Technology is helping farmers feed the world. It can also make agriculture more environmentally friendly – for conventional and organic farmers alike.
Consumers want to know where their food comes from, but most of the time they still don’t know – a major problem in the event of contamination. Various solutions could make supply chains more transparent.
From fintech to health to the environment, clever inventions are improving the lives of millions of people.
Lagos recently hosted the African Fintech Summit for the first time. The Nigerian city has all the attributes needed to become a hotbed for African fintech.
Kenya is brimming with innovation, hoping to establish a truly circular economy.
Online courses can broaden access to higher education. But to help African students get jobs they should be integrated with local universities.
Future of work
Automation has already eliminated numerous tasks, and now artificial intelligence will add to the carnage. Humans may have to reconsider their obsession with labour.
Increasingly, organisations are using entertaining ways to train and motivate their employees.
In the beginning, technology eliminated many clerical tasks. Now the danger is extending to positions that require a high level of skill.
Labour-saving advances usually increase both jobs and wages, but the unequal path of change can cause major friction.
Michael Linden-Vørnle hopes to turn Denmark into a leader.
How do you keep the skies from becoming a giant, noisy, dangerous cloud of drones? Manufacturers and regulators are working on the answers.
Everyone from Airbus to Uber is interested. They could be part of the urban landscape in the next decade.
China may have a corner on the recreational market, and the US on military uses, but Europe is poised to find its own niche.
Hundreds of millions of years of evolution have given insects the ability to fly efficiently and robustly. Roboticists are taking note.
Flexible railway systems can offer cheaper and faster transport in greater quantities. Their potential is most promising in freight handling.
Even as concepts like Hyperloop emerge, European leadership is not in danger.
Elon Musk’s dream of a train that can travel at 1,200 km/h faces serious unresolved engineering challenges.
Recent tests have shown the viability of the futuristic train. But does this mean we will have a new mode of transportation any time soon?
Childbirth may be the most important event in a mother’s life, but it can also be the most traumatic. Technology can help.
The procedure has advantages as well as downsides. Science can help mothers decide what is best for them.
Genetic engineering is developing on human embryos, raising both hopes and ethical concerns.
Women who want to delay their pregnancies can now freeze their eggs effectively and safely. But success is not guaranteed.
Births are falling across the continent – although not in France. Why do women working in tech have fewer kids? And why are there more premature births?
Physician, businessman and writer, France’s Laurent Alexandre brings a range of perspectives to the challenges posed by such new technologies as artificial intelligence.
Lagging behind Germany, France has produced only three start-ups valued at more than $1 billion. But it is starting to catch up.
Pere Roca is making solar-panel manufacturing cheap and efficient
France’s Qwant was built to have two competitive advantages: respecting privacy and being a credible alternative to its American rivals.
Will the US and China dominate the development of AI? President Macron has ideas that can keep Europe in the game.
The foundations of this new technology were laid more than 150 years ago.
From LCD televisions to the latest force-sensitive touchscreen technology, electronics and photonics are pushing the envelope ever outward.
Photonics may hold the answer to coping with huge volume. But a big challenge remains: converting electronic data into light on silicon chips.
Move over, electrons. Ton Backx and his team are putting photons front and center as they lay the groundwork for the coming era of photonics.
Faced with growing challenges, Europe can rely on its scientists to ensure its future competitiveness.
Temperatures in cities need to fall – and fast. But how?
Buildings accounts for a huge proportion of the world’s energy consumption. Zoom on some innovative solutions to cut the waste.
It’s the world’s most ubiquitous construction material – but it comes with a hefty environmental cost.
An expert discusses the challenges of creating a major district entirely with floating houses.
Europe is often at the forefront in the fields of digital safety, antivirus protection and encryption. Here are three examples.
The country is getting a lot of attention for its strict privacy laws. But is it the only option for a data-safe harbor in Europe?
As familiar encryption systems reach their limits, the strange world of particle physics offers new solutions.
To spread viruses and malware, hackers take advantage of loopholes in IT system. Vulnerability fixes exist, but users download them all too rarely.
Recent months have seen a major increase in cybercrime. But that’s not the only threat to our private information.
A quarter of European research money goes to companies. As the EU drafts the next iteration of its Horizon 2020 programme, experts discuss the pros and cons.
An expert in technological change discusses the EU’s research programme and identifies the next challenges for innovation in Europe.
Eight success stories show how European scientists are shaping tomorrow’s world.
Drawing on their knowledge of algorithms, design and materials, engineers can help improve healthcare in many arenas.
Should doctors have access to huge datasets? The potential to improve healthcare is obvious, but privacy remains equally important.
Linking engineering and medicine has led to better diagnostics, drugs and treatments. But it’s not always easy to collaborate successfully.
Robots vs jobs
A universal basic income would mitigate the negative effects of automation. But it might be more effective if combined with apprenticeships.
Asia’s acquisition of two of the continent’s crown jewels came as a wake-up call. To stay competitive, Europe must innovate.
Make no mistake, the intelligent machines of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lay waste to human employment – unless governments act.
Machines are getting much better at learning from humans and interacting with them. The next challenge: getting robots to talk to each other.
