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Technological and digital news from around the world.

Episodes

Performing Surgery With a Hand-Mounted Exoskeleton  

A hand-mounted exoskeleton for surgeons is being demonstrated at the European Robotics Forum. Click talks to Dr Sanja Dogramadzi from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory about the research into the robotic exoskeleton that will help in intricate surgery, mimicking the actions of the surgeon’s hands. RIKEN’s K computer in Kobe, Japan, is used for a range of fields including earthquake and tsunami research and weather forecasting. Its fast calculations and high resolution simulations are revolutionising weather predictions. Geoff Marsh reports from Kobe. Weather prediction is being increasingly helped via social network sites. Click talks to Nataliya Tkachenko about how alerts on social networks and photographs are being used to augment weather prediction. A new study shows how mobile phone accelerometers can be spoofed by blasting them with rogue sounds and vibrations. Click talks to the University of Michigan Ph.D student Timothy Trippel about the threat to hardware in phones and other devices. (Photo caption: Exoskeleton prototype © UWE Bristol) Producer: Colin Grant

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Brain Wave for Controlling Bots  

What if we could control robots with our brains? Researchers at MIT and Boston University are looking into just that prospect. Click talks to Professor Daniela Rus from MIT. Noa Gafni Slaney, CEO of Impact Squared is a champion of the positive benefits of digital connectedness. She joins Click to talk about limiting fake news and her work with the UN in amplifying its 17 Development Goals. New Zealand tracking technology, pioneered in conservation work to protect the endangered bird the kiwi, could help solve one of the problems of dementia. Sixty percent of dementia patients wander and get lost. Simon Morton reports on a simple radio frequency tracking system called WandaTrak. Line-us is neither a plotter nor a printer, it's a drawer, which gives Line-us its own style and unique character. The magic bit is that Line-us draws in exactly the same order you did. Click talks to its inventors, Robert Poll and Durrell Bishop. (Photo caption: The feedback system enables human operators to correct the robot’s choice in real-time © Jason Dorfman, MIT CSAIL) Producer: Colin Grant

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How to Say 'No' to an Upgrade  

Do you really need to ‘upgrade’ your smart phone after a year or two? How many keyboards and mice have you thrown away that might be perfectly serviceable if a little less cool with the passage of time? How can we challenge the policies that drive the built-in obsolescence of technology? But maybe it has always been thus? Does it matter so much if tech hardware is thrown away in the developed world when it is then recycled in the developing world? What are the credits and deficits to recycling? An international cast from Lomé to Paulo Alto and Amsterdam debate how we might be inclined to make do and mend in the future. Click transforms the BBC Radio Theatre in London into a gadget repair shop as a panel of experts demonstrate how easy it is rejuvenate your tech with some simple DIY. In an era of maker spaces, homebrew electronics, and craft ale is it time to throw away throwaway culture and to become better acquainted with the inner workings of our phones, laptops and every day tech? (Photo: A man recycling a computer tower case courtesy of WoeLab)

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How to Say "No" to an Upgrade  

Do you really need to ‘upgrade’ your smart phone after a year or two? How many keyboards and mice have you thrown away that might be perfectly serviceable if a little less cool with the passage of time? How can we challenge the policies that drive the built-in obsolescence of technology? But maybe it has always been thus? Does it matter so much if tech hardware is thrown away in the developed world when it is then recycled in the developing world? What are the credits and deficits to recycling? An international cast from Lomé to Paulo Alto and Amsterdam debate how we might be inclined to make do and mend in the future. Click transforms the BBC Radio Theatre in London into a gadget repair shop as a panel of experts demonstrate how easy it is rejuvenate your tech with some simple DIY. In an era of maker spaces, homebrew electronics, and craft ale is it time to throw away throwaway culture and to become better acquainted with the inner workings of our phones, laptops and every day tech? (Photo courtesy of WoeLab) Producer: Colin Grant

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Retrofitting Democracy with Robust Digital Tools  

