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Ian Burkhart moves his paralysed hand using the thought-controlled Neurobridge brain implant. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Nanotechnology to outer space: ten top tech innovations of 2014

Don’t be mesmerised by cool apps and flashy new gizmos – the top technology inventions of the year are ones that will have a lasting effect. Most are advances in fields that are already changing us. Some…
Budgies in flight – how come they don’t crash into each other? Flickr/Jim Bendon

Bird brains may help drones fly and avoid crashing

Imagine a sky full of autonomous flying machines delivering anything from fast-food to important documents, medical supplies or just a surprise gift for someone special. How do you stop them all colliding…
Even bears don’t mess with drones. John Biehler

Drones are fun toys until you get hit in the face by one

Mini drones are not yet appearing in our skies on a daily basis but they certainly are a rapidly growing trend. People can and do get hurt so we really need to help amateur pilots learn how to fly their…
Who’s looking at who when drones take to the sky? Flickr/fisl quinze

Drones finally get MPs talking tougher on privacy laws

The increasing use of drone aircraft in Australia may finally lead to a long overdue change in privacy laws to protect against the use of remote eyes and ears in invasive technologies. The call for tougher…
A MQ-9 Reaper Drone has an operational cost one-fifth of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter. So should drones replace soldiers in military warfare? US Air Force

Drones are cheap, soldiers are not: a cost-benefit analysis of war

Cost is largely absent in the key debates around the use of unmanned drones in war, even though drones are a cost-effective way of achieving national security objectives. Many of the common objections…
Drone strikes may be slowing in Pakistan, but the damage has already been done. EPA/Nadeem Khawer

New data shows drones killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians

The US’s program of drone strikes in Pakistan has, according to recent reports, slowed down considerably. But while this will encourage various observers, and while the Obama administration earned some…
The Obama administration’s revised drone warfare policy is currently being put to the legal and ethical test. World Can't Wait

Killing Americans abroad: has Obama’s policy really changed?

When is a government entitled to kill its own citizens? That’s the question at the centre of recent revelations that the Obama administration might conduct a strike against an American suspected of plotting…
That’s one way to get around Facebook’s facial recognition. mw238

Privacy 2013: from Snowden to Facebook to Amazon’s drones

While every year since the advent of the internet has had its share of privacy stories, 2013 has been a cornucopia of news about surveillance and personal data. Undoubtedly, the biggest story of the year…
It’s not a game: RAF pilots controlling a UAV at Kandahar Airport. Defence Images

Killing with drones is not ‘easy’

The Reaper drone pilot and sensor operator stared intently at the bank of screens in front of them, their concentration fixed on one individual. Their target had been identified by more than one intelligence…
You can wait a long time for a postman to show up in the country. amandabhslater

Small businesses think smart to keep up with Amazon drones

The biggest names in internet retail appear to be dramatically stepping up efforts to make delivering your online orders, fast, reliable and extremely hi-tech. But in a week in which Amazon talked up its…
UAVs as small as 10cm by 2.5cm are already in use for surveillance by the military. What are the privacy implications if these devices become easily accessible? Defence Images/Flickr

Amazon’s eyes in the sky and pig farmers might fly

What happens when an Amazon drone drops through your roof or lands on the neighbour’s toddler while delivering a parcel? Can an unhappy pig farmer shoot down a drone operated by animal rights activists…
Not quite ready for your Christmas orders.

Don’t count on Amazon drone deliveries just yet

Apparently keen to inject a bit of fun into its image after a damaging few weeks of press coverage, online retail giant Amazon has announced that it is experimenting with the use of drones to deliver its…
Would you trust this guy with a surface to air missile? Stop Killer Robots

Better to know your enemy when taking on a killer robot

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a network of NGOs and academics, has done us all a valuable service by drawing attention to the development of unmanned systems that are able to kill without direct…

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