Digital Planet on KTTZ-HD2

How digital technology affects our lives around the world.


  • Monday, July 20, 2015 7:00pm
    In April last year, six Zone9 bloggers and three journalists were detained on terrorism charges for alleged offences including attending training sessions in using encryption software. Four of the group have recently been released, leaving one still on trial in absentia and four still locked up. A hearing involving those still accused was due on Monday but has now been adjourned until next week. From Oregon in the US, Endalk Chala, a founding member, gives Gareth Mitchell the latest news about Zone9. Treemail What started out as a municipal project in Australia where citizens could report trees in decline, turned into people writing love letters to their favourite trees. Arron Wood, a city of Melbourne councillor, tells Gareth that he is amazed at the outpouring of real arboreal affection. Mp3’s 20th Birthday The technical standards for mp3 were first published exactly two decades ago in 1995, making audio files smaller whilst hardly affecting the sound quality. Bernhard Grill, now deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Germany and one of the engineers who developed the technology, explains why it took off two decades ago. Demand Response Countries around the world, rich and poor, are experiencing blackouts as demand for electricity outstrips generation. Until we crack energy storage, demand response – turning things off to drag electricity demand down during peaks, offers a possible solution. Changing the demand patterns from appliances like freezers and storage heaters reduces the need for supply. Yasmin Ali investigates how advances in technology make this possible. (Photo: Members of Zone9 before the arrests © Endalk Chala)
  • Monday, July 13, 2015 7:00pm
    How do you build a camera that can withstand a nine-year journey across five billion kilometres, in temperatures down to -50 Celsius? The pictures of Pluto that have come in this week are in remarkable detail, shedding new light and posing new questions about the furthest dwarf planet in our solar system. These images are relayed by the New Horizons space probe, and are captured by a camera called Ralph. Dr Lisa Hardaway built it, and talks to Gareth. SolaRoad SolaRoad in Holland is no ordinary stretch of cycle path. Embedded in it are solar panels that generates electricity. The electricity could power street lighting and supply energy to the grid. Click reporter Richard Walker has been to Krommenie on the outskirts of Amsterdam to try it out and ask whether it is worth the four million euro price tag. Wiretapper Theatre On the streets of London, every evening over the next month, an audience will head to a theatre show. Not in a theatre - the performance takes place amid the London cityscapes. The key ingredient is a smartphone. An app will guide the audience members, who hear the soundtrack of the piece via their own headphones. Director David Rosenberg and composer Max Ringham, both from Wiretapper, explain what this offers that a traditional theatre cannot. Acoustic Zoom How are humans able to focus in on one voice only in a crowded noisy environment and yet microphones lack this talent. Professor Mike Brookes from Imperial College London shows how his research does something similar using multiple microphones. This allows you to listen to selective conversations in a crowded room - useful for hearing aids wearers and spies. (Photo: Ralph, the powerful visible imager and infrared spectrometer paired with ultraviolet spectrometer Alice aboard the New Horizons spacecraft - a nod to the 1950s sitcom The Honeymooners. © Ball Aerospace)
  • Monday, July 6, 2015 7:00pm
    Greeks are turning to the decentralised crypto-currency Bitcoin. It is money that is entirely digital and exists as strings of encrypted numbers on volunteers’ computers around the world. Being decentralised like this keeps it out of the reach of regulators. Andreas Antonopoulos, Bitcoin expert, explains more. Health Hacking Biosensors Body sensing technology opens a world of possibilities for improving our health. In the elderly, and those with chronic diseases, wearable sensors can flag signs of deterioration so that doctors or carers can take action to prevent a crisis. Through links to mobile devices and social media, body sensing technology could also encourage more of us to stick to healthy habits. Gareth gets a demo at the Hamlyn Centre at Imperial College. Hacking Parkinson’s Sara Riggare was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in her thirties. Sara happens to have an engineering background and is interested in how well her symptoms relate to her medication, so with other technologists, she is developing a couple of apps to help her monitor her illness. SPELL Solar Digital Library Students in Cal Poly’s Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES) have put together an innovative project to provide SPELL, a solar powered digital library for people in Micronesia and Vanuatu in the wake of the recent devastation. Click discusses the project with the team leader, Laura Hosman. Photo caption: A man demonstrates the use of a Bitcoin ATM at a bookstore in Acharnai in northern Athens, Greece © REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis Producer: Marnie Chesterton
  • Monday, June 29, 2015 7:00pm
    On 30 June, the world experiences an extra second, as the authorities add a leap second to synchronise the time between solar and atomic clocks. Gareth Mitchell speaks to Dr Leon Lobo, Strategic Business Development manager at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK, who explains why computers can react badly to this inconsistent timekeeping. Direct Digital Donations to the Homeless Gareth talks to Rose Broome, the CEO of HandUp about a digital scheme to donate directly to homeless people, and to forger future relationships with them (in a kind of virtual adoption). Charities in the Digital Age Charity competing for funds and donors in an online age - Jonathan Kent reports on how the digital age has made it easier and more difficult to approach volunteers and donors. What are the benefits and deficits that digital technology brings to charities? Music of Computers Through the Ages How do you create an archive of the actual sounds of computers, and why would you do so? Earlier this year Click heard from the sound artist Matt Parker about his ambition to preserve the actual sounds of computers for the future. He planned a musical composition based on those sounds. Matt has now put the finishing touches on his project, The Imitation Archive, complete with his musical composition, and he offers Click a preview ahead of the world premiere. (Photo: The clock above the Grand Central Terminal Information Booth © Mario Tama/Getty Images)