Spencer is in China to see what a turtle can teach us about space travel. Also, Lara investigates some gadgets with good taste.
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border that needed to be resolved.
Now on BBC News, it is time for
This week, caveman, moon rabbit,
Welcome to China, to Shenzhen.
Believe it or not, this place was
once a small fishing village.
Yeah... Not any more. Now it is a
mega- city of nearly 20 million
people. It is most famous for
creating consumer electronics, often
imitations of premium devices. But
as China has opened its doors to
international trade in the last
decade, it has undergone a
transformation, making strides
toward becoming a global power and
moving away from the image of being
a simple manufacturer of good, fake
or otherwise, to one of innovation,
especially technology. Made in China
is fast becoming designed in China.
Next week, we will visit some of the
companies that call Shenzhen home,
but this week, we are meeting this
guy. This is Little Cloud, and
recently, he has gone where no total
has gone before. He has just
completed a test flight of a journey
that one day might take humans to
near space. This is the traveller
project. We have seen this kind of
stratospheric helium project before.
We visited World View back in
February in the US to see their
I think you
have the world's biggest table.
a Spanish outfit, Zero to Infinity,
is also trying something similar. So
why does the travel project was made
director feel he can beat them to
We want to be the first one. We
need to try hard to become the first
one. Because, in Shenzhen, the
environment is very good, and a lot
of people want to do big things. The
government supports us. So, I think
that Shenzhen gives us a very good
environment to accelerate the
The secret, though, is
also in the science.
material looks quite ordinary, but
of course, it is not. It is a
special kind of polyethylene which
has to resist the damaging effects
of ultraviolet and ozone. It needs
to be able to stop the really,
really tiny molecules of helium from
This kind of space tourism
is billed as being cheaper and safer
than rocket -based alternatives
being trialled by Virgin Galactic
Normal people, even
older ones, can do this. You don't
need a suit. You must be very strong
to be an astronaut and trained for
many days and years. However, this
does not need that.
Why did you
choose a total.
That is a good
question. -- turtle. Because the
turtle has a long life. Sometimes it
can be living for more than 100
years! The turtle can live in water,
it can survive in an environment
Is a cruel to send a
total up there?
Hmm... What can I
say? I just say we need to do this
kind of experiment before human
beings in the near space. We need to
pick up a kind of animal.
Well, as usual, not a great life
being an animal involved in human
exploration. While these guys are
busy trying to win a race to space,
others are trying to put a rose on
the moon. Unfortunately, this time,
it is not a real dog. -- you may
remember we visited the Indian team
start-up, Indus. They are one of
five teams competing for a
20,000,000-dollar prize if they are
the first company to land and strive
a robot on the moon. -- drive. And
one thing we learned while we were
there was that to save costs, they
are sharing with a Japanese
competitor, iSpace. Now we are
paying them a visit.
This is the
space suit. And this is a hammer to
OK. Well, with the
important stuff out of the way, time
to talk space. What inspired you to
enter this challenge?
I have always
been interested in space. However,
someone said there was a lunar race,
why not help?
It may be a small
operation, but what they lack in
size they certainly make up for in
style. It is not just the skyhigh
rents of Tokyo responsible for the
diminished dimensions off of the
Tokyo office, it is also because of
the planned to hitch a ride on the
Team Indus ship means they only have
to build the brother. A -- rover.
They are trying to create it so that
it does not collide with anything.
It will be steered and moved one
step at a time to give everyone time
to think as it gradually moves
across the surface. Mind you, you
still need the very best pilots and
technicians in the business to
command and strive this thing.
Seriously? Oh, man! This is just a
demo for numpties like me to use,
but the real prototype is being
developed just across the office.
That will be the one that actually
goes to the moon, well, if nothing
goes wrong, say, buy, letting me
touch it. -- by. It is so light.
Just four kilograms. Remarkable.
am John Walker, the chief engineer.
The worst thing that can happen as
we go to the moon and for whatever
reason we don't get any function. We
are trying to win, but at the end of
the day, we want to keep going back
to the moon again and again. So we
need that starting point, we need
data. We need simulations.
why a huge part of the mission's
cost goes towards testing, and that
means rigourous testing on the
wheels, control systems,
electronics, and perhaps most
crucially of all, the communication
system. Of course, it is not just
Team Indus and Hakuto in the
competition, there is Moon Express,
and Synergy Moon, made up of six
continents. They all have contracts,
but when they take off is anyone's
It is very secretive. -- guess.
What happens if you find out they
launch in November.
It is possible.
However, it is very difficult to
launch without any notification
beforehand. So I am still very... I
am sometimes nervous when they will
make an announcement.
