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Horizon Magazine


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Horizon brings you news and features about thought-provoking science and innovative research projects from across Europe. Horizon is written by independent science journalists and is funded by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.



by   -   March 26, 2018

Using drones to gather information and samples from a hazardous scene can help incident commanders make critical decisions. Image credit – ROCSAFE

by Anthony King

Crimes that involve chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials pose a deadly threat not just to the target of the attack but to innocent bystanders and police investigators. Often, these crimes may involve unusual circumstances or they are terrorist-related incidents, such as an assassination attempt or the sending of poisons through the mail.

by   -   March 21, 2018

More than 700,000 hectares of land in the EU were destroyed by forest fires between January and September 2017. Image credit – CC0 Public Domain
by Rob Coppinger

Swarms of firefighting drones could one day be deployed to tackle hugely destructive megafires that are becoming increasingly frequent in the Mediterranean region because of climate change, arson and poor landscape management.

by   -   February 15, 2018

Robots in the workforce will give rise to new jobs for humans, including safety engineers, robot specialists and augmented reality experts, according to researchers. Image credit – ‘FANUC robots’, by Mixabest – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Robots are already changing the way we work – particularly in factories – but worries that they will steal our jobs are only part of the picture, as new technologies are also opening up workplace opportunities for workers and are likely to create new jobs in the future.

by   -   January 12, 2018

A new AI machine creates new music from songs it’s fed, mimicking their style. Image credit – FlowMachines

by Kevin Casey

The first full-length mainstream music album co-written with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) was released on 12 January and experts believe that the science behind it could lead to a whole new style of music composition.

Robots help ants with daily chores so they can be accepted into the colony. Image credit – Dr Bertrand Collignon

by Aisling Irwin

Tiny mobile robots are learning to work with insects in the hope the creatures’ sensitive antennae and ability to squeeze into small spaces can be put to use serving humans.

Farmers could protect the environment and cut down on fertiliser use with swarms of drones. Image credit – ‘Aerial View – Landschaft Markgräflerland’ by Taxiarchos228 is licenced under CC 3.0 unported
by Anthony King

Bee-based maths is helping teach swarms of drones to find weeds, while robotic mowers keep hedgerows in shape.

Robot co-workers could help out with repetitive jobs and heavy lifting by reacting to human actions. Image credit – Italian Institute of Technology

by Anthony King
Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk fear that the robotic revolution may already be underway, but automation isn’t going to take over just yet – first machines will work alongside us.

Robots across the world help out in factories by taking on heavy lifting or repetitive jobs, but the walking, talking kind may soon collaborate with people, thanks to European robotics researchers building prototypes that anticipate human actions.

Researchers are running tests on pig skin to better understand how skin behaves and pave the way for bioengineering applications. Image credit – Dr Aisling Ni Annaidh at University College Dublin

Artificial skin with post-human sensing capabilities, and a better understanding of skin tissue, could pave the way for robots that can feel, smart-transplants and even cyborgs.

by   -   July 11, 2017
Credit: Flickr/ Ville Hyvönen

by Joe Dodgshun
Drone innovators are transforming the way we watch events, from football matches and boat races to music festivals.

A new robot under development can send information on the stiffness, look and feel of a patient to a doctor located kilometres away. Image credit: Accrea

A robotic doctor that can be controlled hundreds of kilometres away by a human counterpart is gearing up for action. Getting a check-up from a robot may sound like something from a sci-fi film, but scientists are closing in on this real-life scenario and have already tested a prototype.

Everybody needs a helping hand when they get older – but in years to come that helping hand may be attached to a robotic arm.

Image courtesy of flora robotica, Photo by Anders Ingvartsen, CITA

Robots and plants are being intricately linked into a new type of living technology that its creators believe could be used to grow a house.

by   -   March 15, 2017

If you take humans out of the driving seat, could traffic jams, accidents and high fuel bills become a thing of the past? As cars become more automated and connected, attention is turning to how to best choreograph the interaction between the tens or hundreds of automated vehicles that will one day share the same segment of Europe’s road network.

by   -   March 13, 2017

Automated cars are hurtling towards us at breakneck speed, with all-electric Teslas already running limited autopilot systems on roads worldwide and Google trialling its own autonomous pod cars. However, before we can reply to emails while being driven to work, we have to have a foolproof way to determine when drivers can safely take control and when it should be left to the car.

Housebuilders and makers of car parts in a few decades time may need nothing more than a large robotic arm, some raw ingredients and a programmable design, thanks to the next-generation of 3D printing machines which are opening up the technique to large-scale industry.