The world is where it’s today thanks largely to the technological innovations that have been made throughout history. People have always worked to improve life for everyone with great ideas and inventions, and this is still true today.
While it might seem like good news is hard to come by nowadays, in truth the world is getting better. Poverty is falling, for example, as is world hunger. There are lots of factors that are going into these improvements, but new technologies are definitely playing an important role.
These are often the product of startups and small businesses, with innovators forming companies to make their ideas a reality. Here are three of the most incredible new products and services that will help make the world a better place:
1. Energy Vault: a new kind of renewable energy
One of the main problems with renewable energy is it often can’t be generated 24/7 - solar power won’t be generated at night, for example - so there has to be a method of storage. Unfortunately, batteries come with environmental issues and can be expensive when dealing with large amounts of power. This is where Energy Vault comes in.
Instead of storing electricity using the chemical energy in batteries, the company’s invention uses gravity. As excess power is generated, it’s used to lift 35-tonne bricks into the air with cranes. To access this energy, the blocks are lowered, spinning generators as they do.
Robert Piconi, co-founder and CEO of Energy Vault, said:
Now you can couple [solar] and low-cost wind with our storage and for the first time replace fossil fuels with renewables 24 hours a day.
The invention is so good, it recently won the Energy category at Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards.
2. Ecological Living Module: self-sustaining tiny houses
The housing crisis is a growing issue for many countries, both developed and developing. Building new homes is a resource-intensive process, and tackling climate change is also a key issue in the modern world. So what if there was a way to deal with both problems at once?
UN Environment and UN Habitat have been collaborating to create sustainable eco-housing. A recent development at the University of Yale has showcased what this might look like. It features solar energy, sustainable water capture and integrates waste management with micro-farming to provide a self-sustaining environment in which to live.
3. One Concern: flood-predicting technology
One Concern’s CEO and cofounder, Ahmad Wani, experienced a disastrous flood in 2014. He survived, but saw many who didn’t, including his neighbors when their house collapsed. As a result, he turned his attention to disaster response, and recently released a platform called Flood Concern.
The software works by using AI to predict where flooding might occur up to five days before a storm hits, and visualizes the areas that are likely to get hit badly by water surges. This enables local authorities to plan out their response and protect those who are most vulnerable.