Czechs are known around the world for a number of inventions, such as soft contact lenses or the Semtex plastic explosive. But not many know that they also invented the so-called síťovka or net bag, which was a predecessor of the widely used plastic bags. Czech Radio paid a visit to a Prague-based company, called Czech Net Bag, which has been trying to revive the nearly hundred-year-old product and bring it back into fashion.
An exhibition currently underway at the Czech Centre London and in the Library of Birmingham celebrates a centenary of Czech discoveries and inventions and the emerging generation of scientists and innovators. The interactive show, called Czech Innovation Expo, was prepared by the Czech Centres network together with the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Czech students of architecture have joined forces with their colleagues from the Dutch city of Delft to design their vision of a housing construction for Mars. The structure, which resembles an igloo, is woven from hemp fibres reinforced by a special starch-based solution, and was built with the help of a so-called collaborative robot.
People walking through the city centre in Prague on Tuesday were treated to the unbelievable sight of a man flying over the Vltava River. The man, dressed in a jet suit, was British inventor Richard Browning, known as the 'real-life Iron Man', who came to the Czech capital to demonstrate his latest invention.
You could be forgiven for mistaking the CyberDog Technology and Information Centre on the outskirts of Prague for a “wine bar”, the futuristic two-storey structure housing it for a “building”, and the resident bartender named “Kuka” for a hermaphrodite robot. Such is the nature of the first project to be realised by the Black N' Arch studio, co-founded by conceptual artist and sculptor David Černý.
For every 10,000 employees in the Czech Republic, there are 101 robots. This measurement, used in a recent HSBC study, places the Central European state above the world average, which lies at 74 robots. However, in the country’s neighbour Slovakia the robot population average is higher by a third. The study also claims that due to its ageing population study the Czech Republic will need to continue increasing the share of robots in its economy.
A team of students from the Czech Technical University in Prague have placed second in the prestigious Alexa Prize contest, organised by the US giant Amazon. The aim of the competition is to develop artificial intelligence for Amazon Alexa, capable of chatting with people on popular topics such as movies, sports or music. Along with the prize, the Czech team also picked up a financial award of 100,000 US dollars.
A new “employee” of Prague’s Václav Havel Airport called Pepper is now roaming Terminal 2 and offering both directions and entertainment. He is the result of the airport’s ongoing adoption of new technologies through its PRGAirportLab initiative and can be seen as offering a taster of what is yet to come.
On Wednesday, the Czech Technical University held a press conference as well as a motor show, presenting both the achievemnts of its Formula Student race teams as well as the cars themselves. The university has been part of the worldwide competition for nearly ten years and its race teams are made up of some of its most successful students. I went to the university in order to find out more about the teams and their vehicles.
Artificial intelligence is sometimes referred to as the new oil and is seen as one of the main drivers of economic growth in the decades going forward. For the Czech Republic, the most industrialised of all European Union countries, there are clearly a lot of challenges as one of the main elements of the so-called AI revolution will be the increased use of robots and machines effectively learning on the job and from each other.
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