I am fascinated by unusual uses of technology. And in fact, that’s what I love about technology—is that it literally applies to every aspect of our lives.
In a sense, I think of technology as one of G-d’s precious gifts to mankind to better the world—when it's used for good—such as for improving communications, curing illness, and inventing new materials.
(Of course, there has been so much focus on technology being used to create “bigger and badder” weapons that can destroy the planet, but hopefully, we are spared from such morale and intellectual insanity and hatred.)
So now technology is striking again... but in an area that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.
Wired Magazine (July 2010) has an article called “Canada Sucks: Montreal’s vacuum system will make taking out the trash a breeze.”
“In 2012, Montreal will unveil an $8.2 million [4 mile] tube network to service a downtown arts district.” The trash system called Envac is already operational in other cities such as Barcelona, London, and Stockholm. It incorporates separate inlets/chutes for waste, recycling, and compost; sensors that relay load information to system operators; large industrial fans that can crank up from 45 mph to gale force to flush obstructions through a subterranean slipstream; and automated software that directs the trash to appropriate dumpsters in central collection facilities for transport to landfills, recycling centers, and composting plants; And the Canadian system will be controlled remotely from Envac headquarters in Stockholm 3600 miles away.
I was surprised and excited to see such an innovative use of technology for such a seemingly mundane task as garbage removal (i.e. I wouldn’t normally associate garbage and technology, but this article gave me a new reason to think more broadly on this topic).
Truly, technology is a game-changer. And we can think about everything we do, question it, reinvent it, and make for a better future.
The only condition is that we look beyond the surface of how we do things do things today and envision them anew for tomorrow.