Seven from Seven: A ‘Bear-Hugging’ Space Clean-Up Device And A Breakthrough In Curbing The Opioid Epidemic

18th November 2022

Each week, we scour the worlds of innovation, tech for good and social impact to bring you seven of our top stories…

  1. A new technological centre in Qatar built for the World Cup is to use artificial intelligence to monitor spectators in stadiums, anticipate changes in crowd behaviour, and regulate stadium temperatures. This will help crowd-control teams and security staff on the ground by guaranteeing a smooth flow of people in and out of each stadium. This tech will help to ensure that the crowd remains calm and under control, preventing crowd crushes and other tragedies.
  2. Researchers from the University of Houston have created a vaccine that targets the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl and could block its ability to enter the brain, eliminating the drug’s ‘high’. Over 150 people die every day from overdosing on synthetic opioids because they are so addictive. So, this development could reduce the nation’s opioid epidemic by becoming a relapse prevention agent for those trying to quit using opioids.
  3. Sustainable space-tech company ClearSpace is developing a spacecraft that looks like a squid, designed to reach out and wrap it’s ‘tentacles’ around target objects in space. ClearSpace hopes its squid-like spacecraft will be able to trap and enclose cosmic waste, which can be extremely dangerous in space. There is growing concern regarding the amount of debris floating around the planet which could collide with critical satellites and subsequently impact vital telecommunications and GPS navigation. As such, it’s hoped this new rubbish-clearing device will protect our satellites which are crucial for everyday communications.
  4. Siemens is using artificial intelligence to develop CCTV systems that, unlike conventional CCTV, will be able to alert a member of staff straight away if it detects a potential problem. This provides a faster and more efficient way for prohibiting trouble when risky situations begin to arise. For example, when someone is sitting on their own in a train station, this tech can assess whether that individual feels threatened when somebody else comes to sit down next to them. This will add an extra layer of security on train platforms and help people feel safer on public transport.
  5. The government has given funding to an innovative project that looks to develop the UK’s railway system. The Department for Transport said Cambridgeshire-based company Echion Technologies is creating train batteries that can charge from overhead wires. Under the scheme, the train would then use the power to continue its journey — or “leapfrog” — on unelectrified sections of track. If successful, it’s hoped this project could revolutionise the future of train travel by reducing carbon emissions and air pollution across the rail network.
  6. The German Research Foundation has invented a new insect-repelling wearable ring utilising IR3535 – an active ingredient – to release an agent that repels mosquitoes for a period longer than seven hours, which is the standard amount of time that normal bug-repellent lasts. This has the potential to save millions of lives around the world as almost one million people die a year from mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria.
  7. People with untreatable cancers have had their immune system redesigned to attack their own tumours in a trial by Pact Pharma, an immuno-oncology company. The experimental study by Pact Pharma involved just sixteen patients, but has been described as a “leap forward” and a “powerful” demonstration of the potential of cancer-fighting technologies. Each person had a treatment developed specific to them, targeting weak areas in their tumour. Dr Manel Juan, head of the immunology service at Clinic Hospital in Barcelona, said that this development opens the door to using this personalised approach in many types of cancer, and also potentially other diseases.

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