30 episodes

A series exploring how the latest scientific and technological discoveries are changing our lives.

TechKnow Al Jazeera English

    • News
    • 5.0, 1 Rating

A series exploring how the latest scientific and technological discoveries are changing our lives.

    • video
    Social Robots - TechKnow

    Social Robots - TechKnow

    Erica, who has a beautiful face and speaks with a synthesised voice, is one of the most advanced and autonomous androids in the world.

    The human-like robot was created in Japan in 2014 and was developed to be capable of conversational interaction. Since then, a total of four models have been engineered. She is unable to walk, but, in the summer of 2017, Erica (short for Erato Intelligent Conversational Android) was given an upgrade so she could move her arms, along with her head, neck and shoulders.

    "We are creating this new kind of entity that's not really a person but we can interact with it like a person ... It's not alive, it's there. And you do socially connect with it on a subconscious level. This is why robots that have a human form really are different from other robots. You don't bond in the same way with a vacuum cleaner," says Dylan Glas, guest associate professor at Osaka University, who has spent three years working on Erica.

    The use of robots in manufacturing is growing. According to the International Federation of Robotics, 1.7 million robots will be in service worldwide by 2020, with the leading robotics countries being China, South Korea, Japan and the US.

    There's fear in some countries around the world that robotics will eventually replace humans, but, in Japan, hopes are high that human-like robots can solve some of their problems.

    Japan's population is rapidly declining, and, according to the United Nations, its population is the oldest in the world. One of the suggested solutions is to replace workers with robots and use robots to take care of the elderly.

    TechKnow travels to Kyoto to meet social robots and the scientists behind them.

    - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
    - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
    - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
    - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

    • 24 min
    • video
    Vision for the blind: Disabled life enhancements - TechKnow

    Vision for the blind: Disabled life enhancements - TechKnow

    US paralympic athletic champion Lex Gillette holds the long jump world record. But while his athletic abilities put him at the top of his sport, he often struggles with common tasks most people take for granted.

    Gillette has been blind since age 8, and navigating a grocery store would be "one of those things where a lot of times the stores will have a customer service area, so I would go to that desk that would require me to have a specific list of items," he says.

    "There are those times when you want to learn more about the product, learn what kinds of ingredients are in them and maybe want to make a better selection. I'm an athlete so a lot of times I am very particular what goes into my body."

    Recently, Gillette has replaced the help desk for Aira, a tool which allows him to connect in real time to an agent assistant who could be hundreds of kilometres away from him, but is viewing exactly where he is.

    Smart glasses with a built-in camera are paired with an app on the user's phone. When they want assistance, they press a button and via cellular service they're connected to an agent. Those currently using this technology are called 'explorers'.

    "The agent sees the video in real time streaming from the glasses that the explorer is wearing, their GPS
    location and a full profile on the user," says Erin Cater, the manager of agent assistant operations at Aira. This technology helps vision-impaired people navigate freely, affording them a new level of freedom.

    Cater says being an Aira agent "means we get to assist the blind with their day-to-day tasks and give them more independence and freedom. Sighted folks kind of take for granted just jumping in the car and running to the grocery store to pick up a simple item and getting back home. Now with the use of Aira they can really incorporate that and just jump on public transportation or an Uber and run to the grocery story without sighted assistance."

    According to the World Health Organization, approximately 253 million people globally are vision impaired or totally blind, and Aira is just one example of new technologies that are being developed to help even the playing field for this segment of the population.

    While grocery shopping is just one small task in Gillette's life, he uses this technology for more complex
    situations like travelling or visiting major cities for the first time.

    "For me there are times when you want to have that specific information, you want as many details as possible. For example, when I went to Vegas I called up Aira and they were able to navigate me around on the strip - it was an amazing experience because I felt really empowered and I hadn't done
    anything like that before," says Gillette.

    As populations age and impairments become more prevalent, TechKnow looks at what technologies are needed to we ensure that people can live independently at home, safer and happier.

    More from TechKnow on:

    Twitter - https://Twitter.com/AJTechKnow
    Website - http://aljazeera.com/TechKnow
    Subscribe to AJE on YouTube - http://aje.io/YTsubscribe

    • 24 min
    • video
    The science of capturing carbon - TechKnow

    The science of capturing carbon - TechKnow

    The devastating effects of climate change are everywhere. Now, the fight to save the planet is taking an innovative turn. What if scientists could offset dangerous greenhouse gas levels by capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and putting it to use? This episode looks at two project that aim to capture CO2 and convert it into useable products.
    The first would combine basalt and CO2. Basalt is naturally highly reactive with CO2; when the two meet, they undergo a series of exchanges that culminate with the carbon precipitating out as a solid whitish substance, similar to limestone.
    The second project uses cyanobacteria to convert CO2 into bio products such as fuels, bioplastics, oils and flavourings.

    - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
    - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
    - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
    - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

    • 24 min
    • video
    Techknow - Disabled Life Enhancers promo

    Techknow - Disabled Life Enhancers promo

    - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
    - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
    - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
    - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

    • 30 sec
    • video
    Is it too late to save Mexico's vaquita porpoise? - TechKnow

    Is it too late to save Mexico's vaquita porpoise? - TechKnow

    The vaquita is the world’s smallest cetacean, a miniature porpoise with what some describe as cartoonlike features, and dark smudges around its eyes. The marine mammal lives only in the fertile waters of the Mexico’s Gulf of California. The problem: it shares its habitat with the totoaba, a fish coveted by wealthy Chinese who believe it has mystical medicinal powers. The vaquita are trapped in illegal gillnets set for the totoaba.

    In this episode, TechKnow looks at the various efforts to save this exquisite animal from extinction. The Mexican Navy has attempted to patrol the waters of the gulf to stop this illegal fishing, but the region’s poor fishermen are easily lured by the big payday. The country’s environmental agencies have declared war on gillnets. Locals make their living off of shrimping, and they prefer gillnets. Replacement nets have been distributed, but old habits are difficult to break. In addition, Techknow boards a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel. Their two vessels are on 24/7 patrols to protect the vaquita from illegal fishing.

    More from TechKnow on:

    Twitter - https://Twitter.com/AJTechKnow
    Website - http://aljazeera.com/TechKnow
    Subscribe to AJE on YouTube - http://aje.io/YTsubscribe

    • 25 min
    • video
    Techknow - Capturing Carbon promo

    Techknow - Capturing Carbon promo

    - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
    - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
    - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
    - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

    • 30 sec

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
1 Rating

1 Rating

Top Podcasts In News

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by Al Jazeera English