Technology Features

TECHNOLOGY FEATURES

 

From pee-powered lighting to giant alien megastructures, my technology features cover a broad range of the most cutting-edge science.

CIOs – The Leaders Of The Digital Revolution?

 

New technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and Big Data are transforming workplaces. So with the digital revolution in full swing – will CIOs lead the way?

 

 

 

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The toys of the future are already here, including AI powered dinosaurs, building bricks controlled from a smartphone and even a mind-controlled Scalextric!

 

 

In her room a little girl is playing with her pet dinosaur. “How far is it from the Earth to the Sun?” she asks, thinking of her science lesson tomorrow.

 

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3D printed cities are just around the corner…

 

The construction site is eerily quiet. No workers rush around in hard hats hefting tools or materials, no scaffold skeleton stands against the clear winter sky. Instead a single robot arm moves back and forth with precise, jerky movements. A nozzle at its end lays down a gloopy grey mixture of concrete in a complex swirling pattern.

 

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Let’s swap bodily fluids! … for energy that is, including sweat, tears and even pee. Yes you heard correctly…

 

It is a mark of the popularity of the Glastonbury Festival – and perhaps the amount drunk there – that this year just one urinal had to deal with up to 1,000 litres of urine a day.

 

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Formula Student is the F1 for university students and it provides careers in F1 for many who take part.

 

The car swings into the pits at the Silverstone circuit as the team of engineers rushes to gather round like paramedics to a casualty.

 

There is a problem with the cooling system. The engine needs to be switched off while the engineers scurry to and fro carrying parts, or huddle around like concerned family members.

 

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Is it a black hole, a string of comets or maybe, just maybe a giant alien megastructure harvesting energy from its nearby star? I explore the mystery of Tabby’s Star

 

An alien civilisation is growing. As it evolves, it develops ever more complex and energy-consuming technologies. Soon the resources of its home planet no longer satisfy its energy needs, so it begins building megastructures to harvest the energy from its very own sun.

 

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How satellites, drones and the IoT will save vast amounts of water in agriculture

 

Agriculture is the world’s biggest consumer of water, using 70 per cent of the Earth’s freshwater supplies. Irrigation alone accounts for some 1,200km3 (2.6 quintillion gallons) of water per year. Much of this consumption - three times more than 50 years ago - is only set to increase, raising the global water use of agriculture a further 19 per cent by 2050.

 

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How innovative forms of hydro power are tapping our small and slow-moving water sources

 

For a country that receives so much rain, hydroelectric energy seems to be curiously underexploited in the UK. Just 1.5 per cent of the electricity supply is derived from water. For traditional hydropower, though, Britain has the wrong kind of water.

 

My review of the Tesla Model S after last week's test drive.

 

Last week Tesla announced all its new cars would come with full driverless capability. So I felt slightly paranoid that on the same week I – a human – was being given a Tesla to test drive. Had I been specially selected from a shortlist of idiots to prove how much better transport would be without drivers?

 

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The future of electric vehicles - self-driving cars, smart roads, wireless charging and the end of cars as possessions - the greatest revolution in transportation since the combustion engine is upon us!

 

This has not been a good year for electric vehicles. Last month a Tesla Model S electric car crashed while in Advanced Driver Assistance Mode – essentially the first step towards a self-driving car.

 

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Plastic Bank - using waste plastic as a currency to end poverty and rid the world of plastic pollution

 

Practically every piece of plastic that’s ever been made still exists here on earth today. That’s almost two trillion kilos of plastic. But despite this huge amount of existing material, over 300 billion kilos of new, virgin plastic is created each year, and only around 10 per cent of the existing material is recycled.

 

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Lego's search for more sustainable plastics for its bricks

 

“Only the best is good enough” was the motto of Ole Kirk Kristiansen, the founder of Danish toy firm, Lego. When you look at Lego products it’s easy to see why. Lego bricks are so tough they’re almost impossible to break, so durable they have practically no end-of-life, and so well-made they fit together almost seamlessly.

 

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Could robots be the future of the care industry?

 

In the popular Channel 4 drama, ‘Humans’, every family owns an intelligent life-like robot which helps with tasks around the house. Some of these robots work as carers in the homes of elderly people, providing company and emotional support as well as physical care. So good are they at it, that one of the characters even forms a father-son relationship with his robot.

 

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Atom, the UK's first app-only bank

 

Atom, a company aiming to be the UK's only app-based bank, summed up its 2015 with, as you might expect, a set of numbers. Except they're not the kind of numbers you'd expect from a bank:

 

30,360 coffees drunk

 

1,500 table tennis games played

 

3 space-hopper races

 

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For all you Trekkies - my feature on the possibilities of a post-scarcity, Star Trek-style economy

 

A famous person once said:

“A lot has changed in the past 300 years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of infancy.”

Unfortunately they were talking about the 24th century, not the 21st, for this was Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commander of the USS Enterprise.

 

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The global companies doing more than their fair share to fight climate change

 

The UN climate change conference in Paris is upon us. At previous conferences, governments have failed to draw up concrete plans to tackle climate change, leaving the Paris meeting increasingly anticipated with a ‘now or never’ feeling. However, this hasn’t stopped a band of global corporate giants from attempting to lead the way and tackle the problem themselves.

 

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Quantum computing could change every aspect of our modern world from logistics to medicine to travel and much more

 

The subatomic quantum world is a magical place in which things can be both particles and waves at the same time, where every possibility exists until we look at it and where uncertainty is king. But scientists are increasingly harnessing the slippery properties of this realm to build computers so powerful they make the fastest supercomputer look like a ZX Spectrum.

 

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What is causing all the buzz about Tabby’s star? My article for The Independent sent this topic viral

 

A large cluster of objects in space look like something you would "expect an alien civilization to build", astronomers have said.

 

Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, is set to publish a report on the “bizarre” star system - suggesting the objects could be a “swarm of megastructures”.

 

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What’s so special about Concorde 2? It could fly at 4.5 times the speed of sound. Ah… ok

 

An Airbus design for a successor to Concorde will fly at 4.5 times the speed of sound and get passengers from London to New York in one hour flat.

 

The Concorde 2 would take off vertically and fly at speeds of 3,425 miles per hour – three times faster than the original Concorde, according to a video by Patent Yogi.

 

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Two clean energy firm go bust thanks to Tory funding U-turn

 

Two of the UK’s leading clean energy companies have gone into administration on the same day, blaming the Government's U-turn on energy policy.

 

Nearly 1,000 staff were laid off in Leicester yesterday as home insulation and solar panel provider, Mark Group, fell into administration.

 

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Energy generated by the human body could soon be powering our phones, tablets and computers

 

Consumers walk through a busy shopping centre holding smart devices that are charged by the motion of their legs. Meanwhile, in the shopping centre’s coffee shops, banks of people sit at exercise bikes sipping lattes while their legs power the computers they are browsing.

 

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How Medicins Sans Frontieres is using the latest tech to help people in the most inaccessible locations

 

Four people wearing surgical gloves, goggles and face masks marched into a branch of PC World in London last autumn.

Despite their garb, it wasn't some kind of robbery. The masked men and women were the technological arm of the humanitarian aid charity, Médecins Sans Frontières, and they had come to test tablet computers for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

 

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Can digital democracy give us our power back?

 

At the front of a packed auditorium, a young woman is speaking eloquent English in an Argentinian accent. She's telling her audience about 19th-century politics and explaining how the phrase "no taxation without representation" came to be coined.

 

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LEE WILLIAMS

 

Freelance journalist and writer.

 

 

Copyright @ All Rights Reserved

Contact

For more information please contact:

lee@leewilliamsjournalism.com