If you're looking for a catalog of the cutting edge, I just found one.
Transmaterialis a 186-page compendium of some of the most flat-out amazing design technologies I've ever seen. Based on Blaine Brownell's "product of the week" mailing from the design firm nbbj, Transmaterial covers "materials, products and processes that are redefining our physical environment" -- a definition broad enough to encompass "biosteel" (biotech version of spider silk) to "3D textile knitting machines" (able to produce fully-formed textile products for medical use) to rubber sidewalks, collapse-preventing structure designs, urban knowledge maps and much, much more. Some of the items mentioned have already appeared here in WorldChanging (such as translucent concrete and LED lighting), and nearly all of them would make excellent WorldChanging entries (I must admit that I was sorely tempted to keep this catalog to myself as a "cheat sheet" for the next half-year's worth of posts...).
Each entry includes a brief (three paragraph or so) discussion, illustration, and link to manufacturer homepage where possible.
Best of all, Transmaterial is available as a free PDF download. The complete text is 11MB, but you can also grab specific chapters. WorldChangers will find all of the book fascinating, but should definitely take a look at the "REPURPOSED -- Materials which act as surrogates replacing precious raw materials conventionally used in various applications," "INTELLIGENT -- Materials that are designed to improve their environment and which take inspiration from biological systems" and "INTERFACIAL -- Materials which facilitate the interaction between physical and virtual worlds" chapters.
Transmaterial is a field guide to how today's design is building tomorrow.
(Via Cool Hunting.)
OMG. I am in luuuuuuuuuuvvvvvv.
hey, fwiw, BW's cover story is on the "innovation economy" including an amory lovins interview and an article on how SF influences technological development :D
oh hey, and via slashdot 'the amateur revolution' :D http://www.fastcompany.com/subscr/87/open_essay.html
and a neat essay on how game culture is infecting wider society! http://www.fimoculous.com/archive/post-701.cfm
here's a review of the sims2 btw :D http://arstechnica.com/news/posts/20040927-4241.html
"I was talking to a friend who said he created himself and his wife in the game, and his wife did the same thing on another computer. They both acted out their relationship as they saw it through the game and came up with completely different things. They said it was almost as good as couples therapy..."
obviously the next step is to 'overlay' the game onto the real world(tm)... for sims3! like i'm thinking location aware GPS headsets or something (google goggles, contacts?) with a HUD that displays meta-data on stuff in the environment (like it attaches stats to everything - so, matrix like, 'players' would be keanu-aware :) which would allow, for instance, richly interative flashmob-type games of 'amazing race' :D
does that make any sense? imagine movies like 'the game' or 'series 7' except that people equipped with the sims3 mods would be 'immersed' in the game thru a datalink to the 'net -- thus, making the world more 'game-like'. sorta like what pfarley proposed in 'spiders' except that the spiders in this case are people! http://www.e-sheep.com/spiders/ (in a game :)