Tech Digest daily roundup: UK solar inventions could reduce energy bills

The Solivus Arc is expected to produce 1,000 kWh a year

Two new solar products from British companies could cut bills for those who cannot put panels on their roof. Solivus’s solar sculpture and Filia’s solar blinds could provide households an estimated 10-30% of their electricity. The products use a new flexible thin solar film claimed to be more effective when partially shaded or in low light than traditional silicon panels. Interest in home solar has grown as energy prices have risen by over 50%. Eight years in the making, the barrel-shaped Solivus Arc, the first household product from the Kent-based start-up, can be set up to directly charge an electric car or help power a home. BBC 

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries has written a letter to UK broadband companies asking them to consider raising awareness of their low-cost social tariffs for people on benefits. The appeal was sent to the bosses of BT, O2, Virgin and KCom and others, suggesting they take action to promote their deals available for low-income households. It states that “support is available for 99% of the country”, but Ofcom analysis shows less than 2% of those on Universal Credit and eligible for social tariff products have signed up for them. Yahoo!

3D holograms
of long-dead scientists are being used to inspire a new generation of Irish women to pursue a career in the male-dominated fields of science and technology. The Inspiring Women project, which is still in a trial period, uses actors to present the stories of pioneering Irish women scientists to schoolchildren in an interactive Augmented Reality (AR) setting. Using a process called volumetric capture, the actors appear as three-dimensional holograms which – it’s hoped – will be more engaging and inspirational for a teenage audience than traditional teaching materials. Sky News 

David Tennant’s portrayal of the poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko is fast becoming one of this year’s most anticipated dramas given the backdrop of Putin’s war. Yet ITV will struggle to claim all the credit for the four-part espionage series when it comes to British screens this autumn.  Litvinenko was co-funded by Viaplay, the Swedish entertainment group rapidly evolving into one of Europe’s fastest-growing streaming services…Now, the Scandinavian streamer is preparing to push into the British market by the end of this year. Telegraph 

Building has returned. This morning, Fortnite has re-enabled queues for its signature building feature; it was temporarily removed as part of the game’s latest season, which launched on March 20th. However, while building is back, the combat-focused spirit lives on in the previously-introduced Zero Build mode. For now, the two versions of the game live side-by-side with queues for both regular and Zero Build available for Solo, Duos, Trios, or Squad battle royale combat. The Verge

ExoMars mission, of which the £840m British-built vehicle was part, depended on a Russian Proton rocket. It has cost £840m to develop and taken 15 years to build. But now fears are mounting that the British-built robot rover – which was to have flown on Europe’s ExoMars mission in September – may never make it to the red planet. The craft was to have drilled deep below the Martian surface to collect samples that could bear signs of past or present life, but had its launch on a giant Russian Proton rocket postponed last month after the invasion of Ukraine. The Guardian 

Chris Price
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