Innovation

The robot dream team keeping an eye on our crops

  A tower and robot vehicle duo can accurately create 3D models of plants and collect data on both regions of crops and individual plants. The mobile sensor tower and an autonomous robot vehicle equipped with three levels of sensors and an additional robotic arm…

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This isn’t sci-fi: A space-based sharing economy powered by nano-satellites could save humanity

  The rise of the internet and the ubiquity of mobile computing devices have changed everything from travel and shopping to politics – think Uber, Amazon and Twitter. But for the next revolution in commerce, governance and social interaction we need to look up –…

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We know sound soothes us. But what if it could kill a tumour?

  Sound has been used for centuries to soothe, treat and heal. An analgesic to some, a mood elevator to others, the use of sound to restore human health has ranged from ancient Tibetan singing bowls to bona fide “sound healers” who treat symptoms of…

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Human brain size has tripled. Here’s why

  Anthropologists have been curious about the evolution of human intelligence for many decades. The main lines of research have involved archaeological finds concerning the use of fire, tools and so on. But what about looking for evidence in fossil skulls, the place where the…

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This battery could store 10 times as much energy as current designs

  Researchers have struggled for decades to safely use powerful—but flammable—lithium metal in a battery. Now John Goodenough, the 94-year-old father of the lithium-ion battery, is claiming a novel solution as a blockbuster advance. If it proves out, the invention could allow electric cars to…

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AI is coming. Here are 5 ways to win when it arrives

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is the great story of our time. Decades in the making, AI-infused machines will soon change our lives and work in ways that are easy to imagine but hard to predict. Consider: • Stock trading: In 2015, six of…

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Meet the robots with talents you can only dream of

  It can move faster than most of us can run, and happily tackles 1.2 metre vertical jumps. Welcome to the awesome (and slightly scary) abilities of Handle, the two-wheeled, four-legged creation from Google-owned robotics firm Boston Dynamics. [embedded content] So agile is Handle that…

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Here’s how developing countries can embrace the digital revolution

Digital technologies have been transforming the global economy. Yet many countries have yet to experience the full developmental benefits of digital technologies, such as inclusive and sustainable growth, improved governance, and responsive service delivery. Given the magnitude of change in competitive advantage that digital technologies…

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This MIT professor says there is still one huge challenge with self-driving cars

  MIT associate professor Iyad Rahwan has asked 3 million people to consider the “Trolley problem” when it comes to self-driving cars. The Trolley problem goes like this: a runaway trolley is barreling toward five people on a track who cannot move. But you have…

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Rethink’s Sawyer Robot Just Got a Whole Lot Smarter

  Rethink Robotics, pioneers in the field of collaborative industrial robotics, has made a massive upgrade to its Sawyer robots. Designed to help non-experts program routines that instruct the robot how to carry out complex tasks, the new Intera 5 software could help the company realize the…

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