Future Technologies, Society
Programming the forces of evolution The genius of evolution is rarely seen in action, so the invisible hand guiding the direction of biological systems is often taken for granted.
The revolution of plantoids The grapevines of the Italian region of Tuscany gave food for thought to researchers based in Pontedera, near Pisa, who developed the first soft robot that mimics the behaviour of tendrils .
Plant roots inspire 3D-printed automotive sensors Soil is much more than just the dirt beneath our feet. Essential for agriculture, a source of undiscovered pharmaceuticals and a filtering system for ecosystems, it’s surprising that the automotive research vehicles, which cruise through air or water, have not yet penetrated the ground.
Levitation becomes a reality Levitation is an old dream of humankind. For centuries, magicians gave audiences the illusion of defying gravity, seemingly making objects of people float into the air. Now European scientists are turning this into reality.
Lizard skins and bark bugs inspire energy saving materials Biomimicry , also called bionics, uses structures found in nature to solve everyday problems. A well-known example is the Velcro strip , which a Swiss engineer, Georges de Mestral copied from the burdocks that stuck to his dog and clothes on a walk through the fields.
How machines can learn from human behaviour Could a human behaviour simulator be embedded into a robot or online avatar to the point that it’s hard to distinguish between a real person or artificial intelligence? Scientists have been upping the stakes in this “ Turing test ” for years, to the point that human-mimicking programmes are ready to answer tricky questions, assist people with online shopping or be companions.
Science-based civic projects “Are we all on the same page? Singing from the same hymn sheet?” For anyone working with groups of people in policy areas, the answer is nearly always “yes”.
Life is LiFi in smart buildings Just imagine: you get back home one evening, unlocking your door with the torch light of your mobile. You sit down on your sofa, download a film 100 times faster than currently possible and enjoy the movie on a fully secure wireless connection.
Smart society: a winding road towards the future Smart society is one of these complex but promising concepts that remain poorly understood. This futuristic language sounds like a science fiction, but smarter societies are already slowly emerging all around us.
Your future Christmas jumper could be made from smart textiles How would you like a fancy Christmas garment embedded with sensors to measure your body movements? Or a reindeer hat that moves its horns when your heart beats faster? Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of winter festivities, because the technology behind the next generation of smart clothes is for everyone and can be woven into anything we wear.