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House Zero a New 3D-Printed Home Concept

Robotic construction could turn home design on its head. Also, mini drug factories beat cancer, and Fisker shows off the Ocean EV.

Mini Drug Factories Beat Cancer

Bioengineers at Rice University have eradicated advanced ovarian and colorectal cancer in mice using "drug factory" implants -- and they have done it in as little as six days. 

Drug factories might sound large, but the implants are actually incredibly small: about the size of a pinhead. They look like tiny beads. 

The beads are implanted in the tissue surrounding the tumors with minimally invasive surgery and deliver interleukin-2, a natural compound that activates white blood cells to fight cancer. The beads consist of cells engineered to produce interleukin-2 encased in a protective shell. They are implanted once but continue to administer the treatment until the cancer is gone. 

The researchers eradicated all ovarian cancer tumors in animal tests and defeated colorectal cancer in seven of eight animals. 

Human trials could start as soon as this fall, and the researchers say the method could be used to treat pancreatic, liver and lung cancer, among others. 

Fisker Shows Off Ocean 

Fisker Automotive on Monday held the European unveiling of the Ocean all-electric SUV at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

Henrik Fisker said he wanted a "sexy, cool SUV that's also super sustainable," and he might've nailed it. 

The Ocean is manufactured in Austria, and the company plans to start deliveries in November 2022. According to Fisker, the company already has more than 33,000 reservations for the Ocean in the U.S. and Europe. 

The SUV ranges from 273 miles for the standard edition and nearly 400 miles (391) for the extreme edition. 

Fisker wants to change the way cars are developed. Comparing automotive to the fast-paced consumer electronics market, the founder said cars typically take 4.5 years to create, which usually means selling new cars with old tech. 

The Ocean was developed in less than 2.5 years, and the tech in the vehicle was chosen last year. The new tech includes the Fisker Intelligent Pilot, the world's first digital radar that can detect both distance and height of objects to better understand the environment around the car. The radar is located in each of the four corners of the vehicle as well as one in the front. It will even work in low-visibility situations. 

The Ocean was also designed with sustainable materials. For example, the wheels are made of recycled carbon fiber and plastic, and plastic bottles were reclaimed to make the interior.

The company also boasts a solar roof that can add up to 1,500 miles of range per year in mixed conditions; 2,000 miles if you have a little more sun. 

Like Tesla, the automaker plans to offer over-the-air updates and a service network in place from day one. And like Tesla, they will either pick up the car or service it in the field. While certain features, like the solar roof, have their skeptics, maybe the automotive industry could learn a little bit from the rapid product development in the consumer electronics industry -- as long as it's not the planned obsolescence. 

House Zero a New 3D-Printed Home Concept

On Wednesday, ICON, the construction company trying to solve the U.S. housing shortage one 3D-printed home at a time, unveiled House Zero in Austin, Texas. 

ICON wants to turn home design on its head. As we have seen in other industries, 3D printing has opened up the possibility of designs that were previously unmanufacturable. Well, the same is true for homes, so ICON partnered with Lake|Flato Architects to create House Zero, a new open-concept home. 

ICON offered a bit of a tease with shots from inside the well-manicured home but is offering tours if you happen to be at SXSW in a couple of weeks. 

Designed by Lake|Flato, the home was printed on ICON's Vulcan construction system. 

According to the company, the home blends mid-century modernist ranch house aesthetics with an energy-efficient design. The prototype is designed to shine a light on the resiliency and sustainability of additive construction.

House Zero is about 2,000 square feet with three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. The walls are made with ICON's proprietary lavacrete, insulation and steel. The lavacrete provides thermal mass that slows heat transfer into the home. The combination of thermal mass, insulation and airtight walls increases energy efficiency and reduces costs.

In a statement, Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON, said, "House Zero is ground zero for the emergence of entirely new design languages and architectural vernaculars that will use robotic construction to deliver the things we need most from our housing: comfort, beauty, dignity, sustainability, attainability, and hope." 

Ballard hopes to inspire architects, developers, builders and homeowners to embrace 3D printed housing since the few in the industry already struggle to keep up with demand.

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