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August 28, 2009

Singularity University Semester Completion and Projects

The first Singularity University 9 week semester is completing today.

A goal of the Singularity University is to catalyze projects that could possibly help 1 Billion People in Under Ten Years.

The team projects from the first semester include the following reports:

* One Global Voice leverages mobile phone proliferation to accelerate economic development. It envisions a platform that will provide a set of modular programming tools accessible through a web portal, empowering individuals to create applications empowering education and commerce, linking together the developed and developing worlds.

* Gettaround addresses how an intelligent transportation grid can positively affect energy usage and slow climate change, as people value access over ownership of cars. The first step to the grid, Gettaround is a marketplace for peer-to-peer leasing of under-utilized car hours. It enables car owners to derive revenue from their idle cars, and for renters to have easy access to cars – affordably and conveniently.

* ACASA focuses on advances in rapid, additive manufacturing technologies to construct affordable and customizable housing in the developing world. Cost-efficient, environmentally sustainable solutions have the potential to create a transformative new paradigm for improving housing construction using local resources.

* XIDAR considers a new paradigm for disaster response, allowing users to overcome the communications network problems typical of crisis situations. The project enables innovative solutions to facilitate evacuation, medical triage and aid during natural disasters.




The ACASA work is looking to commercialize one of the items in the nextbigfuture mundane singularity. ACASA is trying to develop printable buildings. Caterpillar Inc has been funding the contour crafting project since 2008. The work was originated at the University of Southern California

Contour Crafting is an effort to scale up rapid prototyping/manufacturing (a billion dollar industry to make 3 dimensional parts) and inkjet printing techniques to the scale of building multi-story buildings and vehicles. The process could accelerate the trillion dollar (US only) construction industry by 200 times. Projections indicate costs will be around one fifth as much as conventional construction. (Land prices are unchanged, so the actual prices of homes would not change as much in say Hawaii, Tokyo, Manhattan or San Francisco). Using this process, a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning.

The contour crafting section of nextbigfuture articles.

This was also one of the technologies that Nextbigfuture has described as a seed of a manufacturing revolution

There are many economic benefits of being able to build with fast but still with high quality and adaptability.



Hopefully ACASA can be successfully in accelerating the commercialization and deployment of printable buildings.

There is competition at the lowend of rapid building production, where small buildings can be produced in a factory, but printable buildings has greater potential. It would be useful to expand the capabilities to fully printable infrastructure or to get around certain infrastructure needs with independent power generation, wireless communication and capture of rainwater and use of wells and onsite management of waste.

Starting printable building deployment in less developed countries is a reasonable start because of the hurdle of penetrating building codes and other legal and regulatory issues in developed countries.

FURTHER READING
On Thursday, July 16th (11:30-12:30), Brian Wang of Next Big Future will spoke at the Singularity University on the "Latest Developments in Nanotechnology".

The presentation is uploaded to slideshare.

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