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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Hello, there. They say all the best things come in small packages and
this programme is no exception.
Think of it as Technobabble concentrate.
Just a little bit goes a long way.
Let's power up a ponder on the randomly named messaging app.
Vlogster, will food be grown differently in the future?
Ooh, tasty question!
This is a job for someone who knows their spuds from their spinach,
their beans from their greens.
Let's hope Frankie's a quick learner.
I'm sending Frankie to Stockbridge Technology Centre where
researchers are leading the way in using tech to help horticulture.
He's going to meet one of their specialist growers.
Uh, Phil, this isn't quite what I had in mind.
Don't worry, Frankie, you're in the right place.
But Vlogster told me we were going somewhere where we can show
how technology boosts the growth of fruit and veg,
but this field is empty.
Well, we do grow stuff in this field but it's winter
so it's too cold and there's not enough sunlight.
But that's where the tech comes in and that's what we're going
-to show you now.
-Right, let's go.
This is incredible, I feel like I'm in a disco.
Phil, what do you actually do here?
Well, it's not a disco. What we have here is
a multi-tiered LED-lit urban farm for growing crops.
Oh, amazing. And...don't you need sunshine to grow crops, though?
No, we don't. We're using the LED lights and we're providing all the
light they need for growth.
So, hang on, if you don't need sunshine does that mean you
can set these things up anywhere?
It means you can grow plants in places that we can't
traditionally do that.
So, underground or in the basement of a building -
space that's essentially going to waste and now we can fill it
with plants and grow really good quality crops.
And that means we can produce fresh food in the winter when
a lot of food is imported in the UK.
Can you tell me a bit more about the LEDs?
Yes, so these are fairly standard LEDs but we have different
colours and then we control how much of each colour we want.
But they're very energy efficient and they're cool to touch.
That means you can get the lights really close to the plants without
damaging them and then you can fit as many shelves in as possible.
What else can you change by altering the different lights?
Well, we can change flowering, so, we can tell a plant when to flower.
We can change the flavour of something like basil.
And, hopefully, we can change the health benefits of those plants.
So, changing things like Vitamin C concentrations.
And I understand this is actually one of the biggest research centres
of its kind in the world.
Yes, this is really cutting-edge stuff and we're very proud to
-have it here in Yorkshire.
-And it's amazing to be here,
but I want to get my hands dirty, I want to get stuck in.
Is there anything I can help you with?
Yes, we've got lots of dirty jobs to get you stuck in and to
see how we do things.
-Fantastic, let's do it.
Right, Phil, what are we doing now?
-So we're going to pot up these petunia plants.
So, grab the pot, push up from beneath and grab the ball of soil.
We're going to put them into a slightly bigger pot
so they've got more space to grow.
So you've obviously got some amazing technology that you're using here.
Is there anything else that you're working on?
So, elsewhere on site we have some satellite farming projects
where we're using satellites to guide tractors round
fields and feed the plants differently at different parts of
the field, to maximise efficiency.
And where do you think things are going to go in the future?
Well, the sky's the limit.
So, we've got this technology here that we can grow without sunlight.
And really this place is, you know, we've seen Mars now has water on.
So, potentially we could grow plants
on Mars or anywhere in space, really.
So, who knows,
in 20 years' time we could have something like this on Mars.
I don't know about you, Vlogster,
but I found that pretty illuminating.
I do the gags, Francis.
Now, forget growing crops on solid ground,
the oceans are where it's at for future farming.
What, you mean underwater food, like seaweed?
No, we're talking lettuce, basil, strawberries and garlic.
Italian scientists have been growing
underwater in transparent biospheres.
The constant warm temperature and high humidity mean that
sea greenhouses give perfect growing conditions.
Fancy some wasabi flavoured chocolate mousse for pudding?
Me neither, but you could with this fancy fork.
It releases aromas while you eat, combining the senses of
taste and smell to create unique food pairings.
The aromas include coffee, peanut and smoke.
To be honest, all my cooking comes with a hint of burnt.
Remind me never to come to yours for lunch.
How about the world's first lab-grown meat restaurant?
Researchers in the Netherlands think that in vitro meat,
created using animal cells in a bioreactor,
could be a sustainable food source in the future.
To get people used to the idea, they've cooked up an online
experience, with a menu of unusual dishes and
a restaurant of virtual tables.
Vlogster, all this talk of food is making my stomach rumble.
Fancy a takeaway?
Thanks for the offer, Frankie, but I've already had a byte to eat.
Ha, get it? Byte, computer, food? Oh, never mind.
Now here's someone who's definitely hungry for answers.
Will we ever live with dinosaurs?
Ooh, that's a roarsome question, Star.
Right, let's find out if the most fearsome creatures on earth
could make like Take That and be # Back for good. #
By studying loads of fossils, scientists have discovered
that birds are direct descendants of flesh-eating flying dinosaurs.
And it doesn't stop with our feathered friends.
Tortoises, Komodo Dragons and alligators are all ancient animals.
The Carnufex carolinensis, a crocodile like creature,
walked on two legs, had huge jaws and grew three metres tall.
That was 230 million years ago, but don't be disappointed just yet,
DNA is in every single cell in your body and it carries all the
information needed to make you, or a dinosaur,
from the colour of your eyes to your favourite flavour of crisp.
One problem - DNA doesn't survive more than a few million years.
And dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago.
But researchers in America have found blood-like cells in
even older fossilised bones and claws,
and these cells can give hints to the building blocks of dino-skin.
So, there's still hope for dinosaur DNA.
American palaeontologists, that's dino experts,
also think that one day we could have pet dinosaurs.
Because birds are related to flying dinosaurs, scientists reckon we can
turn off the newer genes that make them birds, like beaks and feathers,
and switch on older genes like teeth and scales to create dinosaurs.
This bonkers biology is called...
Using transgenics, scientists have already taken the genes from
jellyfish and used them to make glow in the dark rabbits.
This could mean a lot for the world of medicine but, for dino fans,
forging a friendly flying pterodactyl might take a while yet.
And talking of dinosaurs,
what do you call a dinosaur that likes hot drinks?
A tea-rex. Yep, I know, I'm funny. Time to stick the kettle on.
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.