You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that the world is changing. Scientists say we’re at a turning point for the climate and future of our planet, and no matter where you turn it seems like doom and gloom is just around the corner (if not already at our doorstep).
But we’d like to stress that it’s not all bad news.
Whether it’s trawling the oceans for trash or trying to reduce our carbon footprint through emissions restrictions and light electric vehicles, some of the brightest minds are trying to solve the world’s problems through invention. Nobody said it would be easy and change comes slowly, especially when we’re talking about changing the world, but these are five inventions that will change the world over the next ten years.
Boyan Slat might not look like your classic “inventor.” The shaggy-haired twenty-two year old appears as he might be more at home in a rock club than behind the metaphorical wheel of an invention that may just clean up our oceans of harmful plastic and trash.
Currently, there are an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans. Because of the way currents flow, this trash accumulates in five different “patches” of ocean, the largest being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is found between Hawaii and California.
Looking at this problem, Slat devised what he calls the Ocean Cleanup project. Without getting bogged down with specifics, the project submerges a large sea anchor attached to a drifting array, which slows the water and catches the accumulating trash. According to projections, this system could remove 50% of the ocean’s trash in 5 years!
Elon Musk just dropped his Tesla Model 3, which is an economy version of Tesla’s luxury brand designed for the average consumer. Likewise, Volvo just announced that their entire lineup would be either electric or hybrid by 2019. It’s not an overstatement to say that the future is electric.
But it’s not just cars that are getting the electric makeover, but bicycles and skateboards too. Light Electric Vehicles (LEV) are becoming all the rage worldwide. In major markets, electric bicycles have begun to see marked growth, and have even begun to eat into car sales!
Perhaps no LEV has seen more interest than electric skateboards. Not just for weekend fun and rocking the suburbs anymore, but e-skateboards have become a go-to mode of transportation in major metropolitan areas where young professionals have begun to tire of traffic on their morning commute!
Once the most expensive (and lamest) game in arcades (an “arcade,” kids, is where we used to go to play video games), virtual reality has become the toast of Silicon Valley with a slew of new apps and devices you can use to escape your mundane day-to-day life.
While it, admittedly, hasn’t yet reached its full potential, everyone is betting that the future of tech is with VR.
Elon Musk seems to be on the forefront of salvaging our planet. With the aforementioned release of the Tesla Model 3, he also unveiled (and began accepting orders for) his long-awaited Solar Roof.
The solar panels of yore were big, bulky and expensive eyesores. Yes, they are far greater than burning fossil fuels but, for the average consumer, they were inefficient and unattainable. The Solar Roof aims to change all that. These solar panels are aesthetically pleasing, mimicking the appearance of expensive shingles, and will last longer than your average roofing.
While they’ll be more expensive upfront, the panels are expected to either reduce greatly, or completely eliminate your home electricity bill. That’s definitely something to get excited about!
In the past, just the stuff of science fiction, the age of the self-driving cars is now here. They’ve already been seen testing the roads in Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas and soon they’ll be in a city near you. In a report published just a few weeks ago, GM stated that they have 130 Chevy Bolt test vehicles ready to be unleashed on city streets.
For its part, the Department of Transportation is ready to make the switch to self-driving cars. They say that these automobiles will speedily save time, money and lives.
Within the next 10 to 20 years, many people in the developed world will have their own personal, digital chauffeur.
In the next ten years, our self-driving electric cars will take us to our solar powered home where we’ll escape reality to play VR video games all night. While this does sound like something out of a Ray Bradbury novel, if we’re burning less fossil fuels and cleaning up our oceans at the same time, then where’s the harm, right?
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