â€˜Travelodge Future of Sleepâ€™ study, carried out by award-winning futurologist Ian Pearson, has investigated the impact of new technology on sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can make you irritable, hysterical, or unable to process information. Todd Maddox, a psychology professor at the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Texas in Austin says, “The brain regions that are impaired when you are sleep-deprived are the same ones that are impaired with aging.” We all perform better when we’ve had enough sleep. Sleep is restorative. This is because while you are sleeping a number of important processes are going on. One theory is that sleep letsÂ the brain resets itself, “Sleep may also be important for consolidating new memories, and to allow the brain to â€˜forgetâ€™ the random, unimportant impressions of the day, so there is room for more learning the next day.” Another theory is that sleep lets you solve problems. At Georgetown University, researchers found that during naps the right hemisphere of the brain was extremely active and busy transmitting information to the inactive left hemisphere of the brain.Â The right hemisphere is responsible for creativityÂ and big-picture thinking, while the left is analytical and skilled at things like language and processing math, so “The new findings suggest that it’s possible naps, by enhancing the creative side of the brain, help us solve problems.”
So sleep is important. How will we regulate and leverage it in the future? We’ve seen futuristic movies like The Fifth Element, or Cloud Atlas, in which machines put a person to sleep for the appropriate amount of time and then wake them up. Will we all be sleeping in special pods? Â Apparently by 2030 sleep technology will be able to offer us, among other things, a variety of new services while we sleep: lessons that we learn in our sleep (like language or skill learning), control over our dreams, virtual love making, medical diagnosis, and internal (in our brain) sleep-cycle alarms.Â Research has been done on hotels of the future that will supposedly provide the perfect atmosphere for sleep, providing everything from fabrics that produce your favorite scent and tactile experience, to 3D skins you can upload that turn your hotel room into your home. The value of sleep is being discovered as more and more research develops, and it is clear that technology will drastically change the way we sleep in the future.
For me 2012 has been a year full of conferences and projects that have all accidentally promoted the same thing: cross-disciplinary, collaborative innovation. Today I learned about something called the Barefoot Tablet, a computer that caters to the 850 million illiterate people in the world who need visually intuitive technology to communicate and grow. This product came from a project developed by Tomorrow Labs, a cross-disciplinary team of design thinkers, makers, researchers and strategists, which helps solve the problems your community is facing.
Watch this introduction to learn a little more about Tomorrow Labs:
Tomorrow Labs is set up in such a way that their cross-disciplinary team helps you and your team go from problem to creative solution to concrete plan with actionable steps. Just by thinking of the issue from several different angles with sustainable and desirable design as the anchor. I’m happy to say that there are other organizations trying to make changes in the world by thinking outside of the box. Tomorrow Labs is just one compelling example.
As population increases, more homes need to be built. As population and consumption increase, so will our piles of garbage. So, it’s safe to say that in the future we need to build more homes and efficiently dispose of more garbage. How can we build more homes while putting less garbage into landfills? If you skeptically answered “build homes with garbage?” you are correct. The eco-brick is Susanne Heisse’s brilliant answer to alternative trash management. AsÂ founder of Pura Vida, Heisse designed the eco-brick out of aÂ plastic bottle stuffed with inorganic trash that, when sufficiently stuffed, can be used as a building block for homes and schools. As of today eco-bricks have been used to build more than 200 schools and several homes throughout Central America. Watch this video and learn more about the super simple, super effective eco-brick.
Last week the Ten Conference drew quite the multidisciplinary crowd to the beautiful Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth. Given the innovative and futuristic nature of Ten, all types of people attend- from artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs to publicly traded people.
Thatâ€™s right, Mike Merrill is the worldâ€™s only publicly traded person. From profession to obsession, you can skillfully orchestrate almost every part of this manâ€™s life by purchasing stock in him here. Peter McGraw runs HURL, the Humor Research Lab that focuses on what makes things funny. Beth Kolko uses her company Shift Labs to designÂ innovative health technologies for low resource communities. Shift Labs opts for a more forward-thinking approach to research, encouraging anyone with any background to send in their inventive ideas and solutions to fuel the search for solutions to global issues.
In fact, this cross-discipline collaboration mentality is a major theme throughout TEN. Â New York’s renowned DIY bio lab, Gen Space, isÂ dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology. Anyone with an interest in biotech can show up to learn and play. Actually the entire conference is separated into 10 categories with engaging titles like Hackademia and Makerspace that playfully urge you to have fun with science and technology. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the One to the World broadcast of TEN (coming soon) and be sure to show up next year!
This weekend I had the privilege of attending an exciting and relatively new endeavor called the State of the Arts 2012 Symposium in the Vortex Dome at LA Center Studios. Â Held by c3: Center for Conscious Creativity, the purpose of this symposium is to foster creative and innovative ideas from various arts communities that intend to put them into action, and awaken a new kind of future for all of us.
Joining creativity scientists like Dr. Robert Bilder with mindfulness educators like Diana Winston, this event is brimming with possibilities that push the boundaries of what is possible when art frolics with the future. Almost every type of art has a representative at this event. Dr. David Lindsay Wright represents the future of film by combining his international expertise in Futures Studies and filmmaking. Be on the lookout for his newest project, f3, which is sure to raise awareness and cultivate innovation through film on a global scale. Psychologist andÂ video gameÂ creator Dana Klisanin is cooking up a revolutionary game that turns playtime into an opportunity to make a real impact on the worldâ€™s most complex challenges. Cyberhero LeagueÂ will soon be launching an Indiegogo campaign, so donâ€™t miss your chance to support the development of the game and ultimately, the world.
From video games, to film festivals, to dance performances, storytelling is a big theme throughout the symposium, as most art can be interpreted as a form of storytelling. According to Sandra de Castro Buffington, Director of Hollywood Health & Society, TV storylines can and should be used as a method to reach out to society. Writing television shows with a purpose in mind truly does make an impact on the future. Â Hollywood Health & Society uses research and industry outreach to create storylines that portray real world experiences. Through these storylines, writers are able to embed valuable messages Â about important health and social issues, oftentimes offering resources and solutions to the public.
These are just a few of the exciting artistic projects that are being born and bred right now to enact real change for a better future. A special thanks to c3 Founder Kate McCallum for her dedication to keeping this stimulating symposium alive- now let’s bring it up to Seattle!