‘future now’: Scientific innovations within reach | Press Releases | DW | 23.02.2011
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Press Releases

‘future now’: Scientific innovations within reach

Deutsche Welle's multimedia project highlighting the significance of research in Germany and the international relevance of German research around the world.


In Bangladesh, researchers monitor water quality with the help of illuminated bacteria. In India genes from plants in the Himalayas can help combat global hunger. And in Edinburg and Bremen, scientists are trying to make light talk. Just three examples from the Deutsche Welle’s new multimedia project: “future now – innovations shaping tomorrow”. Germany’s international broadcaster presents outstanding research projects, their results and the German scientists that are involved. Topics include environment, health, communication and mobility.

How will we live in the future? Will we be able to find remedies for incurable diseases?How will we communicate and get from point A to point B? Scientists in Germany and around the world are looking for solutions to these and other questions for the future. Deutsche Welle’s reporters have tracked them down and accompanied them in their daily work. The result is “future now” – a new multimedia project supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Deutsche Welle will present 20 trendsetting projects that we can use to change and influence our lives. “This project helps solidify the relevance of f research in Germany and the international relevance of German research around the world,” says Deutsche Welle Director General Erik Bettermann.

The multimedia series includes features, portraits and interactive WebDocs – an online, interactive format that lets the user decide what to see next. International teams of reporters from Deutsche Welle research each of the projects and present them in a “future lab” at dw-world.de/futurenow – including articles, images, audio and video content in seven languages: German, English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Indonesian. Radio and television features will also provide background stories to each of the projects.

“We want to make our scientific program intelligible, entertaining with playful explanations – without losing any information or coherency,” say the project heads Judith Hartl and Marco Vollmar.

Science fans around the world will be able to use Facebook and Twitter to stay informed on the latest “future now” projects and developments. All users are welcome and content is interactive. For example, a quiz on genetic engineering in agriculture will provide information on genetically-enhanced food. And animated info-graphics make complex topics easy to understand.

future now topics

The “future now” portal presents four different categories: environment, health, communication and mobility. The best researchers from Germany are presented with their research results and the global applications. For example:

  • Geo-engineers develop new technologies to extract valuable natural gas from the bottom of the sea while storing carbon dioxide at the same time. DW reporters report from onboard the research ship.
  • Climate change and the population explosion are creating a global challenge for agriculture. Genes from high-altitude plants in the Himalayas can help to combat global hunger – and German technology from Jülich is there to assist.
  • New therapies and methods of diagnosis are advancing the fight against diseases like cancer – like infecting tumors with a virus itself.
  • Mega-cities of the future will present completely new challenges for supply and disposal. A research team from Darmstadt has found a new, decentralized solution for water and energy problems – like those experienced in Hanoi.
  • Organic light diodes that are as thin as plastic wrap present the future of lighting – and can be used as a monitor at the same time.
  • Computer chips placed in the brain should help cure diseases and increase thought and memory performance. It might also be possible to implant language skills directly.
  • The autopilot has been an airplane standard for a long time. In just a few years, self-driving vehicles might be integrated into daily traffic.

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