September 28, 2014

Weekly Byte : 21/9/14 ~ 28/9/14

In today's tech news, Samsung dabbles in the fine art of Vampirism , Apple's iPhone 6 a tad too flexible , Space elevators and many more!

Hello , ladies and gentlemen! This is Jack from Tech-Critter and welcome to another Weekly Byte , your weekly byte sized summary for everything tech related. Another eventful week within the tech industry , so without further ado lets jump right in.

Floating lilies that purifies water:
Mark Owen has invented a one-metre diameter device that can clean up polluted rivers , ponds etc. The device aptly named Lilypad is plastic and contains a mesh with a nano coating that spurs a reaction that breaks down material in the water nearby when sunlight hits the surface of said device. The device is currently undergoing the testing phase and no release date has been announced yet. Read up more about it here.

Martian soil is actually good for growing stuff:
While not actually soil gathered from Mars , the human made replicate of said soil actually seems decent for growing stuff. Dutch ecologist Wieger Wamelink who made the discovery has said this is mainly due to the nitrogen contents within the Mars atmosphere. Will we actually be able to grow plants and achieve a sustainable life elsewhere than Earth? Only time will tell. Read up more about it here.

Samsung launches power sharing cable:
Samsung has launched a power sharing cable that priced at a reasonable $19.99 turns your phones , tablets , etc. into a battery draining vampire! Samsung claims that "any device that can be charged via Micro USB cable" will work with said cable but there seems to be some limitations. The cable will not be able to transfer power with 100% efficiency due to power loss and usage during the transfer. The process also requires Samsung's Power Sharing app for Android. Read more about it here.

Japanese company wants to build a space elevator:
I have heard of the stairway to Heaven and the highway to Hell but never have I ever heard of the elevator to space! One of Japan's construction powerhouse , Obayashi Corporation plans to build an elevator into space by the year 2050. The company has stated that this tall feat can be achieved because of carbon nanotechnology. Although carbon nanotechnology has quite some way to go before being able to be used to create space elevators , the company has high hopes that it will be advanced enough within the near future. The International Space Elevator Consortium ( I honestly didn't know that this was a thing ) has already begun to coordinate the efforts and bring it to an international effort because building a space elevator is actually easier said than done. But what I'm most concerned about is that they better not forget the lovely elevator music! Read up more about it here.

What is the Shellshock Bash bug:
This bug that mostly affects machines which run on Mac OS X and Linux is a software that allows computers to interact with the outside by interpreting text. Basically , someone can run code that will load malware on systems , steal private information , delete files and pretty much anything you can think of. Attackers can also use your computer to spread this vulnerability and the cycle goes on. But fear not , patches and fixes are already surfacing and most of us are running firewalls. Read up more about it here.

The future lies in micro-robots:
Electrical engineer Robert Wood from the Microrobotics Lab at Harvard University is confident that micro-robots are the future. Over the years , as technology advances and becomes more sophisticated , size reduction of devices has become a significance. This significance has made devices thinner and smaller , and it has also paved the way for micro-robots. Taking inspiration from mother nature and by understanding an organism's anatomy , movement and behaviour. Robert and his fellow researchers has successfully created the RoboBee , a insect looking device that can flap it's wings 120 times a second and fly along preprogrammed paths. The RoboBee can potentially be used in a synchronized swarm to spread pollen , effectively search through a collapsed building for survivors , investigate and record all types of data and upload it back at a central "hive" etc. As technology continues to advance , Robert hopes that they will be able to reduce the cost of manufacturing said robots so that they're practically disposable. Read up more about it here.

Intel invests $1.5 billion in Chinese mobile-chipmakers:
Intel has made it clear again that they want a cut of the juicy meat that is the mobile chip industry. Despite facing financial losses , they are still optimistically trying. This time it's by investing up to $1.5 billion dollars in two mobile chip-makers which are owned by the government of China. The investment will take around a 20% stake in Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics. Read more about it here.

Microsoft Windows 9 coming soon:
Sometime next week , Microsoft will show off Windows 9. With the new software , Microsoft hopes to improve sales to large businesses and corporations which have for the most part avoided Windows 8 in preference of Windows 7. Rumours have also said that Windows 8 users will potentially get a free upgrade up to Windows 9! Read up more about it here.

Facebook's Wi-Fi drone is roughly the size of a Boeing 747:
With desires to bring internet access into more rural places of the world , Facebook's solar powered drones that are the roughly the size of a Boeing 747 will provide Wi-Fi coverage. Expected to roll out around the year 2015 , they plan to test it in the United States and have them sending out Wi-Fi signals for the next three to five years. Read up more about it here.

What is the Haven smartlock:
Up in Kickstarter land , a team of bright men want to make dead locks a thing of the past. Reason being that dead locks are a thing of the past , with videos online that can pretty much allow anyone to learn how to pick or kick in a locked door , it simply doesn't do it's job well enough now. With this in mind , they came up with the Haven smartlock , anchored at the base of the floor , when used it can withstand brute force from even a battering ram , it is un-pickable and can't be tampered. It is hard to believe until you actually see the device. It definitely looks promising! Read and learn more about it on their Kickstarter page here.

Newest iteration of the iPhone can be easily bent?:
I'm sure most of you have already heard about this already , but for those of you who don't. Apple's new iPhone 6 seems to be easily bent , and some user's have reportedly deformed said phone by just having it in their back pocket. Apple has stated that the deformation of the iPhone 6 is extremely rare and only 9 cases have been reported. But all sorts of videos and documents have shown that iPhone 6 IS in fact more susceptible to bending. So for readers who own the iPhone 6 , please be advised to handle your device with a little more caution , and you might want to get an external case for it.

Well , that's about it for this week folks ! I hope you guys had a nice weekend, once again this has been Jack bringing you the Weekly Byte. Stay tuned next week for more tech news, thanks for reading!