Explore the hidden history and super science of hot air balloons, synthetic rubber and metal detectors.
2017 • Technology
The years following the First World War saw flying take off as serious business. Previously unimagined opportunities opened up, among them, skywriting and sightseeing tours. Flying became a bigger feature of life all around the world, not just as a novelty "adventure" for rich people but as a mode of transport available to just about anyone.
To fly an early airplane required skill, courage and a sense of adventure. The advent of the movie camera meant that their exploits could be broadcast to every corner of the globe, and recorded for posterity. The pilots of Germany, France and Britain who were able to master combat flying in time to prevent an early death were known as "Air Aces".
With its survival challenged by a rapidly growing and aging population and by accelerating climate change, where can land-poor Singapore expand? The futurists offer a radical solution: a massive vertical city. What will it be like living high up in the sky?
In 50 years from now, cities will be home to 70% of all human beings. They will have seven billion mouths to feed and will face an immense challenge in terms of food supply. Are hydroponics and vertical farming going to solve this challenge?
The world's electric grids are aging and vulnerable. Now, engineers are making a dangerous trek to prove there is a better way to bring power to the people. Engineers make a dangerous trek across the Himalayas to bring power to a remote monastery.