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 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 personality profiling using VR

How we discovered that VR can profile your personality Mark Nazh/Shutterstock Stephen Fairclough, Liverpool John Moores University Virtual reality (VR) has the power to take us out of our surroundings and transport us to far-off lands. From a quick round of golf, to fighting monsters or going for a skydive, all of this can be […]

The Conversation, on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Agriculture

The fourth agricultural revolution is coming – but who will really benefit? kung_tom/shutterstock David Rose, University of Reading and Charlotte-Anne Chivers, University of Gloucestershire Depending on who you listen to, artificial intelligence may either free us from monotonous labour and unleash huge productivity gains, or create a dystopia of mass unemployment and automated oppression. In […]

The Conversation, on how digital communication is less rich than in-person

Why our screens leave us hungry for more nutritious forms of social interaction Shutterstock/LukyToky mc schraefel, University of Southampton COVID-19 has seen all the rules change when it comes to social engagement. Workplaces and schools have closed, gatherings have been banned, and the use of social media and other online tools has risen to bridge […]

The Conversation, on Remote working and offices or city centres

Remote working is here to stay – but that doesn’t mean the end of offices or city centres Most people will return to offices but there’s no rush. Shutterstock Jane Parry, University of Southampton When coronavirus lockdowns were introduced, the shift to remote working was sudden and sweeping. Now the British government is hoping the […]

The Conversation, on china and quantum communications technology

China’s quantum satellite enables first totally secure long-range messages Andrey VP/Shutterstock Harun Šiljak, Trinity College Dublin In the middle of the night, invisible to anyone but special telescopes in two Chinese observatories, satellite Micius sends particles of light to Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher also […]

The Conversation, on learning and development from digital video games

Crucible: the science behind why watching others playing video games has become so popular Crucible is the first release from Amazon’s games studio Relentless. Relentless Game Studios Craig Weightman, Staffordshire University Amazon has taken a step into the highly lucrative world of gaming by releasing its first title, Crucible. A team-based action shooter, it hopes […]