Click looks at how first responders deal with terror attacks with a new VR training tool. Plus a look at artificial muscle and turning urine into electricity.
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Comey into his links with Russia. That is your lot from me but now on
BBC News week. -- week. This week, swaying
votes on Facebook. And the stretchy and slimy world of
soft robotics. It is hard to believe that the world
is safer than it used to be. It is but the nature of terror attacks in
the west in the last few years, the increasing use of vehicles, knives
and guns to carry out prolonged attacks have forced authorities to
think differently about how to deal with a terrorist incident. And, of
course, they are not confined to the west. In some parts of the world
these atrocities are more common and often have more casualties. It is
difficult to predict when and where a terrorist attack will occur but
while the authorities cannot predict, they can prepare for the
worst. This is a large-scale counterterrorism training exercise.
It was a combined effort, including London's Metropolitan Police, fire,
ambulance and river services. However, training on this scale is
expensive and requires large numbers of personnel and huge amount of
planning, so it can't happen that often. But there are new ways to
train more people individually. Mark Chisholm ACAS been taking part in a
new type of terror training. -- has been taking part. Since 2015 from
all across Europe a group of 14 partners including law enforcement,
emergency services, transport companies and universities have been
working together on a three-year project to create training
simulation for real-world terrorist attacks.
The project is called Auggmed and has been funded by an EU
Part of it has been designed here at Sheffield Hallam University.
Rather than build new technologies from the ground up, the hardware
and software that is at the core of this training system is tech
that is more commonly found in video games.
And that technology is proving to be a flexible training tool.
You can act out a lot more scenarios that would be too dangerous to do
It's a lot cheaper, it's more cost effective,
it's easier to set up, and it offers a whole
range of scenarios that you couldn't do in real life,
because they would just be too dangerous or too complicated.
Virtual simulations that can be used to train a wide variety
of different people, from paramedics to the police,
and even those employed by the transport networks.
For this scenario we're going to put a new bag down here.
And so the trainees are going to be looking for this bag.
A suspect bag has been placed in an accurate virtual model
of a real location - a subway station in the Spanish
There is what I'm assuming is some kind of explosive
So in this situation I'm going to start evacuating
I'm going to tell them to start to evacuate.
Now your people are evacuating towards the bomb,
So you might want to go on the platforms to start evacuating
So all of the passengers are all being driven by an AI, yeah?
But the people behave in a pretty realistic fashion?
That's all based on scientific data of what people do
So you've successfully started evacuating everybody who has been
We can't show too much of this as the images are just too graphic.
In the aftermath of an explosion, a paramedic trainee must triage
the injured passengers, applying different coloured
The different colours indicate the urgency
It's an unsettling and distressing experience.
Overwhelming sound and distressing images are designed to replicate
But this system isn't just the work of counterterrorism researchers
To find out more, I travelled to the real location
In recent years, terrorist atrocities have been carried
out all over Europe, highlighting the international
nature of the response to this terrorism.
Here in Barcelona, the emergency services themselves have played
a key role in the design of the Auggmed virtual
Jose Jurado is a doctor and emergency first
He's been helping to fine tune the system to improve
its utility to emergency services and paramedics.
So this is the station that I saw in the VR model?
What is the big thing that you get from the virtual
reality, from the fact that it is so immersive, that
When I get to a real situation, I am used to it,
So it doesn't surprise me so much as it could.
It is quite unusual being in the real station,
having spent a little bit of time in the virtual version.
What has been interesting walking around here is noticing
I now know the layout, the geography of the station.
I know where all of the exits are, I know where the escalators are,
and which direction of travel they go in.
So even I was able to learn something very, very quickly in that
virtual reality version of this subway station.
Robert Guest is from Birmingham University and is part
You can't really get a physical hands on an object in virtual
reality, but what we can trade is things like
We can look at emotional management and general communication skills
We see terrorists constantly changing their tactics.
How do you guys respond to those changes of tactics?
The benefit of this project as a whole is we can rapidly
change what scenarios are actually being trained.
So for new tactics being used, out in the public, in reality,
we can bring those into a virtual world and allow people to train
The next stage of this system's development is a haptic vest,
which provides force feedback to trainees simulating
It's also fitted with heating elements, which make
If you are in a stressful environment like this one,
there is a good chance you will start to get
As soon as you get uncomfortable, then that makes it a lot more
difficult to do your job and creates an environment for them
which is as close as it can be to the real one.
This whole system isn't designed to replace real-world
training but to augment it, to allow people to betray
dramatically if need be, constantly reinforcing their skills.
