Jack Uldrich
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Five Industries that will be Transformed by Biophilia

Posted in City, Construction, Education, Health Care, Retail

With the chaos of today’s culture, society is turning to Mother Nature for comfort. The term “biophilia,” as popularized by Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson in 1984, refers to “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.”  While some may get the impression being around plants is merely a warm and fuzzy concept, the…

A Future of More Beautiful Cities

Posted in Beautiful Future, City, Construction, Future

The future will become more beautiful one step at a time. On April 22, New York City–following on the heels of Denver, Portland, San Francisco, and Toronto–took a small step in this direction by passing legislation requiring new buildings to have “green roofs.” In addition to cooling down a city by mitigating the urban heat island…

The Future of Construction is Accelerating

Posted in Construction, Future Proof, Futurist, Real Estate

Late last year, the Economist had a wonderful article on the construction industry. The most poignant point was that among all major industries, the construction industry has experienced the slowest rate of increase in productivity since the Second World War–less than 1 percent! (By contrast the agriculture industry experienced a 1600 percent increase in productivity…

The Coming "Rift" in the Future of Education

Posted in Business as Unusual, Construction, Disruptive Technology, Education, Future, Health Care, Higher Education, Life Science/Pharmaceutical

Yesterday, I delivered the opening keynote presentation at the American Technical Education Association’s 51st annual meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota. The title of my talk was “The Ten Trends Transforming the Technical Education of Tomorrow.” To demonstrate how fast the world of technical (and higher) education is changing I explained how Oculus Rift–a promising virtual…

In the Near Future, Time Will "Self-Heal" Many Small Problems

Posted in Automobile/Aerospace, Construction, Disruptive Technology, Future, Future Proof, Futurist, Innovation, Nanotechnology

In 2003, I authored a book on nanotechnology, The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business. In it, I speculated that self-healing materials would soon become commonplace and, to be honest, I was a overly optimistic in the timing of my projections. Nevertheless, LG has just released…

Illuminating the Future

Posted in Construction, Do the Impossible, Food, Future, Futurist

In his wonderful book, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Matt Ridley reminds us that the amount of artificial light produced with an hour of work has increased a staggering 43,200-fold since the recording of the first sesame-oil lamp in Babylon in 1750 BC. Here’s another way to think of this: In 1750 BC it…

3D Manufacturing's Accelerating Future

Posted in Construction, Future, Futurist, Manufacturing

Yesterday, it was reported that two students at the University of Virginia had created a 3D-manufactured airplane capable of cruising at a speed of 45 miles per hour. More impressive was the fact that the students created the 6.5 foot airplane in four months at a cost of $4,000. To appreciate the significance of this…

Nanotechnology in Action: "Solid Smoke"

Posted in Construction, Manufacturing, Nanotechnology

I speak frequently to officials in the building and construction trades and I’ve telling them about aerogels and “frozen smoke” (or “solid smoke”) for some time. Alas, it’s true that a picture (or in this case a video) is worth a thousand words. Please observe the scene with the blow torch. It’s impressive stuff. In…

Unlearning the Grid

Posted in Construction, Energy, General, Manufacturing, Speaking, Transportation, Wind Power

I'm in Eugene, Oregon today to give the keynote presentation at the conference celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Eugene Water and Electricity Board. The gist of my message is that as impressive as progress has been in the past century it will pale in comparison to what is coming in the next two decades….

Unlearning the Bridge

Posted in Architecture, Construction, Design

Is there a better way to build a suspension bridge? According to researchers at Sheffield University the  answer is "maybe." As this article explains, engineers may soon be able to build a more structurally sound bridge using less material. The only unresolved issue is whether the more complex design will offset the material cost savings…


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