Back with a boom? Supersonic planes get ready for a quieter, greener comeback

Almost 20 years after Concorde was grounded, civilian supersonic aircraft seem ready to take off again. New technology is pushing a new generation of aircraft forward, but challenges remain, from regulations to plain old economics. 24 October 2003 was the end of an era. On that day Concorde, the legendary supersonic airliner, made its final … Read more

Machine learning and big data are unlocking Europe’s archives

From wars to weddings, Europe’s history is stored in billions of archival pages across the continent. While many archives try to make their documents public, finding information in them remains a low-tech affair. Simple page scans do not offer the metadata such as dates, names, locations that often interest researchers. Copying this information for later … Read more

‘Encoding the same biases’: Artificial intelligence’s limitations in coronavirus response

As the coronavirus pandemic endures, the socio-economic implications of race and gender in contracting Covid-19 and dying from it have been laid bare. Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a key role in the response, but it could also be exacerbating inequalities within our health systems – a critical concern that is dragging the technology’s limitations … Read more

New wave of medical ‘deep tech’ can help coronavirus response – but there’s resistance

The development of new medical technologies based on cutting-edge discoveries has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic and is helping us respond to the health crisis. But for these technologies to flourish, attitudes and scepticism among investors still need to change, say researchers and start-ups. ‘Deep tech’ describes companies working with technologies such as advanced material … Read more

How crop and animal sensors are making farming smarter

Ear tags with a wireless radio frequency identification antenna along with a smart robotic feeder can tell farmers every time a cow goes to feed and what dose of mineral supplements it receives. Image credit - Ivan Andonovic

Installing wireless sensors among crops and attaching ‘smart’ ear tags to livestock could help farmers produce more food with less impact on the environment. The bounty of food we can find on supermarket shelves across Europe is the result of knowledge accumulated over thousands of years by generations of farmers. But with the global human … Read more