Skills which recently have been sadly tested all too often.
Now, while the professional first responder is always
going to be better trained, it is ask the public who are almost
always going to be first on the scene of an attack.
Current advice from the British police is to run from an incident,
rather than surrender or try to negotiate with attackers.
This online video also explains how and where to hide
Now, if you dial 999, but it is not safe to talk out loud,
the operator will give you the option to dial 55,
to show you haven't called by accident and you really
55 looks like SS, which stands for silent solution.
There is also an app called Citizen Aid, which uses advice
from combat situations to help users administer first aid and make more
informed decisions in different emergency situations.
Hello and welcome to the week in tech.
It was the week that Uber refunded customers for journeys taken
near last Saturday night's London terror attacks, after pricing had
automatically surged due to demand - a function they disabled
The comment section on Britney Spears Instagram account
has been used by Russian speaking hackers to test malware.
And Snapchat specs have gone on sale in the UK.
If you think this is a sensible way to go out.
Google's Streetview cars have been tracking air pollution.
After a year of the vehicles driving around the streets of Oakland,
California, data localised to individual roads has become
available, with initial recordings of black carbon,
nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide being revealed.
Anyone with kids can tell you what it's like trying to get
But, sadly, I don't have a new gadget to tell you about that.
It's actually the play clay that's gone high-tech.
Doh Universe can conduct electricity and aims to help kids
learn about circuits, sound, light and
And, finally, researchers at MIT have developed sensors
for the grippers of robotic arms that aimed to help bots grab things
with the right amount of pressure. The GelSight sensors aim to make
negotiating smaller objects possible, as well as making general
household tasks easier to approach - which would be handy,
if one day robots are to become ordinary household companions.
This annual running of the nerds can only mean one thing.
We are in San Jose for Apple's worldwide developers' conference,
It's an event the company doesn't typically used to make big
product announcements, but, this year, perhaps
feeling the heat a little, they broke with tradition
It's been 15 years since we held the developer conference in San Jose
The HomePod is a direct competitor to assistance made
It will cost $349 and be available later this year
It will be controlled by Siri, but Apple isn't really calling
They say it is a music device first and foremost.
We weren't allowed to film it in action, but I was given
a private listen and, well, it does sound fantastic.
One of the potential downside is that you need an Apple music
subscription in order to get the full integration.
So if you prefer to use Spotify or Pandora, maybe not
In other news, Apple says it can become the biggest augmented
This demo is from the new production house run by Peter Jackson,
the man famed for creating the Lord Of The Rings movies.
And the iPad has been given a new lease of life.
They announced a new 10.5 inch iPad pro and the next version of Apple's
operating system will see the tablet get a bunch of extra features.
Many people might see this as a kind of middle ground between getting
a very expensive computer, but still being able
Several thousand developers turn up to WWDC every year.
Many more would come if they could get tickets.
Among the masses, I found the youngest attendee,
a ten-year-old who had come all the way from
I just enjoy the fact that I can turn, like,
my ideas into reality by programming and making apps.
So this is my most recent app, which I published six days ago.
You can click anywhere to place a block.
Your goal is to get the highest tower blocks.
So you are obviously much younger than everybody here?
So what do you want to do when you grow up?
Are you going to carry on making apps?
How can I just turn myself into a turtle and grow a shell?
I would like to create apps I can revolutionise the world.
And I also want to teach the world coding and get them into coding,
so they can actually improve all the technology we have and make
A young man destined for great things, I'm sure.
Think robots and maybe you'll picture something like this.
But what about robotic muscle and smart materials that
could act as human skin, all clothes that rehabilitate
Well, that is part of what's called soft robotics and this team
at Bristol Robotics Lab are bioengineering technologies
This is a bucket of alien saliva, right?
Yeah, this is the same stuff that drips out of the alien mouth.
So Ridley Scott just used a whole bunch of that.
Though, in this case, it is to simulate blood.
This soft robot mimics how some bacteria move through our bodies.
In the future, it is thought that nano robots will take a similar trip
through our veins looking for infection and illness.
Some of the projects they are working on here involves
making assistive technology for elderly and disabled people,
like this pneumatic artificial muscle.
It can be made into any shape and built into clothing.
As you apply air, it changes its shape so it
could for instance help people with limited grip strength.
Its force is only dependent on how much air pressure you apply.
And here is some material that can sense when that
This diametric elastomer can detect when it's being stretched,
so it can sense when you are trying to move and add extra power to maybe
And it can not only detect movement, it can also change its shape
when you apply a high enough voltage.
