We should be living in a cashless society by now, our mucky old notes and coins replaced by shiny new contactless cards or flashy mobile phone wallet apps. But cash just refuses to go away. We are drawing out cash from our accounts more than ever before, which makes it a prime target for criminals – but the thieves are moving from muggings and con-tricks to more technically savvy methods of stealing your money. Our feature looks at the weaknesses in cash machine systems and what can be done to make them more secure.
This is also our first issue back after what was for some of our readers a very wet Christmas period. Floods returned to parts of Britain and look like they will be frequent visitors in many areas around the world, not just in the UK. As the world gets warmer in many places it gets wetter and we are going to have to find ways of living with that. The flood defences proved inadequate in the flooded parts of the UK but in some places they held up. We look at what we can learn from those. Is engineering with nature the answer? Or does it just move the problem?
There was a surprising trend at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. Systems are getting more connected to each other, a trend towards realising the Internet of Things we’ve heard so much about. The Oculus Rift, which launched for pre-orders at the show, leads the charge in an exciting new generation of virtual reality electronics. And drones also continue to dominate the show floor or rather airspace as it seems consumers can’t get enough of them. But none of those trends are very unexpected. What I find more surprising is a significant revival of the old; the analogue aesthetic jostles for space with the digital at CES and the two are even converging, as Jonathan Wilson reports.
As this issue of E&T goes to press, the World Anti-Doping Agency has published its damning report concluding that the International Association of Athletics Federations was involved in corruption, blackmail and covering up the extent of doping among Russian athletes. Juan Pablo Conti tells us how technology will help to catch doping cheats at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio.
Also in this issue, we look at the implications of smart cities for our privacy: will the public stand for it? And 3D printing for consumers has been much overhyped but its real importance is in engineering. Mayank Sharma seeks out the specialised areas, from nuclear decommissioning to the International Space Station, where 3D printing is long past being an experimental novelty and has become an essential manufacturing, too.
Read all about it in the latest issue of E&T magazine online now.