Connected through the cloud, as part of an intelligent swarm, in homes and on the streets, robots are about to break into our daily lives. In this issue of Horizon, we talk to the scientists who are putting Europe at the forefront of robotics research.
That includes Dr Markus Waibel, who is turning low-cost robots into highly intelligent devices by connecting them to remote data centres, and Professor Maurice-Xavier François, who is developing technology to enable robots to carry out missions deep into interstellar space.
We sent a camera crew to France to meet Rob Knight, an engineer who has made a robot that can move just like a human. Professor Maarja Kruusmaa from Estonia explains how underwater robots can navigate the seabed using sonar.
Professor Bruno Siciliano, at the University of Naples Federico II, explains that robots can make Europe more competitive, creating jobs. We also speak to Professor František Štĕpánek, from the Czech Republic, where the word ‘robot’ was first used. He is making microscopic robots to deliver cancer drugs directly to a tumour.
Should we have special laws to govern robots? The question isn’t being debated in parliaments and newspaper columns yet, but robots currently under development are becoming so astute at learning to interact like humans that it’s only a matter of time.
Antibiotics which break down before bacteria can evolve resistance to them; perfumes which release the heady scent of freshly cut flowers as your body heats up; and powerful cancer drugs directed to exactly where they are needed are some of the potential applications of microscopic chemical robots under development in Europe.
Professor Bruno Siciliano specialises in control and robotics at the University of Naples Federico II and is a past president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics and Automation Society. He believes that robots can make Europe more competitive, creating jobs.
To mark the first European conference on connected and automated driving, Horizon magazine investigates some of the hottest EU research topics in the field, from whether man or machine makes the decision in critical situations, to the potential for cyber criminals to create chaos on the roads, as well as revisiting some of our favourite articles about the future of transport.
As our reliance on the internet continues to expand into every area of our lives, the threat from cyber attacks and hacking are never far from the headlines. This month, Horizon looks at how Europe can keep its digital borders intact. We find out how artificial intelligence is learning on the job to better detect security breaches and how the unique way that you interact with your phone or computer could be used to verify your digital identity. Plus, we find out what the EU is doing to protect critical infrastructure such as power grids from an increased threat of attack.
Robots and plants are being intricately linked into a new type of living technology that its creators believe could be used to grow a house.
Robots steer plants to grow in pre-programmed forms.
Insulin resistance links the two diseases.
Railway networks, power stations and telephone grids are constantly being targeted, says Georg Peter.