You could use it for changeable clothing, clothing that
You can use it as a sort of second skin to help
with deep vein thrombosis, to assist with pumping blood.
It can even be layered up to create stronger artificial muscles.
It doesn't seem like it is doing a lot, but, actually,
it is very thin, it weighs almost nothing - the active part
of which only weighs, let's say, four grams,
is complicated, none of this is extremely high-tech,
using like billions of transistors, and it is simple voltage
I think that is one of the big advantages of soft robotics,
In a complicated robotic system you have a lot
With these sorts of things it is very simple and
The intelligence is in the design and immediately used,
The robotics lab in Bristol is 50,000 square feet of innovation
filled with hundreds of different types of robots.
But what nearly all have in common is they need power to run.
Over in the bio energy lab, scientists are working on one freely
available resource the world will never run out of -
Each one of these cylinders is a microbial fuel cell device.
It turns waste water into electricity using microbes.
That is their favourite item on the menu.
In this unit, two litres of urine is fed into the fuel cell pack.
The microbes eat what they need, creating electrons as a by-product.
And because they are attached to an electrode's surface,
it is all collected to produce about 30-40 milliwatts of power.
Now that's enough to slowly charge a smartphone,
power smart displays, or power internal lights
When we do it out of the lab, we install these units out
of the lab, we have many more of them connected
If you are going to Glastonbury this year, you might see these
If you choose to use the urinals, you'll be part of an experiment
which is literally putting the P into power.
These are E Ink displays, which don't require a lot of power.
But a lucky few may be able to charge their phones for a bit,
Most of the pee used here comes from staff donors at the lab.
It's only good for the microbes for an hour or so,
Around the world, scientists are looking at different ways
Here, it is alternative sources of power.
At soft robotics, it's smart materials and possibly
But in Italy's Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna,
Ana Matronic went there to look at attempts to simulate touch.
I am at the biorobotics lab where researchers are trying
to merge human physiology with machine engineering.
The team are working on a bionic fingertip that is capable
The human sense of touch is an incredibly complex one.
I don't even need to look at these three pieces of plastic to sense
the differences in the coarseness of the ridges.
This of course presents a huge problem to people
How do you transfer that same sensitivity into a prosthetic hand?
To create a machine capable of sensing and transmitting tactile
data, first we need to understand how bodies decode sensory stimuli.
Fingertips have the highest concentration of sensation almost
Thanks to 20,000 nerve fibres on each finger.
They react to sensory information as we move our fingers
Some respond to pain, some to temperature.
Others react to pressure or vibration.
This is the characteristic that allows our skin to interact
with the environment and that will allow an object,
The bionic fingertip registers the textures it touches
On screen it may look simple, but that is exactly the language
As we touch objects, it sends nerve impulses to the brain.
And the tiny, subtle variations in how the skin deforms as we touch
changes those impulses and how we perceive texture.
This capitalises on an actual principle and can be more effective
as humans and animals in general can interact with the environment.
The professor and his team have already had some success.
Dennis Sorensen was one of the first amputees to try out
The output from the finger was directly connected
to the healthy nerves in his upper arm.
I could tell the difference between where it was very rough and smooth.
And, since this first clinical trial a couple of years ago,
the team had been trying to increase the number of textures
The experiments that we are showing now are demonstrating
the capability to encode, for examples silk, from cotton,
from elastic, from wool, from different kinds of materials.
And in this way we could restore a more natural sense
of touch to the person wearing the prosthesis.
What is learned here can be transferred to other applications.
For example, a surgical robot could use this technology
to identify tumours, which would feel different
Another kind of application is for rescue.
To allow to be present in the environment, not
only through vision, but to have more senses available
Think for example of the nuclear disasters, or in the case
The robot can go and touch in the perceived environments,
based also on the sensory feedback that you can have remotely
it can be integrated into simple things like gloves.
For instance, I could be anywhere in the world.
My husband back in New York can give me the sensation of petting our cat.
And that would be transferred through these actuators to me
Well, I can't give you that at the moment, Ana,
but in the meantime, how about a hug from this chap?
That's it from the Bristol Robotics lab.
Next week, we are going to be in Los Angeles for the annual E3
We will tweet everything we see at BBC Click.
You can also follow us on Facebook for loads of extra content
Thanks for watching and we will see you in LA.
It's felt a little more like autumn for some this week and although high
pressure will build into next week and we'll hopefully see more
of these skylines, this was sent in late in the day on Friday,