Each week, we scour the worlds of innovation, tech for good and social impact to bring you seven of our top stories…
- Europe’s new weather satellite, Meteosat-12, is initiating a new era in weather forecasting. The spacecraft will image the atmosphere over the European continent, the Middle East and Africa. The data it acquires with its next generation technologies promises to greatly enhance our ability to track the emergence of violent storms, helping those in imminent danger prepare.
- Researchers have managed to unlock a clean source of energy by effectively getting more energy out of a nuclear fusion reaction than they put in. Nuclear fusion involves smashing together light elements such as hydrogen to form heavier elements, releasing a huge burst of energy in the process. The approach has been hailed as having huge potential as a sustainable, low-carbon energy source.
- California held an auction for five sites off its coast that could house the first floating wind turbines in the US. The auction sites together cover 370,000 acres and sold for a total of $757 million to five companies. Developers are making moves to build wind turbines that float while tethered to the sea floor. As wind power is one of the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy sources, this development could accelerate this growth and be adopted elsewhere in the world.
- Adam Siepel’s team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has developed a computer program that tracks the history of harmful mutations in the human genome throughout evolution. They found that some regions of the genome are more vulnerable to mutations, indicating any mutations that might have catastrophic or fatal consequences. Their results could aid medics in looking for the causes of serious genetic diseases.
- A new handheld sonar device developed by General Electric can carry out a more accurate injury assessment, almost immediately after an accident. The VScan Air enables instant body scanning that will aid paramedics and doctors to determine the nature of – or receive an indication of – the severity of an injury before a patient reaches hospital. This new technology will save countless lives during emergency medical transportation.
- ‘The Eye in the Sky’ initiative, led by National Grid alongside European Space Agency, is using innovative satellite technology to boost the resilience of the energy network against climate change. It is exploring how satellite imagery and data analytics could improve the visibility of electricity and gas network infrastructure in Britain, providing additional monitoring of the condition and the changes to the surrounding environment 24 hours a day. This will improve the National Grid’s reliability, save millions of pounds, and improve its emergency response capabilities.
- A new tool, invented in the UK by medical firm Digistain and developed at London’s Imperial College and Cancer Research UK laboratories, will help to identify patients who can safely avoid chemotherapy for cancer treatment – with more than 99% accuracy. Chemotherapy can have extreme and even fatal side effects, but this technology will reduce our dependence on it. Around 50,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK alone, so this new tool will be instrumental in cutting down waiting times, and reduce the need to use chemotherapy.
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