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Head injuries in sport can have a devastating effect on the brain, which is often only noticed later in life. So lots of people are investigating ways of making it safer to play sports such as American football, boxing and soccer. We look at new technology including smart mouth guards and innovative helmets, and we find out about the latest medical…
 
A small team of Indian scientists think they’ve found a new way to kill superbugs. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are killing hundreds of thousands of people every year, and that number is going up fast. But one Bangalore-based biotech company thinks they might be on the verge of a breakthrough. Produced and presented by Jo Mathys Picture: Science P…
 
Giant towers of building blocks rising into the sky and huge vats packed with volcanic rock or molten salt are being used as massive batteries. They are the latest ideas for storing energy generated by the sun and the wind – so you can keep the lights on when it’s dark or the wind isn’t blowing. We meet the entrepreneurs and scientists who are tryi…
 
A clever invention is saving the lives of hundreds of children.Pneumonia kills about 1.4 million children under five every year. Treatment with concentrated oxygen could save many of them, but the machines that provide it need a reliable source of electricity. Some hospitals have frequent power cuts though, which can be fatal.So scientists in Austr…
 
Forests the size of tennis courts are being planted in towns and cities around the world. They use a special method from Japan which can grow a dense forest in just a few years. At that size they won’t make much of a dent in global warming but they do have many benefits including bringing increased biodiversity into the heart of the city. Produced …
 
Dhruv Boruah’s mission is to inspire other people to solve problems facing the planet. What’s more, he gets them to come up with their ideas in just one day. But are their solutions any good and can they survive in the real world? Nick Holland went to Dhruv Boruah’s first solutions event in 2019. Two years on, he tracks down some of the people who …
 
Imagine a ring doughnut. This is the basis of an idea about how we could run the world in a way that gives everyone what they need - food, homes, healthcare and more - and save the planet at the same time. Economist Kate Raworth, who came up with the idea, explains how it works. And we visit projects in Amsterdam that are using the model to provide…
 
We revisit Lewis to find out how the hydrating sweets he designed for people with dementia have gone into production. We find out how a housing project where residents have to promise to socialise has coped with Covid. And the latest from a pharmacist in the Netherlands - after a setback, her operation to make cheap medication for her patients has …
 
Women in a village in Northern Nigeria have come up with an emergency transport scheme that is saving lives. They decided to act when they saw mums-to-be and their unborn babies dying in childbirth because they couldn’t get to hospital in time. Their solution also inspired the state government to help thousands of other women. Produced and presente…
 
Imagine if the meat we ate was all grown in shiny silver vats, with no animals harmed in the process. That’s the vision of start-ups around the world, each trying to perfect lab-grown or cultured meat. It’s a huge challenge in bioengineering to make it work at a cheap enough price. But there are big benefits for the planet if they can pull it off. …
 
Companies are growing light and durable packaging from mycelium that is easy to compost. Another team in Europe is creating a fungal home, which will sense when it’s dark and switch the lights on. And researchers in the UK are developing strains of fungi that won’t just replace plastic, but eat it as well. Produced and presented by Claire BatesPict…
 
A new kind of solar cell - made by drying a special liquid on a surface - is being heralded as a revolution in solar power. The minerals known as perovskites were discovered more than 150 years ago. More recently, their crystal structure has been copied using other materials and used to produce energy.If it can be made to work, these crystals could…
 
Can you make the railways greener by powering trains with energy from the sun? We hear about the pioneering train in Australia that’s run entirely on solar power. Plus we visit the solar farm that’s plugged directly into a railway in Britain and hear about Indian Railways’ big plan for converting to renewable power.Produced and presented by Richard…
 
Audience members praise and pick holes in solutions we’ve covered. Nick Holland and Kat Hawkins hear the best comments and questions and try to get answers. Among the solutions under review is a story about a man who regrew a rainforest in Ecuador. One listener is worried it’ll just get cut down again when he dies. And eyebrows are raised about nur…
 
In this inspiring episode, we hear ideas from high school students in Asia, Africa, Europe and America. They’ve created a new form of sound insulation, refined a forensic process to use at crime scenes, won an award for predicting crop yields and made going to the beach a little safer in the age of Covid. Image: Team Hibla from the Philippines.…
 
