Tech Digest daily roundup: Rolls-Royce electric plane takes maiden flight


Rolls-Royce’s first all-electric plane has completed its maiden flight ahead of a world record attempt later this year.  The Spirit of Innovation’s 15-minute flight took place at the Boscombe Down military testing site on Wednesday, powered by the most “power-dense” battery pack assembled for an aircraft, the company said. Rolls said the 400kW electric powertrain was equivalent to 500 horsepower. It will be used in a bid to set a new world record for an electric flight speed of more than 300 miles an hour with the plane later this year. The current record stands at 210mph. Telegraph 

Microsoft is delivering on its promise to kill off passwords by announcing that its users can now completely remove the password from their accounts beginning today. Not only are passwords inconvenient to remember, they are also a prime target for cybercriminals looking to steal your online accounts. Weak passwords are often used as an entry point for cybercriminals and according to a new blog post from Microsoft, 579 password attacks occur every second amounting to 18bn such attacks every year. While you can create strong, complex passwords using a password generator and store them securely using a password manager, many users would prefer to forgo using them entirely and now they can with Microsoft’s help. Tech Radar

SpaceX has launched the world’s first crew of “amateur astronauts” on a private flight to circle Earth for three days. Wednesday night’s successful launch marked the most ambitious leap yet in space tourism. It’s the first chartered passenger flight for Elon Musk’s space company and the first time a rocket streaked toward orbit with a crew that contained no professional astronauts. “It blows me away, honestly,” the SpaceX director, Benji Reed, said on the eve of launch from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center. “It gives me goosebumps even right now to talk about it.” Guardian

A pregnant man and a handshake featuring different skin tones are among the newest emojis to be released by the Unicode Consortium, and will appear on devices in the coming months.  The draft list of the newest emojis released earlier this year by the Unicode Consortium, a non-profit company that promotes the unicode standard, aims to show more diversity in gender. Now that the list has been confirmed and released, containing 37 new emojis – taking the total to 3,633, it will be used by companies to design their own versions which are expected to debut next year. Sky News 

TikTok is under investigation by The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) – its lead regulator in the EU – over two privacy-related issues. The watchdog is looking into its processing of children’s personal data, and whether TikTok is in line with EU laws about transferring personal data to other countries, such as China. TikTok said privacy was “our highest priority”. The Irish DPC said it was specifically looking into GDPR-related issues. These are the EU privacy laws which can potentially lead to enormous fines of up to 4% of a company’s global turnover. BBC

Xiaomi has long made a name for itself in the wearable market and is, in fact, the leading wearable brand worldwide according to Canalys. That’s in part thanks to its excellent Mi Smart Band fitness trackers, which have always been praised as affordable but capable alternatives to Fitbit and others. But so far, Xiaomi has never blessed most of its international audience with an NFC-equipped version of its fitness tracker. That’s changing today, as the company has announced that it’s bringing the Mi Smart Band 6 with NFC to Europe. Android Police 

Chris Price
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