Bull Session

Bioprinting

March 16, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we discuss bioprinting, its various applications, from 3D printing bones to organs, and the implications for design and science. There are, of course, many uses for 3D printing in healthcare — for instance, the creation of prosthetic limbs. Bioprinting, in contrast, involves the construction of living tissue via the output of multiple layers of living cells. While bioprinting is still very much at its nascent stages, the various techniques for creating 3D organic objects have had some early triumphs, including the construction of functional blood vessels. While reproducing cells in the lab has been done for many years — skin tissue, blood vessels, etc — bioprinting, which leverages natural processes, offers the opportunity to create more complex tissue, and perhaps even complete organs. Join us as we discuss the future of bioprinting.

Resources

Synthetic Future: Revolutionary Center Will 3D-Print Human Tissues and Organs

Bull Session

Designing Deception

March 9, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we discuss deceptive software in light of the recent revelations that Uber used its Greyball application to evade and thwart municipal officials nationwide, who were looking to regulate or otherwise monitor the service. This has a similar flavor to the Volkswagen story from last year, in which the company installed special software in its diesel powered cars to specifically reduce emissions during testing by authorities. What are the ways in which consumers now need to be aware of these deceptive practices? And how should we navigate the marketplace?

Resources

How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide

Bull Session

Biomimicry

March 2, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about biomimicry and nature-inspired design. As design and science intersect, biomimicry is becoming an increasingly important method for engineering new products. Recent examples include bullet train engineers imitating the beak of the Kingfisher bird to improve the aerodynamics of the train’s nose; wind turbine designers creating fins inspired by the Humpback whale to reduced drag and improved lift; and automobile engineers at Ford developing a recycled paper honeycomb material to gives the cargo area of the new EcoSport exceptional strength. Scientists, engineers, and designers across many different industries are drawing inspiration from nature’s materials and seeking to understand and imitate them.

Resources:
The Best of Biomimicry: Here’s 7 Examples of Nature-Inspired Design
Ford Looks to AI, Biomimicry Solutions to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Bull Session

Open Source Design

February 23, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about how open source design is being brought to bear on some of the most important problems of the 21st century, including creating new tools for urban agriculture, home building, and medicine. For instance, furniture retailer Ikea recently released open source designs for a garden sphere, an urban agriculture project that can feed a neighborhood. Open source design, the Maker movement and desktop / DIY manufacturing are converging in interesting ways. Join us as we discuss.
Resources:
Ikea Lab Releases Free Designs for a Garden Sphere That Feeds a Neighborhood
Open Source Ecology
A Open Source Toolkit for Building Your Own Home
3D Design Contest for Medical Tools in Africa

Bull Session

The Autonomous Auto Industry

February 16, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we chat about Ford’s recent billion dollar investment in self-driving cars and what that might mean for the future of the auto industry. Ford Motor recently announced their $1B investment in Argo AI, a start-up developing autonomous vehicle tech in Pittsburg with former Google and Uber experts at the helm.

Ford is a the latest major American automaker to throw their hat in the autonomous vehicle ring. The field is already a crowded one: GM, Chrysler, Uber, Google, Tesla, and Apple all want a piece of that market. But, as the race heats up, the industry will need to consider questions of infrastructure, regulation, insurance, and policy. What will the government’s role and investment be in this burgeoning industry? How will the laws governing self-driving cars shape up?

Resources:
Ford to Invest $1 Billion in Artificial Intelligence Start-Up