Collaborative robots are boosting productivity, but they will also require us to rethink how we approach our jobs.
The science of listening
With Europe’s ageing population, hearing loss will become a major concern for public health. A new generation of technologies can slow the process.
Sound pollution has become one of the main health hazards in European cities. New technologies may provide some solutions.
Using algorithms to process sound is a booming field. Here are four promising innovations.
The latest innovations provide listening experiences that are more immersive than ever. Some technologies even use bones to transmit sound.
Not every start-up wants to move to America. Here are four that have remained loyal to their home turf.
To reach their full potential, the most innovative European start-ups often have no choice but to let American giants buy them. But this is changing.
The European Commission turns its attention to four key aspects of the problem.
America is all too attractive for Europe’s innovative technology, but there are ways to stop the haemorrhage.
Home is not just where the heart is – increasingly, it’s also where you find the innovators, the money and the quality of life.
Artificial intelligence raises thorny questions that will be keeping human brains very busy.
Artificial intelligence has enormous potential for health care – from diagnostics to rehabilitation to services for the elderly.
Some people fret that artificial intelligence will end civilization as we know it, others believe it can solve every problem.
Lambèr Royakkers of the Eindhoven University of Technology analyses the dangers of having machines make life-or-death decisions.
Our eating habits are often based on accepted wisdom without scientific basis. Researchers are now trying to sort the facts from the myths.
If 10 billion people are to be fed we need to drop fashionable, damaging diets that have no evidence base and get behind rational advances in food science.
Cooking blenders are invading European kitchens, with the promise of healthy and fresh nutrition without time wasted on cutting and stirring.
Polymer packaging makes up most of the world’s marine debris. New biodegradable or edible containers could offer a better solution.
From London to Hamburg to Singapore, architects draw inspiration from living organisms to design energy-efficient buildings.
How a salamander inspired a robot, a protein became a sensor and a molecule helped design a water purifier.
Beetles, butterflies and spiders are some of the bugs that inspire engineers. What makes these insects so prone to imitation?
The birth of a movement in four main questions.
Citizen science relies on the public’s curiosity and enthusiasm – not to mention computing capacity – to supplement the work of scientists.
Sports and Tech
Amateurs can now enhance their performance and their health by using wireless devices and biosensors that monitor behaviour, environment and physiology.
Aluminium, carbon and even bamboo: sport results today depend highly on the materials.
Computer simulations and data analysis can now help prevent injuries, while individual prostheses hasten the recovery process.
Returning to the rails
Trains are particularly safe. But IT bugs and problems with the signalling systems represent a constant security threat.
Some smaller countries are showing how efficiency-enhancing innovations can begin to shift some goods transport away from lorries.
Will autonomous locomotives one day operate outside urban areas?
Petrol power helped shape the 20th century, but its decline may define the 21st. So how will the future of urban transport look?
The fight against congestion is getting some new tools: mobile phones and complex algorithms.
Safely mimicking all foibles in software and hardware of driving will take at least another decade, if not longer.
There are bright ideas for how to make our cities more fluid, but they won’t do much good unless decision-makers show more vision and courage.
It can be difficult to effect behavioural change in large cities, but Stockholm and London have shown that a well-conceived nudge will deliver results.
Cycling is healthy and good for the environment – so no wonder bicycle use in some European cities has doubled since the early 2000s.
Smart glass and phone apps may have been developed for gamers, but now they are among the many technologies crossing over into the healthcare field.
Bad nights are disruptive to a person’s life. Fortunately, scientists are constantly learning more about the causes.
You can sleep when you’re dead, they say. In the meantime, though, circadian rhythms are best not tampered with.
You may think you’re resting, but your brain is fulfilling critical tasks from building memories to reinforcing learning to clearing toxins.
We spend one third of our time sleeping, but scientists still don’t know why. A prominent researcher reviews the most likely explanations.
Six researchers reveal just how far they go to discover some of nature’s deepest secrets or test novel technologies.
Will Europe ever be able to compete with Silicon Valley? The answer lies not only in our universities and research parks but also in our primary and secondary schools.
What if Estonia’s system is hacked? And what if an unsavoury government, domestic or foreign, got hold of Estonia’s information?
Inspired by Skype, ambitious entrepreneurs have the confidence to believe their dreams can come true
Estonian programmer Jaan Tallinn helped create the file-sharing application Kazaa and then the famous video-call system. Now he wants to save the world.
As the big neighbour to the east rattles its sabre once again, Estonia is confident that its technology will allow it to survive, no matter what
From medical records to taxes to ID cards, Estonians rely on – and trust – information technology more than any other nation in the world. In the process they have also created a lively entrepreneurial spirit that is not held back by the country’s small size.
Rapidly evolving camera technology is changing our very notion of photography.
Modern illumination is not only much more efficient, but increasingly responsive to the rhythms of human life.
For most organisms the absence of light is vital, too.
Over tens of thousands of years our bodies evolved an exquisitely reliablemetronome, a biological clock tuned to one of the most basic certainties that unites all life on this planet: that night follows day follows night. But then we started to mess with it.
Everywhere you turn, optical engineering is at the heart of new technologies. No wonder 2015 has been named the Year of Light.
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