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Need To Know
category - design
category - mobility
category - sustainability
sector - health & wellness
sector - youth

This week: McLaren’s hypercar, solar-powered headphones, a more welcoming DAO, the healthiest cities for your skin, and is rainwater now too toxic to drink?

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26 August 2022

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Culvert Guesthouse by Nendo, Japan


V10-powered single-seat Solus GT by McLaren, UK

1. McLaren brings a video game hypercar to life

California – Luxury car-maker McLaren’s latest hypercar, the Solus GT, originally appeared in the racing simulation video game Gran Turismo in 2017. Since then, McLaren's design team have worked to recreate the digital vehicle in real life, elevating the craftsmanship of its signature hypercars to new heights.

With wide-set, enclosed wheels, a large rear wing and a distinctive carbon fibre cockpit-style design, the Solus GT was built with speed, downforce and lap records in mind. While the car itself weighs less than 1,000kg, it generates 1,200kg of downforce at full power due to its unique monocoque chassis.

Owners of the limited-edition track car – of which all 25 units have already been sold for more than £3m ($3.5m, €3.6m) – will also receive a travel case for the vehicle that is designed to transport the Solus to events around the world, many of which will be organised by McLaren specifically for Solus owners.

Demonstrating how gaming can be used to trial new products, McLaren is exploring a future in which items that are introduced in the virtual world can help shape future production models. With this in mind, the Solus GT represents a new direction for the mobility industry.

RPT-02 SOL by Adidas and Zound Industries, US

2. Solar-powered headphones for sustainable sounds

US – Sportswear company Adidas has teamed up with speaker brand Zound to release a pair of headphones that can be charged using sunshine and artificial light. The RPT-02 SOL headphones have a headband made of Powerfoyle, a solar-cell fabric that converts sunshine and artificial light into power.

Although the ideal source of energy for the headphones is natural sunlight, the photovoltaic material can also be powered by ordinary bulbs and lights. Even on overcast days, the Powerfoyle can collect energy from imperceptible UV rays that pass through clouds, unlike many other photovoltaic materials on the market that can only do so when exposed to direct sunlight. On full charge, the headphones can play music for up to 80 hours.

Such portable devices represent new directions for the renewable energy market, demonstrating how clean energy harvesting can begin at home or on the go.

Metaphor rebranded by Wildish & Co, UK

3. This DAO is making Web3 more welcoming

US – Decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) platform Metaphor is ditching the dark and moody visuals that dominate the Web3 space to create a more approachable aesthetic. The goal of the platform, which makes it easier to ‘discover, join and participate in DAOs’, is to empower users to enter the Web3 eco-system.

The rebranding uses nostalgic visuals and retro images to make the cutting-edge technology feel more familiar. Designed by creative branding agency Wildish & Co, the visual identity uses images from the public domain to create over 200 background options and 1,000 avatars that can be combined to create various scenes. The studio also applied a 1950s filter over the images to ‘encourage people to be excited about Web3 in a similar way to how people were excited about technology during that period’, explains Sam Fresco, managing director of Wildish & Co.

While DAOs represent the bleeding edge of Alternet Economies, that doesn’t mean that their aesthetics need to be off-putting to the everyday consumer. To help onboard new users, Metaphor is injecting its platform with familiar images and nostalgic visuals.

4. Nordic cities are the healthiest for your skin

Global – With a wide range of factors affecting skin health, from UV rays to air pollutionnew research examines how much impact location has on complexion. The study by insurance comparison site Compare the Market analysed data from 50 different cities around the world to uncover the healthiest places to live for your skin.

According to the study, all five of the world’s best cities for skin health are in the Nordic region, with Bergen in Norway coming out on top, followed by Oslo (also in Norway), Copenhagen in Denmark, Helsinki in Finland and Stockholm in Sweden. Thstudy considered various contributing factors: pollution levels, working hours, prevalence of smoking, average sunlight hours and average temperature.

Home to colder cities with less sunlight than many other locations, the Nordic region averages the healthiest scores across the factors taken into account. With work-related stress having a huge impact on skin health, Bergen’s lower working hours per year contributes to its first-place ranking.

As consumers increasingly look to Accredited Beauty brands backed up by science, let data lead the way when developing products and campaigns.

Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Face Mask
Photography by Viktorya Sergeeva

5. Rainwater is now too toxic to drink

Global – The levels of dangerous pollutants in rainwater called PFAS are above recommended guidelines and may exceed a planetary boundary that can’t be undone. The pollutants are so widespread that even levels in Antarctica and the Tibetan plateau exceed EPA limits, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

PFAS stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as ‘forever chemicals’. These manmade substances take a very long time to break down in the natural environment, and as a result have been building up and circulating in the atmosphere for decadesMost of us now have some level of PFAS in our blood, and although the full implications are not yet understood, they may damage our immune systems, impact fertility and cause irreversible harm to ecosystems.

With the risks now well-known, most major nations, aside from China, have now stopped producing PFAS and scientists are working on cleanup solutions, although many are costly and difficult to scale. Look to our Sustainability Series to track the emerging innovations and solutions developing in this space.


To future-proof your world, visit The Future Laboratory's forecasting platform LS:N Global for daily news, opinions, trends, sector specific insights, and strategic toolkits.


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