A smart paint that cools your home

A new high-tech paint from SolCold that cools when exposed to sunlight could provide a better way to cool buildings and perhaps even solve the long-standing problem of cooling things in space. In hot weather, electricity consumption soars as people turn on the air conditioning, pushing the grid to its limits and raising energy bills. The SolCold technology uses a double-layered coating to reduce temperatures by up to 10 degrees C below those attained with traditional white paint coating. The paint has tested well in the lab, with some caveats-so far it works better on metal roofs than concrete, and is more successful over rooms with low ceilings than high ones. Although this paint is more expensive than standard options, it’s said to offer quite substantial energy savings- a decrease in energy consumption by up to 60 percent, while lasting 10 to 15 years before needing a new coat. The first clients are thus expected to come from the business world. www.solcold.com

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Getting in early with alzheimers

An international team of scientists have just completed the first step in developing a blood test that can predict whether you have an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s – working up to 20 years before symptoms develop. Two scientists from CSIRO helped validate the test… with the power of imaging and biostatistics. This research may translate into more efficient trials for treatment and prevention in coming years. https://blog.csiro.au/bloody-data-biostatistics-first-blood-test-alzheimers

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A banking app that encourages you to save

The new Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s retail banking app will allow alerts to be sent to debit card holders if they spend too much on potentially damaging products like alcohol and gaming, as the bank encourages saving. While you can turn the spending tracker off, trials showed 97 per cent of customers want to use it. CBA aims to show the customer the consequences of spending choices then encourage them to make better savings decisions. The model is the local bank manager of days past who knows your name and gives a few suggestions about what you should do. CBA is creating that sort of connection in the digital age. http://www.afr.com/business/banking-and-finance/financial-services/cba-to-redflag-destructive-spending-in-savings-push-20180127-h0pc2w?

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Vertical farming

Vertical farming allows for food production using a tiny fraction of the water and land of conventional agriculture and without the use of pesticides or fertilisers. San Francisco-headquartered Plenty, with funding from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is building enormous indoor farms to grow fresh produce – mainly greens at this point – close to or inside cities where they will be eaten, which cuts down on the CO2 required to transport food. https://www.plenty.ag/

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Floating buildings made of plastic bottles that withstand storms

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Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to flooding, storms, and impact from sea level rise. An Amsterdam-based architecture firm called Waterstudio has come up with one possible solution: floating structures that can withstand storms made from thousands of discarded plastic bottles. http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/11/these-floating-buildings-are-made-from-thousands-of-plastic-bottles

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The world’s first Ai-driven healthcare service.

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GP at Hand is an app-based primary care service in London that offers video consultations 24/7 and face to face appointments. It uses technology provided by Babylon Health. Their purpose is to “put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on earth.“ They promise that patients will be able to book an appointment within seconds via a smartphone app and have a video consultation with a GP typically within under two hours of booking “anytime, anywhere”. Those who need it can then see a GP face to face within 48 hours at one of six sites across London. https://www.babylonhealth.com/

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An empathetic customer service agent

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AVA chatbot is an ideal customer service agent: empathetic, patient and unflappable under pressure. AVA, which stands for Autodesk Virtual Agent, was designed by New Zealand AI startup Soul Machines to have “emotions” and a virtual “nervous system” to listen to customers’ voices and respond to queries with humanlike precision. Ava can understand what the customer is asking for and even if they need to direct the customer to a human agent. https://www.soulmachines.com/

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Reusable bread bags

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Onya’s vintage styled reusable Bread Bags are designed to carry your bread home in style without any packaging waste. They are also perfect to use as storage for the home baker. Simply bake, allow your loaf to cool, slice and store in your reusable bread bag. Due to the unique roll and clip closure, you can simply roll down the closure as the loaf is eaten to ensure maximum freshness is maintained by reducing air movement around the bread.‪ https://www.onyalife.com/product/reusable-bread-bag/‬

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Startup countries that are floating islands

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A new company, Blue Frontiers, plans to build and operate floating islands in French Polynesia. The goal is to build about a dozen structures by 2020, including homes, hotels, offices and restaurants, at a cost of about $60 million. To fund the construction, the team is working on an initial coin offering. If all goes as planned, the structures will feature living roofs, use local wood, bamboo and coconut fiber, and recycled metal and plastic. Each will offer different ways of governance hoping that with more choices it will be more likely that there is peace, prosperity and innovation. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/13/business/dealbook/seasteading-floating-cities.html

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No more vehicle permits

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Singapore will stop issuing new vehicle permits starting February 2018. The government points to limited space available in the city-state as the reason for the halt in vehicle growth. They plan to reduce the vehicle growth rate from 0.25 percent per year to 0 percent for cars and motorcycles. Due to the limited space available, Singapore controls the number of vehicles on the road to a great degree. https://futurism.com/singapore-will-stop-adding-new-cars-to-its-roads-in-2018/

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