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Future Tech

  • Elon Musk’s BFR will fly from London to Cape Town in just 34 minutes

    Elon Musk may be nuts, but a remarkable number of the South African-born businessman's ventures have been successful. This week at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia, he announced another "really special" proposal. His space exploration company SpaceX is pondering a new method of transporting people from one corner of the Earth to the other. And it involves a space vehicle/rocket system called the BFR. "The BFR will be capable of taking people from any city to any other city on Earth in under one hour," the company revealed. Elon Musk's SpaceX believes a journey from Johannesburg to Sydney could last just...

  • Uber celebrates its 4th birthday in Africa

    Uber today celebrates its fourth anniversary in Africa. Our sister site Ventureburn first revealed the company's plans for an African expansion in July 2013. Uber then began secret tests in August later that year. Now, the company operates in 16 cities across the continent. In honour of the occasion, the on-demand transport company dug up some of the numbers behind its four year stint on the continent. Some of the figures are rather remarkable. The company has moved over 1.8-million people within the four years, with more than 230 000 rides scheduled. It also created more than 29 000 economic opportunities within...

  • Vodacom’s IoT division now connects ‘three million things’ in South Africa

    Hot on the heels of MTN Business's Internet of Things (IoT) network announcement, Vodacom revealed that its IoT division is now connecting more than "three million 'things'" across South Africa. Deon Liebenberg, the managing exec of Vodacom's IoT division explained that this is a clear indication of the growth of IoT and related technologies in the country. "It’s worth noting that it took us eight years to get to two million connections and it took us only one year to get to three million," he explained. "The rate of IoT adoption is picking up speed locally and with the commercial rollout of...

  • MTN Business announces dedicated IoT network

    MTN has today announced a dedicated Internet of Things (IoT) network that it suggests will "enhance security of business-critical information". It quoted two distinct network technologies, namely LoRaWAN and NarrowBand-IoT. LoRaWAN can be viewed as WAN's low-power, low bit-rate cousin. It transfers less data than traditional WAN, but is used to connect devices that usually feature battery-powered sensors. NarrowBand-IoT, or NB-IoT, is typically used for indoor devices, and is allocated a slice of spectrum within the LTE band. MTN's new network will carry full support for both. "e have created a dedicated network that has its own core business support systems and operational...

  • Uber Movement launches in Gauteng

    After it was abruptly shooed out of London last week, Uber wants to show the world that it's more than just a disruptive on-demand transport company. The firm today launched Uber Movement, a platform that collates the company's wealth of trip data to benefit urban planners and city leaders. "Uber Movement shows data from the billions of trips that riders have taken with Uber, aggregated into zones covering the standard boundaries used by urban planners, for example Census Tracts and Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZs)," the company explains in a press release. "This will enable them to more effectively evaluate where investments in...

  • Osiris-Rex will today fly past Earth before visiting our asteroid neighbour

    We're still mourning the loss of Cassini but space exploration doesn't have time for emotion. Instead, another craft is on NASA's radar this week as it's set to fly past Earth to begin its mission in earnest. The craft in question is Osiris-Rex. Launched in September 2016, it's on its way to the nearby asteroid Bennu. It's also set to return samples of the 500m diameter asteroid to Earth. It's an ambitious mission, and part of it involves using Earth's planet's gravitational pull as a slingshot. Completing this manoeuvre today, it will today pass around 11 000km above Antarctica and eastern...

  • Taxify user ‘almost got raped’ in Johannesburg, recounts events on Twitter

    Update: Taxify has responded to our request for comment, and issued the following statement. It told Memeburn that it takes these incidents "very seriously". "Safety of both our riders and driver-partners is our priority. Our team has contacted both parties involved in the incident. Unfortunately, it is a complicated word against word situation as the driver's part of the story is very different." The company also revealed the driver's side of the argument: Rider requested a ride, inserted Braamfontein as a destination in the app (this is not a specific address and Taxify team can confirm it was so from the system). They...

