All posts by Lucy Ingham

In Pictures: This Week’s Most Futuristic Designs


Dragon V2 Manned Space Capsule

On Thursday SpaceX, the private space company founded by Elon Musk, unveiled its new and improved Dragon V2 space capsule, which will be used to shuttle astronauts and cargo between Earth and the International Space Station. The capsule offers improvements over its predecessor, including an autonomous docking system and a helicopter-style landing system.

Image courtesy of SpaceX.


Bubble Air Dome

Designed by London-based architecture firm Orproject, this is a proposal for a bubble filled with clean air for people living in Beijing, a city notorious for smog problems. Plants growing inside the bubble would maintain the air quality, making the space a kind of enclosed park for residents to come and breathe freely.

Via BBC News.


Strooder 3D Printing Filament Extruder

3D printing is the hot new thing, but plastic filament makes the whole process an expensive business. Enter Strooder, a nifty plastic filament extruder that is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Pour inexpensive plastic pellets into the hopper at the top and the machine turns it into 3D printing-ready filament.

Via Kickstarter.


BMW Motorrad Roadster Concept

This futuristic roadster concept from BMW is a one-off design unveiled at the 2014 Concours d’Elegance Villa d’Este, a yearly motor show renowned for its showcasing of historic and concept cars alike. The roadster has a 1,170cc boxer engine and a light tubular frame, and boasts an impressive 123 horsepower at 7,750rpm.

Via DesignBoom.


MiCoach Smart Ball

Tech and football are getting ever closer, and this training ball by Adidas is a classic example. Packed with sensors to identify how players interact with the ball, the MiCoach sends data to a paired iPhone via Bluetooth. The ball features some clever design touches, including a charging pad to negate the need to a cable to power it up.

Via Silicon Republic.

Genetically engineered mosquitoes released in bid to fight disease

Mosquitoes that have been genetically engineered to produce non-viable offspring were released today in Panama in an attempt to tackle the country’s growing dengue fever problem.

Dengue fever is a severe flu-like disease that can sometimes be fatal. It is spread by Aedes aegypti, a type of mosquito that is found in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world.

The disease is only spread by female mosquitoes, so scientists at Oxitec genetically engineered mosquitoes to carry a lethal gene that would kill the offspring of any female that they mate with.

By releasing these genetically engineered mosquitoes into Panama, it is hoped that the disease-carrying insects will be wiped out, resulting in fewer cases of dengue fever.


Serious concerns have been raised over the disease as it is increasing rapidly on a global scale, helped in part climate change.  The World Health Organisation estimates there to be 50-100 million cases each year.

Panama in particular has seen a marked increase in incidences of the disease. In 2012 there were 1,000 reported cases, but by 2013 this had risen to 3,000.

“Dengue fever is a major concern in Panama,” explained Panamanian health organisation the Gorgas Institute director Dr Nestor Sosa.

“The methods we have for controlling the dengue mosquito are limited and are increasingly of limited effectiveness: dengue cases in this country tripled between 2012 and 2013.”

There are also fears that climate change could result in the disease could spread to areas previously unaffected as climate change increases rainfall and temperatures.

In April UK-based biologist Dr Steve Lindsay warned that diseases spread by insects were on the rise in Mediterranean Europe, and could spread further north.

Genetic engineering is increasingly being seen as an environmentally friendly way to tackle insects that are a threat to human life and health.

Oxitec, the company behind the engineered mosquitoes, is a specialist in this field, having previously provided similar insects to tackle the issue in Brazil and the Cayman Islands. The company is also investigating the technology to protect crops from insect pests.

The technology is, however, still relatively new and many health institutes will be watching carefully to see if it can be deployed on a large scale.

“Oxitec’s technology has shown great promise in Brazil and the Cayman Islands; it’s efficient, effective, and can reduce reliance on pesticides,” added Sosa.

“Assuming we can show it to be equally effective here, we could be looking at an important new addition to our existing approaches for controlling the dengue mosquito – and that would be very good news for the people of Panama”.

Featured image courtesy of M via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Inline image and video courtesy of Oxitec.