In this week’s episode, we talk about some predictive analytics & projections on the future growth of the human race and its trend towards negative over the next few decades.
We also discuss some amazing technology coming out of Arizona, as a firm successfully uses renewable energy to harvest water straight out of desert air. Use cases going as far as bringing a renewable source of clean water to the Arabian Desert for both people to drink and to feed agricultural farms, bringing us all closer to long term sustainability as the world changes.
As well as, touch on some new clever robots coming out of a fast-food chain, as well as an Ex-Googler’s startup as innovative tech, starts to enter the mainstream at a faster rate than ever before.
Welcome to Future Lens Today.
The White Castle fast food chain is hitting the ground running with some new innovations, starting with its training of Miso Robotic's Flippy robots.
Designed to reduce human contact with food, increase the quality of its meals, and to reduce the amount of waste produced in the kitchen. Flippy will be tested in the Chicago area starting September, and if the trial is successful, White Castle plans to bring the robot to kitchens across the country.
Miso Robotics usually charges $30,000 to install each system and then another $15,000 per year, but White Castle aims to bring the costs down significantly. White Castle executives have taken pay cuts to retain staff, and there are no plans yet to replace staff with the robot. A 45-second video of Flippy in action is available on our website.
Next up, we’re talking about water. It’s scarcity and how companies around the world are working towards ensuring there’s enough of it for everyone. From underground aquifers, to harvesting directly from the clouds, Zero Mass Water, an Arizona-based technology firm, stands out as an incredible newcomer to the industry.
Zero Mass Water is using renewable energy to harvest water from the air to create bottled water at a plant near Dubai. Its bottling plant runs on solar energy and the bottles that Zero Mass use are 100% recyclable, even the bottle caps are made from bamboo. Zero Mass is currently unable to produce more than 2.3 million liters annually, and is selling the water at around $3.80 a liter.
Gulf nations are finding ways to reduce their heavy dependence on food imports as it deals with the pandemic disrupting global supply chains. The technique that Zero Mass is using could be used to supply indoor farming setups and organisations with water in dryer climates and countries.
Now for a story that concerns the global economy, as everyone knows when a market reaches a peak things get a little dicey. Researchers and data analysts from around the world are reporting that every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century due to the decline in birth rates.
In 1950 women were having an average of 4.7 children and this has nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017. Experts expect the human population to peak around 9.7 billion around 2064, falling back down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century.
The falling fertility rate is due to greater access to contraception and more women being in education and work.23 countries, including Japan, Italy, Thailand, and Spain, are expecting to see their populations more than halve.
A decline in population by the end of this century will bring about many social issues, especially when considering a large elderly population. Some countries have already started trying to combat this problem but it is complicated as other social issues are involved.
The sub-Saharan African population is expected to triple in size to more than three billion by the end of the century.
In other news to close out this week’s episode, we’re talking about some more tech with Stretch.
Stretch is a robot mobile manipulator. Essentially a robot that is designed to interact with the world around it. This little bot looks like if a square roomba vacuuming machine had an arm jetting out the top of it, with a small clamp-like hand capable of grabbing onto the world around it.
Stretch, however, is incredibly lightweight, capable, and affordable. Designed by Hello Robot, founded by an Ex-Googler. Stretch weighs 23kg and has a 34 cm square footprint. It costs $17,950 to buy one, which sounds like a lot, but it’s only a tiny fraction compared to what other mobile manipulators sell for.
Stretch was designed to bring mobile manipulation into a home or workplace environment. It has an arm that is made from custom carbon fiber, driven by a single motor attached to the robot's vertical pole. The robots arm can extend to over half a meter and hold up to 1.5kg. Perfect for bringing you that morning cup of coffee.
Stretch can both be teleoperated from a mobile device, and completely autonomous. You can check out videos and sources of the Stretch on the Humanatronix Website. Now we can only begin to imagine Stretchs potential even outside of the home or office environment, along with the Spot dog-like robot from Boston Dynamics, I’m excited to see where these technology companies take us over the next few years.