Fazmina Imamudeen explores our wacky and wonderful world

PORTABLE X-RAY Radiographer Sam Pilkington’s assertion about portable X-ray machines being lifesaving tools sparks a deeper exploration into their transformative impact on modern healthcare.

These compact machines are reshaping the diagnostic landscape and offering a vital lifeline, particularly in critical scenarios where mobility is limited.

As the global market for portable X-ray machines surged to US$ 7.1 billion last year and with forecasts predicting a doubling by 2028, their significance is undeniable. These devices range from mobile units to ultra-portable handheld models that aren’t confined to hospital walls.

And as they can traverse remote locales from battlefields to isolated islands, they’re redefining the boundaries of medical accessibility.

Innovations such as the Fujifilm Xair, which weighs only 3.5 kilogrammes, are revolutionising patient care. Trial deployments in rural areas have slashed nonattendance rates for X-ray appointments to zero and demonstrate their efficacy in overcoming logistical hurdles.

Moreover, the use of portable X-ray systems equipped with AI driven analysis in regions plagued by diseases such as tuberculosis have the potential to save millions of lives annually.

PERFECT PINT Bioengineer Charles Denby’s mission revolves around the simple yet tantalising goal of enhancing the taste of beer. At his enterprise Berkeley Yeast, it’s all about elevating the brewing experience by fine-tuning flavours, introducing novel tastes and eliminating unwanted notes.

For beer aficionados worldwide, this pursuit of the perfect flavour is undoubtedly appealing. But what sets Berkeley Yeast apart is its pioneering work with genetically modified yeast. As the cofounder and CEO, Denby spearheads the creation of yeast strains that are engineered to impart specific flavours such as the tropical zest of passion fruit and guava found in its Tropics yeast.

This innovation isn’t simply about enhancing taste; it’s about revolutionising brewing. By genetically editing yeast DNA, Berkeley Yeast offers brewers a more reliable and sustainable alternative to traditional flavour sources such as fruits or artificial additives.

Yet, this approach isn’t without controversy. While embraced by some US craft breweries, others remain wary, citing concerns over genetic modification. With new technologies however, the potential for groundbreaking brews is undeniable.

In a world where innovation meets tradition, the quest for the perfect pint continues – driven by a blend of science, artistry and consumer demand. And as brewers experiment with the complexities of flavour enhancement, one thing remains clear: the future of beer is as exciting as it is ‘brew-tiful.’

MUSHROOM MARVEL On forest floors and in decaying wood lies mycelium, which is an often overlooked organism with the potential to change multiple industries.

This complex network of fungal threads, known for its symbiotic relationship with plants, is garnering attention for its sustainable properties and versatile applications. Businesses operating in sectors ranging from construction to fashion and food are exploring mycelium as a viable alternative to traditional materials.

London-based research outfit BIOHM uses mycelium to produce insulation panels by repurposing food waste and sawdust. This eco-friendly approach not only reduces environmental impacts but also offers sustainable solutions to construction needs.

Enterprises such as MycoWorks in San Francisco are also pioneering the use of mycelium in fashion and crafting luxurious leather substitutes from this natural resource.

Berlin’s Bosque Foods is exploring mycelium as a source of protein to meet the demand for sustainable food alternatives.

Despite challenges such as durability and water resistance, the adoption of mycelium signifies a major step towards sustainability in various industries.

GREENER FASHION Growing up in Tunisia, Hasna Kourda learned invaluable lessons from her grandparents about circular living where every resource was utilised conscientiously.

Driven by her unease over mounting clothing waste, Kourda embarked on a mission to revolutionise fashion consumption – and in 2017, she founded Save Your Wardrobe, which is an app aimed at helping users to maximise the utility of their clothing while minimising waste.

Save Your Wardrobe enables users to digitalise their wardrobes for better management and organisation of clothing. It also offers access to local services such as dry cleaners and repair shops while encouraging sustainable practices.

Since its launch in 2020, Save Your Wardrobe has garnered over 100,000 downloads, and secured partnerships with luxury fashion platforms such as FARFETCH and Zalando, signalling a growing appetite for sustainable fashion solutions.

Similarly, Swedish entrepreneur Lin Kowalska launched Popswap, which is an app that enables users to swap clothing items with others based on shared style preferences.

As theses tech driven initiatives gain momentum, they offer a beacon of hope in combatting the fashion industry’s toll on the environment. With innovative solutions and a growing consumer base, these platforms are steering fashion towards a more sustainable future.