Democracy faces new and global challenges: new notions of expertise, fake news and a disillusioned electorate. Click talks to Nesta’s Director of Government Innovation, Eddie Copeland, about how a number of governments and parliaments around the world are using every day online platforms, forums and other digital tools in innovative ways to achieve broader participation. Plastics pose a big problem in the sea, as is reflected when they wash up on the shoreline. The Plastic Tide is an initiative to use drones to monitor this waste along the British coastline. They aim to unroll a similar project along the west coast of Africa next year. Click talks to Ellie Mackay, the co-founder of The Plastic Tide. Advances in sensors and hardware have enabled computers to more easily observe the physical world. These devices can monitor the physical environment and connect internet servers with physical places and objects. But how will we guard against the new vulnerabilities they open up? Roland Pease reports. Ahead of International Women's Day 2017 on March 8, Click discusses with Dr Sue Black the campaign #BeBoldForChange, a call for a more inclusive, gender equal world, and TechMums’schemes for retraining mothers aiming to go back into work. (Photo caption: Social Network Vector Concept © Thinkstock) Producer: Colin Grant

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Fake It or Leave It  

Both Facebook and Twitter have been in the firing line over fake news and online abuse. The social media platforms have taken action. But is it too little, too late? The scale of the problem is huge. Globally, billions of Facebook comments and hundreds of thousands of tweets are posted every day. Assuming even a small percentage have nefarious intent, eliminating abuse is a bit like King Canute trying to hold back the tide. Alison van Diggelen reports from Silicon Valley. A new competition is promoting innovative ways of conducting journalism in the future in Africa. Juliana Rotich joins Click to discuss judging the digital watchdog project that aims to fund projects such as the use of drones to shoot footage for news stories in inaccessible areas. How might your heart rate be used as a password? Click talks to the researchers Zhanpeng Jin and Linke Guo about securing medical data with the biometric password of your heart beat. The Stanford University researcher, Rahim Esfandyarpour, discusses the throwaway lab on a chip that will enable cheap and effective medical diagnosis in poor and remote areas of the globe. (Photo: Myth and reality word cloud © marekuliasz/Thinkstock)

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Digital Natives or Digital Exiles?  

Click discusses with a panel of experts in front of an audience at Dragon Hall at the UK’s Writers’ Centre Norwich, whether the internet could be an inclusive tool for participatory democracy, or whether human nature and polarised opinion inevitably turns it into rudeness and/or toxic fury - something that one of the contributors Professor Mary Beard has experienced. But why would academics be active on Twitter or Facebook? The panel also includes Paul Bernal an expert in cyber law who reflects on the broader privacy and security dimensions of the internet. In the age of fake news how can we verify and assert the primacy of the truth; where does this leave traditional content providers like BBC, newspapers, and journals. (Photo caption: Gareth Mitchell, Professor Mary Beard, Paul Bernal and Bill Thompson © WCN/BBC) Producer: Colin Grant

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AI Predicting Emotion in Conversations  

Researchers from MIT say that they are developing an artificially intelligent wearable system that can predict if a conversation is happy, sad or neutral based on a person’s speech patterns and vitals. Click talks with the MIT researchers, Tuka Alhanai and Mohammad Ghassemi. Why buy a router when you can build your own? Carlos Rey-Moreno, one of the team behind the LibreRouter, discusses this cheap networking tool that is expected to launch later this year. Project Tide, developed in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is a smartphone app to help health professionals in developing countries accurately diagnose TB. Project Tide’s Cyan Collier describes its development. China’s WeChat mobile phone platform has recently launched mini programs, as rivals to apps. Click talks to Matthew Brennan from China Channel about WeChat’s prominence in China. (Photo caption: Left to right: PhD student Fadel Adib, PhD student Mingmin Zhao, and Professor Dina Katabi pose with their EQ-Radio device, which can detect emotion using wireless signals © Jason Dorfman/MIT CSAIL) Producer: Colin Grant

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Asi Burak’s Games for Change  

