Fog catchers have been providing water to people in dry, mountainous regions for decades. Due to climate change, more regions get drier, pushing the need for this technology.
New solar technologies promise a more sustainable way for water-starved communities to squeeze drinkable water out of the salty seas.
The way we’ve historically generated energy from water is not good for the environment. Here’s how that’s changing.
In the face of large-scale industrial water pollution, technologists are demonstrating the surprising value of wastewater.
Searching for smart and sustainable solutions, they show how to curb energy use, reduce carbon emissions and create more livable spaces.
As politicians stall when it comes to dealing with climate change on a national level, local data-based projects are trying to reduce carbon emissions on their own doorsteps
Violent rainstorms are already more frequent, and they will only get worse. Europe’s metropolises are working on ways to protect themselves.
Society is balking at the impact of our collective plastic footprint. But some alternatives are occurring.
The gene-editing tool CRISPR could help farmers overcome the challenges of malnutrition. But European legislation has closed the door to that technology.
Technology is helping farmers feed the world. It can also make agriculture more environmentally friendly – for conventional and organic farmers alike.
Consumers want to know where their food comes from, but most of the time they still don’t know – a major problem in the event of contamination. Various solutions could make supply chains more transparent.
From fintech to health to the environment, clever inventions are improving the lives of millions of people.
Lagos recently hosted the African Fintech Summit for the first time. The Nigerian city has all the attributes needed to become a hotbed for African fintech.
Kenya is brimming with innovation, hoping to establish a truly circular economy.
Online courses can broaden access to higher education. But to help African students get jobs they should be integrated with local universities.
Automation has already eliminated numerous tasks, and now artificial intelligence will add to the carnage. Humans may have to reconsider their obsession with labour.
Increasingly, organisations are using entertaining ways to train and motivate their employees.
In the beginning, technology eliminated many clerical tasks. Now the danger is extending to positions that require a high level of skill.
Labour-saving advances usually increase both jobs and wages, but the unequal path of change can cause major friction.
Michael Linden-Vørnle hopes to turn Denmark into a leader.
How do you keep the skies from becoming a giant, noisy, dangerous cloud of drones? Manufacturers and regulators are working on the answers.
Everyone from Airbus to Uber is interested. They could be part of the urban landscape in the next decade.
China may have a corner on the recreational market, and the US on military uses, but Europe is poised to find its own niche.
Hundreds of millions of years of evolution have given insects the ability to fly efficiently and robustly. Roboticists are taking note.
Flexible railway systems can offer cheaper and faster transport in greater quantities. Their potential is most promising in freight handling.
Even as concepts like Hyperloop emerge, European leadership is not in danger.
Elon Musk’s dream of a train that can travel at 1,200 km/h faces serious unresolved engineering challenges.
Recent tests have shown the viability of the futuristic train. But does this mean we will have a new mode of transportation any time soon?
Childbirth may be the most important event in a mother’s life, but it can also be the most traumatic. Technology can help.
The procedure has advantages as well as downsides. Science can help mothers decide what is best for them.
Genetic engineering is developing on human embryos, raising both hopes and ethical concerns.
Women who want to delay their pregnancies can now freeze their eggs effectively and safely. But success is not guaranteed.
Births are falling across the continent – although not in France. Why do women working in tech have fewer kids? And why are there more premature births?
Physician, businessman and writer, France’s Laurent Alexandre brings a range of perspectives to the challenges posed by such new technologies as artificial intelligence.
Lagging behind Germany, France has produced only three start-ups valued at more than $1 billion. But it is starting to catch up.
Pere Roca is making solar-panel manufacturing cheap and efficient
France’s Qwant was built to have two competitive advantages: respecting privacy and being a credible alternative to its American rivals.
Will the US and China dominate the development of AI? President Macron has ideas that can keep Europe in the game.
Temperatures in cities need to fall – and fast. But how?
Buildings accounts for a huge proportion of the world’s energy consumption. Zoom on some innovative solutions to cut the waste.
The foundations of this new technology were laid more than 150 years ago.
From LCD televisions to the latest force-sensitive touchscreen technology, electronics and photonics are pushing the envelope ever outward.
Photonics may hold the answer to coping with huge volume. But a big challenge remains: converting electronic data into light on silicon chips.
It’s the world’s most ubiquitous construction material – but it comes with a hefty environmental cost.
Move over, electrons. Ton Backx and his team are putting photons front and center as they lay the groundwork for the coming era of photonics.
An expert discusses the challenges of creating a major district entirely with floating houses.
Faced with growing challenges, Europe can rely on its scientists to ensure its future competitiveness.
Europe is often at the forefront in the fields of digital safety, antivirus protection and encryption. Here are three examples.
A quarter of European research money goes to companies. As the EU drafts the next iteration of its Horizon 2020 programme, experts discuss the pros and cons.
An expert in technological change discusses the EU’s research programme and identifies the next challenges for innovation in Europe.
The country is getting a lot of attention for its strict privacy laws. But is it the only option for a data-safe harbor in Europe?
As familiar encryption systems reach their limits, the strange world of particle physics offers new solutions.
