Impact Lab


Subscribe Now to Our Free Email Newsletter

» Currently browsing: Breakthrough Thinking


Artificial lifeforms designed by supercomputers are fully programmable

January 14th, 2020 at 11:20 am » Comments Off

This living organism was designed by a supercomputer and assembled in the labSam Kriegman, UVM Robots are made to mimic living creatures, and as smart as they’re becoming, we can still look at them and understand that they aren’t “living” in any real sense. But that line is now beginning to blur. Researchers at the […]



Five principles for thinking like a futurist

January 11th, 2020 at 2:16 am » Comments Off

Thinking about the future allows us to imagine what kind of future we want to live in and how we can get there. In 2018 we celebrated the fifty-year anniversary of the founding of the Institute for the Future (IFTF). No other futures organization has survived for this long; we’ve actually survived our own forecasts! […]



Researchers observe brain-like behavior in nanoscale device

December 30th, 2019 at 12:20 pm » Comments Off

A device like the one in the study (right), and an electron microscope image showing the device’s neuron-like arrangement of nanowires. UCLA scientists James Gimzewski and Adam Stieg are part of an international research team that has taken a significant stride toward the goal of creating thinking machines. Led by researchers at Japan’s National Institute […]



Elon Musk’s company Neuralink plans to connect people’s brains to the internet by next year using a procedure he claims will be as safe and easy as LASIK eye surgery

December 14th, 2019 at 1:35 pm » Comments Off

Elon Musk on Tuesday announced in a livestream that his neurotechnology startup, Neuralink, hoped to begin implanting devices into human brains as early as next year. Musk has invested $100 million into the secretive company since its founding in 2016, according to The New York Times, and he says he hopes it will achieve “symbiosis […]



SLAC scientists invent a way to see attosecond electron motions with an X-ray laser

December 13th, 2019 at 12:53 pm » Comments Off

Called XLEAP, the new method will provide sharp views of electrons in chemical processes that take place in billionths of a billionth of a second and drive crucial aspects of life. Menlo Park, Calif. — Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have invented a way to observe the movements of electrons […]



Teenager solves car blind spots using a webcam and projector

November 13th, 2019 at 1:09 pm » Comments Off

It’s a relatively cheap and remarkably effective fix. As every cyclist knows, the blind spots caused by a car’s roof pillars can be extremely dangerous. Although companies are working on various high-tech solutions for this problem, a 14-year-old from Pennsylvania has taken a more low-tech approach to create an ingenious fix for the issue. Alaina […]



What are the ethical consequences of immortality technology?

November 4th, 2019 at 2:06 pm » Comments Off

Detail from The Fountain of Youth (1546) by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Courtesy Wikipedia Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment – both intellectual and financial – by philosophers, scientists and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be […]



Scientists have figured out a way to turn heat into electricity using magnets!

October 1st, 2019 at 12:19 pm » Comments Off

  Researchers all across the world are looking for ways to harness heat that otherwise would’ve been lost. They’ve put together ingenious solutions to trap atmospheric warmth and turn it into power when the Sun goes down and solar energy cannot be harnessed. However now, scientists have figured out a method to convert heat into […]



Thermoelectric generator harvests renewable energy from the cold of space

September 24th, 2019 at 11:29 am » Comments Off

The thermoelectric generator uses a black aluminum disk to radiate heat into the atmosphere, and a polystyrene enclosure to keep the air inside warm.Aaswath Raman  As effective as solar panels are, one of their major downsides is that they only produce power during the day, so excess energy needs to be stored for use overnight. […]



Is Thorium the fuel of the future to revitalize nuclear?

September 4th, 2019 at 2:32 am » Comments Off

Nuclear energy produces carbon-free electricity, and the United States has used nuclear energy for decades to generate baseline power. Nuclear energy, however, carries a dreaded stigma. After disasters such as Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukishima, the public is acutely aware of the potential, though misguided, dangers of nuclear energy. The cost of nuclear generation […]



Building from thin air & the carbon revolution

August 29th, 2019 at 3:51 pm » Comments Off

Imagine making fuel, plastics, and concrete out of “thin air.” That’s the promise of Direct Air Capture (DAC), a technology that fundamentally disrupts our contemporary oil economy.  Mimicking what already occurs in nature, DAC essentially involves industrial photosynthesis, harnessing the power of the sun to draw carbon directly out of the atmosphere. This captured carbon […]



This startup wants to put a free tiny house in your backyard

August 23rd, 2019 at 11:25 am » Comments Off

Rent the Backyard will get a tiny house into your backyard in a matter of weeks—and hopes it can add some cheaper apartments in cities to help alleviate the housing crisis. In cities with housing shortages, little room to build, and opposition to new construction, building small cottages in backyards can be one way to […]



are certificates more valuable than college degrees?