Episode 4 Technobytes


Episode 4

Investigating new and future technology. A look at new tech used to grow food and exploring whether we could live with dinosaurs.


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Transcript


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Hello, there. They say all the best things come in small packages and

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this programme is no exception.

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Think of it as Technobabble concentrate.

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Just a little bit goes a long way.

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Let's power up a ponder on the randomly named messaging app.

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Vlogster, will food be grown differently in the future?

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Ooh, tasty question!

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This is a job for someone who knows their spuds from their spinach,

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their beans from their greens.

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Let's hope Frankie's a quick learner.

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I'm sending Frankie to Stockbridge Technology Centre where

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researchers are leading the way in using tech to help horticulture.

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He's going to meet one of their specialist growers.

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Uh, Phil, this isn't quite what I had in mind.

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Don't worry, Frankie, you're in the right place.

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But Vlogster told me we were going somewhere where we can show

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how technology boosts the growth of fruit and veg,

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but this field is empty.

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Well, we do grow stuff in this field but it's winter

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so it's too cold and there's not enough sunlight.

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But that's where the tech comes in and that's what we're going

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-to show you now.

-Right, let's go.

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This is incredible, I feel like I'm in a disco.

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Phil, what do you actually do here?

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Well, it's not a disco. What we have here is

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a multi-tiered LED-lit urban farm for growing crops.

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Oh, amazing. And...don't you need sunshine to grow crops, though?

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No, we don't. We're using the LED lights and we're providing all the

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light they need for growth.

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So, hang on, if you don't need sunshine does that mean you

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can set these things up anywhere?

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It means you can grow plants in places that we can't

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traditionally do that.

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So, underground or in the basement of a building -

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space that's essentially going to waste and now we can fill it

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with plants and grow really good quality crops.

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And that means we can produce fresh food in the winter when

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a lot of food is imported in the UK.

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Can you tell me a bit more about the LEDs?

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Yes, so these are fairly standard LEDs but we have different

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colours and then we control how much of each colour we want.

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But they're very energy efficient and they're cool to touch.

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That means you can get the lights really close to the plants without

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damaging them and then you can fit as many shelves in as possible.

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What else can you change by altering the different lights?

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Well, we can change flowering, so, we can tell a plant when to flower.

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We can change the flavour of something like basil.

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And, hopefully, we can change the health benefits of those plants.

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So, changing things like Vitamin C concentrations.

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And I understand this is actually one of the biggest research centres

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of its kind in the world.

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Yes, this is really cutting-edge stuff and we're very proud to

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-have it here in Yorkshire.

-And it's amazing to be here,

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but I want to get my hands dirty, I want to get stuck in.

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Is there anything I can help you with?

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Yes, we've got lots of dirty jobs to get you stuck in and to

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see how we do things.

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-Fantastic, let's do it.

-Brilliant.

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Right, Phil, what are we doing now?

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-So we're going to pot up these petunia plants.

-OK.

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So, grab the pot, push up from beneath and grab the ball of soil.

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We're going to put them into a slightly bigger pot

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so they've got more space to grow.

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So you've obviously got some amazing technology that you're using here.

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Is there anything else that you're working on?

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So, elsewhere on site we have some satellite farming projects

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where we're using satellites to guide tractors round

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fields and feed the plants differently at different parts of

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the field, to maximise efficiency.

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And where do you think things are going to go in the future?

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Well, the sky's the limit.

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So, we've got this technology here that we can grow without sunlight.

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And really this place is, you know, we've seen Mars now has water on.

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So, potentially we could grow plants

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on Mars or anywhere in space, really.

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So, who knows,

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in 20 years' time we could have something like this on Mars.

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Absolutely.

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I don't know about you, Vlogster,

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but I found that pretty illuminating.

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I do the gags, Francis.

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Now, forget growing crops on solid ground,

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the oceans are where it's at for future farming.

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What, you mean underwater food, like seaweed?

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No, we're talking lettuce, basil, strawberries and garlic.

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Italian scientists have been growing

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underwater in transparent biospheres.

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The constant warm temperature and high humidity mean that

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sea greenhouses give perfect growing conditions.

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What next?

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Fancy some wasabi flavoured chocolate mousse for pudding?

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Not really.

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Me neither, but you could with this fancy fork.

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It releases aromas while you eat, combining the senses of

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taste and smell to create unique food pairings.

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The aromas include coffee, peanut and smoke.

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To be honest, all my cooking comes with a hint of burnt.

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Remind me never to come to yours for lunch.

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How about the world's first lab-grown meat restaurant?

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Researchers in the Netherlands think that in vitro meat,

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created using animal cells in a bioreactor,

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could be a sustainable food source in the future.

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To get people used to the idea, they've cooked up an online

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experience, with a menu of unusual dishes and

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a restaurant of virtual tables.

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Vlogster, all this talk of food is making my stomach rumble.

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Fancy a takeaway?

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Thanks for the offer, Frankie, but I've already had a byte to eat.

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Ha, get it? Byte, computer, food? Oh, never mind.

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Now here's someone who's definitely hungry for answers.

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Will we ever live with dinosaurs?

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Ooh, that's a roarsome question, Star.

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Right, let's find out if the most fearsome creatures on earth

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could make like Take That and be # Back for good. #

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By studying loads of fossils, scientists have discovered

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that birds are direct descendants of flesh-eating flying dinosaurs.

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And it doesn't stop with our feathered friends.

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Tortoises, Komodo Dragons and alligators are all ancient animals.

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The Carnufex carolinensis, a crocodile like creature,

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walked on two legs, had huge jaws and grew three metres tall.

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That was 230 million years ago, but don't be disappointed just yet,

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Jurassic fans.

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DNA is in every single cell in your body and it carries all the

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information needed to make you, or a dinosaur,

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from the colour of your eyes to your favourite flavour of crisp.

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One problem - DNA doesn't survive more than a few million years.

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And dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago.

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But researchers in America have found blood-like cells in

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even older fossilised bones and claws,

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and these cells can give hints to the building blocks of dino-skin.

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So, there's still hope for dinosaur DNA.

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American palaeontologists, that's dino experts,

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also think that one day we could have pet dinosaurs.

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Because birds are related to flying dinosaurs, scientists reckon we can

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turn off the newer genes that make them birds, like beaks and feathers,

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and switch on older genes like teeth and scales to create dinosaurs.

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This bonkers biology is called...

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Using transgenics, scientists have already taken the genes from

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jellyfish and used them to make glow in the dark rabbits.

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This could mean a lot for the world of medicine but, for dino fans,

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forging a friendly flying pterodactyl might take a while yet.

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And talking of dinosaurs,

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what do you call a dinosaur that likes hot drinks?

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A tea-rex. Yep, I know, I'm funny. Time to stick the kettle on.

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Bye!

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Technobtyes is the snack-size version of CBBC's Technobabble which investigates new and future technology. This episode looks at new tech used to grow food and explores whether we could live with dinosaurs.


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