Just like the
other teams, iSpace is about more
than just one mission to the moon.
They are hoping that the data they
gather and the skills they learn
could have much more profound
complications after the mission
whether they win or not.
recognise this race is just the
start of everything in the future.
And we think that the moon is the
best place to mine resources and
that includes dual in space. This is
the first step for this
There is certainly a
loss that could go wrong. Besides
the perils of space, they still need
to spend a huge deal of cashier on
Earth before anything can take off.
-- cash here. One thing is for sure,
though, we are so excited about this
race to the moon. But what has
become apparent if it is not just
about getting their first, it is not
just about the prizemoney, it is
just as important to get data back
and build up this knowledge to be
able to go there again and again and
again in the future. And when these
guys launch, we are going to bring
back to you. -- that. This week in
the tech world, a British inventor
set the first world speed record for
flying a body controlled jet engine
power suit. Richard flew across a
lake in waiting reaching 22 miles
per hour. Snapchat finally admitted
those specs where a mistake. After
selling over 150,000 of them. And
Weimo have admitted they are getting
rid of the human safety drivers that
usually sit in the front in case
khazanah function, there will
however be a human sitting in the
back of the car for the time being
at least. An autonomous vehicle in
Las Vegas crashed last week on its
first day. It recognised the vehicle
in front of it and stopped, but the
human driver did not, hitting the
shuttle. Silly humans. A robot has
been designed that can summon and
operate elevators. It has been
described as a good robot. They want
the skills to be used for search and
rescue missions in the future. It is
not 2017 without a robot that can
call a left. And in 2017 fashion,
Uber announced they have joined
forces to build autonomous flying
taxis. They say they will be
completely electric and will be used
at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
We will see.
That is pretty good. But this week,
I have been taking a look at some
technology that aims to question
your perception of taste. Here at
the University of Sussex, levitating
food is being served up. Yes, that
is right, liquids and solids can
float in the near before being
directly fed into your mouth. --
thin air. It works through high
frequency sound that traps food in
midair. The idea being that the heat
generated by the sound waves could
make flavour more intense. I put it
to the test trying identical samples
of each taste from the device. It
tastes sweet. Sorry, there is no
delicate way of doing this.
Yes, and I would say that
that was more intense. Wow. This
time, I got it, and it tasted very
sweet. I I think it is sweet and
cereal. Considering how small the
pieces work, I did not get much
flavour. -- were. I was
concentrating more. It is an
interesting case experience in the
laboratory. I know you want it in
the real world to make it possible
for a chef to make something and
then directly transfer it into
That is the
inspiration. We are trying to figure
out how to do that. I can show you
it now. This mimics the
presentation. When the chef is
finished cooking, he puts it in one
side and he can control it. Like how
fast you release the item. It makes
it a desirable experience.
feel a desperate need to amaze your
guest with tacky astronomy, you
might be interested in this!
This is a 3-D liquid printer. It is
a lots more than most of the 3-D
printers we have shown you, and it
will create a substance that look
something like this. A small, edible
bite in eight caviar like
consistency. -- a caviar-like. This
is passionfruit, but you can use any
sort of natural ingredient to create
intense flavours, and the app will
guide you through what flavours
might go together. Inside the
machine right now are some
concentrated passionfruit. For the
sake of demonstration I am going to
try to create something that looks
like a berry but tastes like
passionfruit. Maybe I will impress
my guests with it. Let's give it a
go. I create the shape that I want
here on the app. The phone is
connected by Bluetooth to the
device, so to get it going, I just
press the blade button.
That took under five minutes to come
together. Quite fascinating to
watch. As the pieces went in I
wasn't convinced they were going to
stick together. The structure is not
perfect,, I will admit, but the big
question is, how does it taste? It
is just made of passionfruit, so it
should taste like passionfruit.
Which it does, but rather than
tasting of concentrated
passionfruit, I would say that
actually tastes a bit die looted.
That is probably because some of the
water is with it. However
flavoursome, or not, the device's
creations may have been, in their
current form they do not muster up a
great deal of food. So I did finish
filming, rather than looking forward
Welkin to be SEG electronics mega
market in Shenzen. -- welcome to be.
It is one of many in Asia, and it is
here that you come to buy anything
and everything electronic. This is
also where you can bulk buy new
components Manufacturer and new
device. This is we get lithium ion
batteries for your laptops,
smartphones, anything, really. What
if you didn't need these at all?
created the first battery free
phone, which harvests in a power
from ambient light and ambient RF
signal so that we can completely
power the whole phone by just
ambient RF energy. And elemental
batteries. You can make a phone call
to another cell phone or another
By stripping back
components to the bare minimum,
Vamsi and his team have successfully
made calls over Skype. They take
advantage of something called
analogue back scatter, which
reflects pre-existing waves found
all around us to communicate a
message. Right now this only works
in the laboratory, but the team are
working on improving its range
beyond ten metres. For the moment,
batteries do the job. But we all
wish we could charge that little bit
faster, and last longer. Especially
when it comes to electric vehicles,
which takes several hours to charge.
