Tech Digest daily round up: Virgin Hyperloop releases new video


Virgin Hyperloop has released a video illustrating its plans for passenger pods using magnetic levitation to travel above 1,000km/h (600mph) through tubes containing a near-vacuum. Rather than connecting to form a train, the pods will travel in convoy, able to leave and join a static track individually, like cars on a motorway. Last year, Virgin Hyperloop completed its first crewed test-track journey, reaching speeds of 170km/h. But a critic says the video is “hype”. BBC 

A flight from New Orleans to Seattle was evacuated after a passenger’s mobile phone caught fire inside the cabin. Fortunately the phone did not catch fire while the plane was in the air and all 129 passengers and six crew members were safely transported to the terminal, with no serious injuries although two people received treatment at hospital. Ray Lane, a spokesperson for Alaska Airlines, told Associated Press that the phone “overheated and began sparking” after the landing. The phone was a Samsung Galaxy A21, according to a spokesperson for the Port of Seattle, although they added the device was “burned beyond recognition”. Sky News 

Pre-orders for the new slate of Samsung devices opened on August 11. The company said that shipments of those pre-orders should arrive on or before August 27, with general sales beginning the same day. However, it appears Samsung is having trouble keeping up. Some folks in Germany who pre-ordered the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3Z Flip 3, and new Samsung smartwatches, are seeing emails from Samsung notifying them of shipping delays (via All About Samsung). In some cases, the emails say it could be mid-September before they see their new products arrive. Android Authority 

Opel Rocks-e (2021)

Vauxhall’s German sibling brand, Opel, has revealed the Rocks-e, a rebadged and lightly restyled version of the Citroën Ami for the German market.  Opel hails the new arrival as the “beginning of the SUM [sustainable urban mobility] era” and highlights the fact that it can be driven in Germany from the age of 15, licence dependent. It sits below the Corsa-e supermini in Opel’s expanding electric line-up and is technically identical to the Ami on which it is based. A 5.5kWh battery provides 43 miles of range and can be charged in 3.5 hours, while an 8bhp motor sends the quadricycle to a top speed of 28mph. Autocar

One hundred people in Dorset who need social care are to be monitored by artificial intelligence (AI) as part of a three-month pilot. Sensors installed in homes will track behaviour and electricity usage which the AI will analyse to spot potential health problems. Lilli, the UK-based firm behind the technology, says it could cut costs and the number of care visits required. But one expert said the scheme might feel invasive to some patients…In the Dorset pilot, each participant will have an average of between six and nine sensors installed in their homes, said Nick Weston, chief commercial officer at Lilli. BBC 

Just Eat is to create 1,500 jobs in the North East as part of a £100m investment in a customer services hub in Sunderland. The food delivery company said it had recruited for 300 roles and aimed to fill the remaining openings over the next 12 months. Employees will initially work from home, before moving to a “hybrid” of mixed home and office working. The new openings come as Just Eat attempts to face down competition from Deliveroo and UberEats. Just Eat has sought to win market share from rivals, in particular in London. Telegraph 

Chris Price
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