Episode 8 Technobytes


Episode 8

Investigating new and future technology. Featuring tech to help disabled people and exploring whether humans could ever walk on water.


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Transcript


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Welcome to Technobytes,

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the show that bites at the heels of its Technobabble sibling.

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Grarr-woof-woof-woof!

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Hee-hee-hee! Oh, and there's the randomly named messaging app.

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You must need some Techspert help.

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Vlogster, how will technology help disabled people?

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Lovely question there, Nick.

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I need a sensitive soul for this one,

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but I don't think they're available so Marcus will have to do.

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I'm sending Marcus to Oxford University

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to meet Techspert Professor Stephen Hicks.

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He's a neuroscientist who has been working on

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a pair of glasses that are helping blind people to see.

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Wow, these look amazing.

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It looks like I can see through walls with these.

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Well, you can't quite see through walls,

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but, if you're partially sighted,

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these can show you where the walls are,

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and where things like people and other things

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that you might bump into are.

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Sounds like these could be potentially life-saving, then.

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What's it like for partially sighted people when they use these?

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Well, a lot of people who are partially sighted have

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a small amount of sight remaining. It often can be dark and cloudy,

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and it can just mess with all the interesting details of the world.

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Is there any way I can see what it's like to be partially sighted?

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Yes, if you want to try, we've got these here,

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and these demonstrate a little bit about what it's like

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for one type of blindness.

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I can see shapes, but I can't really focus on anything.

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We use the central part of our vision to really work out

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what details are, to understand if that's a person that you know,

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to see an expression or to read text.

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I find it a little bit scary, actually.

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-So shall I try these on now, then?

-Yeah, sure.

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This'll put an image in the central part of your field of view.

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Wow, so straight away, I can see a lot more detail.

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For example, I can see your face, I can see your glasses.

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I can even see you smiling there as well, and nodding.

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Wow, yeah, go on, hold a few fingers up, let me guess.

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-Five, all five are there.

-Yeah, well done.

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Everything in the background, there's less detail in it.

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-Why is that?

-What we try to do with these is

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we try to focus on the thing that's most important,

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and often, that's the thing that's closest to you.

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So we do that by dropping out all the stuff in the background

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and just focusing on stuff that's right there in front.

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Well, I'd love to go out and about and try these smart specs.

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Yeah, well, we've made these ones so they're really portable.

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It's got a battery pack, so you can run around for about six hours.

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Yeah, let's do that, I'm well up for that.

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JURASSIC PARK THEME

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Wow, this place is amazing. Why have you got me here?

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Well, to show you that this is a system that you can take outside.

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You know, it's battery-powered, so you can take it to a museum

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and just kind of, you know, see more stuff.

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Awesome, and I notice you've made some adjustments as well.

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Yeah, that's right, this is like a sunglasses module.

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You can put that on the front so it darkens all the background.

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It just means you can pay more attention to what's on the screen.

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Excellent, so I can focus more on what's going on.

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-Yeah, exactly.

-Well, let's go check out some exhibits then.

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-Yeah, let's have a look.

-Ah, all right, that way.

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JURASSIC PARK THEME

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I'm not actually seeing through the camera, am I? How do these work?

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No, so you're just seeing what's on this display,

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-what's on the digital display inside your glasses themselves.

-Right.

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So it's taking a representation of the outside world

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and making it really high contrast so getting rid of everything else,

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just focusing on something like a big word or a big obstacle.

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It's a very fast video,

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so you should be able to react to things as quickly as normal,

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avoid things when you walk.

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I'm not sure if we can catch a ball yet, but, you know,

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we're working on that.

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Definitely pick up all the shapes.

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-Are you getting some round shapes?

-Mm-hmm.

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This is amazing. What can we expect from the future of this technology?

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A sort of artificial intelligence that'll let you know actually

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what you're looking at, and be able to help you find friends,

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be able to help you understand if that's a bird, what's on the menu.

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We're putting that in there now, we're testing this at the moment.

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I tell you what, that's amazing, and this has all been amazing as well.

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I cannot wait to see this out and about.

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Oh, Vlogster, look! Museum shop, time to get some treats.

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I've got a treat for you,

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and it doesn't involve novelty pencil rubbers.

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Now, for a wheelchair user in the city.

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Swiss students have built a self-balancing wheelchair,

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with a track that lowers to climb stairs.

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The inventors hope future versions will be able to master

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a step every second.

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Amazing! What else have you got for me?

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I give you the ReWalk Exoskeleton,

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a wearable robotic suit.

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This tech-skeleton helps people with spinal-cord injuries to walk

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by controlling their hip and knee movements.

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The system senses subtle changes in the wearer's upper body,

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so that walking, turning and climbing stairs happen freely.

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Next up, full-blown Iron Man suit with built-in force field,

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rocket shoes and a radar. OK, maybe not.

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There's no maybe about it, Marcus.

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But back to the near-future, in fact, the very near-future,

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in fact, now! We've got another tech teaser.

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Vlogster, could people ever walk on water or levitate?

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Oooh, I like how you just floated that one in.

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Let's see what I can find.

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Turns out, researchers have been trying to find ways to help

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you humans for years,

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looking at animals that already walk on water,

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like the basilisk lizard.

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These clever little reptiles slap their big fringed feet

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on to the water's surface, creating pockets of air

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to help them stay afloat.

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One tiny problem - a lizard weighs about 200g,

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which is 200 times lighter than the average babbler.

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That means you'd have to run at 67mph, as fast as a cheetah,

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to stay dry.

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But some clever types in Malaysia have created

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a pool of water that people can actually run on.

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Someone has even cycled a bike over it.

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That's wheely good!

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The pool isn't filled with just water though,

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it has 2,000 gallons stirred up with corn starch.

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When they mix together, the forces of physics means the starch

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and water form a solid when pressure is applied.

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This is why the pool works so well if you run over the mixture,

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but this isn't quite water we're after.

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So, do you know it's possible for scientists to levitate a frog?!

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Everything around you humans, including frogs,

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is made from tiny particles called atoms.

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When atoms are put in a magnetic field,

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some of the electrons inside them change the way they move around,

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and means the frog is essentially made up of lots of tiny magnets.

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And it's this that can help small objects and animals,

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like frogs, to levitate.

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We're getting closer! Ribbit.

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In Japan, Techsperts have recently developed a levitating train,

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which set a world speed record of 374mph.

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It's all down to magnets too. A special magnetised coil runs along

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the track, and this repels big magnets

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on the train's undercarriage, making the train levitate

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10cm above the track.

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And there we have it, a way you humans can levitate.

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Those trains sure do go above and beyond!

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Well, we've reached the end of the virtual line for this episode.

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Bye-ee!

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Technobtyes is the snack-size version of CBBC's Technobabble which investigates new and future technology. This episode features tech to help disabled people and explores whether humans could ever walk on water.


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