The main global innovator in 2019 was undoubtedly Elon Musk, who has recently been making technological breakthroughs in several science-intensive industries simultaneously.
The companies owned by him presented a revolutionary technology for connecting the human brain to a computer, launched the first 60 satellites into orbit for continuous coverage of the planet with the Internet, carried out a controlled take-off and landing on a prototype of the Starship interplanetary spacecraft, and produced a Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup truck in the style of cyberpunk.
In the past year, smartphones with flexible screens went on sale for the first time, and the technology of passive cleaning of the ocean from plastic has finally become effective.
In addition, the paralyzed patient was connected to an exoskeleton, the developers of the bipedal robotic loaders launched commercial sales, and the electric bike became the main transport.
1. City nuclear reactor
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized the American startup Unscaled to build a test nuclear power plant in Idaho (USA). The startup will assemble 12 small reactors there. The start of work is scheduled for 2026.
The developed Unscaled reactor is small and, according to its creators, is much safer than any modern nuclear reactors. It is easier to fit into a protective casing and easier to control in case of an emergency.
It can be located within the city and supply it with electricity, and without losses during transmission over many kilometers.
Thus, the landscape will get rid of power lines that are dangerous to people. The developers announce a new clean energy source that they say is as good as wind or solar power.
In the Unscaled reactor, the core is cooled by circulating ordinary fresh water, as is the case in modern operating nuclear power plants, but on a much smaller scale and due to gravity.
Due to its size, the reactor contains very little nuclear fuel that is easy to control. Musicale’s capacity is 60 MW per hour, which is tens and hundreds of times less than the capacity of nuclear power plants. If necessary, the number of reactors can be increased, resulting in the required amount of energy.
In November 2019, an impressive video of a Royal Marines reservist Richard Browning flying on a jetpack appeared on the Twitter page of the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth.
Browning founded Gravity Industries in 2017 and has been developing the Jet Suite jet suit ever since.
Power – 1,050 hop With. Fuel – Jet A1 or Diesel. Dry weight – 27 kg. Flight time – up to 10 minutes. The maximum flight speed is 136 km / h. The maximum flight altitude is 3 600 m.
The suit uses five small jet engines. One is mounted on the wearer’s back, two on each hand. The cost of the suit is 440 thousand dollar.
4. Cleaning the ocean from plastic
After years of development and a series of test failures, in December 2019, The Ocean Cleanup announced the first successful launch of a system that collects ocean plastic debris in passive mode.
In 2013, the startup The Ocean Cleanup, led by Boylan Slat, presented to the public a U-shaped device designed to passively collect plastic in ocean waters.
The system was designed to progressively clear the Great Debris Patch in the Pacific Ocean, a veritable island of floating waste.
In addition, the device was supposed to catch small particles of plastic, which are abundant in the waters of the oceans.
The original design had a number of drawbacks, due to which some of the debris fell back into the ocean. However, the team now assures that they have found a way to make the device sealed.
For the first time, the system showed itself in action, having extracted a whole mountain of debris covered with algae. “It looks like he’s been floating in the water for decades,” Slat suggests.
At the heart of the rise in cycling are many technological innovations: predictive analytics, mobile apps, wireless communications, digital urban planning tools, 3D printing, electrification.
These innovations make the bike safer, faster, more comfortable, and provide accurate information on travel speeds and routes. This in turn makes the bike more and more attractive in terms of first and last mile transport.
Increased use of city bicycles, analysts at Deloitte write, could lead to significant social change: less traffic, less pollution, less traffic on public transport and better health.