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Vanessa Bates Ramirez

Vanessa is senior editor of Singularity Hub. She's interested in renewable energy, health and medicine, international development, and countless other topics. When she's not reading or writing you can usually find her outdoors, in water, or on a plane.

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From This Author


Habitat for Humanity Is Using 3D Printing to Build Affordable Houses

Over the last year home prices have skyrocketed (along with prices of almost everything else), leaving millions of people unable to afford to move or to change their housing situation. Mortgage lender Freddie Mac...

The World’s Biggest Vertical Farm Yet Is Going Up in Pennsylvania

Four and a half years ago I visited a vertical farming research facility in the Netherlands to learn the basics about growing food indoors without sun or soil. Since then, new vertical farms have...

This Autonomous Delivery Robot Has External Airbags in Case It Hits a Person

Autonomous delivery was already on multiple companies’ research and development agenda before the pandemic, but when people stopped wanting to leave their homes it took on a whole new level of urgency (and potential...

Watch a Jet Suit Pilot Deliver Supplies in a Mountain Warfare Rescue

In 2020 a jet suit pilot flew up a mountain to test whether it would make sense for emergency responders in wilderness areas to add jet suits to their toolkit. Last year the same...

Next Week You’ll Be Able to Eat ‘Chicken’ Made From Plants at KFC

It’s a new year, and for millions of people that brings resolutions like exercising more and eating healthier. Ice cream? Gone. Potato chips? In the trash. Burgers? Try a salad instead. Fried chicken? Well,...

A Chinese Company Says It Will Be Selling Driverless Cars by 2024

As recently as 2015, auto industry insiders predicted fully self-driving cars would be on the road by 2020. As you know, that didn’t come to pass, and two years later we’re still waiting for...

The Cost of Lab-Grown Chicken Dropped by More Than Half This Year

This year saw significant rises in consumer prices across all sorts of goods, one of them being food. Amid supply chain complications, labor shortages, and plant closures, meat prices shot up, in some cases...

The World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Is Up and Running

Two and a half years ago, the Hornsea 1 offshore wind farm started generating power. Located in the North Sea off the coast of Grimsby, England, it was completed in 2020, with 174 turbines...

NFT Sneakers Take Off as Nike and Adidas Look to Cash in on Digital Shoes

Recently NFTs have taken the form of everything from apes to a yacht to a life-sized 3D video sculpture. As trading volume of NFTs hits a staggering $22 billion and we near the end...

The Metaverse Will Need 1,000x More Computing Power, Says Intel

With land in virtual worlds selling for millions of dollars, NFTs flooding the internet, and Meta (formerly Facebook) employees saying the word "metaverse" over 80 times during a keynote presentation last month, it seems...

2021 Will Set an All-Time Record for New Renewable Energy

Many of the headlines that followed this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (also called the COP26) were pretty grim, with the overarching message being that we’ve done a lot of damage to the planet...

Earth Will Soon Have a Black Box to Chronicle Humanity’s Downfall

If the world as we know it comes to an end (maybe even starting with an earthquake, birds and snakes and airplanes), future generations will have access to a vault containing duplicates of seed...

A Plane Powered by Cooking Oil Just Flew Across the US

The global aviation industry is responsible for two percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. Some countries are having success convincing people to fly less, but let’s be honest—we’re not going to stop taking...

Virtual Land in the Metaverse Is Selling for Millions of Dollars

The trading volume of NFTs reached $10.67 billion in the third quarter of this year, with more people apparently willing to shell out huge sums of money for art that will never actually hang...

Your Holiday Gifts Could Be Shipped by Robot Semi, Courtesy of UPS and Waymo

Between a supply chain full of holes, labor shortages across various sectors of the economy, and rising inflation, it’s shaping up to be a somewhat chaotic holiday season. Technology can’t fix all of these...

Rolls-Royce Says Its Electric Plane Just Smashed the World Record for Speed

The first electric plane took flight in 1973. There was just one person on board and the plane only stayed in the air for 14 minutes, but it was the beginning of an ongoing...

A Solar Farm the Size of 1,000 Football Stadiums Is Going Up in Indiana

The transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources is underway, with solar and wind farms popping up everywhere from the UK to China. A new project in the central US will...

