UK Needs Faster Internet Says Business Leaders Group

Buffering, downloading, pausing, even trying to make out the shapes on a low-resolution video have become common place for so many people as their internet speed caps out, normally before they are anywhere near their advertised (and purchased) speeds. It seems that we aren’t the only ones annoyed by this though as a group of business leaders have spoken out now, accusing the UK government of creating a “poverty of ambition” for internet speeds.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) is formed from business leaders within the UK, and in their report titled Ultrafast Britain, they state that the UK is lagging behind when it comes to enabling faster broadband connections. The government states that 90% of UK properties have access to superfast speeds, with that reaching 95% by next year.

The IoD don’t think this is good enough, with them calling for speeds of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) by 2030. Currently, the government wants just 10 megabits per second by 2020, a speed which many are already getting.

This isn’t the first time that the internet as a structured provision has been discussed this week, with Ofcom telling BT that its cable network should be opened up to other companies. Currently, BT contains two parts, the core company and Openreach, the part of the company responsible for the cable, fibre and network infrastructure that the UK relies on for its internet.

What is your internet speed? Is it ever what you were actually advertised to be getting? Do you know anyone with super fast/slow internet and does it have a big impact on them?

Wales Has First ‘Energy Positive’ House in Britain

Wales has become home to Britain’s first ‘energy positive’ house, so-called because it can generate a surplus of electricity which its owner can then sell on. The three-bedroom detached property in Cenin, South Wales, cost £125,000 to build, according to its designers from Cardiff University.

The house is lined with heavy insulation to retain heat during cold months, with solar panels covering the roof and mounted in the garden. For eight months of the year, the house is expected to generate £75 more electricity than it will use, which can then be sold back to the national grid or stored within the property’s batteries.

It was developed to serve the low-carbon housing bill, proposed by Labour in 2006. Current Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, however, has recently scrapped the bill. “It was disappointing to see Osborne scrap the plans,” said Professor Phil Jones of the Welsh School of Architecture. “But the devolved Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments can set their own building standards. One reason we built this house was to demonstrate to builders that you could meet the standards at an affordable price with off-the-shelf technology. The housebuilders could do it too if they wanted to.”

Jones says that building his ‘energy positive’ design en masse could bring the cost of each property down to £100,000. “We save money and space by making the photovoltaic panels the roof itself and by dispensing with radiators and making the air collector part of the wall,” he added. “The building demonstrates our leading edge low carbon supply, storage and demand technologies at a domestic scale which we hope will be replicated in other areas of Wales and the UK in the future.”

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

Software Developer Wants to Turn Rehab into a Video Game

A Romanian software engineer by the name of Cosmin Mihaiu and his colleagues have demonstrated a new way patients can recover from injuries at TED Conference in Vancouver. He came up with the idea from an arm injury he suffered as a child and he believes that rehabilitation exercises can be performed with the help of Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox.

“We need to come up with solutions to get patients motivated to get better,” Mihaiu told AFP. “No one likes treatment, but if we can make it in a way where people don’t think it is cumbersome they will get better faster and save costs.”

He invented a system called MIRA (Medical Interactive Recovery Assistant), which physical therapists can use and customize motion-controlled games to reward patients for doing prescribed movements. The system is currently designed to be offline and available in clinics, but Mihaiu is said to be working on an online version as well, which patients can use at home and share performance data with therapists.

“We don’t want to replace the physical therapists,” Mihaiu said. “We want to develop a digital pill that can be prescribed to help the patient get better.”

MIRA is currently being trialled in clinics from Britain and Romania, with an annual subscription price of several thousand dollars. Mihaiu states that there is a large market in the rehabilitation industry for software such as MIRA and unlike fitness games, medical games come with endorsements and follow-ups from doctors, nurses and therapists.

Thank you Phys for providing us with this information

Tim Cook: Apple Watch Can Be Used as Car Key Fob

Tim Cook is still on his unannounced international tour, today stopping in London. He paid a visit to the flagship Covent Garden store, meeting with employees and customers (some even posed for pictures, as you can see below). He also took the time to give an interview to The Telegraph, offering some more details about the Apple Watch in the process.