To spread viruses and malware, hackers take advantage of loopholes in IT system. Vulnerability fixes exist, but users download them all too rarely.
Eight success stories show how European scientists are shaping tomorrow’s world.
Recent months have seen a major increase in cybercrime. But that’s not the only threat to our private information.
Drawing on their knowledge of algorithms, design and materials, engineers can help improve healthcare in many arenas.
A universal basic income would mitigate the negative effects of automation. But it might be more effective if combined with apprenticeships.
Asia’s acquisition of two of the continent’s crown jewels came as a wake-up call. To stay competitive, Europe must innovate.
Make no mistake, the intelligent machines of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lay waste to human employment – unless governments act.
Machines are getting much better at learning from humans and interacting with them. The next challenge: getting robots to talk to each other.
Should doctors have access to huge datasets? The potential to improve healthcare is obvious, but privacy remains equally important.
Collaborative robots are boosting productivity, but they will also require us to rethink how we approach our jobs.
Linking engineering and medicine has led to better diagnostics, drugs and treatments. But it’s not always easy to collaborate successfully.
With Europe’s ageing population, hearing loss will become a major concern for public health. A new generation of technologies can slow the process.
Sound pollution has become one of the main health hazards in European cities. New technologies may provide some solutions.
Not every start-up wants to move to America. Here are four that have remained loyal to their home turf.
To reach their full potential, the most innovative European start-ups often have no choice but to let American giants buy them. But this is changing.
The European Commission turns its attention to four key aspects of the problem.
Using algorithms to process sound is a booming field. Here are four promising innovations.
The latest innovations provide listening experiences that are more immersive than ever. Some technologies even use bones to transmit sound.
America is all too attractive for Europe’s innovative technology, but there are ways to stop the haemorrhage.
Home is not just where the heart is – increasingly, it’s also where you find the innovators, the money and the quality of life.
Artificial intelligence raises thorny questions that will be keeping human brains very busy.
Our eating habits are often based on accepted wisdom without scientific basis. Researchers are now trying to sort the facts from the myths.
Artificial intelligence has enormous potential for health care – from diagnostics to rehabilitation to services for the elderly.
Some people fret that artificial intelligence will end civilization as we know it, others believe it can solve every problem.
Lambèr Royakkers of the Eindhoven University of Technology analyses the dangers of having machines make life-or-death decisions.
If 10 billion people are to be fed we need to drop fashionable, damaging diets that have no evidence base and get behind rational advances in food science.
Cooking blenders are invading European kitchens, with the promise of healthy and fresh nutrition without time wasted on cutting and stirring.
Polymer packaging makes up most of the world’s marine debris. New biodegradable or edible containers could offer a better solution.
Scientists are making headway in challenging the traditional publishing model for research papers. The big winners may include ordinary citizens.
From London to Hamburg to Singapore, architects draw inspiration from living organisms to design energy-efficient buildings.
The birth of a movement in four main questions.
The digital revolution and the ability to process huge amounts of information have changed the way research is done. Here are three examples.
Designers working with biologists and engineers: not so long ago such collaboration would have been unusual. Now it is at the heart of European Science.
They’re more and more exclusive And they’re often full of already highly qualified students. Are Massive Open Online Courses failing to democratise education?
Sharing medical data leads to more targeted treatments, but also bears the risk of abuse. Adam Molyneaux of Sophia Genetics discusses the complexities.
Citizen science relies on the public’s curiosity and enthusiasm – not to mention computing capacity – to supplement the work of scientists.
Sharks are a useful model, both for their slick skin and for their antibodies that can be used to treat cancer.
How a salamander inspired a robot, a protein became a sensor and a molecule helped design a water purifier.
Beetles, butterflies and spiders are some of the bugs that inspire engineers. What makes these insects so prone to imitation?
Amateurs can now enhance their performance and their health by using wireless devices and biosensors that monitor behaviour, environment and physiology.
Trains are particularly safe. But IT bugs and problems with the signalling systems represent a constant security threat.
Aluminium, carbon and even bamboo: sport results today depend highly on the materials.
Computer simulations and data analysis can now help prevent injuries, while individual prostheses hasten the recovery process.
Some smaller countries are showing how efficiency-enhancing innovations can begin to shift some goods transport away from lorries.
Will autonomous locomotives one day operate outside urban areas?
Petrol power helped shape the 20th century, but its decline may define the 21st. So how will the future of urban transport look?
The fight against congestion is getting some new tools: mobile phones and complex algorithms.
Safely mimicking all foibles in software and hardware of driving will take at least another decade, if not longer.
There are bright ideas for how to make our cities more fluid, but they won’t do much good unless decision-makers show more vision and courage.
Smart glass and phone apps may have been developed for gamers, but now they are among the many technologies crossing over into the healthcare field.
It can be difficult to effect behavioural change in large cities, but Stockholm and London have shown that a well-conceived nudge will deliver results.
Cycling is healthy and good for the environment – so no wonder bicycle use in some European cities has doubled since the early 2000s.
