Turing test; World Cup exo-skeleton; Plant cyborgs; Music hooks


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The first ball kick of the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup is taken by a young paraplegic Brazilian, wearing a robotic exo-skeleton, controlled using his mind. Adam hears from Miguel Nicolelis, the neurophysiologist behind the high profile science stunt. Closer to home Sophie Morgan, paralysed for a decade, demonstrates her robot exo-skeleton, or REX, which allows her to walk and stand.

This week, scientists at the University of Reading claim to have created a computer that has successfully duped humans into thinking it was a 13-year-old boy. This has been widely reported as the first computer to pass the Turing test, but is it? Is this a leap forward in artificial intelligence or a case of moving the goalposts. Anil Seth from the University of Sussex, gives us his opinion.

Forget the Internet of things, welcome, the internet of vegetables. An EU-wide project has developed "cyborg plants" with in-built sensors. These allow the plant to "talk" to scientists, giving them updates on water and nitrogen levels. Koushik Maharatna from the University of Southampton explains the benefits of being able to talk to plants.

We are surprisingly good at remembering songs we haven't heard for many years, but what is it about a song that makes it so memorable? Is there a perfect formula? Scientists hope that a new game will find out. A citizen science project plans to analyse thousands of results from the songs best remembered by the public. Adam Rutherford sings along and asks Dr Ashley Burgoyne, a computational musicologist from the University of Amsterdam, why some songs are more memorable than others.

Producer: Fiona Hill.