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.
From high winds and heavy rainfall to droughts and plummeting temperatures, people in Europe have already begun to feel the effects of extreme weather. As we get used to this new reality, scientists are investigating how it will affect how we get around and whether our infrastructure can cope.
Airports could be equipped with technology capable of detecting and bringing down drones that stray into their air space, according to Dan Hermansen, chief technology officer of Danish anti-drone firm MyDefence.The company has developed a drone alarm and protection system that is being installed at a number of prominent sites around Europe, including an airport. It has the potential to prevent the kind of costly disruption that hit London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports recently.
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.
The fight against terrorism-related content and illegal financing online is speeding up thanks to new platforms that join up different internet-scouring technologies to create a comprehensive picture of terrorist activity.
Crimes that involve chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials pose a deadly threat not just to the target of the attack but to innocent bystanders and police investigators. Often, these crimes may involve unusual circumstances or they are terrorist-related incidents, such as an assassination attempt or the sending of poisons through the mail.
Police and law enforcement staff are turning to hackathons – collaborative events for developing technology – to come up with new ways of searching for clues within the terabytes of data that many people produce every year.
Criminals who want to smuggle dangerous or illegal substances into Europe could soon find themselves foiled by a new set of high-tech anti-smuggling tools including an electronic sniffer dog and a machine that fires part of an atom at shipping containers.
Scientists are investigating the link between gut bacteria and ageing.
Their ageing rates might teach us how to grow old gracefully, too.
We are entering a second era of lunar exploration, says ESA’s Dr David Parker.