Few technologies have the potential to disrupt old institutions as much as blockchain – a system that maintains records on huge networks of individual computers. As with any new technology, it could be used for social good – such as supporting people who are priced-out of the current bank accounts – but the big challenge is how to limit its unintended consequences.
Robust, intelligent robots that react to their surroundings are being developed to work in situations that are too dangerous for humans, such as cleaning up Europe’s decades-old radioactive waste or helping during a nuclear emergency.
Modern communications technology means one can find anything, anywhere around the world, on the internet and via mobile phones. But people still live in communities and need information that is relevant to them.
The eruption of a volcano can have devastating consequences – killing people and destroying livelihoods, as well as releasing vast amounts of ash into the sky that disrupts air travel and alters the climate. Knowing what goes on underground, however, would facilitate better warnings for when an eruption will occur – and help save lives while keeping damage to a minimum.
People’s interactions with machines, from robots that throw tantrums when they lose a colour-matching game against a human opponent to the bionic limbs that could give us extra abilities, are not just revealing more about how our brains are wired – they are also altering them.
The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), a virtual one-stop shop for researchers to share, access and reuse data, was officially unveiled at the University of Vienna, Austria, on 23 November, giving scientists, open data advocates, research institutions and policymakers a first glimpse of the portal.
Touchscreens and digital graphics are everywhere, but for people who are visually impaired, they can be a major hurdle to using modern technology. But this is set to change, thanks to tactile technology that automatically converts complex digital graphics into braille and stick-on smartphone buttons that make apps navigable by touch.
Video games that are specifically designed to test and improve children’s social and emotional skills could enable parents and teachers to spot issues and help children improve their behaviour and performance at school as well as in later life.
Connecting objects and devices through the Internet of Things (IoT) can help solve the greatest challenges of our time, from cutting emissions to feeding a growing population, believes Alicia Asín, CEO and co-founder of Spanish technology company Libelium which makes IoT hardware. Asín was the second-place winner of the 2018 EU Prize for Women Innovators.
Tuberculosis is the most common cause of death from an infectious disease.
Computer modelling will also help optimise management techniques.
Entrepreneur Nicklas Bergman on the European Innovation Council.