In my new book, The Future of You (2014), I look at the deep trends and hot cutting-edge technologies affecting the future, not just of fashion, but of...everything, including you - body, mind & soul. I recently published an edited excerpt in Business Buzz, a hot new startup e-zine based in the UAE:
At the tiniest end of the spectrum, researchers are busy recruiting quantum particles for computer processing and memory. Pull back and discover that our Milky Way Galaxy apparently contains several tens of billions of Earth-size, potentially-habitable planets. Even the final inner frontier is being diligently mapped and accessed; you can now slip on a relatively cheap headset that reads your brainwaves and lets you control a robot. With. Your. Thoughts. However, most future-shaping technologies are a lot less obvious. Like the fog in the Carl Sandburg poem, they slip in on little cat feet, quietly trying to solve problems and in the process, unearthing answers in strange places.
Such as a women’s lingerie drawer.
Medical doctors in the 1960s needed a material both flexible and long-lasting for the artificial heart they were constructing. So they did what everyone did: went home and looked around for an object that resembled the tissue or organ they wanted to fix.[v] Unfortunately, girdles and blood don’t play well together; the fiber content of ladies’ shapewear induced blood clots, which could lead to strokes. In fact, many such found materials failed to live up to promise. “So I started thinking, could we have materials we could specifically design for medical purposes, rather than just taking them off the shelf,” says pioneering MIT biomedical engineer Robert Langer, Ph.D. He then developed a polymer wafer used in operations such as brain surgery, where it’s placed on tumors to treat them with targeted drugs. For such a small object, it required an enormous amount of cross-disciplinary activity involving at least ten different specializations, including polymer science, chemical engineering, chemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical science, neurosurgery, pharmacology, medicine, radiology and toxicology.
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- Lesley Scott