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Future Tech

  • Sci-fi gone real: flying cars, commercial space travel and teleportation

    Sci-fi gone real is a series that focusses on the extravagant concepts dreamt up in the world of sci-fi, exploring just how close they are to becoming a reality. In this piece, we will be exploring the topic of transportation. From teleportation to flying cars, reality is rapidly becoming stranger than fiction. If you’re over the hassles and limitations of contemporary transportation, then this article might hold some hope for you yet. Teleportation Imagine a world without traffic jams or twenty-hour flights; a world where distance is merely the obstacle of scientific and mathematical endeavours. Well, this world might be a lot...

  • Elon Musk bids Starman farewell in a final Instagram snap

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has shared the "last pic" of his cherry-red Tesla roadster hurting towards the Asteroid Belt, after it was launched into space on Tuesday. The launch itself was historic, giving SpaceX claim to the most powerful operational rocket, the Falcon Heavy. "Last pic of Starman in Roadster enroute to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt," he wrote on Instagram. Last pic of Starman in Roadster enroute to Mars orbit and then the Asteroid Belt A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Feb 7, 2018 at 2:00pm PST And with the caption, he included an image taken looking down...

  • How AI will affect the future property market

    Much discussed as a revolutionary technology of the future, artificial intelligence (AI) is already having an impact in the present, reshaping the way work is carried out across a range of industries, from manufacturing to customer service. One of the niche arenas where its impact has not yet been significant is the real estate market, but this is also set to change. In the past, a buyer using a realtor would have outlined some basic factors -- price, room requirements and area -- to the agent, who would then interpose their own interpretation of those parameters and show the resulting...

  • Sci-fi gone real: cyborgs, cloning and the science of new life

    Sci-fi gone real is a series that focusses on the extravagant concepts dreamt up in the world of sci-fi, exploring just how close they are to becoming a reality. In this piece we discuss ‘new life’. From artificial intelligence to terraforming, mad scientists all over the world are hard at work dissecting and, potentially, changing the very fabric of existence. Cloning Cloning is a concept that has been explored so extensively in sci-fi works that it almost seems a reality. But, like with most of the other entries on this list, it looks like truth is becoming stranger than fiction, and has...

  • Manned missions, moon shots: what else can we expect from SpaceX for 2018?

    SpaceX has blasted to the history books with the successful launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket last night, but you might be wondering about its other plans for 2018. Falcon Heavy is expected to have a few more appearances, with its first commercial payload set for a vague "first half of 2018" timeline, according to Space Flight Now. The mission, to lift-off from Cape Canaveral, will see it launch the Arabsat 6A satellite into orbit. The Falcon Heavy will then see another appearance (tentatively set for June), launching the US Air Force's Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission. This consists of "a cluster of military and scientific research satellites". Falcon...

  • Replay: Watch the moment SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launched

    After numerous delays, SpaceX has finally delivered the first test flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket. Billed as the most powerful operational rocket available right now, Falcon Heavy is expected to be the vehicle of choice for future Moon and Mars missions. The rocket lifted off at 10:45pm SAST (3.45pm local time), following a delay due to weather concerns. For the test flight, SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk decided to use his own Tesla Roadster as a dummy payload. The result, as the above image shows, speaks for itself, as the rocket and payload successfully left Earth. The rocket's three first stage boosters separated...

  • Pictures: the ‘Super Blue Blood Moon’ lights up social media

    There's something mythical about the Moon -- that little spherical ball roughly the size of Australia revolving around the Earth more or less once a month. Tonight, it's the centerpiece of a particularly storied event. 31 January 2018 sees the month's second full moon, commonly known as the "blue" moon. It coincides with the perigee of the Moon -- its closest point to Earth -- which is also known as the "supermoon". And finally, because of its positioning in relation to the Earth and the Sun, some will see a total lunar eclipse, and a reddish-tinted Moon as it passes through the Earth's...

  • Falcon Heavy: world’s most powerful rocket gets launch date

    The Falcon Heavy rocket launch has been long-awaited, but it's seen numerous delays. In fact, SpaceX initially planned for a first test flight as long ago as 2013. Now, the rocket, expected to be the most powerful since the Apollo programme's Saturn V, has received a firm launch date of 6 February. The date comes from SpaceX founder Elon Musk himself, via Twitter. Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy. Easy viewing from the public causeway. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2018 According to Space Flight Insider, the launch is expected to...

