Club for the Future
Kent-based Blue Origin might be developing its high-profile lunar lander, but it also is working on something a little more down to earth: a nonprofit called Club for the Future. The organization is aimed at inspiring youth to pursue science-related education and, hopefully, a future career in STEM, through space-themed projects. Its first endeavor was a call for students from kindergarten to 12th grade to submit postcards outlining their dreams for the future. The first 10,000 submitted will be considered to ride along on a future mission to space on Blue Origin’s suborbital New Shepard rocket and later will be returned back to the children who submitted them. “I’ve seen the messages, and they are so hopeful and inspiring. We are in good hands,” Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos said of the submissions in an Instagram post.
You’ve heard of startups developing platforms and apps to get a date, but have you ever heard of one planning a date with a person you’re already in a relationship with? That’s what Shane Kovalsky and Vince Coppola had planned when they left their lucrative tech jobs and formed Mystery, as in, mystery date. Via the company’s website or its smartphone app, users answer several questions about their preferences — do they imbibe alcoholic drinks, would they prefer a raucous club or a subdued venue, do they like trying new things? — and tell the service how much they’re willing to spend on their evening out, and Mystery does all the work by sending a ride or texting directions. You won’t know where you end up until you get there.
PCC Community Markets
Recently, PCC Community Markets, also known as PCC, announced it had become the first grocery store on record to pursue the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Certification. Run by the International Living Future Institute, the LBC is an aggressive green building standard organized into seven performance areas, or petals: place, water, energy, health & happiness, materials, equity, and beauty. PCC is endeavoring to attain at least three of these petals — place, beauty, and materials — in its five new stores, including its Ballard and West Seattle locations opening later this year, and its Bellevue, downtown Seattle, and Madison Valley stores projected to open in 2020. Following on the heels of this announcement, PCC introduced in August its new compostable deli packaging, which it predicts will reduce more than 8 million pieces of petroleum-based plastic materials from landfills.
California-based SpaceX, founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has seen worldwide attention for its historic commercial flights. It is, after all, the only private company capable of launching and subsequently returning a spacecraft from low Earth orbit and, in 2012, it was the first commercial vessel to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. In May, the company again made headlines when it executed a mission that deployed 60 flat-panel Starlink Broadband data satellites — manufactured in Redmond — into orbit. The Federal Communications Commission has given SpaceX clearance to launch up to 11,000 satellites to create a constellation. More recently, the company announced it would begin offering rideshare opportunities for small satellite operators aboard its Starlink broadband satellite launch flights, during which the company’s Falcon 9 rockets would carry a maximum payload of 200 kilograms into sun-synchronous orbit for as little as $1 million.
Tectonic Audio Labs
We live in an age when we are inundated with audio — songs, television shows, and audiobooks — and, for the most part, the audio we hear comes from a speaker made with the cone-shaped diaphragm that produces pistonic vibrations. However, Tectonic Audio Labs has been working to bring the design of the speaker into the 21st century. The Woodinville-based business uses “bending wave models to produce sound vibrations” through its Distributed Mode Loudspeaker and Balanced Mode Radiator. Originally created by the British Ministry of Defense to reduce noise in aircraft cockpits, the bending wave technology was purchased by Tectonic for commercial use and now is primarily aimed at smart speakers and internet of things-connected homes.