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Future Technologies
Soft robotics: what the octopus has taught us
Soft robotics: what the octopus has taught us “If you think about a robot, how do you picture it from the back of your mind? Perhaps it looks something like a humanoid, built with rigid materials such as metals.
The revolution of plantoids
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
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.
Superfast all-RAM processors could bring high-performance computers to the masses
Superfast all-RAM processors could bring high-performance computers to the masses Today’s computer processors are pretty fast. Under optimal conditions, a desktop can come close to teraflop speeds, which is a million million operations per second .
Levitation becomes a reality
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.
Microscopic antennas to peer into nano-sized worlds
Microscopic antennas to peer into nano-sized worlds Vast arrays of antennas are being built to capture infrared light beams. You won’t find them in a desert though, pointed out towards space.
Lizard skins and bark bugs inspire energy saving materials
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
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
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”.
Financing the next generation of “deep-tech” research innovators
Financing the next generation of “deep-tech” research innovators Remember the cassette Walkman? With streaming services, even MP3 players like the iPod look distinctly  passé . Car Sat-Navs used to drop jaws in amazement, but now driverless cars and flying drone taxis are on the horizon.
Life is LiFi in smart buildings
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: 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
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.
Improving the imperfect: photosynthesis for the future
Improving the imperfect: photosynthesis for the future Despite its splendour and beauty, nature is full of imperfections. Indeed, the process of natural selection relies upon minor errors in genetic duplication to produce new variants, better suited to a given environment.
Will energy-free computing reactions ever take place?
Will energy-free computing reactions ever take place? In 1961, the physicist Rolf Landauer formulated a principle that any transformation of information that takes place in a computer requires energy, thus making zero-power computing a pipe dream.
The bacteria talk
The bacteria talk “Let’s start from the end. Our project will not really end in our lifetime”. Puzzling as it may sound, the statement comes from Sarah Goldberg, researcher at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, one of the leading scientific institutions in Israel.
The race toward exascale supercomputing targets 2020
The race toward exascale supercomputing targets 2020 Exascale is an artificial milestone figure represented by the number one followed by eighteen zeros. Exascale computers will be able to perform a quintillion calculations per second, and they are expected to consume only 20 MW of power.
The semiotics of supercomputers
The semiotics of supercomputers Exascale supercomputing refers to super fast computers to be implemented between 2018 and 2020 to analyse massive volumes of data. The downside: they consume vast amounts of energy.
Supercomputers inspire artworks
Supercomputers inspire artworks New media artists Špela Petrič and Miha Turšič - Credit: Špela Petrič and Miha Turšič Discovering the “intended and unintended meaning” of algorithms to produce artworks.
Shaping our future: the radical technologies of tomorrow
Shaping our future: the radical technologies of tomorrow Visionary, high-risk, long-term and breaking down traditional boundaries. These are just some of the key ingredients in breakthrough technologies being targeted by FET researchers across Europe.