The Future and Emerging Technologies Flagship (FET) programme picked two among six visions for frontier research. These were to go beyond conventional limits on information and communication technology (ICT) and map out how they will deliver a better future for European citizens. The tagline is “Science beyond fiction” (http://www.fet-f.eu). On 28th January 2013, the European Commission announced that the winning projects are Graphene and Human Brain. Both initiatives are set to receive one billion euros each over ten years. The six pilot projects were shortlisted according to scientific excellence, potential for realising breakthrough discoveries and opening new ground on Europe’s social and industrial challenges. They spent a year refining their proposal, and now await an announcement. “FuturICT” will harness so-called Big Data to make sense of the torrent of data now available and develop models to support better decision making, putting systems in place to help tackle disease outbreaks, social instabilities and even criminal networks. “Graphene” looks at the near magical possibilities of a material which has wowed scientists but has yet to hit industry. It could revolutionise flexible, wearable and transparent electronics and high performance computing. While “Guardian Angels for a Smarter Life,” foresees zero-power technologies for electronic personal assistants. These digital companions would live off scraps of energy and scavenge what they need in diverse environments, whether the source is thermal, solar or vibrational. A fourth project, the “Human Brain Project,” aims to integrate clinical information and neuroscience insights to build computer models of the human brain; this would quicken progress in human diseases, but also future computing. “IT Future of Medicine”, on the other hand, seeks to personalise medicine and make better use of sensors, imaging and patient data; the outcome sought is better health care. Finally, “Robot companions for citizens” seeks a new generation of robotic technologies to offer a helping hand to Europeans in their everyday lives. This would take lessons from biology in adopting sophisticated - yet simple - solutions to problems. The six pilot projects presented at a summer conference in Brussels. Presentations on youtube, http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPWi8cy3yD3_aZup4boE3GQ.
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