Technology

Autonomous Vehicles: Looking at the Road Ahead

James Macdonald interviews Professor John Miles and start-up Wayve about the future of autonomous vehicles In the UK, there are 48 million driving license holders, around three-quarters of the population. The car has been a huge enabler of personal mobility across society and the ability to travel is a large part of the quality of life we now enjoy. But for such an embedded part of our culture there are

Review: To Be a Machine

“Akin to a traveller’s diary, this book describes unbelievable technologies of tomorrow, such as mind uploading, cryonics, artificial superintelligence and device implantation” Visiting laboratories and conferences, bunkers and basements, O’Connell meets foremost scientists, programmers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, who are ahead of their time and have dedicated their lives to transforming humanity with technological enhancement. Akin to a traveller’s diary, this book describes unbelievable technologies of tomorrow, such as mind uploading, cryonics, artificial superintelligence and device implantation. It also unearths ethical conundrums that

A Digital (R)Evolution

Charles Jameson examines neuroscience’s role in solving the most difficult computational problems IN MAY 1997, IBM’s computer program ‘Deep Blue’ infamously defeated chess world champion Garry Kasparov in a set of six highly anticipated games. In a curious case of repeated history, DeepMind’s program ‘AlphaGo’ did the same for the ancient Chinese board game of ‘Go’ 19 years later, beating 18-time world champion Lee Sedol 4–1 in March 2016. While

Walking in the footsteps of robotic fossils

Robot of ancient fossil enables scientists to model gait Ripples are forming at the surface of a glass of water; scared children huddle at the back of a car; ominous footsteps resonate on the not-so-distant-anymore horizon. And suddenly, it appears: swinging its tail side-to-side, little arms tucked on the side, a T-rex makes its way into the frame, walking its characteristic walk. But how do we know which gait the now (thankfully) extinct giant adopted? Fossils can

A Laser Game Controller for the Cambridge Science Festival

James Macdonald describes designing a system to control video games with lasers. Each year over 1000 visitors pass through the main doors of the Institute for Manufacturing for the Cambridge Science Festival; around 300 laser-engineers-of‑the-future make it into the laboratories of the Centre for Industrial Photonics.  Among the many exhibits was the laser video game controller developed by the MRes Ultra Precision CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) students. In this

Regulation and Foresight

Harry Lloyd ponders our duty to think ahead of technological progress As we marvel at the latest gadgets, technology is already working behind the scenes to bring us the ‘Next Big Thing’. It has a sly habit of developing rapidly, but never making leaps so big we collectively stop to think about where it’s all headed. Like a toad in a slowly heating bath of water, we might not know

Harry Potter and the Reactive Profile Picture

Martha Dillon investigates the technology behind living photographs If you ever worried that your online avatars were too static, or online banking app bots a little cold, a new collaboration between Facebook and Tel-Aviv University could be the answer. The project, published in November, has managed to not only animate the Mona Lisa and a variety of emojis, but also to bring a series of real human photographs to smiling, frowning

A Look Behind the Ice Sheet: The Polar Museum's Greenland Exhibit

Uummannaq: A Century of Exploration BlueSci takes an inside look at The Polar Museum’s recent exhibition The Polar Museum, on Cambridge’s Lensfield Road, is currently showing an exhibition on the town of Uumannaq, Greenland and the research being carried out by the attached Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) on the surrounding glaciers. BlueSci correspondent Seán Herron was lucky enough to receive a tour of the exhibition from Tom Chudley, one

Cambridge’s Latest Nobel Prize

Max Wilkinson explores the science behind this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry At the core of all life on earth is chemistry: from the way DNA is built and read to the way the proteins it encodes make a cell tick. The best way to truly understand this chemistry is to directly visualise the atoms of life. This is commonly achieved by X-ray crystallography, where biomolecules are purified and forced

What if We Touched Mars?

Patrick Lundgren reflects on the scientific and moral implications of humanity’s dream of space exploration coming true. Humans have always been captivated by the beautiful bright speckles of light scattered across the night sky and the prospect of exploring these unknown worlds beyond ours. erefore, it is not surprising that the sciences pertaining to outer space (astronomy and its derivatives astrophysics, astrochemistry, astrogeology, and astrobiology) have successfully appealed to a wide