Seven From Seven: 3D printed implants and NHS drones

8th July 2022

Each week, we scour the worlds of innovation, tech for good and social impact to bring you seven of our top stories…

  1. A collection of start-ups is developing 3D-printed breast implants for people who have had mastectomies. Unlike silicone implants that can result in discomfort, the new implant design promotes new, healthy tissue to grow in the body. The project aims to end high complication rates and replace long reconstructive surgeries for breast cancer survivors.
  2. Designer Thomas Heatherwick has created an electric car design that capture microplastics generated by tires – particularly from heavier electric vehicles. The Airo will be produced by MG’s Chinese owners.
  3. A tiny, crab-like robot has been developed by researchers at Northwestern University. The robot is smaller than a flea and capable of walking, turning, and jumping. It is designed to fit into tight spaces to perform a variety of tasks, including surgical procedures.
  4. Finnish researchers have installed the world’s first fully working “sand battery,” a device using low-grade sand and heat from solar or wind electricity that can store green power for months, solving the problem of year-round supply. By heating sand to 500C using renewables, the stored energy can be released in district heating systems across the long (and chilly) Finnish winter.
  5. Japanese scientists have successfully produced cloned mice that could one day assist in species conservation. The technique uses freeze-dried cells to create a ball of cells that develops into an embryo.
  6. Amazon launches electric cargo bikes in central London to complete the final mile of deliveries in the city, assisting in its mission for 50% of deliveries to be net-zero by 2030.
  7. The NHS is trialling drone flights between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight to deliver chemotherapy medications for patients. The trial allows cancer patients to pick up medications from their local hospital on the Isle of Wight, instead of needing to travel to the mainland.

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