Tech Digest daily round up: Amazon puts ‘wellness chambers’ in warehouses


Amazon plans to put “wellness chambers” in its warehouses so that stressed workers can sit inside and watch videos about relaxation. In a video shared on its Twitter account, Amazon said the “AmaZen” chamber would help staff focus on their mental health. But it deleted the post after a wave of ridicule from other social media users. The US retail giant has been repeatedly criticised over working conditions in its facilities. Amazon has not replied to the BBC’s request for comment. On 17 May, the company announced a scheme called WorkingWell focusing on giving staff “physical and mental activities, wellness exercises, and healthy eating support”. Describing the AmaZen booths, it said: “During shifts employees can visit AmaZen stations and watch short videos featuring easy-to-follow well-being activities, including guided meditations, positive affirmations, calming scenes with sounds.” BBC

A TikTok trend which involves using tiny magnets as fake tongue piercings has prompted the NHS to call for the metal balls to be banned amid a rise in people swallowing them. The viral prank sees people placing two magnetic balls on either side of their tongue and wiggling them around to create the illusion that the piercing is real. Ingesting more than one magnet can be life-threatening and cause significant damage within hours, as the balls are forced together in the intestines or bowels, squeezing the tissue so that the blood supply is cut off. At least 65 children have been admitted to hospital in England for urgent surgery in the last three years after swallowing magnets, leading the NHS to issue a patient safety alert earlier this month. Professor Simon Kenny, paediatric surgeon and national clinical director for children and young people at NHS England, wants the magnets – which are widely sold as creative toys – to be banned. Yahoo!

The state-backed Russian cyber spies behind the SolarWinds hacking campaign launched a targeted phishing assault on US and foreign government agencies and thinktanks this week using an email marketing account of the US Agency for International Development (USAid), Microsoft has said. The effort targeted about 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 organisations, at least a quarter of them involved in international development, humanitarian and human rights work, the Microsoft vice-president Tom Burt wrote in a blogpost on Thursday. Microsoft identified the attack’s perpetrators as Nobelium, a group originating in Russia that was also behind the attacks on SolarWinds customers in 2020. Guardian

Venus Aerospace, a Houston startup, said it’s working on a Mach 12 hypersonic aircraft that would cut travel time from Los Angeles to Tokyo to one hour. “This is for regular people,” CEO Sarah “Sassie” Duggleby told Bloomberg Businessweek. At top speed, the aircraft would be moving about 12 times the speed of sound, The Houston Chronicle reported. Most commercial flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo make the trip in about 12 hours. The company said on its website that it’s made breakthroughs in engine efficiency, aircraft shape, and edge cooling technology. That tech would make “one-hour global transport cost-effective,” the company said. Business Insider 

“Don’t make lazy parallels,” Brent Hoberman grumbles. “They’re very different businesses.” It is only days after the online furniture company announced it was planning to go public, but co-founder Hoberman already appears exasperated by the comparisons with his first venture, It’s true that the entrepreneur “got the same feeling” at the start of both companies. “The same people who told me nobody would buy holidays online in 1998 also said nobody would buy furniture online when we were setting up Made.” Still, Hoberman is keen to stress the parallels end there. Telegraph 

Chris Price
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