  • AI will understand your emotions better than your family come 2022

    It's 2018 everyone. Congrats, you've made it one step further into the future laden with emotion-sensing artificial intelligence, virtual personal assistants and potentially longer lifespans. This is according to research company Gartner's latest report, aptly titled Predicts 2018: Personal Devices. While not specifically focussing on the year ahead, the report does highlight what humans can expect to see from the next decade's wave of technology. And it's slightly creepy. By 2022, "personal devices will know more about an individual's emotional state than his or her own family" suggests Gartner, accounting for the sophistication of the development behind artificial intelligence and its...

  • Still using BBM? You can now request an Uber via platform

    BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has seen far better days in emerging markets, as WhatsApp usurps it as the favoured instant messaging platform. That hasn't stopped a major announcement this week, as BBM operator Creative Media Works announces that you can now request an Uber via the IM service. The move will let BBM users on Android and iOS book Uber trips via the IM app's Discover tab, an emailed press statement reads. The partnership sees BBM harness the m.uber.com portal to book rides. "When launched from the Discover menu, the new Uber service asks riders to sign in with their mobile number or...

  • Uber settles medical record lawsuit with woman raped by driver

    Uber has capped off its terrible 2017 by settling a lawsuit with a woman who accused top executives of illegally obtaining her medical records after she was raped by a driver in New Delhi, India in 2014. The anonymous US resident sued the company for intrusion into private affairs, public disclosure of private facts, and defamation. The woman claimed that then-CEO Travis Kalanick, president of business in Asia Eric Alexander, and senior vice president of business Emil Michael all believed her rape to be a conspiracy by rival companies. Her lawyer alleged that the company sought her medical records in an attempt to...

  • Brett Herron live-tweets ‘horrific’ Metrorail journey across Cape Town

    How difficult is it to take a train from Khayelitsha to Cape Town on a Thursday morning? Very. At least that's what MayCo member for transport Brett Herron discovered today. Live-tweeting his morning fact-finding commute to understand the conditions travellers face on Metrorail's trains, Herron was left "horrified & angry". The day began well enough. #TrainStories starting my day at Nolungile. Train delayed. Commuters abandoning train and heading for taxis “ayikho”! #Metrorail pic.twitter.com/6nf8LO0dPZ — Brett Herron (@brettherron) November 30, 2017 But the mood soon changed. "Commuters telling me to be prepared to cling onto the roof of the train it will be so overcrowded," Herron...

  • This Indian airport handled close to 1000 flights in a single day

    We're not sure what you were up to Friday night, but an airport in India had no time for partying. In fact, Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport this weekend broke the record for the most number of flights handled in a single day by a single airport. That new record stands at 969. The number includes both landings and take-offs within a 24 hour period recorded between 5.30am on Friday and 5.30am on Saturday. Overall, the airport processed more than 40 flights per hour, besting its own previous record of 935 in 24 hours. And more impressive still is the record in spite of the airport's layout....

  • London’s red buses to run on coffee waste

    London's iconic red buses will soon assimilate into the lives of Londoners by running, at least partially, on coffee. On Monday this week, a company called Bio-bean teamed up with oil giant Shell to introduce a small amount of oil extracted from coffee waste into the diesel and biofuel mixture already used by the buses. The company will produce 6000 litres of fuel a year -- less than 0.01% of the London buses' total use in 2015. But the city's authorities want to increase the number of buses fueled by a blend of diesel and biofuels. It's looking at using cooking oil waste, tallow (a form...

  • Interstellar object seen in solar system for first time

    Astronomers around the world have rushed to observe the first confirmed interstellar object in our solar system, taking the form of a cigar-shaped asteroid. The object, dubbed 'Oumuamua (Hawaiian for "messenger from afar, arriving first"), measures up to 400 metres long and could be up to ten times longer than it is wide, NASA wrote on its website. "That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike asteroids seen in our solar system, it may provide new clues into how other solar systems...