buggy. Old-school stimulants like caffeine, amphetamines and the drug Ritalin are about to be marginalized by eugeroics. This emerging breed of “wakefulness” pills promises to keep the workers of tomorrow not just awake, but alert, on-task and feeling fine through the night and well into the next day. Remember these names, because they’re your future: Modafinil, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 for the treatment of narcolepsy and marketed in the U.S. as Provigil, is already giving a competitive edge to everyone from Air Force pilots on 40-hour missions to (less legally) college students cramming for exams. The drug’s maker, Cephalon in Frazer, Pennsylvania, is awaiting FDA approval for armodafinil, which promises even longer periods of wakefulness on a single dose, and Irvine, California–based Cortex is working on its own drug, code-named CX717 and developed with funding from the military. The drugs are targeted at sleep disorders like narcolepsy, but it’s their dramatic potential influence on the workplace that has researchers and efficiency experts buzzing.

+ read more [via popsci.com]

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Pod life: Stackable Homes

Posted on February 21, 2007. Filed under: Future, Home |

The Perrinepod is a self-contained, stackable housing unit that can be placed within a month of ordering. Mother in law moving in? Adding a home office? No problem for a Perrinepod dweller. Just order a second unit and plug it in. Buyers with large extended families will be happy to know the pods can be stacked to 30 stories high.

Made from polished concrete, aluminium and glass, Perrinepod’s standard colours are grey and white, but the concrete can be toned to any natural pigment, including black and shades of brown. Its pod-like looks are enhanced by a lack of joins and sharp corners. Making it nearly as plug-and-play as an iPod, internal wiring and plumbing are built in, and utilities are hooked up at one central point.

Perrinepods come in three sizes: one, two and three bedrooms (AUD 99,000 – 200,000), with external dimensions of 8 x 6m, 8 x 9m and 8 x 12m. The units are designed and manufactured in Perth. Prices include delivery to metropolitan areas in Australia, erection of the Perrinepod, and all interior fittings.

Architect Jean-mic Perrine’s philosophy is that the houses should be nothing more or less than its inhabitants need, and that simple design and beautiful material should be able to stand the test of time: “Living spaces have become as transient and irrelevant as fashion. It’s no longer a look for a generation that people strive for, its the look of ‘now’ and it only lasts for a three to four year period. That approach is not sustainable and people are putting themselves and the environment under a lot of unnecessary pressure trying to keep up.”

Following four years of research and design, the first Perrinepods will be making their debut next month. As more consumers are showing interest in small homes and in the instant gratification of high-design prefab housing, this could be a nice one to distribute in other parts of the world (manufactured locally, of course).

+ Perrinepod [via Springwise]

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The Eco-City, Dongtan

Posted on February 20, 2007. Filed under: Ecological, Environment, Future |

The opening of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai will mark the unveiling of the newly constructed eco-city of Dongtan. The first of four eco-cities to be built in China by Arup, Dongtan will be ecologically friendly, with zero greenhouse-emission transit and self-sufficient water and energy systems. The city is being designed around a series of village-style neighborhoods to make it pedestrian rather than car friendly. Dongtan will generate all of its energy needs from renewable sources, with zero emissions produced by the city’s vehicles. An energy centre will manage generation via wind turbines, bio-fuels and recycled organic material. A majority of Dongtan’s waste will be reused and organic waste will be composted or used as biomass for additional energy production. Human sewage will be processed for irrigation and composting, hence there will be no landfill waste sites. Phase one of Dongtan, a marina village with a population of 20,000, is scheduled for completion by 2010, while 80,000 people are expected to inhabit this bit of paradise by 2020.

+ [via thecoolhunter]

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The Future of Robots

Posted on February 20, 2007. Filed under: Future, Robots |

Futurist Ray Kurzweil explains how the boundary between man and machine is quickly disappearing. PLUS: A gallery of today’s most mind-blowing ‘bots.

Human experience is marked by a refusal to obey our limitations. We’ve escaped the ground, we’ve escaped the planet, and now, after thousands of years of effort, our quest to build machines that emulate our own appearance, movement and intelligence is leading us to the point where we will escape the two most fundamental confines of all: our bodies and our minds. Once this point comes—once the accelerating pace of technological change allows us to build machines that not only equal but surpass human intelligence—we’ll see cyborgs (machine-enhanced humans like the Six Million Dollar Man), androids (human-robot hybrids like Data in Star Trek) and other combinations beyond what we can even imagine.

+ Continue the story here [via popsci.com]

+ Click here to meet the world’s most advanced humanoid precursors: a ‘bot with vocal cords, a mapmaking Segway, and more.

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