Road upgrades to help humans drive alongside automated cars

Image credit - Pixabay/0532-2008, licensed under pixabay license

As new self-driving vehicles appear on the streets, the traffic clogging our cities and highways could get a lot worse unless the roads themselves become smarter. Automated vehicles are often lauded as the solution to Europe’s congested road networks due to their ability to drive closer together and at higher speeds than humans can do … Read more

Preparing for the outbreak: helping research swing into action in central Africa

Image credit - European Commission DG ECHO, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By Vittoria D’Alessio When an outbreak strikes, speed is critical. Health workers must act quickly not only to contain and treat an emerging or re-emerging disease, but also to use this window to evaluate potential treatments and vaccines. And the challenge becomes even greater in sub-Saharan Africa when you’re trying to develop new approaches in the … Read more

In a picture: How this robotic tendril mimics climbing plants – Dr Barbara Mazzolai

Image credit - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)

Plants move at a much slower rate than what we can see. They don’t have muscles so they’ve figured out different ways to move. One way is through osmosis, which shifts water in their stems to change their stiffness. What you see in the video is a robot actually using osmosis. This is very important … Read more

Sixth mass extinction could destroy life as we know it– biodiversity expert

Image credit - Paul VanDerWerf, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Alarming declines in the number of insects, vertebrates and plant species around the world have raised fears that we are in the midst of a sixth major extinction that could cause a collapse of the natural ecosystems we rely upon to survive. Urgent international action is needed to halt this potentially catastrophic decline in biodiversity, … Read more

Noisier waters linked to behaviour change, hearing loss in whales

Image Credit - Flickr/spezz CC BY 2.0

Studies investigating whale-watching boats and the inner ears of marine mammals could soon provide new insight into the effects of noisier oceans on cetaceans – dolphins, whales and porpoises – who depend on their hearing for navigating, finding food and communicating underwater. Noise in our oceans is increasing due to human activities such as shipping, … Read more

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