Episode available within Canada only.

We live in a world where technology is constantly changing. Sadly you know as you leave the store, that your brand new SmartPhone is already out of date – somebody, somewhere has just upgraded it. Keeping up with the latest everything can be a challenge. We asked Dr. Jennifer Gardy to explore current scientific research that will impact us all in the future. 

Dr. Gardy is a Senior Scientist, Molecular Epidemiology at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. On this journey, Jennifer travels from Toronto to New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Munich and back home to Vancouver – all in the name of science exploration.

3D PRINTING BODY PARTS

Since the 1980s it’s been possible to print 3D objects made from all kinds of materials like plastic, metal and chocolate. Today, scientists are applying 3D printing technology to the field of medicine.  They’re  printing plastic prosthetic parts, titanium implants, and they have now started to use ink that contains living human cells to create cartilage and bone, skin, and in the not too distant future, functioning liver tissue. It’s only a matter of time before we can 3D bioprint complete fully functioning organs, which could help solve the dilemma of supply keeping up with demand. The possibility of getting a full body scan when we’re young and healthy, and replacing parts as we get older may sound like science fiction but it is could soon become a reality.

DRIVERLESS CARS

Researchers at Volvo blame most auto accidents on the four Ds: distraction, drowsiness, drunkenness and driver error. How to remedy this? Simple – remove the driver from the equation. As we look to the future most auto manufacturers are promising to do just that - take more and more of the driving away from the driver. And a lot of the technology to achieve this is already here: park assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning are all available today. But the notion of a completely driverless car raises questions – not least being – in the event of an accident, who is responsible? The person behind the wheel or the manufacturer?

TREE CLONING

In a world driven by the bottom line profits of consumerism – where technological innovation and development supersedes all, it may seem that the natural world is being shut out – being forced to take a back seat. Luckily for us, there are those who dream of a world that embraces the wonders of nature – a world that includes endless forests of healthy trees. Keith Park’s job with the National Park Service is to maintain and protect all the trees under his jurisdiction. And he’s prepared to do it one tree at a time. David Milarch’s dream for the future is to clone the champion tress of the world. Although he’s not a scientist, plenty of people believe in him including Prince Charles to Sir Richard Branson. Sally Aitken is a scientist with UBC. She believes genetic diversity is the key to saving the planet.

NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER

Back in the 1950s, less than a third of the world’s population lived in urban areas. Today, four out of every five people on the planet live in cities. We love the allure of city life and all that modern technology has given us, including increased life expectancy, but it may be that this trend is about to swing the other way.  Scientists are discovering that we could be missing out on an integral component of our existence. Innovative new research points to links between human health and proximity to a more natural world. Have we in fact become too urbanized for our own good? According to some experts there‘s evidence that we just might be the victims of a strange new disease called Nature Deficit Disorder. To discover more, Jennifer goes “forest bathing” in Japan.

Credits (Click to expand)

directed, produced and written by        
Jackie Carlos
Lisa Ellenwood
Annette Mangaard
Liam O’Rinn

host
Jennifer Gardy

editors
Jim Goertzen
Jacques Milette

cinematography
Ichiro Arai
John Badcock
Jeff Cole
Ed Middleton
Michael Sweeney, CSC

location sound
Scott Alexander
Jim Choi
Sean Feldstein
Keith Henderson
Mark Mandler
Richard Nault
Ai Miyatake
Mary Wong
Daniel Zirngibl

additional cinematography
Paul Pryor

visual research
Gina Cali

associate producer
Griffin Ondaatje

translators
Chieko Bond
Monika Delmos
Henry Gareth Griffiths
Takeshi Suzuki

staging
Gerry Bradshaw
sound design
Alan Geldart

colourist 
Eric Barnett

music consultant
Patrick Russell

online editing 
Jessica Nardi

audio mix
Ron Searles

associate director
Renée Moreau

resource coordinators
Analisa Amoroso
Megan Beeckmans

unit manager
June Hall

production manager
David Wilson

business manager
Documentary Unit
Wilma Alexander
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special thanks
cbm Canada
Axel Guenther, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto
Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman authors, Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing
Nithin Reddy and Timur Ozehah, Cornell University
Hurf Sheldon, The Program of Computer Graphics, Cornell University
Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation 2097
BMW Group Research and Technology:
Stefanie Schindler, Martina Horvath, Michael Aeberhard, Philipp Kerschbaum
Ford of Canada - Michelle Lee-Gracey
Sean Hertel
Mercedes-Benz - Canada Michael Minielly
Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation 2097
UBC Forest Sciences Centre: Joane Elleouet, Jonathan Degner, Ian MacLachlan,
Sean King, Robin Mellway, Tongli Wang, Pia Smets,
Interlochen Center for the Arts:Pedro Bello Abrante Joachim Pfefferkorn
Archangel Ancient Tree Archive: Tom Brodhagen
Kelly Connelly
Steph Parrott

additional images:    
Cornell University
Organovo
USC Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT)
Getty Images
Corbis Motion
US National Parks Service
Andreas Altenburger / Pond5.com
WGBH Media Library & Archives
GM Media Centre
Honda
Automobiles  PEUGEOT
BMW Group
Mercedes-Benz Canada
Nissan
Volkswagen
Volvo Car Group
Audi MediaServices

"Magic Highway, USA"  - Disneyland TV
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produced with the participation of
CMF

senior producers
FM Morrison
Caroline Underwood

executive producer
Sue Dando

executive director
Documentary Programming
Mark Starowicz

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The Nature of Things
with David Suzuki

produced by
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
(c) 2014

www.cbc.ca/natureofthings
 

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