Drones and satellite imaging to make forest protection pay

Image credit - lubasi, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every year 7 million hectares of forest are cut down, chipping away at the 485 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) stored in trees around the world, but low-cost drones and new satellite imaging could soon protect these carbon stocks and help developing countries get paid for protecting their trees. ‘If you can measure the biomass you can … Read more

Governments at COP24 should focus on building a global electricity grid – Prof. Damien Ernst

Image credit - Kenueone, licensed under CC0 1.0

Governments at the COP24 climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, which ends on 14 December, should tackle fossil-fuel reliance by building a global energy grid that connects renewable energy from all around the world – and the best place to start is with a giant wind farm in Greenland, says Professor Damien Ernst, an energy scientist from … Read more

The Arctic faces substantial changes even if we meet climate targets – Marianne Kroglun

Image credit - Christine Zenino

Melting sea ice, plastic waste, biodiversity loss – the Arctic is facing unprecedented environmental pressure and will continue to change until 2050 even if we meet targets to limit global warming, according to Marianne Kroglund from the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum addressing the challenges faced by Arctic governments and indigenous peoples. Sea ice in … Read more

Tactile Excel sheets and graphics to boost job prospects for blind people 20 November 2018

Image credit - René Jaun's braille display by visualpun.ch is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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. There are 30 million blind or … Read more

Seaweed-powered trucks – hope or hype?

The infrastructure for turning seaweed into a sustainable alternative for livestock feed, chemicals and energy is still in its infancy.

Seaweed has long been touted for its potential as a sustainable ingredient for biofuels, green chemicals and biodegradable materials, but scaling up production to industrial levels in a way that maintains its environmental credentials is proving a real challenge for scientists. ‘The potential is there, all the data points to it,’ said Dr Jaap van … Read more

Memory-jogging robot to keep people sharp in ‘smart’ retirement homes

Sensors placed throughout a retirement home helped the ENRICHME robot to keep track of the movements and activities of residents taking part in the project’s trial.

A robot that reminds older people where they have put things and helps them exercise has been used by residents in three retirement homes in a trial to combat cognitive decline in later age. Almost a fifth of the European population are over 65 years old, but while quality of life for this age bracket is … Read more