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

‘Big picture’ platforms boost fight against online terror activity

Image credit - Flickr/Takver CC BY SA 2.0

The fight against terrorism-related content and illegal financing online is speeding up thanks to new platforms that join up different internet-scouring technologies to create a comprehensive picture of terrorist activity. The idea is that when an online tool discovers a fragment of information it can be added to a constellation of millions of others – revealing links that … Read more

Digital ‘coffeehouse’ to spark new scientific ideas now ready for use

Image credit - picture is in the public domain

By Annette Ekin The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), a virtual one-stop shop for researchers to share, access and reuse data, was officially unveiled at the University of Vienna, Austria, on 23 November, giving scientists, open data advocates, research institutions and policymakers a first glimpse of the portal. It is part of the EU’s vision for an … Read more

Record-breaking solar cells get ready for mass production

Image credit: Flickr- Bioregional International, licensed under CC.

By Benedict O’Donnell Sandwiching an oxygen-rich layer of silicon between a solar cell and its metal contact has allowed researchers in Europe to break performance records for the efficiency with which silicon solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. But the challenge now is how to make these so-called passivating contacts suitable for mass production. ‘There … 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

Can we produce enough green hydrogen to save the world?

Image credit - Siemens

by Jonathan O’Callaghan Around a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions are produced by industries such as steel and cement so if we’re going to work towards an emission-free society then this is a good place to start. And one promising technology may have a key role to play. ‘Hydrogen and fuels derived (from it) … Read more