People in tech news!

Mind the win …d’oh!!

Back with Apple again after last month’s phone battery scandal, this time a more transparent (if you’ll pardon the pun!) issue. Apparently, Apple staff are struggling to get used to its new $427m space-ship style Cupertino office due to it’s abundance of glass walls, which, when combined with people navigating offices with their heads fixed on their iPhones, has resulted in a number of accidents of people walking in to said glass walls.

Staff have resorted to adopting a distinctly non-tech solution to this, utilising post-it notes to warn people of the danger.

Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Apple have experienced this problem. A law suit filed by an 83-year old who sustained an injury in 2012 after bumping in to a glass wall at one of Apple’s stores was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

So, have the days of safety before style been ended in the age of high tech and highly expectant staff, and will a few extra law suits cause Apple to re-think its office designs and resort to walls wearing high visibility jackets and covered in proximity sensor driven alarms to warn of an impending collision?! Is there cause for the major disruptive tech firms to take more of a step back and learn from the more traditional sectors like distribution and engineering and their decades of safety experience, before powering ahead with new concepts and designs?

Joking aside, this minor example poses a question to all major technological advancements going forward. If you can’t make a brand-new office safe from day 1, how can we be sure that products and manufacturing facilities they’re made in will be safe?

Back with Apple again after last month’s phone battery scandal, this time a more transparent (if you’ll pardon the pun!) issue. Apparently, Apple staff are struggling to get used to its new $427m space-ship style Cupertino office due to it’s abundance of glass walls, which, when combined with people navigating offices with their heads fixed on their iPhones, has resulted in a number of accidents of people walking in to said glass walls.

Staff have resorted to adopting a distinctly non-tech solution to this, utilising post-it notes to warn people of the danger.

Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Apple have experienced this problem. A law suit filed by an 83-year old who sustained an injury in 2012 after bumping in to a glass wall at one of Apple’s stores was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

So, have the days of safety before style been ended in the age of high tech and highly expectant staff, and will a few extra law suits cause Apple to re-think its office designs and resort to walls wearing high visibility jackets and covered in proximity sensor driven alarms to warn of an impending collision?! Is there cause for the major disruptive tech firms to take more of a step back and learn from the more traditional sectors like distribution and engineering and their decades of safety experience, before powering ahead with new concepts and designs?

Joking aside, this minor example poses a question to all major technological advancements going forward. If you can’t make a brand-new office safe from day 1, how can we be sure that products and manufacturing facilities they’re made in will be safe?

 

 

Self-driving expert offers online degree in flying cars

Sebastian Thrun, self-driving car pioneer has launched the first “nanodegree” in flying car engineering. With companies such as Airbus, Amazon and Uber all developing their own autonomous vehicles, Sebastian Thrun believes that “in a few years’ time, this will be the hottest topic on the planet”.

Thrun is considered to be the world’s expert in two of today’s hottest emerging tech fields: self-driving vehicles and flying cars. Thrun was part of the team that launched Goggle’s self-driving project, Waymo and is CEO of flying start up Kitty Hawk.

One step ahead of the crowd, Udacity which Thrun co-founded in 2012 has opened a new curriculum which includes aerial robotics and intelligent air systems. Thrun is wanting to make the future happen sooner by offering the chance for people to build their autonomous flight network engineer careers by enrolling on the course. Thrun recognises that there is a huge shortage of engineers acknowledging that “it is almost impossible to hire qualified people to design and engineer future vehicles both terrestrial and aerial that employ advanced technology including robotics, A.I. and machine learning” despite there being plenty of smart people out there, there have been no education programmes to date that bridge the gap.

Udacity’s new offering of the flying car programme adding to the nanodegree in self-driving vehicles, might just be the degree of the future. For a fraction of the time of a traditional degree, students can, in two 12 weeks terms, gain online certification.

So, is the flying car just a headline grabber or is it the future of transportation? Thrun certainly believes so; with the likes of Amazon and Google already exploring and utilising the technology he predicts that there will be “enormous activity” in the field over the next few years.

First 3D implant in the UK printed in Wales!

3D printing is making incredible advances in many sectors including construction, the manufacture of aeroplane parts and electrical appliance but none more so than in the medical field. 3D printing is really starting to shake up the medical world especially as the cost of 3D printing drops and technology becomes more accessible. Scientists have already successfully printed kidney cells, sheets of Cardiac tissue that beat like a real heart and blood vessels using a 3D inkjet printer and a laser to mould them into shape.

Earlier this month, Morriston Hospital in Swansea made the headlines when they rebuilt a cancer patient’s chest after tumour surgery using a bespoke titanium implant printed using 3D technology. It is thought to be the first time such an implant has been printed in the UK. The bespoke titanium implant was designed at Morriston and printed in Wales. The prosthesis was inserted into the patient’s chest after he had three ribs and half his breastbone removed. Traditionally surgeons would have rebuilt the man’s chest with a cement prosthesis but advances in 3D printing technology allowed them to use a bespoke titanium implant instead. A cement protheses would have been prepared during surgery whilst the titanium implant was able to be prepared ahead of the man’s surgery based on a design by Mr Thomas who carried out the surgery, with consultant surgeon, Thomas Bragg. This enabled the surgeons to significantly reduce the time that the patient was in surgery.

The surgical teams’ at Morriston hospital are no strangers to using tech advances in 3D printing technology. In October of last year, a surgical team from the same hospital created a technique to reconstruct jaws affected by cancer using 3D printing. The technique combines traditional bone grafts alongside 3D printed titanium implants that can be created to fit an individual patient’s anatomy.

Medical 3D printing is not just for the most serious of issues. In fact, it might in time become part of the mainstream medical practice to treat a wide range of people. 3D printed ankle replacements, 3D printed casts and 3D printed pills have all been developed over the past few years, with encouraging success rates. 3D printing in the medical field is no longer something straight out of a Michael Crichton novel, it’s becoming a reality!