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Living in the Future: Life-saving Foam, Gravity Powered Lights, and Speedy Airships

This week on We are Living in the Future: Foam that saves lives when injected into the body, lights powered only by gravity, and modern-day airships that can travel at upwards of 130 mph!

Internal bleeding is one of the major injuries of a battlefield that still claims lives before medical assistance can be reached, as there’s no non-invasive way to sew up internal injuries. But a new development in expansive foam works to hold the internal wounds together until a surgeon can stich them up. Other foams have been tried in the past, but always tried to mesh with the blood – Arsenal Medical’s version, on the other hand, repells blood, allowing it to push the internal wounds together. The foam can be injected with minimal training, an advantage under stressful conditions, and stabilizes the patient. The foam is removable in surgery, after it has served its purpose.

In rural areas, lighting can often be a problem. Traditionally, kerosene or oil lamps would burn fuel, but with the supply of oil running out, new ideas are being investigated. A new self-contained light source has been developed thanks to a crowdfunding development model – this light relies solely on gravity to produce enough power to run an LED for 30 minutes. It runs like an old cukoo clock, using a weight to pull against a generator. The final product is expected to be less than $15, allowing it to be used in areas of extreme poverty or distance from the grid.

If you think of an airship – like a blimp or zeppelin – you likely think of the images of cigar-shaped, slow-moving, unwieldy craft that required ground crews to assist, and could be blown off course easily. Well, finally, after nearly 100 years, a new airship design by Aeros has been prototyped and demonstrated that can land and takeoff without ground assistance, and travel at more than 130 mph, using less than a third of the fuel used by airplanes. The “Pelican” controls its height using helium, which it can pump into its bladder, or compressed into cylinders. Compressing the helium makes the buoyancy negative, allowing the airship to control its height with precision. The end goal of Aeros is to have a 450-ft long craft, able to carry a 66-ton payload over 3000 km without refueling, allowing airships to replace costly helicopters in many uses.