Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 15th Sep 2012

Silicon Sailors - Robots take to the waves

Shadow Dexterous Robot Hand holding a lightbulb (c) With permission of Richard Greenhill and Hugo Elias

Would you set sail with a robotic skipper?  This week, the World Robotic Sailing Championships grace the waters of Cardiff Bay, and we meet the teams to find out how this could lead to a sea change in robot science.  Plus, we find out how robots are coming out of the factory and into the home, to care for the elderly and help children learn.  In the news, stem cells restore hearing to deaf gerbils, facebook alters voting behaviour, and why a blue berry is the brightest thing in nature...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:28 - The 5th World Robotics Sailing Championships

    The 5th World Robotics Sailing Championships were held in Cardiff Bay, Wales from17th-21st September 2012. The event saw 5 teams from around the world, pitting their robotic seafarer wits against one another in a variety of demanding challenges from collision avoidance to long ...

  • 09:16 - What is the future for robotics?

    The word robot conjures images of shiny metal humanoids plucked from a rich history of science fiction. But until recently, real world robots were found doing heavy work on production lines, often fenced off to protect people from harm. But now, robots are increasingly coming ...

  • 17:14 - Robotic Sailing: The Navy and the Hobbyists

    The 5th World Robotic Sailing Championships took place in Cardiff in September 2012. To find out more about the teams taking part, we spoke to Professor Paul Miller, from the US Naval Academy, and Mariano Alvira from Seascope...

  • 23:50 - Metal at 400 degrees underwater

    A superhydrophobic layer repels water from hot metal and prevents it boiling...

  • 24:46 - Stem cells restore hearing

    Embryonic stem cells have been used to restore hearing in animals...

  • 27:17 - Most supernovae hidden by dust

    A paper published this week in the Astrophysical Journal suggests that up to 90% of supernova explosions go unseen by the surveys designed to look for them.

  • 29:28 - The Brightest Thing in Nature

    Cambridge University scientist Beverley Glover has discovered the brightest thing found in nature. But what is it and how did it claim that title...?

  • 34:50 - How Facebook alters Voting Behaviour

    Facebook. Nearly a billion of us use it, but does it affect how we make important decisions? James Fowler at the University of California San Diego has been looking at the social networking site Facebook and how it can influence voting behaviour...

  • 40:56 - High fat pregnancy diet cancer risk and an in-flight observatory

    What women eat during pregnancy affects cancer risk for the women, their daughters, and their granddaughters; current weather forecasting and climate models have been getting storm formation wrong; five genes linked to facial appearance; and a Boeing 747 with a difference...

  • 44:54 - Acid Rain's Legacy - Planet Earth Online

    Global warming may dominate today’s environmental headlines but not so long ago it was acid rain. This emerged after the growth of industry and although the problem peaked in the late 1970s/early 80s and has largely gone away. But it has left a legacy in rivers and streams...

  • 53:09 - Has life only started once on Earth?

    If Earth is such a great place to live, why to our knowledge has life only begun once on this planet? Obviously, the conditions on Earth are sufficient to support life. But beyond that, we repeatedly hear the assertion that these are the "ideal" conditions for life. If...



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