A life-saving smart jacket linked to a smartphone app can diagnose cases of malaria ©AFP/Getty Images
A life-saving smart jacket linked to a smartphone app can diagnose cases of malaria ©AFP/Getty Images

From prosthetic skin to malaria apps: a world of innovation

Where supply chains make a difference

Uganda
Pneumonia is responsible for 16% of deaths of children under five, and is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. Ugandan inventor Brian Turyabagye has developed a smart jacket that analyses lung movements and sends the data to a smartphone app, which can make a reliable, fast diagnosis of the condition.

China
Amputees could gain a superhuman sense of touch with hypersensitive prosthetic skin created at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Ningbo. Using a polymer membrane and magnetic sensors, it can sense the touch of an ant’s antenna.

Germany
Max Planck Institute researchers have found a potential solution to the problem of bacteria multiplying when delivering tiny drugs around the body. Attaching different electrical charges to target cancer cells and to carrier algae cells helped speed up the delivery of drugs to their destination and reduced the effects of bacteria multiplication.

UK
A 3D printed cornea could help the 4.9m people who suffer from corneal blindness globally. By mixing stem cells from a healthy cornea, collagen and acid, researchers at Newcastle University have created a bioprint replacement that could one day be mass-produced.

Switzerland
Sending electrical pulses through their spinal cords has enabled three men with paraplegia to walk. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology developed the stimulation – alongside therapy programmes –  building on similar research in the US, and opening the door to further treatment.

Netherlands
Researchers in Eindhoven and Beijing have converted coal to liquid power – used as a transportable fuel – while capturing much of the CO2 generated. By developing a catalyst with a high iron-purity, they have reduced emissions and increased power output.

USA
Doctors may be able to diagnose cancer and other diseases by sequencing proteins in a similar way to DNA. Researchers at the University of Texas identified individual protein molecules, an advance which will also allow a better understanding of how healthy cells function.

Canada
The SAPIENT unmanned monitoring camera system, designed in the UK, makes autonomous decisions about dangerous situations and relays them to soldiers, reducing the risk of human error. Being trialled in Montreal for military testing, the system frees up soldiers to go into the field who would previously have had to man the video feed.

Crunching the Numbers

Countries best prepared for autonomous vehicles

£1.6bn
The amount chancellor Philip Hammond committed in the last budget to invest in supporting advanced technology, such quantum computing, as part of his industrial strategy.

300
The estimated number of women left without a wedding dress after the collapse of Berketex Bride in November. Many faced the prospect of buying a new dress, having already lost £1,000s.

130,000
The number of eco-friendly paper bags given to supermarkets in the Navarra region of Spain by paper packaging manufacturer Smurfit Kappa on the inaugural European Paper Bag Day on 18 October 2018.

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