Asi Burak is a veteran of the Games for Change movement which advocates using videogames to encourage empathy and understanding for people such as refugees in flight from war zones. Burak joins Click to discuss videogames such as Peace Maker which centres on the resolution of the Middle East conflict, and his decades-long involvement in the video games industry as highlighted in his new book, Power Play. Community Tablet Only a small percentage of the Mozambique population has regular access to the internet. Click talks to Dayn Amade about Community Tablet, his mobile internet truck that visits rural areas of Mozambique. Chayn This week sees the launch of a DIY online safety project, an open source feminist tech project, by the organisation Chayn. Hera Hussain and Aliya Bakheit join Click to discuss the online safety guide and especially the focus on social media as an aid to women who are being stalked online or who are in/have been in abusive relationships. SheSkills The digital rights activist, Nighat Dad, is a recent recipient of a Human Rights Tulip award. She joins Click to discuss her advocacy and her role in promoting SheSkills, a coding clubs for girls and women in Pakistan. (Photo caption: Asi Burak © Jemal Countess/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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Silicon Valley and Donald Trump’s Inauguration  

Silicon Valley took to the streets on Saturday to protest the country’s new president and the rise of fake news. Last month Donald Trump hosted a cordial summit with some top tech leaders but despite this, as Alison van Diggelen reports, many in this community are fearful of what his presidency might mean for innovation. UAVs Landing On a Sixpence Fixed wing UAVs have great difficulty landing in designated spots, but a team of researchers in southern England have conducted trials on a new design of wing and machine learning that enables greater precision in mimicking landing like birds. Zenvus The tech entrepreneur Ndubuisi Ekekwe through his company Zenvus plans to make farming in Africa smarter. He talks to Click about the sophisticated sensors which are part of an intelligent system that collects data from the soil. Gaza Sky Geeks Click talks to Ryan Sturgill, the director of Gaza Sky Geeks, about the campaign to launch a coding academy and to buy a generator to overcome the difficulties faced by the internet hub (Gaza Sky Geeks) because of intermittent electricity supply and restrictions on movement to and from Gaza. (Photo caption: Silicon Valley protests over President Trump and the rise of fake news © Alison van Diggelen) Producer: Colin Grant

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North sense and Cyborgs  

Cyborg Nest has developed a new ‘implanted’ device that will enable humans to always sense due north. Click talks to the developers about the cyborg-like device that they’ve recently had attached to their bodies. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year the Zigbee Alliance launched a revolutionary new universal IOT language called dot dot. Click talks Tobin Richardson the CEO of the Zigbee Alliance about how this new development aims to further establish a standardised platform for digital devices to be able to talk to each other. Rebecca Allen’s VR work is part of a new show called Toute Seule that has just opened in London. She is an innovative and pioneering digital artist. She joins Click to discuss her work British researchers have been carrying out a massive content analysis project on material released by the British Library. The researchers have scrutinised local newspapers collected over the last 150 years to flesh out and confirm the build up to what then became historical events, and also to establish themes and shifts in culture. Click talks to Nello Cristianini, a professor of Artificial Intelligence, about what the analysis of big data tells us about British history. Producer: Colin Grant (Photo: North Sense device. © Cyborg Nest)

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Humanitarian digital safety for refugees  

How important is it that the data that humanitarian organisations hold on vulnerable people be secure and able to withstand attacks? Click talks to Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet from the International Committee of the Red Cross about securing the confidence of vulnerable people like refugees and asylum seekers. Two key subjects at Davos this year will be how to generate jobs and maintain the mental welfare of young people; and how to make the world and its democratic processes more robust and secure from cyber attacks. Click talks to Felix Marquardt who is heading to Davos to discuss his youth project Youthonomics as well as the possibility that AI might offer more robust protection from cyber attacks. Researchers have developed an ocean map that stitches together multiple sources to create a 3D survey. Click talks to Dawn Wright from ESRI about how a 3D map can help with marine conservation. Researches at MIT have developed an algorithm that could make taxi sharing even more efficient whilst not leaving drivers out of pocket. Click Talks to Professor Daniela Rus about the algorithm that works in real time to redirect cars according to incoming requests. Producer: Colin Grant (Photo: Migrants On Greece's Lesbos Island © Carl Court / Getty Images)

