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OU on the BBC: James May's Big Ideas - About the series

Updated Tuesday 23rd September 2008

James May is back with a new series on BBC TWO: three programmes looking at three different and distinct future concepts.

World's smallest helicopter Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team

Each programme looks at a specific idea close to James' heart, but with the 21st century firmly in mind.

James has driven loads of amazing cars, but now he gets to try a few vehicles that are a little bit different to the usual Top Gear models. These include the aerocar (the legendary flying car from from 1950s), and James ponders the question of flying vehicles as a solution to congestion on the roads; the Russian ekranoplan; and he even risks strapping on a rocket pack.

Robots, cyborgs, bionic men...we've seen them all in the movies, but are they becoming a reality? James explores the fusion of man and machine with a female Robocop and bionic implants. Is resistance futile?

Finally, James questions why our sources of energy are so last century. A trip to Mexico gives him the opportunity to explore how a car might run on thin air, or whether a solution to our energy crisis may be "out of this world".

Dr Tony Nixon, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems with The Open University and Academic Adviser on the series says:

“This series gives occasional glimpses of the future which are at once disturbing and exciting. Our lives are often governed by technologies in far deeper ways than we may think and, more than ever, we need people to engage with big ideas.

“By watching the programmes and taking up the challenges on the website, we hope people will be motivated and excited by engineering and technology.”

 

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