From eliminating checkout queues to potentially cutting counterfeiting and even terrorist financing, the rise of cash-free payment systems might not only change the way most of us pay but even pave the way to a cashless society.
People who use car-sharing services could soon be able to roam with different providers when travelling, much in the same way as people do with their mobile phone networks, thanks to a new piece of software which its inventor says will also help make car sharing economically viable in smaller cities and rural areas.
Cancer treatments that are personalised to an individual’s tumour cells or body clock, a boost to the hunt for dark matter using new findings from Large Hadron Collider data, and long-distance communications enhanced by augmented reality are just some of the scientific breakthroughs expected by researchers this year.
Testing new medicines on miniature samples of human tissue, known as organ-on-a-chip or – in the case of multiple tissues – body-on-a-chip technology, promises to make medical research faster while reducing the use of lab animals.
Getting to the airport without delay, choosing the fastest-moving queue at security and taking the quickest route to your gate may soon be par for the course for airline travellers thanks to technology that uses personalised data and crowd simulations to streamline people’s journeys from their home to the gate.
Highly sophisticated computers are mining vast amounts of data from the web, digital maps and satellite imagery to pick out trends in areas like demographics, transport and the environment.
Augmented reality took the public by storm this summer, driving 100 million gamers to search for Pokémon hidden around their cities. But while the monster-chasing craze may fade, it won’t be the last you hear of the technology behind it as researchers look beyond the entertainment industry and see how it can be put to work to improve our daily lives.
Engineers at the Joint European Torus (JET) nuclear fusion experiment could be using augmented reality through Microsoft’s HoloLens technology to see where radiation hotspots are, according to Jonathan Naish, at the UK’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, who has developed an award-winning system to check exposure using virtual reality.
A laser-based broadband internet connection that could help to bridge the so-called digital divide, between people who have internet access and those who do not, has won its inventor first prize in the 2016 edition of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).
In today’s digital age, it can feel as though we are drowning in a deluge of data, and the scientific field is no different. According to a 2014 study, one paper is published every 30 seconds, and more than 70 000 papers have been published on a single protein, a tumour suppressor called p53.
The increase is partly driven by climate challenges.
Neuroimaging techniques are helping us read the pictures in our heads.
There is unlimited kinetic energy all around us and harnessing it could change the way we interact with the world, says Dr Gonzalo Murillo.