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Making

Explore the environmental implications of the “next production revolution” (NPR), which “has the potential to completely change how production will be organized at the global scale…[and] will bring about important economic and social change which have important implications for policy making (OECD  2015).” This includes:

  • distributed manufacturing enabled by 3-D printinggreen bottles
  • the maker/do it yourself (DIY) movements
  • the post-ownership and sharing economy
  • the emerging bioeconomy
  • the convergence of nano, bio, and information technologies

 

Environmentalism in a Post-Ownership Society. ELI is currently looking at the energy and environmental implica­tions of the so-called “sharing econo­my.” While sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb have grown exponentially over the past five years, rela­tively little research has been conducted on their impacts or opportunities for them to address environmental chal­lenges. An article in The Environmental Forum addresses this issue, as will a soon-to-be-published workshop report.  So check back soon.

The Future of Biotechnology: Dave Rejeski was part of a committee convened by the National Acadamies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to explore the future of biotechnology.  The comittee's report: Future Bioltechnology Products and Opportunities to Enhance Capabilities of the Biotechnology Regulatory System is available here.

If We Can Make Meat Without Cows and Eggs Without Chickens, Would You Eat It?  Imagine the future earth with 9 billion people.  How will we provide enough protein to feed our population?  ELI recently partnered with the non-profit New Harvest to explore public perceptions and attitudes toward the production and consumption of synthetically engineered food. The project will enable more strategic invest­ments in agriculture research at the cellular level to de­velop an alternative food supply through stakeholder engagement. Curious about our findings from recent focus groups? Read Perceptions of Cellular Agriculture: Key Findings From Qualitative Research. Learn more at http://www.new-harvest.org/focus_groups

Mom, Can I Print the Dinner Plates?  Additive manufacturing, better known as 3-D printing, opens up endless opportunities for prototyping and producing complex objects.  But questions remain: What technologies are involved in 3D printing? How efficient are these technologies in the use of materials and energy? Does the design of printed objects reduce end-of-life options? Does more localized production reduce the carbon footprint? Will simplicity and ubiquity cause us to overprint things, just as we do with paper? Read this article from The Environmental Forum.

Is 3-D Printing A Game Changer? Watch this interview of Dave Rejeski, Director of Technology, Innovation and Environment, to learn more. 

Revolutions in Making. Now that scientists are developing mindboggling new materials every year, what does it mean to be a designer and maker in the 21st century?  A few thoughts about designing and making at the scale of one-billionth of a meter.