  • ‘Thanks for the science’: NASA leads emotional Twitter farewell to Cassini

    After nearly 20 years in space, and 13 years studying Saturn and its host of moons, Cassini has plunged headfirst into the gas giant, ending its mission. Cassini-Huygens was one of the most daring missions undertaken by three space agencies -- NASA, the ESA and Italian Space Agency -- and in the process gathered invaluable information about Saturn, its two possibly habitable moons -- Titan and Enceladus -- and its gorgeous rings. But as the world waited for Cassini's final radio messages to reach Earth, the planet's Twitter users could hardly stand it. #GrandFinale and #GoodbyeCassini were two hashtags used to...

  • ETA 2 days: Cassini begins its daring death dive towards Saturn

    Nearly 20 years ago a spacecraft named Cassini-Huygens began its journey to the Solar System's second largest gas giant Saturn to study the planet and its numerous moons. On 15 September 2017, its mission will be terminated in the most triumphant way possible: a deep dive and eventual crash into the surface of Saturn. It'll be a sad moment for those vested in the craft, but Cassini has nonetheless been an invaluable tool to astronomers, scientists, and little boys hosting Goodbye Cassini parties in their back gardens. We're approaching #Saturn over the northern hemisphere in advance of first #GrandFinale dive through gap...

  • 5 huge benefits of augmented reality in the classroom

    Students at Hoërskool Dinamika, a school in the east of Johannesburg, are gathered around a table. Sets of cards are arranged in rows before them. Some students also have the cards in their hands and one has a smartphone out. They're full of smiles and are clearly deeply engrossed in what they are doing. But it's not what you think. They're not on a break. They're actually in class and hard at work learning. The cards are from Super Animals, a promotion by food retailer Pick 'n Pay meant to reward loyal customers. They found their way into the classroom thanks...

  • #Uber: South Africans take to Twitter to support attacked Sandton drivers

    Three cars were torched in Sandton Thursday evening in a suspected protest between metered taxi drivers and Uber. According to provincial spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo, preliminary investigations showed two of the cars belonged to Uber, and the third was a metered taxi. No one was harmed. Images and videos of the incident poured onto Twitter as #Uber hit top trending spot nationally. .@TimesLIVE richest square km in Africa (Sandton) is burning as metered and uber drivers set each others vehicles alight pic.twitter.com/GtpJw9FKSV — Graeme Hosken (@GraemeHosken) September 7, 2017 Sitting in Sandton watching the chaos.Getting ugly. #uber drivers fighting back.chased away all metre taxi drivers from...

  • NASA’s SDO captures huge solar flares in gorgeous GIF

    Human beings might be under siege thanks to the current tropical weather on Earth, but in space, the Sun's atmosphere is seemingly more active than normal too. NASA's SDO (Solar Dynamics Obervatory) recorded two massive solar flares that erupted from the star's surface Wednesday, both the most intense the organisation has seen since 2008. GIF: NASA/Goddard/SDO "Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation," NASA explains. "Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel." And that...

  • Elon Musk: WW3 will be caused by AI, not North Korea’s nukes

    Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk isn't shy when suggesting that robots and artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to humanity's demise. But according to a new tweet, he doesn't believe that North Korea will be much of a threat, if at all. Citing Russia President Vladimir Putin's stance on artificial intelligence -- and the benefits for nations mastering the new technology -- Musk simply retweeted: "It begins". China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017 "China, Russia, soon all countries w strong...

  • Hubble delivers hints of water in Earth-like TRAPPIST-1 system

    Earlier this year, NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star, called TRAPPIST-1. The find meant that TRAPPIST-1 was among the star systems with the largest number of Earth-sized planets. Now, an international team has used the Hubble space telescope to estimate the chances of water on the planets -- and the results are encouraging. "The results suggest that the outer planets of the system might still harbour substantial amounts of water. This includes the three planets within the habitable zone of the star, lending further weight to the possibility that they may indeed be habitable," read a...

  • Uber South Africa now verifies cash riders using Facebook

    Two big changes have arrived on the Uber South Africa app this week, and you might've already noticed them. First and foremost, there's a feature hidden to riders. Uber now allows drivers to share the details of their trip with loved ones. This is an extension of the feature that allows riders to share details with their loved ones. The new feature comes after feedback accrued at Uber's driver hubs, suggesting that the addition will also bolster the service's safety for drivers. Speaking of driver safety, an additional feature will impact both drivers and riders, especially those who pay using cash. "Social Connect",...