Renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil has made some eye-popping predictions about the future of human longevity. For example, by 2030 he predicts average lifespans will grow by one annum per annum. This progress will accelerate rapidly and not too long after, the average person can expect to live for 1,000 years. Now, if having a swarm of nanobots floating around your body repairing cells and damaged DNA seems a little far fetched, it may be comforting to learn that in the meantime, biomaterials innovators have some tricks up their sleeve to help our aging population better heal from disease, trauma, and wear-and-tear. Advanced materials have long played a role in western medicine with ubiquitous products such as cardiac stents, artificial joints, hemodialysis membranes, and artificial heart valves. But biomaterials innovation is accelerating just as pharmaceutical innovation struggles in the context of high technical risk, long timelines, and pushback on ever-increasing treatment costs. As healthcare budgets are increasingly constrained, will these biomaterial innovations turn us all into the Six Million Dollar Man (as seen on the television show about a former astronaut filled with implants, which aired four decades ago) or are they a potential savior to a healthcare system under strain? Let’s take a look at where biomaterials have a big role to play:

The Threes C's of CO2

Posted by on in Sustainability

As we enter into yet another global summit on climate change, this time in Paris over the next month, I am expecting the pattern of previous summits to continue. Backroom deals, posturing, pointing figures, smiling photo ops, speeches, and all of the other things politicians do well. But my faith in this summit actually driving any meaningful reductions five to ten years out is very low, in the context of a world with falling energy prices and national balance sheets requiring growth at all costs. I fall in the camp that believes market driven technology is needed if the climate change problem is to ever be solved. Unfortunately, CO2, a key greenhouse gas (GHG), is a highly stable molecule. Both capturing and converting it to a product of value is typically an uphill battle with highly prohibitive costs. But living plants have evolved over billions of years to become highly efficient users of this gas, so what's stopping us from figuring out how to do the same? Let's see what a few smart people around the world are working on every day:

NASA in Your Pocket

Posted by on in Electronics

For half a century, Moore's Law has charted semiconductor development with incredible accuracy. In 1965, Gordon Moore quantified the scaling principle for semiconductors by predicting that the number of transistors that can be etched on a computer chip would double every one year. He revised it to every two years in 1975. His initial belief was that this would hold for a decade. But five decades later, Moore's Law has held up surprisingly well. However, there is now a belief among many semiconductor engineers and scientists that we will hit a miniaturization wall unless there are major breakthroughs in advanced materials innovation.

Materials for the Masses, part 2

Posted by on in Advanced Materials

In part 1 of this blog, I used water and food as a starting place for how advanced materials are making our world better by improving quality of life in the developing world. I covered topics such as desalination, air conditioning, turning natural gas into food, and even eating bugs!

Materials for the Masses, part 1

Posted by on in Advanced Materials

Recently, Pangaea has been working on a number of opportunities that might not only make our world better (in terms of sustainability), but also look like they can make our lives better (in terms of quality of life). And when I say "our lives", I mean everybody's lives. In this two-part blog, I want to provide a brief overview of some of the opportunities we are following that we think can help raise the standard of living for some of the poorest people on the planet.