Seven from Seven: Robot fingertips and plastic-eating bacteria

12th March 2021

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

  1. A recent study conducted on mice has found a specific molecule can prevent the build-up of a toxic protein, beta-amyloid, known to cause Alzheimer’s in the brain.
  2. Finextra explores how Open Finance can enhance the consumer credit industry, with its disparities in financial inclusion, to help those who struggle with debt, have difficulty accessing suitable products and lack financial awareness.
  3. Teams from the University of Hong Kong and Columbia University have both engaged in projects to attempt to replicate the human system of touch in robots, in what is an exciting new wave in tactile sensing.
  4. Remote learning during the pandemic has demonstrated the potential of cloud-based technologies to reach a greater number of students and help educational institutions to remain competitive by facilitating online learning, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration.
  5. Major pension funds, including those of the Church of England, Lloyds Banking Group and the National Grid, have pledged to cut the carbon emissions of their portfolios to net zero by 2050 or earlier.
  6. Climate activist group Architects Climate Action Network has launched a student-focused arm – which calls on architecture schools to place sustainability at the forefront of the curriculum – in response to its recent survey, which revealed that UK architecture students feel unprepared to tackle the climate crisis.
  7. Forbes maps out the race to develop plastic-eating bacteria, with a series of recent breakthroughs suggesting it could one day be possible to build plastic-eating enzymes on an industrial scale – first, they must contend with evolutionary barriers and face major, and potentially dangerous limitations such as the risk of releasing chemical additives stored up inside the un-degraded plastic.

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