The mass stranding of dolphins, orcas and whales is depressingly common. We join a team on the East Coast of the United States who have dramatically improved the survival rates of beached dolphins there. And we are with them as they fight to save a dolphin mother and calf. Plus we look at how Silicon Valley AI tech, and its power to understand dolp…
 
What happens when you take a little box containing some of the vast knowledge amassed on the internet, to communities that live offline? From a peaceful valley in the remote Himalayas to a bustling Rohingya refugee camp, people are carrying gigabytes of data - from school curricula to the whole of Wikipedia - into places where access to the interne…
 
Jellyfish blooms can cause havoc, scaring away tourists, clogging up fishing nets, and even getting stuck in power station cooling pipes. But scientists are finding ways to use the creatures to help us solve some big problems. They think jellyfish mucus could filter microplastics from our water systems, and their collagen could help us develop new …
 
A growing number of police departments in the US are introducing a new concept in their training - teaching officers on the beat how to step in when they see a colleague doing something they don't think is right. After the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, a programme pioneered by police in New Orleans is being developed …
 
It’s not just search engines that are powered by artificial intelligence. From the courts to the jobs market, AI is influencing decisions that have a big impact on people’s lives. But researchers now believe that not all people are treated equally by some algorithms. They’ve found potential bias - influenced by race, class and gender - can have an …
 
We hear how AI lifeguards are helping to spot danger on Israel’s beaches, while on Lake Victoria special forecasts for fishermen are saving hundreds of lives. Meanwhile in Bangladesh, community creches and bamboo swimming stages are reducing deaths among children – the group at highest risk of drowning. It’s estimated that 320,000 people around the…
 
Old smartphones powered by solar panels are being used to catch illegal loggers in rainforests across the world. Each year, more than 150 million mobiles are discarded in the US alone - so we’re looking at clever ways to reuse them. But should we really rethink our consumer habits and keep our phones for longer? Produced and presented by Julie Ball…
 
Could your family photos end up being stored on a piece of glass? Might you find yourself saving a file to DNA storage? Or downloading a video from a data centre in space?Current methods of storing information are susceptible to decay and have limited capacity but novel approaches could provide plentiful storage so that our selfies outlast our spec…
 
Period poverty affects girls and women across the world who can’t afford to buy sanitary pads or tampons each month. So what are the alternatives? In a refugee camp in Jordan, we follow one woman as she tries to get a sanitary pad micro-factory off the ground. While in Malawi, they’re handing out menstrual cups to teenagers.This podcast was first p…
 
"Get rid of the girl who smells" - this is the reaction thousands of traumatised new mothers face every year because of a condition called fistula. But in Madagascar some women, who have successfully been treated, become patient ambassadors finding others with the same condition. They personally accompany them to clinics to get life-changing surger…
 
Monitoring devices implanted in a person’s chest are helping doctors predict if something is about to go wrong with a patient’s heart. Sometimes they can tell a month in advance. It’s allowing cardiologists to adjust treatment and prevent problems before they occur. Produced and presented by Nick Holland.…
 
Nurses and midwives in Ethiopia are being trained to perform emergency operations, saving thousands of lives.People Fixing the World follows one of them, Seida Guadu, as she operates to try to save the lives of a mother and her unborn child.This podcast was first published on 25 June 2019.Reporter: Ruth EvansProducers: Lily Freeston and Hadra Ahmed…
 
Two life-saving apps have been adapted to fix problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic - hear how ideas we’ve visited before have developed and grown.One of them has been helping ambulance drivers find their way to field hospitals; the other has been finding volunteers to run errands for people who are vulnerable. Presenter: Daniel GordonReporters:…
 
From balloons in the stratosphere to swarms of satellites in space, the race to get everyone online is heating up. The internet may never be more useful than during the coronavirus outbreak. It provides us with the latest health information, educates our kids and lets us communicate with our loved ones face to face. But only half of the world’s pop…
 
Tech companies have developed drones to drop pollen on orchards or shoot it at crops through pipes from tractors. They’re responding to a crisis in insect pollination as studies suggest numbers of both wild pollinators and farmed bees are declining. This could have a serious knock-on effect on how we grow our fruit and veg. But some experts argue h…
 
