Age and foaming: how to predict when a volcano will erupt

Image credit - Jimmy McIntyre, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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 … Read more

From robotic companions to third thumbs, machines can change the human brain

Image credit - Ruud Hortensius and Emily Cross

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. by Frieda Klotz Emily Cross is a professor of … 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

The video games that improve kids’ social skills

Image credit - Pixabay/ StockSnap, licensed under CCO

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. Imagine racing through a virtual labyrinth against an alien and losing. Given the chance to rerun … Read more

How do we feed the world? The internet of things can help

Image credit - Flickr/ Andrew Newill, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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. When it comes to … Read more

Facebook and Twitter need a redesign to fight junk news

Image credit - Flickr/Olivier Matthys, image is in the public domain

As the use of social media to spread misinformation soars, it’s time for companies such as Facebook and Twitter to redesign their platforms, says Professor Philip Howard, head of the Oxford Internet Institute, UK. According to a recent study by the institute, organised social media manipulation has risen from being active in 28 countries to 48 in … Read more