A floating dairy in Rotterdam boasts a herd of 32 cows ©Dario Kleimeer/Goldsmith Architects
A floating dairy in Rotterdam boasts a herd of 32 cows ©Dario Kleimeer/Goldsmith Architects

From ice babies to floating farms: a world of innovation


A floating dairy farm on the banks of Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam is aiming to provide a more sustainable supply of dairy products to the city. The farm, designed by Dutch architects Goldsmith, boasts a herd of 32 cows fed using grass from local football fields, potato peelings from the French fry industry and leftover bran from windmills. 


Fed up with smelly gym kit? Scientists at Portugal’s University of Minho have modified cotton fabrics so they give off a citronella scent when they come into contact with sweat. The process uses a protein found in pig’s noses and a carbohydrate-binding module to bind the scent to the cotton.


3D technology that will allow astronauts to print skin and bones in space has been designed at University Hospital Dresden. The method, which will enable astronauts to be treated in space, uses human blood as “bio-ink” to print the tissue. 


An autonomous bus is helping retirees get around at the Marian Grove Retirement Village in New South Wales. Residents are directed to a virtual bus stop via an app and collected by a BusBot, which calculates the best route to take depending on each passenger’s destination.


Re-freezing the Arctic using a submarine-like structure to create new icebergs has been proposed by designers led by Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha. By removing salt and blasting cold air at collected sea water, ‘ice babies’ would be created and released to form larger floes.


A beach house able to withstand a category five hurricane has been created with plastic bottles, by businesses Armacell and JD Companies. The wall panelling uses PET (polyethylene terephthalate) from melting down 612,000 recycled plastic bottles. 


Removing the need for damaging plastic rings to hold beer cans together, Grupo Modelo is trialling interlocking cans. The firm has developed cans of Corona with an extra lip that can be screwed on top of each other, eliminating the need for plastic rings or bags to transport them. 


Implanting a chip in the brain and connecting it via a small radio headset that links with computer interfaces could help understand and treat paralysed people. Elon Musk – owner of start-up Neuralink – says the implants could enhance brain power and achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence – or “superhuman intelligence”.


Crunching the numbers

Most populous countries: share of the world’s population as of 2018

China 18.70%

India 17.88%

US 4.39%

Indonesia 3.54%

Brazil 2.79%



Amount spent by US brands and retailers on tariffs on apparel and textiles in 2018 amid rising sourcing costs, according to the US Fashion Industry Association’s sixth annual benchmarking report.


Number of firms failing to act on deforestation according to environmental reporting charity CDP. Of the companies that have set long-term goals, 83% end in 2020, the charity said.


The year by which fashion company Inditex – owner of Zara, Bershka and Pull & Bear – has pledged to only use sustainable materials in its clothes. All cotton, linen and polyester will be organic, sustainable or recycled.

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