Organs on Demand, Metaverse Cycles, and Roundup #21
With scentware on our faces, skinstacks in our hands, new organs in our bodies, and a car that changes colors, we know when we will return to the metaverse.
Image of hippocampal nerves from the Human Brain Project
The explorations and iterations continue. In this issue, a 1–10–1 structure is tried out.
One big thing that may change our futures in even bigger ways.
Ten quick links roundup that will change how we see, feel, and engage with the world.
One new projection of my own—a bet on what we will be talking about (again) in 2030.
Ready? Let’s scroll on into the 21st issue of The New New.
One Big Thing
Moving from animals to factories to humans, the end of transplant waiting lists is in sight.
Every year there are 130,000 organ transplants, which is far from enough. To address this problem, researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs with phantasmagoric visions are making notable progress on our path to an unlimited supply of transplantable organs.
Two core approaches will bring us into this future.
Xenotransplantation moves organs and tissues from an animal source into a human recipient. A year ago, first-ever progress was made when a dying patient received a gene-edited pig heart. He lived another two months—and that should have been much longer.
Soon, organ engineering might not involve animals at all. From 3D-printing complex tissues to cultivating blob-like “organoids” from stem cells, researchers are aiming to grow custom organs in actual factories.
MIT Technology Review summed it up: “Whether they’re grown in animals or built inside manufacturing plants, an unlimited supply of organs could make transplantation more common, and give far more people access to replacement parts.”
10 for the Roundup
Virovore, a newly discovered organism eats viruses
proclaimed “future of skincare” starts with a selfie and ends with a personalized, 3D-printed, 7‑layer daily gummy
Color Changing Cars, with an e‑paper skin, BMW’s new concept is changing colors and facial expressions
Contact, making it look like you are staring into your webcam, even when you are looking away
AC Drones, fly around your house, making you as hot or cold as you want to be
Scentware, taking digital experiences into 4d with wearable digitally-native scents
Agrist, addressing the agricultural labor shortages through harvest automation (aka, robots)
RISC‑V, pronounced “Risk Five,” is changing how companies create computer chips through open standards
Make Sunsets, a “solar geoengineering” startup has begun releasing particles in the atmosphere in an effort to tweak the climate
Laser Lightning Rods, guiding bolts with laser beams
The Seven-Year “Metaverse” Hype Cycle
As the buzz fades and the pattern emerges, the next return of VR comes into focus.
With the news of Microsoft sunsetting AltspaceVR and the marketing industry laughing after only six people showed up to EU’s $400,000 “metaverse” party, it is becoming clear that the “metaverse” shine is fading.
Since I still posit that “metaverse” is just a more fun way to say “Virtual Reality Worlds” or “Social VR” (and some disagree), this latest news shows how another round of virtual reality (VR) buzz is on the way out.
Throughout my working age lifetime, the VR buzz has come in waves.
The 1995–1998 wave had VR activations at malls and gaming companies’ first at-home VR attempts. During the 2005–2008 wave, Second Life peaked. The 2013–2015 wave brought us Oculus Riff, AltspaceVR, and my old team’s (April Fools) launch of “VR for dogs.” The current 2020–2023 wave was a ramble of excitement over all things “metaverse.”
Each wave came about seven years apart and lasted about three years. Each wave aligned with a broader computing-meets-cultural change. And each wave puttered out as the fundamental limitations of VR failed to draw mainstream users.
Today, as the virtual tumbleweeds roll through sunset metaverse platforms, we are starting to say goodbye to the current wave.
Yet, as the cycles of history like to repeat, I expect this newsletter will be filled with VR stories again in seven years. So, VR, we will see you buzzing again in 2030.
Still Rattling Around
Until then, let’s roll back to Issue 14, where we cheered the death of trends, broke the exascale barrier, rewrote the laws of astrophysics, raced into the smell-o-verse, and deepfaked our kids at bedtime—all while proving that laughter rocks.
The New New brings together the important and the irreverent across emerging experiences, culture-driven experiments, and scoops of perception.
Okay, let’s go play with laser beams and lightning bolts.