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Music and New Technology  

At the recent Music 4.5, The New Creative Tech event in London, academics, technologists, entrepreneurs and innovators in virtual, augmented and mixed realities and artificial intelligence came together to explore some of the opportunities and challenges for music opened up by technology. There are countless examples of advances such as bands collaborating with companies to create Virtual Reality live concert experiences. Notably both Brian Eno and Björk are using Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence in their music videos. New technologies now also enable micro identification of stems of music that allow musicians to be better remunerated for their skill. Click is joined by a panel of experts including, Paul Crick from IBM, Rachel Falconer from Goldsmith College and Martin Gould from Sonalytic to discuss the potential new direction and developments for music. (Photo caption: Members of the press view a part of the collection of art as MoMA presents Björk, a retrospective dedicated to the multifaceted work of the singer, composer, and musician © Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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Click – Identity Goundhog Day  

Virtual reality offers the myth of presence; technology can only reward with vicarious pleasure. If your identity is tied up with memory, what happens to that idea when memories disappear, and can tech that enables life-logging at least arrest if not reverse this loss? The idea of being able to store your voice, to bank it, for people with degenerative voice conditions, has informed researchers into the latest voice synthesisers, but if you lost your voice what impact would a restored synthesised version have on your sense of your identity? Click is joined by an expert panel in the Media Café at Broadcasting House in London, to discuss how technology is increasingly shaping our identities: Neil Harbisson, a composer who was born colour-blind and who has an electronic eye implanted in his brain that allows him to hear colours; Cathal Gurrin has been wearing a life-logging camera for the last 10 years recording his every action; Phillipa Rewaj and Rupal Patel are research Speech and Language experts who have looked into collecting people’s voices for regeneration via synthesisers. (Photo caption: Click – Identity Day © BBC Henry Iddon) Producer: Colin Grant

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A Platform for Emergency Services in Nairobi  

In Kenya, it is possible to order and have a pizza delivered in minutes but in the event of an accident, you might wait for hours for an ambulance to turn up. To address this huge problem in Nairobi Maria Rabinovich and colleagues at Flare tell Click how they are unrolling an Uber-like service, a new platform that will link up the various emergency services with people in need of them. The Virtual Forest Alzheimer’s Australia has launched The Virtual Forest, a screen-projected game designed to bring joy to the lives of people living with dementia through the use of Unreal Engine 4 game and sensor technology. Click talk to Tanya Petrovich from Alzheimer Australia about how the interactive game gives a person with dementia an element of control at a time in their life when so many choices are beyond them. Looking Forward to Likely Tech Trends In a special report Click looks forward to likely tech trends in the New Year. Helen Goulden of Nesta discusses whether 2017 heralds the end of the World Wide Web with people taking their news and sharing ideas in closed platforms; and the artist, Adham Faramawy explores the growth of VR in the art world. (Photo caption: Toni sampling an early version of the consumer app, Flare, giving him direct access to the most efficient and closest first responders – used with the kind permission of Maria Rabinovich) Producer: Colin Grant

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The Tech Helping Refugees  

How might technology be harnessed to help refugees? Click talks to Tom Hayton from Techfugees about the hackathon challenge that flagged up the tech benefits from ideas that arose from a new competition. Silicon Valley Tech Aims to Disrupt Nobel Prize The Silicon Valley tech world has hosted its version of the Nobel Prize Ceremony, conferring big prizes ($3 million/each) for breakthroughs that will change the world and inspire a new generation of technology pioneers. Click’s Alison van Diggelen reports from the ceremony. Tremor Absorbing Software Researchers have developed special software for people with tremors like those who suffer from Cerebral Palsy and Parkinson’s disease and who find it all but impossible to use smart phones and other devices that require touch or swipe. Click talks to the computer scientist, Aviva Dayan, about the revolutionary tremor absorbing software. Digital Traces Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK suggest that iPhone users are younger and more extraverted than people who use Android phones. Click talks to the psychologist, David Ellis, about the research that flags up how people choose technology. (Photo caption: Iraqi refugees charge their mobile phones at an electricity point at the Khazir refugee camp near a Kurdish checkpoint © Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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Artificial Intelligence’s threat to jobs  

