This is super interesting. I am really excited by the innovation fund, however, I do wonder if UNICEF actively inviting innovation might cause some people in government to think, “Ahh, we don’t need to keep investing in UNICEF because they’re using their spare money to invest in startups.” While I don’t have this problem, I suspect that initiatives like this could get certain nationalist-leaning parties up in arms. I personally hope they find lots of great initiatives though to prove any skeptics wrong.
What a great article. I think you really touched on the key point with your scalability question. For any tech firm, the key is to create something that can then go to work at large scale without needing additional employees for the additional work. To this point though, I think it is possible for them to create a framework of options that small- and medium-sized city managers could use to propose projects; like a menu. Honestly, this is the kind of a project that could revitalize rural America, a place that could sorely use it.
Although I personally have no problem with GMOs and don’t know any farmers who do either, I definitely know many who are not well pleased with Monsanto’s previous practices, so I think the trust issue is definitely the key point. It seems like all future companies will be in the data business. The ones with the most data will win and, to a certain extent, that’s good. It incentivizes companies and individuals to be on the cutting edge. Then the market rewards them. Unfortunately, to Al’s point, the monopolist seldom neglects to erect barriers to entry and success begets more success. If you look at tech today, while there are many many companies, most don’t have a direct competitor: Google is dominant in search, Microsoft in OSs, Facebook in social networking, etc. Because of this, I do share the author’s concerns about a furthering of Monsanto’s hegemony in the global agriculture industry.
This is a really interesting idea, but I wonder how applicable it might be to other products. While someone’s razor handle is a durable item that sort of says something about who you are, I doubt many people feel that way about their toothbrushes that are supposed to be thrown away every three months. This is even more true when it comes to shampoo bottles and other products where the bottle is just a conveyance and gets tossed once the product inside is exhausted. I totally would buy a 3D printed razor blade handle though as long as the price wasn’t ridiculous, so maybe there is a market for “personalized toothbrushes”. I guess we’ll find out in the years to come.
Awesome article! What they’re doing is so interesting and possibly game changing that it makes me want to see if they need MBAs on their team. Although some might come up with ethical issues with this, I personally only see upside. Even if it takes time for the technology to be available to the masses, if it were not for the few who are ready and willing to pay for medical advances, they wouldn’t be made in the first place and then nobody would have them. Great stuff.
Very informative. Looks like data scientist is going to be a very employable skill for the foreseeable future while we transition from an analog world to a digital one. It’s especially interesting to me, though, how data science is here being used to bring more analog resources online. Based on what you implied, it doesn’t seem very far off before we’ll be using machine-learning trained models to 3D print customized wind turbines for each specific hill on a ridge. That might seem crazy now, but 100 years ago we thought fossil fuels were inexhaustible, so who knows what’s possible! It makes me wonder what the barriers to entry are for a field like this. Maybe we need a Schlumberger for the wind and solar industry.
Great submission! I was quite surprised that they ended up with a soft shell on the outside, that will certainly do away with the crack of the hit we’re used to hearing. I wonder whether or not AM will end up being cheaper in the end once they have perfected their design. Could it really be cheaper to use hundreds of AM machines than to produce molds and manufacture in a low-cost country? It seems to me that this application may stay limited to ultra-fast prototyping in this context. However, I could imagine that as 3D printing goes mainstream, you could get a new helmet printed at the local printer before heading to your new game. Also, I actually think the price is quite reasonable. It’s highly likely that schools and even youth leagues will be willing to shell out to protect their kids.
Great essay! I certainly wouldn’t want to see Boeing get into fields outside of aerospace, I totally agree that AM should allow Boeing to explore new shapes. For example, maybe it’s possible to vary the camber and angle of the wing as it moves from root to tip to be more efficient at high speeds while retaining low-speed stability and lift characteristics.