Lucy Hughes has developed MarinaTex, a bioplastic made from fish skin ©STUART ROBINSON/SUSSEX UNI
Lucy Hughes has developed MarinaTex, a bioplastic made from fish skin ©STUART ROBINSON/SUSSEX UNI

Fish skin and green charcoal: a world of innovation

Where supply chains make a difference

MarinaTex is a new bioplastic made from fish skin and scales that is strong, flexible and home compostable. The translucent material won the developer Lucy Hughes, a former product design student at the University of Sussex, the 2019 James Dyson Award for design engineers. 

Crops, including tomato, radish, rye, spinach, peas and leeks, can be grown in simulated lunar dust and Martian soil, as shown by a programme at the Wageningen University & Research. The project has investigated the possibilities of agriculture in the event of colonisation of Mars and the Moon. 

Motivated by the challenge of Phnom Penh’s rubbish problem (up to 3,000 tonnes of waste is generated in the capital every day), a young team funded by USAID and AI company ArrowDot have developed a SmartBin that can sort rubbish for recycling. Using sensors, the bin can divide metal from plastic, and a smart screen even rewards users for their efforts. 

Papua New Guinea
Local artisan weavers can connect with their customers and develop their business using the Biluminous app, created by father and daughter team Jonathan and Crystal Kewe. as part of the APEC app challenge. 

The BhuGoal makes real-time localised rain forecasts using AI and data from TV signals, helping remote farming communities that rely on successful harvests, and that can be badly affected by unpredictable rainfall. Created by a team from Chitkara University, it is able to predict rainfall down to the minute.

Providing an eco-friendly alternative to charcoal was the aim of Chebet Lesan when she set up BrightGreen Renewable Energy. The social enterprise makes safe, clean, affordable charcoal from urban and farm waste, cutting down on deforestation and helping women support their families. 

The filters on these turbines can collect up to 80 tonnes of plastic rubbish in rivers. The turbines are designed by Inty Grønneberg to fit easily to river boats of any size and prevent waste from reaching the ocean. 

Google says it has achieved ‘quantum supremacy’ as its powerful supercomputer is able to compute in minutes problems that would typically take 10,000 years. Made in partnership with NASA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the 54 qubit Sycamore supercomputer will be used for the next missions to the Moon and Mars. 

Crunching the numbers

The number of global users Facebook is expected to reach  in 2020, up from 1.34 million in 2014. As of October 2019, India had the most Facebook users, at 269m, followed by the US at 183m. 

Portion of UK invoices issued in 2019 that were paid late – an improvement on 2018’s figure of 43%. Invoices that were paid late in 2019 were on average valued at £34,286.

New cars delivered by Tesla in 2019, compared to 245,200 in 2018. Analysts predict the company could deliver as many as half a million vehicles in 2020, partly thanks to the opening of its first gigafactory in China. 

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