Digital Catapult hosts a conference which looks at the wide-ranging, social and economic impact that machine learning and artificial intelligence is likely to have on traditionally conservative human-to-human industries. Click is joined by Jeremy Silver. 100 Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon project The BBC 100 Women 2016 project includes the question: is the internet sexist? On 8th December, 100 Women is joining up with Wikipedia to hold a 12 hour edit-a-thon, to intervene in that story of the place of women online. Click talks to the BBC’s Fiona Crack. Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir is one of the key producers of the Star Wars battlefront game. Click talks to her about her focus on diversity in video games – not just in the people who make the games but in the content. She also discusses her commitment to the Future Is Ours campaign. Swachh Bharat toilet locator A team in India has developed a toilet app for people to locate the nearest toilet in northern Punjab. The app is called Swachh Bharat, meaning ‘clean India’ in Hindi, and Click talks to one of the designers Vipul Ujwal. (Photo: Prototype robot with two arms, which can move to a location, take items off shelves and put them into boxes automatically, in place of employees. For Hitachi, Japan. © Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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Astro Pi Challenge  

More than 350 teams have been selected for the 2017 European Astro Pi Challenge to compete to send their computer codes to the International Space Station. Click talks to Monica Talevi from the European Space Agency. Automatic Speech Analysis In rural Uganda radio serves as a vital platform for public discussion, information sharing and news. John Quinn describes how the UN initiative Pulse Lab Kampala is developing a prototype that makes it possible to conduct analysis of public discussions on the radio across Ugandan English, Luganda and Acholi. Style Transfer on Facebook Style Transfer is one of the latest developments in machine learning and the practice and deployment of AI. Anand Jagatia reports on how this new and exciting technique that enables users of smart phones, for instance, to use their camera to produce an image in the style of a desired (possibly famous) painting. 3D Printed Corset for Scoliosis Scoliosis is a debilitating orthopaedic condition and corsets are often made to help with correcting the effects of the condition but getting the right shape is often problematic. Click talks to Lelio Leoncini, a surgeon who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and who has been experimenting with 3D printing orthopaedic corsets. (Photo caption: The European Astro Pi Challenge by ESA: Run your code in space! © ESA) Producer: Colin Grant

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Pakistan Online Privacy  

A conference on online privacy in Pakistan looks at the impact of recent legislation. Nighat Dad of the Digital Rights Foundation discusses criticisms that the new laws threaten freedom of speech. Airway-on-a-Chip Researchers have developed an airway-on-a-microchip that supports living small-airway-lining cells from normal or diseased human lungs and a robotic instrument that "breathes" cigarette smoke in and out over these chips. Click talks to Professor Donald Ingber from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Fusing Robotics With Textiles Make:Shift is a conference by the UK’s Craft Council that has featured pioneering makers, scientists and technologists presenting how the distinctive characteristics of craft are enabling innovation in a number of industries. Click talks to Annie Warburton, Creative Director of Crafts Council and the artist Karina Thompson about fusing robotics and textiles. FarmCrowdy FarmCrowdy is Nigeria’s first online platform to unite investors with millions of small farmers in the country and to release the potential of millions of acres on unutilised arable land. Click talks to the CEO Onyeka Akumah. (Photo caption: Two Pakistani women walks past as an announcement of 'No Internet' pasted on a wall outside an internet café in Islamabad © Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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The Mystery of the Beagle 2 Lander  

The mystery of the lost Beagle 2 lander on Mars appears to have been solved. Click talks to Professor Mark Sims, former Beagle 2 Mission Manager and Professor of Astrobiology and Space Instrumentation at the University of Leicester. Internet Saathi Bicycle riding internet advocates are getting women online in rural India. Click hears how from Mr Prabhat Pani from the Tata Trusts. Caterthuns The Caterthuns is an experimental film by Kieran Baxter exploring how aerial photography and creative visualisation technologies can be used to connect the archaeological interpretation of ancient monuments with the evocative landscapes of which they form part. Kieran Baxter talks about The Caterthuns which has just won an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research in Film Award in the UK. Indoor Navigation Professor Nico Van de Weghe has spent many years researching the problem of navigating indoors where GPS/satellites do not work. He demonstrates an app he has developed called SoleWay to address the problem. (Image caption: Beagle 2 model on a simulated Mars surface © Everett Gibson JSC/Beagle 2) Producer: Colin Grant

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