Tech Digest daily roundup: Virgin Hyperloop changes direction


Sir Richard Branson’s “hyperloop” business, which aims to build a futuristic means of transport, has cut half its staff as part of a shift towards moving cargo rather than passengers. Virgin Hyperloop has made 111 people redundant shortly after a clear-out of top executives. The project is backed by Sir Richard’s Virgin Group as well as the ports operator DP World and the government of Dubai. Hyperloop is building a transport system that propels pods through tubes at speeds reaching 670mph. The technology was first proposed by Elon Musk. He said others were welcome to develop the technology as he was too busy with Tesla and SpaceX. It is based on vacuum technology and uses magnetic railways to guide the trains. Telegraph 

The global transition to net zero carbon emissions will be in jeopardy if the world doesn’t find a way to meet the rapidly increasing demand for lithium, copper and other materials critical to the green revolution, according to a representative of the planet’s largest mining companies. The CEO of the International Council of Metals and Mineral Mining, Rohitesh Dhawan, said that lithium was a particular challenge for many of the council’s members, which include mining giants Rio Tinto, Anglo American, BHP and Glencore. There is such a shortage of lithium, which is essential for producing batteries, that its price has jumped from $9,600 per tonne in January 2021 to more than $50,000 per tonne in January 2022. Sky News 

This week will bring a flurry of Pokémon announcements in the run up to the franchise’s annual Pokémon Day – that’s on Sunday, 27th February. Mark your calendar for news on Pokémon Sword and Shield tomorrow, Pokémon Café Mix on Wednesday, Pokémon Unite on Thursday, Pokémon’s P25 music program on Friday, and then Pokémon Go this Saturday. Further announcements are then expected on Sunday, Pokémon Day itself. Surely, the hugely-popular Pokémon Legends Arceus will get some love then. Eurogamer

Image credit: Samsung

Amidst weeks of reports that its 2022 QD-OLED TVs are facing manufacturing delays, Samsung has announced the European release dates for its new line-up of Neo QLED 8K and 4K TVs. The 2022 range of Neo QLED 8K and 4K TVs will be available to purchase from 6th April, with a pre-order window open from 16th March until 5th April and pre-registration running from 22nd February until 15th March. The line-up, topped by the flagship QN900B, includes six series, with sizes ranging from 43-inches up to 85-inches. What Hi-Fi

Donald Trump’s social-media platform, Truth Social, has launched, in a limited form, on the US Apple App Store. The app had similarities to Twitter, commentators noted – Mr Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube last year. And some early users had difficulties registering accounts. Project lead and former congressman Devin Nunes said it was expected to be fully operational by the end of March. Some of those trying to register had been told: “Due to massive demand, we have placed you on our waitlist,” the Reuters news agency reported. Created by the year-old Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), Truth Social had previously been made available to about 500 beta testers. BBC 

Chris Price
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