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Repairing Voyager 2

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been working flat out over the last week repairing Voyager 2. The spacecraft is about 18 billion kilometres from Earth, so sending a command to it takes seventeen hours.

Alexa: save my life please
Could personal assistants like Alexa and Siri save your life? Research in the journal BMJ innovations has assessed how good the top four voice assistants are at giving sound medical advice – the results were mixed.

Drones mesh it up in Vietnam
Managing a natural disaster like a flood is so difficult because often there are many unknowns - responders urgently need real time information on water levels in the swollen rivers for instance. Installing monitoring kit across long stretches of river is expensive and the sensors need replacing regularly. So how about deploying a squadron of drones to pick up the data instead? That’s been happening in a trial in Vietnam. Dr Trung Duong, at Queen’s University Belfast tells us more.

Purrfect robots
Do you need a robot that can work in the dark or a dangerous environment? Give it whiskers! After all, some bristles and a snout work well for the likes of dogs, mice and shrews. So researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK have spent hours watching whiskers in the wild and are now switching the twitching to robots in the lab.

(Photo: Voyager spacecraft. Credit: NASA)

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Drones dealing with locust swarms

Fighting locust swarms with drones
Trials are taking place to manage the massive locust swarms in the Horn of Africa and the Indian subcontinent with drones. Using them to collect real time data allows scientists to predict where the insects might fly to next.

Irish data centre power problem
Amazon has just announced plans to build another data centre in Ireland. It’s just one of about 60 data centres that are putting a huge demand on electricity. According to a report by the Irish Academy of Engineering 30% more electricity will be needed by 2030 to keep these data centres running. But where will it come from if Ireland is to meet its carbon emission targets?

More data leaks in India
A new data privacy bill has been passed in India, but with hundreds of millions of individuals having their data leaked last year alone, will this new bill ensure data privacy? BBC data journalist Shadab Nazmi has exposed a number of information security blunders in India and explains what has been happening.

Acoustic camera
Imagine that you could only hear specific sounds in certain parts of a room. So an intensive care nurse would only hear the beeps from the medical bay of their patient? This might be possible as scientists at the University of Sussex in England are splitting sounds, focusing them into beams and even bending them. Our reporter Hannah Fisher has been there to explore.

(Photo: Large swarms of desert locusts threatens Kenya"s food security. Credit: EPA/Dai Kurokawa)

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

South Africa Power Cuts

South Africa Power Cuts
Is South Africa facing a blackout? Power cuts across the country are now happening regularly as the country struggles with demand for electricity. There’s even an app that tells you if your lights are going to stay on today, or tomorrow. Professor Keith Bell from Strathclyde University explains why this is happening.

Plasmonics - computing with light
Fancy computing with the speed of light? Well for the first time this is possible thanks to research at Oxford University. Scientists have managed use light to store, access and now process data on chip. The research could significantly increase processing speeds at data centres, not only making computing faster but saving significant amounts of energy.

Land of Iron
A National Park is usually synonymous with nature and wildlife. Perhaps not the obvious place to find a technology story, but in North Yorkshire in the UK a project is underway that is using technology in many different forms to bring a forgotten history back to life. Our reporter Jack Meegan has been time-travelling for us. Jack finds out how the park’s industrial past can now be seen thanks to technology.

World Wise Web
Digital Planet gets a sneak preview of a brand BBC new tech podcast. On World Wise Web, teenagers from around the world get the chance to talk to the technology pioneers who have shaped our digital world.

(Photo: Township Homes, South Africa. Credit: Getty Images)

Why is AI so far from perfect?

A special episode looking at AI – why it still is far from perfect? We discuss what would happen if you took a driverless car from the streets of California and put it on roads in a developing country, why deep fakes are so difficult to detect and how the images that are used to teach machines to recognise things are biased against women and ethnic minorities.

Picture: Driverless Cars, Getty Images

4 episodes