At Davos, innovative products point to a sustainable future

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Sustainability comes in many forms at Davos, from seaweed dyes to 3D printing. (AN photo/Tarek Ali Ahmad)
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Sustainability comes in many forms at Davos, from seaweed dyes to 3D printing. (AN photo/Tarek Ali Ahmad)
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Updated 24 January 2020

At Davos, innovative products point to a sustainable future

  • A single tree that to bear 40 different types of apple

DAVOS: The World Economic Forum is not all about the fourth industrial revolution or the rise of AI.

You can also find all manner of strange and intriguing products on display from biodegradable plastic made from algae to wallpaper made from recycled corn husks.

One stand titled “How do you design a tree?” is part of a conservation effort where a single tree is designed to bear 40 different types of apple.

Another stand displays colored seaweed on a rack, showing how clothes can be dyed in a sustainable, non-chemically corrosive manner.

Propped along a large wall is Fernando Laposse’s wallpaper made of variations of purple corn husks that are reinforced with recycled cardboard and cork to create wallpaper and furniture. The husks come from corn that needs very little water and can be grown in the desert, which makes it all the more sustainable.

“This initiative helps the local economy as it brings in jobs and a resurgence of crafts and food traditions while also ensuring sustainability,” Laposse said.

Another display shows a machine that extracts pellets from a mixture of algae and starch and is used to create a thread that is the base of 3D printing. These sustainable, biodegradable plastics made from algae are being experimented with in different regions.

With the rise of deep fakes — a branch of synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness — another stand delivers a warning on the looming dangers of unregulated software.

The Davos forum prides itself on its sustainability, and key topics have included climate, mobility, energy and the circular economy. Everything is recyclable, and participants must download an application in order to keep up with the program and any changes — a move to cut down on paper waste.


UAE-led research recommends low risk cancer patients delay surgery amid COVID-19 crisis

Updated 07 April 2020

UAE-led research recommends low risk cancer patients delay surgery amid COVID-19 crisis

  • Report recommends each case still be considered for their individual needs
  • Low risk patients might be asked to consider delaying surgery

DUBAI: A global team of cancer treatment specialists, led by an Emirati physician, has published the first international medical recommendations for treating cancer patients during the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, which in some cases suggests surgery should be delayed, UAE state news agency WAM reported.

Led by Humaid Al-Shamsi, consultant of oncology and cancer diseases, and associate professor at the University of Sharjah and President of the Emirates Cancer Society, the study was funded by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and Roche.

Mohammed Haji Al Khouri, director-general of the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, said supporting scientific research, especially during the current crisis, is one of the Foundation’s priorities.

“We have seen the dangers that cancer patients across the world are facing during the current coronavirus pandemic, as well as the absence of any international recommendations for treating them during the crisis,” Al Khouri  said.

“That is why we decided to bring together international experts to make recommendations as soon as possible, to establish a global reference for all cancer therapists.”

The study concluded that each case should be considered on their own individual needs, but this should include postponing surgery or chemotherapy for low risk patients, as well as minimizing outpatient visits.

Healthcare company, Roche, renewed its commitment to supporting scientific research and commended the determination shown by researchers, doctors and international pharmaceutical companies to curb COVID-19.