Nvidia’s New Supercomputer Will Create a ‘Digital Twin’ of Earth to Fight Climate Change

It’s crunch time on climate change, and companies, governments, philanthropists, and NGOs around the world are starting to take action, be it through donating huge sums of money to the cause, building a database...

Beeple’s New NFT Just Sold for $29 Million, and He’ll Update It for the Rest of His Life

Just a few months ago, most of us had never heard of an NFT. Even once we figured out what they were, it seemed like maybe they’d be a short-lived fad, a distraction for...

These Houses Are Affordable, Carbon Neutral, and Assembled Like IKEA Furniture

House prices have soared during the last year and a half, and the implications aren’t great (unless you’re a homeowner looking just to sell and not buy). Homelessness and housing insecurity have risen dramatically...

This Restaurant Robot Fries Your Food to Perfection With No Human Help

Four and a half years ago, a robot named Flippy made its burger-cooking debut at a fast food restaurant called CaliBurger. The bot consisted of a cart on wheels with an extending arm, complete...

GE’s New Autonomous Electric Pods Have No Steering Wheel, Pedals, or Cab

Self-driving cars are taking longer to become a reality than many experts predicted. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t steady progress being made; on the contrary, autonomous driving technology is consistently making incremental advancements...

This Spooky, Bizarre Haunted House Was Generated by an AI

AI is slowly getting more creative, and as it does it’s raising questions about the nature of creativity itself, who owns works of art made by computers, and whether conscious machines will make art...

This Tiny Personal Aircraft Costs Under $100K and Can Take Off From Your Driveway

From buses to taxis to ambulances, the number and type of vehicles set to take to the skies in the allegedly near future keeps growing. Now another one is joining their ranks, and it...

Scientists Are on a Quest to Create the Perfect Cup of Coffee—Without the Beans

Ahh, coffee. Is there anything more delicious, more satisfying? It’s always there when you need it, be it first thing in the morning or for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. According to the Sustainable Coffee Challenge,...

AI-Savvy Criminals Clone Executive’s Voice in $35 Million Deepfake Bank Heist

Thanks to the advance of deepfake technology, it’s becoming easier to clone peoples’ voices. Some uses of the tech, like creating voice-overs to fill in gaps in Roadrunner, the documentary about Anthony Bourdain released...

The World’s Electronic Waste This Year Will Weigh More Than the Great Wall of China

It’s widely known that the world has a plastics problem. From landfills to the ocean, the stuff is everywhere, and our conscientious efforts to recycle don’t do nearly as much good as we think. What’s...

Microsoft’s Massive New Language AI Is Triple the Size of OpenAI’s GPT-3

Just under a year and a half ago OpenAI announced completion of GPT-3, its natural language processing algorithm that was, at the time, the largest and most complex model of its type. This week,...

This Bipedal Drone Robot Can Walk, Fly, Skateboard, and Slackline

Most animals are limited to either walking, flying, or swimming, with a handful of lucky species whose physiology allows them to cross over. A new robot took inspiration from them, and can fly like...

NASA’s Mission to Crash a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid Launches Next Month

In March of this year, a quarter-mile-wide asteroid flew through space at a speed of 77,000 miles per hour. It was five times farther from Earth than the moon, but that’s actually considered pretty...

New Hybrid Coral Reefs Use Wave Energy to Transform Sea Salt to Stone

Climate change is wreaking havoc on land via extreme weather events like wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and record-high temperatures. Glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising. And of course, the ocean isn’t immune to...

China’s Cracking Down on Kids’ Screen Time, and the Implications Could Be Far-Reaching

Screens are taking over our lives. According to market research firm eMarketer, in 2020 adults in the US spent an average of 7 hours and 50 minutes per day looking at screens. That total...

This Google-Funded Project Is Tracking Global Carbon Emissions in Real Time

It’s crunch time on climate change. The IPCC’s latest report told the world just how bad it is, and...it’s bad. Companies, NGOs, and governments are scrambling for fixes, both short-term and long-term, from banning...

