Each week, we scour the worlds of innovation, tech for good and social impact to bring you seven of our top stories…
- Global consultancy and construction firm Mace is using a robot dog to help refurbish a tunnel at Heathrow Airport. The dog avoids slips and trips in dark underground conditions while it safely retrieves data from the building site. It’s then used alongside 3D models and augmented reality to track accuracy and progress on the construction work. Nicknamed ‘Dave’, the robot dog is increasing safety and improving efficiency on site with fast and accurate scans.
- An international team of researchers has uncovered a new mechanism that enables cancer cells to move throughout the body, providing a potential new target to stop metastasis, responsible for 90% of all cancer deaths. The team identified that cancer cells move faster when they are surrounded by thicker fluids, a change that occurs when lymph drainage is compromised by a primary tumour. Professor John Lewis explains that this new knowledge of how fluid viscosity signals cancer cells to move in a specific way means that we could use drugs to short-circuit the signalling pathway and encourage cancer cells to slow down, or even maybe to stop.
- A professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has filed a provisional patent for a technology that could increase scan speeds of three-dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Dwork’s method adjusts the sampling pattern created by the machine’s magnetic fields. This could reduce the time it takes to get an MRI scan by about 25%, enabling doctors to get results faster and reducing patients’ time in the MRI tube. The invention could lead to faster results, increase the clinical applications of MRIs, ultimately improving patient care.
- Mondelez, the confectionery giant who owns Cadbury, has developed a ‘ground-breaking’ technology that could help reduce the amount of sugar and fat from its chocolate and biscuit brands. Food scientists have developed a method of replacing the sugar and fats contained in a range of chocolate bar and biscuit fillings with plant-based fibres. The technology has the potential to create lower-fat, lower-sugar, lower calorie versions of fillings including honeycomb, caramel, nougat, marshmallow and fudge – all without compromising on taste or texture.
- An innovative study has been launched at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital to explore how a new antimicrobial coating can protect the NHS by reducing Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs). The new coating can be used on a wide variety of healthcare surfaces with the aim of quickly eliminating environmental contamination between cleaning. HAIs are a risk to patients, visitors and staff, and result in significant costs to the NHS due to increased illness and time in hospital for patients. An estimated 3.5% of those that contract a HAI die from the infection, so infection prevention and control is vital to limiting their spread and the related problem of antimicrobial resistance.
- Sydney Water is trialing new technology that ‘listens out’ for breaks in water pipes. Head of Engineering and Tech Support Allison Spicer said that the process includes workers using acoustic sensors to detect any issues in pipes. The data the sensors receive then signals and predicts any breakage or leakage that could occur in the pipes. The new technology is now helping workers understand how much water can be lost in pipes and how to rectify the issue. This is not only saving homes from becoming flooded, but also reducing the wastage of water.
- An initiative by BDR Thermea to heat homes with hydrogen-powered boilers has been unveiled in the Dutch town of Lochem. The boilers are fully powered by hydrogen and are connected to an existing natural gas grid. This is the largest scale that this carbon-neutral technology has been implemented, with the boilers heating 12 homes. The initiative marks significant progress towards a hydrogen-powered, more sustainable future.
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