It's a modern-day truism that, in regions where the phone company never bothered to lay network cable, locals quickly adopted mobile phones -- and then innovated mobile services that go far beyond what so-called developed countries have. Could the same pattern hold true with roads?
Andreas Raptopoulos is hoping to find out with Matternet, a project that uses swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver urgent items -- think emergency and medical supplies -- to places where there are no driveable roads. Imagine a sort of flying bucket brigade or relay race, where autonomous quadricopters pass packages around a flexible network that behaves something like the internet -- but for real goods.
Raptopoulos is a designer, inventor and entrepreneur. Prior to Matternet, he founded FutureAcoustic, a music platform that adjusts to the listener's environment.