The HERU turns everyday rubbish, including coffee cups, nappies and plastics into energy for your boiler
The HERU turns everyday rubbish, including coffee cups, nappies and plastics into energy for your boiler

Home incinerators to sleep robots: a world of innovation

Where supply chains make a difference


The HERU incinerator, developed by UK inventors and engineers, converts household waste into energy, and is expected to be available from 2020. Items are heated without oxygen, creating pyrolysis and releasing oil and gas, which is captured, cleaned and used as a heat process. One cycle can make a bath’s worth of hot water. 


Air pollution causes around eight million deaths per year, according to World Health Organisation reports. To help reduce indoor air pollution, IKEA has created an air purifying curtain, which uses a process similar to photosynthesis in nature to break down air pollutants. The curtains are set to be sold next year. 


Trouble sleeping? The Somnox, created by robotics engineers at the Delft University of Technology, is a cushion-like robot that uses simulated human breathing techniques to accelerate the process of falling asleep. Users subconsciously replicate the robot’s breathing rhythm.


The weather can be tricky to predict, but a team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have built the first robotic boat for launching sounding rockets to help understand the atmosphere over the oceans. The rockets will improve accuracy of numerical weather forecasts at sea and in coastal zones. 


Researchers at the Università Campus BioMedico di Roma found that around 30% of prosthesis-users abandon them out of frustration at the lack of sensory feedback. The team has been developing a bionic hand with tactile sensors that offer a sense of touch to amputees. 

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have developed sustainable bioplastics made from seaweed. While creating bioplastics traditionally requires fertile soil and freshwater, the new strain uses algae to reduce the need for agricultural resources. 

New Zealand

Farmers in New Zealand are now herding sheep with drones. The drones are fitted with speakers that allow them to bark like a dog. Farmers embracing the technology have said one drone is able to do the work of several dogs and causes sheep and cattle less distress. 


Researchers at Harvard University have said spraying chemicals into the atmosphere could help halve global temperature increases. The scientists will be undertaking the world’s largest solar geoengineering study to ‘dim the sun’, with trials scheduled for later this year to see how the chemicals behave in the sky. 

Crunching the numbers


The amount spent by the UK government on Brexit service contracts. The highest value contracts were awarded for consultancy support for exiting the EU, while research contracts made up half the total number. 


The number of days it took a laden truck to travel 7,400km from Germany to China, and using customs system TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers), which helps to reduce customs waiting times.


The percentage of women that make up student bodies for Master’s programmes in procurement in a selection of European countries, according to a report by management consultants Oliver Wyman. 

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