What ideas will shape our lives next?

Steven Johnson on the 'Glass' episode of How We Got To Now

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The third episode of How We Got To Now, focused on the history and impact of glass on technology, society and culture. We asked host, Steven Johnson for some behind-the-scenes stories about the episode.

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The $25 Chemical Scanner That Runs Off Cell Networks

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From testing blood for Ebola, to searching water for lead, Harvard biomedical engineer Alex Nemiroski wants to simplify how we perform chemical scans to share the powerful science with as many people as possible. He’s developed a handheld device that only costs $25 and works just about anywhere on the planet that a cell phone will. It’s called the universal mobile electrochemical detector, or uMED

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Wastewater From Your Coffee - Purged by a Special Type of Grass

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Coffee farmers along Ethiopia’s Kolla River were up against a tricky environmental problem in recent years. Pollution from their coffee mills, which are the mainstay of the local economy, was poisoning the river. But the introduction of a particular kind of grass has, just two years later, nearly turned the situation around.

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Steven Johnson: How We Made The "Light" Episode of How We Got To Now

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The fourth episode of How We Got To Now, focused on the history and impact of light on technology, society and culture. We asked host, Steven Johnson, for some behind-the-scenes stories and insights about the episode.

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The Origami Microscope

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Stanford biophysicist Manu Prakash has a mission: Get a microscope in the hands of every single kid in the world. All two billion of them. And he’s going to do this with a pocked-sized origami microscope made of paper.

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Solar Stickers

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Like many parents, Xiaolin Zheng’s father likes to tell her how the world should be. One day when they were talking on the phone, he in China, she in California, he said that it should be possible to put solar cells on the walls of buildings, not just on their roofs. Now she’s invented a method that could make this possible, a kind of peel-and-stick solar cell.

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As Good As Gouda? The DIY biology mission to make the perfect vegan cheese

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Craig Rouskey is a self-identified pragmatist. But that’s not stopping him from trying to fundamentally overturn a human craft that’s existed for over 5,000 years: making cheese from animal’s milk. At the end of August, Rouskey and over two-dozen DIY biologists finished up their crowdfunding campaign to synthetically engineer baker’s yeast.

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Building BRCK: The made-in-Africa wireless router

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It felt like any other day as Erik Hersman sat in a darkened conference room in Lagos. "During the event we were experiencing the worse kind of Internet issues, from unreliable service providers to power problems", he grumbles. On the other side of the continent members of the iHub – Nairobi's much-lauded innovation space – were turning to 3G dongles to get round a host of problems they were e...

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Lifting Chicago: Introducing How We Get To Next

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This new blog will give you a taste of the everyday people and ideas whose work is featured on our sister website, How We Get to Next. We’ll tell the war stories from the innovation trenches, with posts from celebrated thinkers, writers, and activists.

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About The Blog

How We Get to Next is our sister site, looking at the amazing ideas and incredible people shaping the future. We’re working with some of the world’s best science, innovation and technology writers, and we’ll be posting a sample of stories from the site on this blog. 

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