Deep in the bowels of NASA’s Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia, where you imagine they are working on the spacecraft that will one day conquer millions of miles of space, one group of engineers have a smaller target in their sights: the fruit fly.
You wouldn’t have thought that the simple fruit fly could have much impact on an airplane.
But the smallest imperfection or obstacle on the outside of a plane, including a crushed bug, means that it can’t achieve laminar airflow, where the air flows totally smoothly over.
And achieving that wouldn’t just make a small difference to the efficiency of a plane, but could make it ten times more efficient.
It would be like a 20 mpg car becoming a 200 mpg car.
Which is why a NASA-developed anti-bug surface for airliners could be so significant.
It’s all about friction.
For charities the friction in getting online donations, particularly from mobile, has been very frustrating and constraining. Given that putting in your credit card details is such a business, that anyone gives at all is somewhat amazing.
So celebrate this news. Apple have announced that they will allow charities to accept donations by Apple Pay. In other words, people can donate with just a touch of their finger. How friction-free is that?
It is unfortunately, and inevitably, just in the US at the moment. But, just as inevitably, it will be with us in the UK soon.
Get ready for it. The technology and the bureaucracy will be small fences to jump.
So the ‘how’ will be solved. The ‘why’ – telling your story in a compelling, engaging way – remains the challenge. How will you jump that fence too?