Cook said of the key fob functionality that “This will be just like the iPhone: people wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons.” That feature, like many, is yet to be properly announced. We expect to hear more about the watch on March 9th, when Apple will be holding an event, believed to be largely focused on the new device ahead of its release in April.

That event will hopefully reveal the actual release date of the device, as well as the prices – something highly anticipated as many still try to figure out just how much the 18-karat gold version will cost.

Source: The Telegraph 

GCHQ Launches Kids Cryptography App

GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters of the UK, otherwise known as Britain’s NSA, has launched a an app targeted at kids with the intention of teaching them about cryptography.

The organisation that spends most of its time circumventing encryption has decided to teach kids the basics of scrambling data from prying eyes. Cryptoy, as it’s called, is an app for Android tablets (no iOS or Android phone support yet) that allows you to learn the basics of encryption, the history of cryptography and gives you the chance to encrypt your own messages with which your friends can then decrypt.

The Next Web points out that the app stems from a project created for Cheltenham Science Festival that had the intention of teaching school kids about encryption. This new app is meant for students at Key Stage 4 of the national curriculum and is to supplement their school studies on the subject.

Read more at GCHQ’s website.

Source: The Next Web

Dyson Makes £1 Billion Investment in Future Tech

Dyson, the company best known for producing hi-tech vacuum cleaners, fans, heaters and hand driers, has announced that it is investing £1 Billion in “future technology”.

This comes alongside an earlier £250 million investment in a new R&D expansion of their current headquarters in Wiltshire. That particular project is scheduled to bring 3000 jobs along with it.

This giant new investment will apparently go towards 100 new products as part of 4 completely new product categories to be introduced over the next 4 years. CNET says that some of these new products will also include outdoor products – perhaps an update to James Dyson’s reimagining of the wheelbarrow?

Source: CNET

UK Police Trials The World’s Fastest Face Recognition System

Britain is dubbed the most watched country in the world, with over 6 million CCTV cameras watching everything that moves. This is why the London police aims to further improve its CCTV network use by adding body-worn cameras to help identify ‘criminal activities’ faster.

The new technology is said to still undergo some trials in London, having Leicestershire police already confirming that it has become the first police force in the UK to test NEC’s NeoFace face recognition software in hopes that it will “transform the way criminals are tracked down”. NeoFace aims to identify faces by analysing “dozens” of facial figures from digital images captured by the CCTV system or body cameras and comparing them to the 90,000 photos stored in the Leicestershire Police database.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfFl6w3vRTw[/youtube]

NeoFace is said to have its strength present in processing power, being able to analyse the figures in a matter of seconds compared to manually searching for possible matches (which is said to take hours to do). While the new tech is just debuting in the UK, it is said to have proven invaluable in the US. Chicago Police Department has stated that the system helped them sort through 4.5 million booking photos in order to find evidence and convict a suspected armed robber.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

The UK Plans to Build its First Spaceport by 2018

The United Kingdom is said to have planned its first spaceport to be built and be up-and-running by 2018, while Virgin Galactic is preparing to become the first company launching space-tourism flights from within the country.

The British government is said to have planned an official announcement this Tuesday, where it will go into detail regarding the eight possible locations for the spaceport. The Guardian states that amongst the rumored locations include the north of Scotland, Norfolk, Bristol and Outer Hebrides.

“We have worked out the regulatory regime we need to launch spaceships in Britain and assessed what kind of aviation checks will have to be imposed when we put craft into space,” UK science minister David Willetts tells the Guardian. “In the wake of that work we have now created a shortlist of locations for the first British spaceport.”

The news does not come as a surprise, since the United Kingdom’s space sector is now worth over £11 billion / $18,8 billion, having the government aiming at raising it to around £40 billion by the end of 2030. In terms of flights, it is said that both commercial satellites and manned mission will be able to launch from the spaceport, with companies such as Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace already lining up as potential users.

Commercial space tourism is said to have been rapidly growing, having the UK jumping in at a key moment. Virgin Galactic is stated to have planned its first flight later this year, taking off from a base in New Mexico. In addition to the company’s flight schedule, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, is reported to have already identified at least one location in the UK suitable for launching space flights in the near future.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Fox News