Bad nights are disruptive to a person’s life. Fortunately, scientists are constantly learning more about the causes.
You can sleep when you’re dead, they say. In the meantime, though, circadian rhythms are best not tampered with.
You may think you’re resting, but your brain is fulfilling critical tasks from building memories to reinforcing learning to clearing toxins.
Six researchers reveal just how far they go to discover some of nature’s deepest secrets or test novel technologies.
We spend one third of our time sleeping, but scientists still don’t know why. A prominent researcher reviews the most likely explanations.
Will Europe ever be able to compete with Silicon Valley? The answer lies not only in our universities and research parks but also in our primary and secondary schools.
What if Estonia’s system is hacked? And what if an unsavoury government, domestic or foreign, got hold of Estonia’s information?
Inspired by Skype, ambitious entrepreneurs have the confidence to believe their dreams can come true
Estonian programmer Jaan Tallinn helped create the file-sharing application Kazaa and then the famous video-call system. Now he wants to save the world.
Rapidly evolving camera technology is changing our very notion of photography.
As the big neighbour to the east rattles its sabre once again, Estonia is confident that its technology will allow it to survive, no matter what
Modern illumination is not only much more efficient, but increasingly responsive to the rhythms of human life.
From medical records to taxes to ID cards, Estonians rely on – and trust – information technology more than any other nation in the world.
For most organisms the absence of light is vital, too.
One of the basic certainties that unites all life on this planet: night follows day follows night. But then we started to mess with it.
Everywhere you turn, optical engineering is at the heart of new technologies. No wonder 2015 has been named the Year of Light.
The vision of a world in which everyone lives longer and better is attractive – but for societies the changes will be over-whelming. An ethicist and a sociologist discuss the implications.
Life spans in the developed world have doubled over the past two centuries — and scientists are working hard to decipher the code of aging.
Is France ready? One winery has taken the plunge, using real-time sap flow measurements to more accurately manage the irrigation of its vines.
A French farmer considers Twitter a fabulous way to forge a connection between farmers and consumers.
To improve crop yields, the agricultural world is turning to such cutting-edge technologies as drones, robots and networked sensors.
Age is so much more than years elapsed since your date of birth.
Once seen as a “towering lunacy”, vertical farms are all the rage from the U.S. to Europe to Asia.
Everyone knows that animals use odours to communicate. Now a growing body of research suggests that humans do, too.
To guarantee an uninterrupted flow of electricity, Europe must improve its storage capacity and build a super grid.
Solar energy won’t fulfil its potential until the storage problem is solved. Here’s how.
The exclusive creator of Hermès perfumes Jean-Claude Ellena revisits his brilliant career, revealing a glimpse of his perfumer’s palette.
Canines still take the lead when it comes to sniffing out smells. But the latest research shows that machines are closing the gap.
For more than 40 years – ever since the Great Oil Crisis of 1973 – scientists, governments and media have been warning that the world must reduce its dependence on fuels derived from hydrocarbons. Initially, the main worry was supply – would the world run out of oil and gas before we found alternatives? But by the 1980s, an even greater danger came to the fore: climate change, aggravated by the massive amounts of CO2 being spewed into the atmosphere by oil-derived fuels.
The vagus nerve, which connects the brain to various organs, plays an essential role in the mind-body relationship. Can you train it to make you happy?
With its horrible symptoms and 80% mortality rate, Ebola fever is especially frightening. The cases in Spain and the U.S. served as a reminder that procedures for strict disinfection, while simple on paper, are less so in practise. Even the Western health system cannot entirely protect us from this virus.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise, but the pipeline for new drugs is drying up. Researchers are developing new strategies to avoid a resurgence of illnesses that once seemed easy to cure.
Happiness can be understood objectively, says pioneer researcher Ruut Veenhoven.
New technologies and citizen science offer innovative ways to track and quantify emotions. They are uncovering new ingredients in the recipe for happiness.
Four novel approaches to keep killers in check.
You no longer need to be an electronics wizard to build sophisticated devices. “Makers” like the four profiled on these pages are unleashing their creativity thanks to Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards.
Chemical cameras reveal a world that is invisible to the human eye. Smaller and cheaper devices are now finding uses from agriculture to cancer diagnostics.
Super-resolution techniques have pushed back the limits of optics, becoming an essential tool in the life sciences.
Mobile devices need energy – lots of it. Instead of focussing only on improving battery performance, some scientists are looking at the ambient energy that is all around us.
By being the first to extract methane hydrates last year, Japan has launched a new global race.
Can America’s shale-gas revolution be repeated in Europe? The furore over earthquakes and chemicals has obscured more important issues.
Already sold in health-food stores as nutritional supplements, micro-organisms could help feed the world if prices came down.
From lab-hatched eggs to caterpillar croquettes, the food of the future may not be familiar, but that doesn’t mean it won’t taste good.
An amazing project may enable paralysed humans to walk again, with the help of an exoskeleton controlled directly by their thoughts.
The latest portable technology will connect humans from head to toe. But it could also endanger both our safety and our social lives, warns Wijnand IJsselsteijn.