Skip to main content

Better Food through Science



Earth is running out of farmable land and fresh water. This is partly because our food production systems are incredibly inefficient. It takes an astounding 1799 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef.

Fortunately, a variety of new technologies are being developed to improve our food system.
For example, entrepreneurs are developing new food products that are tasty and nutritious substitutes for traditional foods but far more environmentally friendly. The startup Impossible Foods invented meat products that look and taste like the real thing but are actually made of plants.




Their burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and produces 87% less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional burgers. Other startups are creating plant-based replacements for milk, eggs, and other common foods. Soylent is a healthy, inexpensive meal replacement that uses advanced engineered ingredients that are much friendlier to the environment than traditional ingredients.

Some of these products are developed using genetic modification, a powerful scientific technique that has been widely mischaracterized as dangerous. According to a study by the Pew Organization, 88% of scientists think genetically modified foods are safe.

Another exciting development in food production is automated indoor farming. Due to advances in solar energy, sensors, lighting, robotics, and artificial intelligence, indoor farms have become viable alternatives to traditional outdoor farms.

Compared to traditional farms, automated indoor farms use roughly 10 times less water and land. Crops are harvested many more times per year, there is no dependency on weather, and no need to use pesticides.

Comments

Amazon

Popular posts from this blog

The house that tracks your kids

The “telepathic” Google Latitude Doorbell, another product developed by Rose and colleagues, lets you know where your family members are and when they are approaching home. The data about each family member’s whereabouts comes from Google Latitude — transmitted from a smart device — but is communicated only as ambient doorbell chimes, a unique one for each person.
This has a pretty adorable origin story. Rose came up with the idea by merging the sound effects in “Peter and the Wolf” (a song for each character) and the Harry Potter series’ Weasley family clock, a magical device that keeps tabs on each child.

A coffee table that eavesdrops

Imagine sitting with a friend over coffee and telling her about your recent trip to Italy. Voila! Pictures of the trip suddenly emerge under your mugs. When you mention the delicious gelato you tasted near the Pantheon, the corresponding picture flashes on the table as you speak. Billed as an “instant photo album,” the Facebook Coffee Table uses real-time speech analysis to pick up keywords from your conversation to pull up relevant Facebook feed photos. Rose is currently fine-tuning the design for a major hotel chain to function as a self-service concierge. The hotel table will feature nearby events, restaurant suggestions and displays about traffic and weather.

The onesie that monitors your baby

High-tech helicopter parent, this one’s for you. The Mimo Baby Shirt measures infant respiration, skin temperature, body position, sleep patterns and activity levels. The organic (of course) cotton onesie is fitted with machine-washable sensors that can be monitored in real time through your home’s Wi-Fi network. It also includes a microphone, so that you can stream your baby’s sound to your smartphone, and the accompanying app allows you to crunch analytics about your baby’s sleep patterns. Originally marketed to medical device development companies, they had a direct-to-consumer eureka moment when parents began contacting them to use their sensors, and, according to their website, they “haven’t looked back since.” For $299 — a package that includes three onesies that come in only one size for infants up to 3 months — you can pick up one of these at your local Babies “R” Us.