New technology is helping in the fight against wildlife poaching. Computer scientists have created a programme that uses artificial intelligence to predict where poachers are going to strike; a new generation of smart cameras is catching the criminals red-handed; and the latest police forensic techniques are being adapted to investigate these crime…
 
A short online test that reveals attitudes, opinions and thought processes is being used to help decide whether to give people loans. The idea is to use psychometric tests to give people with little or no credit history a better chance of getting support and investment. New ways of providing financial services are needed because 1.7 billion people …
 
This week we look at four brilliant inventions by children: a phone app to stop drivers missing road signs; a robot that is activated when a vulnerable person falls over; a tool to help fire departments predict the likelihood of wildfires, and a way to make your fish tank double as a vegetable patch for microgreens.The future engineers and scientis…
 
Can companies operate better without managers? We hear from people who’ve got rid of managers and say it has helped them do a better job, made them happier and saved money. But there are pitfalls, too. Co-ordination and hiring talent for what are usually considered top management jobs can be a challenge when there’s no traditional hierarchy.Produce…
 
Old ships, powered by the wind, are sailing small amounts of cargo around the world again to help cut pollution. Some of them were built more than 100 years ago. The shipping industry moves 80% of traded goods around the planet. But the diesel engines that propel modern cargo ships through the oceans burn the dirtiest type of fuel. Nick Holland spe…
 
Scientists in Italy have discovered that trees generate an electrical charge every time the wind blows strongly enough to make their leaves touch one another.The researchers, from the Italian Institute of Technology, have managed to harvest enough energy this way to power 150 LED lights from a single leaf.We meet them, and others, who are trying to…
 
A clever invention is saving the lives of hundreds of children. Pneumonia kills about 1.4 million children under five every year. Treatment with concentrated oxygen could save many of them, but the machines that make it need a reliable source of electricity. Some hospitals have frequent power cuts, though, which can be fatal. So scientists in Austr…
 
We all know that sport is great for our health - and if you’re talented it can bring you great riches. But this week we look at how sport is changing lives and giving hope to young people leading the toughest lives. In Cape Town, South Africa, a British surfer noticed how kids from poor townships hardly ever went to the beach. So he started giving …
 
There’s a technology on the block which has the power to change all kinds of things for the better.If that power is harnessed, it has the potential to end corruption, protect your online identity and a whole lot more. Start-up companies and charities are using it in everything from tuna supply chains to medical records and ID documents and everythi…
 
We visit farmers growing lettuce, herbs and strawberries indoors in the middle of cities. The plants are stacked up on shelves in vertical farms that use hydroponics and aeroponics to cultivate them.The idea is to grow food closer to where it’s eaten. At the moment, cities get most of their produce delivered from far away, but transporting it uses …
 
People around the world are coming up with ways to make the world a quieter place, from portable sound barriers to schemes to stop people honking their car horns.The trouble is that noise from traffic, railways, builders, even neighbours, can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing, according to the World Health Organization.One of the solut…
 
Robot shuttles and buses on demand are being tested to persuade more people to use public transport. Tallinn in Estonia and Luxembourg have even made travel free. The aim is to tackle the impact of one billion cars on the world's roads, which have brought some cities to a virtual standstill. But in order to tempt people away from their cars new inc…
 
It has taken him 40 years, but Omar Tello has turned a patch of exhausted farmland in Ecuador back into rainforest. One of his biggest challenges was repairing the soil. His land was so degraded he had to make enough new soil - from unwanted wood shavings and chicken manure - to cover the entire plot. That alone took about 15 years.He also travelle…
 
Human sewage contains lots of valuable nutrients, so should we be recycling it? One of these nutrients is phosphorus, a key ingredient in fertiliser. We need fertilisers to meet the demands of the planet’s growing population, but there is a limited supply of phosphorus. Once it finds its way into the sea it becomes impossible to recover. And yet we…
 
This week we’re in Rwanda, where some men are getting lessons teaching them how to look after their babies. As well as promoting gender equality it's helping to reduce the high levels of violence women there experience at the hands of their husbands and partners. People Fixing the World meets the people taking part and finds out how it works and wh…
 
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