Can blind people see with their ears? Could ultrasonic vibrations lead to a button-free future? Why do some people’s senses get mixed up?
This October, Horizon immerses itself in the science of the senses to find out how they can be hacked and change the way we perceive the world around us.
We talk to researchers who are training blind people to see with their ears by turning everyday images into sound, and discover how our sense of smell could give us new insight into anxiety and eating disorders.
We delve into the futuristic world of haptics, which is using ultrasound vibrations to create invisible objects such as knobs and buttons from thin air. And we find out how our brain sorts out all the inputs from different senses, and what happens when they get jumbled.
How we perceive smell is more complicated than which molecules are detected by our noses, it also depends on our physical and emotional state, according to Professor Emre Yaksi from the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for Neural Computation at NTNU, in Trondheim, Norway.
A new computer program that translates visual images into sounds and music is enabling blind people to see faces and other objects through their ears, and the results are inspiring brain experts to change their view of how the senses work.
Every minute, satellites and sensors collect enormous amounts of data about the world around us – from temperature to pollution and forest cover to soil quality. This month, Horizon looks into the technologies behind Earth observation and how we can make best use of the vast amounts of information produced. We find out how measurements taken by people with smartphones on the ground can feed into local datasets and how the minituarisation of satellites is creating opportunities for start-ups to enter the Earth observation market. We also discover how measurements are being used to protect ecosystems and what historical data can tell us about extreme weather such as hurricanes and droughts.
The world’s oceans are overfished, polluted and – for something that makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface – still little understood. This month, Horizon looks at some of the science that could help us take better care of our oceans, from robots trash collectors out at sea to finding ways to track the plastic that enters our waters. Plus, we look at how climate change is affecting plans for sustainable aquaculture, tech that can help divers reduce the cost of their dives by more than 50%, and the challenges facing research in the Black Sea.
The pioneering solar flight foundation Solar Impulse has launched an ‘Efficient Solution’ label for clean energy start-ups and innovations that can demonstrate their profitability, in a bid to boost investment in the sector.
Profitability, not altruism, set to spur investors.
Scientists are working out how to improve the quality of urban environments.
Co-author of Stephen Hawking's final paper talks about how their work goes beyond Einstein.