In April, Horizon looks beyond the hype of smart drugs and brain stimulation to examine less extreme ways for people to sharpen their mental abilities. We find out about the wearable tech that can train police officers to make better decisions, discover how a videogame can stimulate empathy, and learn how meditation changes your brain.
Software that can enhance your cognitive abilities will become as prevalent as physical gyms are today, according to Danny Dankner, the chief executive of Applied Cognitive Engineering, developers of the IntelliGym sports brain-training software.
Intensive bouts of meditation have an immediate and visible impact on practitioners’ sleeping brainwaves, researchers have confirmed, in results that help enlarge the picture of how exactly the mind-training practices can change our brains.
In the heat of the moment, with a thief absconding on your left and a victim screaming to your right, it can be hard for a police official to make the right decision. A new device is helping police train their brains to make better decisions in risky situations, by triggering memories of past events in unprecedented detail.
In the last 30 years gaming has grown from a niche hobby to the world’s most profitable form of entertainment. Now, researchers are investigating how they can be used to increase empathy, reflect on political beliefs, and boost mental health.
Robots won’t replace doctors any day soon, but they can already help medical professionals do amazing things. This month, Horizon looks at how robots will someday perform remote physical and ultrasound examinations so doctors can make a diagnosis from a distance, and medical avatars for elderly people that help them stay fit and safe. Plus, we see how computer games could make young people lead healthier lifestyles and how to give self-help apps more scientific merit.
How will we have enough food to feed another 2 billion people by the middle of this century without destroying our planet? Agriculture is already one of the biggest contributors to climate change. This month, we hear from scientists designing disease-resistant crops using gene editing, packing more calcium into finger millet, and resurrecting ancient crop varieties to offset the sector’s environmental impact. Plus, we hear from Dr Manoj Dora about so-called lean agriculture, which is looking to make agriculture more sustainable by eliminating waste from the production process.
Using off-the-shelf technology and innovative economics, lightweight helium balloons have started carrying remote-controlled laboratories to the edge of space and back, offering the business case for new types of science missions.
Floating research laboratories are reaching the fringes of space.
Automated and connected devices can save lives.
EU firms should be brought within ‘innovation ecosystems’ to develop breakthrough technology, according to Prof. Luke Georghiou.