Explore the hidden history and super science of hot air balloons, synthetic rubber and metal detectors.
2017 • Technology
After years of anticipation, autonomous vehicles are now being tested on public roads around the world. As ambitious innovators race to develop what they see as the next high-tech pot of gold, some experts warn there are still daunting challenges ahead, including how to train artificial intelligence to be better than humans at making life-and-death decisions. How do self-driving cars work? How close are we to large-scale deployment of them? And will we ever be able to trust AI with our lives?
Simon Schaffer tells the stories behind some of the most extraordinary engineering wonders of the 19th century. These were gigantic feats of technology which transformed everyday life but also had the capacity to challenge the Victorians' faith in God, their place in the universe and their hopes for the future. Through stunning images of these beautiful creations, this film investigates the origins of our love-hate relationship with technology.
2018 • Technology
Mankind has always looked at nature to solve problems, taking a cue from the solutions that biological systems have refined through natural selection. In this episode we look at a robotic plant that mimics the mechanics of plant roots, and dive underwater to see robots inspired by fish.
Imagine you could make a copy of a loved one. A digital clone with a life of its own – their Avatar. That’s the dream of biomechanical engineer, Dr Jordan Nguyen, and he says we have the technology to do it right now in the form of Virtual Reality.
By the year 2050, three quarters of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Looking at robotic systems being developed worldwide we can take a glimpse at the city life of the future. Private transportation with self-driving cars, our homes with automated systems - robots are in our future.
What will our cities look like in 2050? How will they be able to accommodate the one million additional people who arrive every week? The challenge is enormous. To reduce the impact on the planet and the energy footprint and optimize exchanges within megacities, digital technologies will be crucial.