Blockchain could democratise banking, music – but at what cost?

Free blockchain-based platforms can make bank accounts accessible to those unable to afford regular banking technology.

Few technologies have the potential to disrupt old institutions as much as blockchain – a system that maintains records on huge networks of individual computers. As with any new technology, it could be used for social good – such as supporting people who are priced-out of the current bank accounts – but the big challenge … Read more

A dishwasher that keeps itself clean: how lasers are changing everyday items

Image credit - ALPhANOV

By Jonathan O’Callaghan At the smallest of scales, science can become rather weird. So weird in fact that metals and other materials can be altered to completely change their properties, such as making them resilient to water or bacteria. This is the cornerstone of new research looking into the hidden world of surfaces, with the … Read more

Creative, egalitarian, carbon-neutral – the future of industry?

Increasing digitisation will get rid of boring tasks and free people up for creativity and empathy, according to one young leader's vision of industry in 2050.

by Annette Ekin In 30 years’ time, industrial companies will have a social purpose: be completely carbon neutral and give everyone the opportunity to fill their unique potential. At least, that’s what five young industrial leaders hope. We caught up with them as they attended the EU’s Industry Days in Brussels, Belgium, on 5-6 February … Read more

Under-road heating system to keep Europe’s highways ice-free

Image credit - picture is in the public domain

Under-road heating that melts ice and snow within 15 minutes and real-time information about icy road conditions could help prevent wintertime accidents. Snow and ice can dramatically change the conditions of a road, where slippery surfaces make it harder to keep control of a vehicle, particularly when braking or turning. ‘Once you have cars driving, … Read more

Storing CO2 underground can curb carbon emissions, but is it safe?

Scientists at Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in Iceland have demonstrated a carbon capture and storage cycle at half the cost of previous estimates.

by Jonathan O’ Callaghan At first glance, it almost sounds crazy. Can we really take carbon dioxide emissions from an industrial plant and store them underground? To find out, research is currently taking place to test if such an idea is not only viable but safe, and prove that to the public. This approach is … 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