The Conversation, on Toddlers and Tablets

Touchscreens may make toddlers more distractible – new three-year study riggleton/Shutterstock Ana Maria Portugal, Karolinska Institutet; Rachael Bedford, University of Bath, and Tim J. Smith, Birkbeck, University of London Working from home as a parent, a touchscreen device can be a marvellous tool. Pass one to your child, and they’ll be quietly occupied for your […]

The Conversation, on Open Source hardware

Making hardware ‘open source’ can help us fight future pandemics – here’s how we get there elenabsl/Shutterstock Richard Bowman, University of Bath and Julian Stirling, University of Bath In factories and industrial estates across the world, exceptional efforts are being made to ensure hospitals have ventilators, and logistics firms have freezers and refrigerators. Behind the […]

The Conversation, on Robot Communication

An army of sewer robots could keep our pipes clean, but they’ll need to learn to communicate Pipebots will inspect the walls for cracks. Human Studio, Author provided Viktor Doychinov, University of Leeds Hidden from sight, under the UK’s roads, buildings and parks, lies about one million kilometres of pipes. Maintaining and repairing these pipes […]

The Conversation, on Artificial Intelligence and Space Exploration

Five ways artificial intelligence can help space exploration Various types of astronaut assistant are in development. Michal Bednarek/shutterstock.com Deep Bandivadekar, University of Strathclyde and Audrey Berquand, University of Strathclyde Artificial intelligence has been making waves in recent years, enabling us to solve problems faster than traditional computing could ever allow. Recently, for example, Google’s artificial […]

The Conversation, on Fearing Robots

Robots were dreamt up 100 years ago – why haven’t our fears about them changed since? Pavel Chagochkin/Shutterstock.com Michael Szollosy, University of Sheffield This is a story you will have heard before. A genius but completely mad scientist – with the backing of a ruthlessly greedy corporation – creates a sentient robot. The scientist’s intentions […]

The Conversation, on Electricity use and Sustainability

Britain’s electricity use is at its lowest for decades – but will never be this low again Lukasz Pajor / shutterstock Grant Wilson, University of Birmingham; Joseph Day, University of Birmingham, and Noah Godfrey, University of Birmingham In 2020, Britain’s electrical use was the lowest it had been since 1983. This wasn’t entirely due to […]

The Conversation, on Managing Screen Time

Five ways to manage your screen time in a lockdown, according to tech experts shutterstock John McAlaney, Bournemouth University; Deniz Cemiloglu, Bournemouth University, and Raian Ali, Hamad Bin Khalifa University The average daily time spent online by adults increased by nearly an hour during the UK’s spring lockdown when compared to the previous year, according […]

The Conversation, on Games and moral development

Video games affect your moral development but only until you’re 18 – new study Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock, Author provided Sarah Hodge, Bournemouth University Young people have probably spent much more of their time than usual playing video games over the last few months thanks to the coronvirus pandemic. One report from telecoms firm Verizon said online gaming […]

The Conversation, on British Troops

Proposals by the UK government will effectively sanction war crimes by British troops Frank Ledwidge, University of Portsmouth I spent much of the late 1990s as a reserve military intelligence officer involved in the hunt for war criminals in Bosnia. We got most of them in the end. A couple of years later, as a […]