Scientists and industry are dashing to make more ventilators

ONE OF THE most worrying symptoms of covid-19 is the way the coronavirus attacks the lungs of those infected. This means some patients need a ventilator to help them breathe until their lungs recover. But there is a dire shortage of these machines in hospitals, so intensive-care units will be overwhelmed. Urged on by worried […]

Digital twins of hearts could help diagnose and help treat cardiac disease

IF YOU TRAVEL on a modern airliner, the chances are that each of the jet engines powering it will have a virtual copy residing in a computer on the ground. This copy, known as a digital twin, will be updated constantly with information from sensors that measure the engine’s performance and check for signs of […]

Farming with Tom, Dick and Harry

SLOWLY BUT surely, a spidery machine about the size of a golf cart swings an electrode over a tray of plants. Every few seconds there is a small puff of smoke as a weed keels over, having been zapped with a high voltage. The device doing the zapping is a prototype weeding robot developed by […]

3D printing the factory of the future

SLOWLY but surely the sole of a shoe emerges from a bowl of liquid resin, as Excalibur rose from the enchanted lake. And, just as Excalibur was no ordinary sword, this is no ordinary sole. It is light and flexible, with an intricate internal structure, the better to help it support the wearer’s foot. Paired […]

3D-printing body parts

One of the earliest adopters of 3D printing has been the medical community. We are all different, so it suits the mass customisation that additive manufacturing is so good at. Moreover, doctors already have your CAD file in the form of a medical scan. There have been two approaches: printing parts as implants to repair […]