And the race is most definitely on.
Japanese giant Toshiba has just
unveiled a prototype of its
next-generation supercharged ion
battery, made of a unique material.
The company claims this battery of
titanium oxide will charge in just
six minutes, and deliver a range of
over 200 miles on a single charge.
But it will be a couple of years yet
until we see real results. And in
the event of a natural disaster,
being cut off from the grid is
something that can be
life-threatening. After the Petter
Rico disaster, Kaesler boss Elon
Musk stepped in, offering a free
battery grid for a hospital on the
weatherbeaten island. -- Puerto Rico
disaster. He is also halfway through
his 100 day challenge to install the
world's three grid in Australia.
Tesla says so far, so good. But it
isn't all rosy for Elon Musk. Recent
production of his Model Three car
has stalled due to battery
installation is use. Only 222
vehicles were built in this year's
third quarter, way below the 1500
targets, leading to lawsuits and
drops in share value. But how about
this? A battery made their -- made
of air. Yes, air. Deep in the Swiss
Alps, there is a solution which
could be about to be rolled out to
the masses. Nick Kwek took a deeper
look. I am on my way to this guy's
Batcave. No, he is not the Swiss
Bruce Wayne. He has a cave that acts
like a giant battery.
This is the
mountain where our plan to space.
Yes, quite enormous.
being given a private tour of his
prototype powerplant harnesses the
power of compressed air.
Oh, my goodness.
We drive now 700 metres. That is
where the plant begins.
So we are
not actually going deeper
underground? We are just going
further into the mountainside?
Exactly. The further you get into
the mountain, the more rock and
mountain is above you, so we can
hold the pressure that you are
building in the planned. -- plant.
The system works by pumping air into
the side of a mountain and storing
it tight me until there is a demand
for electricity. Like a battery, it
springs into action when you need
power, releasing the air rapidly
through turbines which generate the
Here we already have
the hard, compressed air, flowing
through the sprites. As you can see,
that is quite insulated. We have the
valves to control the flow, and on
the other side you can see that
pluck, closing the plant.
Soaring energy harvested from
renewable sources to use later means
we can have electricity when the sun
is down or there is no wind. This is
where the magic happens?
is the first plug, 100 metres, 120
metres down the line, we have the
exact same plug, to seal off the two
ends of the chamber. It is 6.8 tons.
Pretty easy to move, then. That put
your strength to the test. My
goodness. That's crazy. Do not want
to be in here when it is filled up
with all that hair out. -- that air.
There are already two function in
power plants which utilise existing
compression tack. One in Germany,
and one in the United States. But
this system has improved efficiency
by over 30%, and the secret behind
it is this giant concrete block. And
what is inside it. So all that hot
hair that is piped in, it comes here
to the thermal chamber. -- what air.
That is chock-a-block full of 75
tons of gravel. As the air comes in,
it cools down, because the transfers
that each to the gravel inside. The
cold air comes out of this hole in
the ground, which fills up this
massive, 120 metres long tunnel. It
is stored here until there is a need
for power, at which point a valve is
opened and the air rushes back
through the gravel, reheating and
expanding in the process, so it is
warm enough to safely turn be
turbines. That is the kicker.
increase the efficiency of the
system from the 40% of existing
plants, to above 70% in our case.
This prototype only generates 1
megawatt of energy, which is a tiny
fraction of the several 100 found in
regular size powerplants. And you
need a mountain with a ready-made
cave children to decide for it to
work. This current prototype could
potentially power 100 homes for
one-hour, with one K of discharge.
-- to three Mac. It is scalable,
which means that if you scale the
top 100 times, it could power a
nearby city for half a day.
hoping to commercialise it. It can
absolutely be a component of the
National Grid or even the European
grid. This technology is not limited
to Switzerland. It will be applied
in other places around the world,
where it is necessary to dispatch
the production and consumption of
That was Nick. We
will have more from Shenzen in next
week's programme. Here is a thing.
If you have ever wanted to meet us
and see us perform live, you are in
luck. Make a note of this address.
This is where you go to get tickets
for the forthcoming Click live show,
which is happening very soon. You
will be able to say hello to us, and
you can also experience some of the
things you've seen on the programme
lives. Tickets are running out, so
that's where you go. Do it now. We
look forward to seeing you there.
Thanks for watching. We will see you