Digital Planet on KTTZ-HD2

How digital technology affects our lives around the world.


  • Tuesday, August 23, 2016 5:00pm
    When Australia’s national census website crashed on its launch day, as millions of people tried to enter their details, it was labelled #CensusFail by many people. Government officials described the events of 9 August as a “confluence of events” – but others have coined less polite names for Australia’s first attempt to conduct its census online. The site is now back up and running and there is an option to fill in the census on paper. Journalist Josh Taylor from the website Crikey!, explains the complex reasons behind Australia’s negative reaction to the census. In a statement the company behind the online census, IBM, said they genuinely regretted any inconvenience and that “continuing to maintain the privacy and security of personal information is paramount.” Wire-Wire Cybercrime In the United States the FBI says that cybercrime where hackers divert money from legitimate business deals to their own bank accounts has cost businesses $1 billion since 2013. The so-called wire-wire cybercrime involves intercepting computers across the internet and changing the payment details. Tracking down these cybercriminals is the job of Joe Stewart, director of malware research at information security firm SecureWorks in the United States. He explains how one of these criminals based in Nigeria, had so little understanding of cybersecurity, he actually infected his own computer leaving himself open to detection. Machine Learning Systems Can Help Match Jobseekers to Jobs Artificial intelligence computing is being used to help women find jobs in Afghanistan. Although there are jobs there, matching them with the “unstructured data” in the CVs of women seeking work is a laborious and time-consuming job. And those details may be in one of three different languages – Pashtu, Dari or English. John DeRiggi is senior Geospatial Products Developer for DAI – a global development company which works with USAID, the US Agency for International Development. He says that machine learning systems can help match jobseekers to jobs. Purps the Penguin’s 3D-printed Boot 3D printing has been rebooted - to help create bespoke footwear for a penguin in the United States. Purps the Penguin lives in the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. She injured a tendon in her ankle, fighting with another bird. The plastic boot which has helped her to walk up until now was heavy and bulky. So some children from Mystic Middle School, who had recently acquired a 3D printer to help with their studies, designed and printed a new, better fitting, more comfortable boot for Purps – with the help and guidance of Nicholas Gondek, the director of Additive Manufacturing at ACT group, a firm specialising in 3D printing services. (Photo: The web page of the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that it is unavailable. © Rick Rycroft/AP Photo)
  • Tuesday, August 16, 2016 5:00pm
    Disabling hearing loss affects 360 million people around the world – impacting on their education, career prospects and social life. It can be caused by infections, exposure to loud noise or the use of particular drugs – as well as simply getting older. In some parts of the world it’s difficult for people to see a doctor about this “invisible” problem. The British company Cupris has developed a small attachment for a smartphone which means you can take pictures and videos of the ear canal. These can be shared with experts all over the world, to screen for common ear problems. The device has already been trialled in Nepal – and now a larger study is underway in the south of England. Air Pollution in New Delhi More than 80% of people who live in urban areas which monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels which beat WHO limits – and low low-income cities are worst hit. One such city is Delhi – where the lungs of half of all children are damaged by minute particles – created mainly by emissions from motor vehicles. A public health doctor who is based in the city, Nitish Dogra, decided to use WhatsApp to send out ultra-local readings from a pollution sensor to subscribers wanting to avoid the worst effects of the fumes. Soberlink A remote breathalyser could transform the lives of recovering alcoholics in the United States, where 88,000 people die every year from alcohol-related causes. The device – which has been given premarket clearance by the Food and Drug Administration for medical use – avoids the need for costly and time-consuming lab tests. The user blows into the device which then takes a photo to verify their identity and sends the result to their doctor via a secure server. Any positive results, which might occur because of the use of mouthwash containing alcohol, trigger an alert to re-test. “Smart” Surgical Stitches Surgical thread used in operations which can send a text message to medical staff that an infection is brewing could revolutionise healthcare. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston have coated threads with nano-scale sensors to detect temperature, pH changes and whether stitches are under strain inside a wound. They say that the technology could also be used for surgical implants, “smart” bandages and even hip replacements. So far the threads have been tested in animals, but the researchers are now looking for volunteers to trial the stitching at skin level. (Photo caption: The Cupris otoscope is used to capture and share images of a patient’s eardrum to get a remote diagnosis from a doctor © Cupris Ltd ) Producer: Paula McGrath
  • Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:00pm
    Def Con Las Vegas security conference is currently under way. After Russian hackers were revealed to have breached the Democratic National Committee last month, many attendees are keen to reveal that they are benign “white hat” hackers. Click talks to Andrew Pannell about the highlights. Dementia Citizens Project The charity Nesta has a new initiative to connect those with dementia, and carers, with researchers. It is piloting two new apps - Book of You and Playlist for Life - as part of its Dementia Citizens project. Through the apps, people with dementia and their carers can enjoy shared activities such as listening to music or creating a digital photo story book while also completing well-being surveys. Specialist researchers can then use the everyday data produced to spot patterns and produce evidence-based recommendations. Click talks with Nesta’s John Loder. Little Cab A number of companies in Kenya have launched services to rival Uber. They include Little Cab, a taxi hailing app that claims it will be cheaper and more reliable than the global tech giant. Little Cabs will have free in-car Wi-Fi courtesy, and has the option of a female-only service. Another startup, Sendy, which has made its name as an e-courier service, also entered the ride-hailing market this month. Michael Kaloki reports from Nairobi. The Lost Palace A team of digital designers have been working with the Historic Royal Palaces on an interactive experience to find a way to bring back to life Whitehall Palace which burnt to the ground some 300 years ago. They have developed an innovative interactive, audio and tactile experience called The Lost Palace. Click tries out the experience and talks to the designers Matthew Rosier and Jonathan Chomko from design studio Chomko & Rosier. (Photo caption: Someone attempting a hacking challenge © Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant
  • Tuesday, August 2, 2016 5:00pm
    A new report highlights the ease of searching from extremist material online. Click talks to the co-author of the report, Mubaraz Ahmed from the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics about the informed analysis on the interaction of religion and conflict globally. SoilCares Regular testing of soil helps farmers know the condition of the soil in their farms and informs them about which type of crops to grow and how to improve their soil condition. The recent launch of a simple scanner kit in Kenya uses mobile technology to test soil. The kit of the Dutch company, SoilCares, aims to simplify matters for midscale to small scale farmers. Click’s Wairimu Gitahi reports from a farm on the outskirts of the capital, Nairobi. Electromagnetic Field 2016 This month, more than 1,500 curious people will gather in a field outside of Guildford, southern England to learn how to use amateur satellites, live-code music, and much more at Electromagnetic Field 2016. It features hundreds of talks and workshops from the worlds of science, technology and craft. Click talks to one of the organisers, Jonty Wareing. Immersive Storytelling Studio The UK National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio was established to examine how Virtual Reality and 360 films can widen and enhance the National’s remit to be a pioneer of dramatic storytelling and to ‘enable an audience to stand in the shoes of somebody else’. Theatre regularly uses technology to enhance theatrical experience, or to allow creative teams to do things that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Gareth Mitchell is given a demo of their latest experiments. (Photo: Silhouette of a man looking at a computer screen. Credit: Jie Zhao/Corbis/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant