Posted Dec. 2, 2014, by Nancy Szokan, The Washington Post

 

Every December, the editors of Popular Science magazine create a list of products and technologies that are “poised to change our world.” Some samples from the 100 items described in this month’s list, the 27th:

 

“Plastic from thin air”: AirCarbon is a plastic made by capturing methane from a dairy farm’s waste lagoon, using enzymes to combine the gas with ambient air and making a product that performs identically to most oil-based plastics but is lighter and costs less.

 

“An American icon, remade”: Ford’s best-selling F-150 pickup replaced steel with military-grade aluminum in several non-load-bearing parts, improving performance and saving fuel.

 

“A bike lock that outsmarts thieves”: Lock8 uses hardware (gyroscope, temperature sensor, etc.) to recognize that a bike is being stolen and software (an app) to blare an alarm and send an alert to your phone. It weighs less than a pound.

 

“A quieter, lighter jet”: The HondaJet’s turbofan engines sit on top of its wings rather than below them — decreasing drag, reducing noise and increasing space in the cabin. Designed for a pilot and five or six passengers, the aircraft is on track to be certified in 2015.

 

“Invisible duct tape”: Gorilla Clear Repair can invisibly mend a broken window, cracked headlamp or shattered phone screen.

 

“Virtual reality on a dime”: If you’ve got a smartphone, you can get Google Cardboard and give yourself a complete virtual reality experience for just $25 worth of parts (corrugated box, rubber bands, glue, etc). You build it, tuck in the phone, download an app: Hold it up to your eyes and you can take virtual reality tours using Google Earth.

 

“The next sustainable cuisine”: In a word, insects. The magazine interviews chef Mario Hernandez of New York’s Black Ant restaurant about eating grasshoppers, ants, mosquito eggs and stink bugs.