Alphabet’s Project Taara Is Using Lasers to Beam Internet Across the World’s Deepest River

A little over a year ago, Google’s Project Loon launched in Kenya, 35 giant balloons with solar-powered electronics inside beaming a 4G signal to the central and western parts of the country. The project...

Walmart Is Launching an Autonomous Delivery Service in Three US Cities

Walmart has been America’s biggest retailer since the 1990s, its focus on low costs and ultra-efficient logistics helping it edge out competitors and keep customers coming back. But Amazon has been gaining on Walmart,...

Tele-Driving Startup to Deploy Remote-Controlled Cars as a Step Towards Full Autonomy

Self-driving cars are taking longer to hit roads than many experts predicted. Despite impressive progress in the field—like trucks using self-driving features to move freight more efficiently, Waymo launching its robotaxi service for vetted...

The World’s Largest Direct Air Capture Plant Is Now Pulling CO2 From the Air in Iceland

A little over four years ago, the world’s first commercial plant for sucking carbon dioxide out of the air opened near Zurich, Switzerland. The plant was powered by a waste heat recovery facility, with...

Hyundai Goes All-In on Hydrogen With Its ‘Trailer Drone’ and More

Between the grim outlook reported by the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report last month and frequent reports of extreme weather events all over the world, the climate crisis feels like it’s getting more dire by...

Better Than Batteries? A Startup That’s Storing Energy in Concrete Blocks Just Raised $100 Million

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Sixth Assessment Report in early August, and the outlook isn’t good. The report has added renewed urgency to humanity’s effort to curb climate change. The price of...

America’s Biggest 3D Printed Building Is This New Military Barracks in Texas

3D printing is picking up speed as a construction technology, with 3D printed houses, schools, apartment buildings, and even Martian habitat concepts all being unveiled in the last year (not to mention Airbnbs and...

The World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Is Being Built in China

In 2018, GE unveiled its Haliade-X turbine, and it has since been the largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine in the world. At 853 feet tall and with a rotor measuring 722 feet...

Moderna’s mRNA Vaccine for HIV Is Starting Human Trials

Before 2020, many of us had never heard of mRNA. With the development of Covid-19 vaccines dependent on this molecule, though, it was all over the news. Covid was the first disease mRNA therapeutics...
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Watch Boston Dynamics’ Atlas Robot Crush a New Parkour Course

At the end of 2020, Boston Dynamics released a spirits-lifting, can’t-watch-without-smiling video of its robots doing a coordinated dance routine. Atlas, Spot, and Handle had some pretty sweet moves, though if we’re being honest,...

This Autonomous Solar-Powered Aircraft Will Fly for 90 Days Straight

Five years ago, a plane called Solar Impulse 2 flew around the world without using any liquid fuel. As you might guess from the name, the plane was solar-powered. It wasn’t the fastest—it took...

Flight Testing Will Soon Start on the World’s Fastest Reusable Aircraft

Last week, NASA released a timelapse video showing construction of a supersonic jet called the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST or “son of Concorde” for short). The experimental aircraft is designed to fly faster...
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NASA Timelapse Shows X-59 Supersonic Jet Being Built Over Two Years

The final flight of British Airways’ Concorde took place in October 2003, going from New York to London in three and a half hours. Inaugurated in 1976, the supersonic jet flew more than 2.5...

The UAE Is Using Drones to Zap Clouds With Electricity and Make It Rain

Extreme weather events seem to be getting more common. In the last month in particular, we’ve seen dramatic flash floods in various parts of the world, including Germany, China, and the US. But while...

These Foldable Houses Cost $50k and Go Up in a Day

3D printing has become the hottest new construction technology of the past few years, with houses being laid down in California, Texas, New York, Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Germany, to name just a few....

This Robot Taught Itself to Run, Then Proceeded to Knock Out a 5K

In the last few months, robots have learned some pretty cool new skills, including performing a sweet coordinated dance routine and making pizzas from start to finish. Now there’s another accomplishment to add to...

‘Next-Generation’ Total Artificial Heart Successfully Transplanted into First US Patient

Late last year, a French company called Carmat received approval in Europe for its total artificial heart. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a heart made of synthetic and biological materials intended for implantation...

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