Tech Digest daily roundup: Could electricity be beamed wirelessly from space?

Image: European Space Agency

Space chiefs are to investigate whether electricity could be beamed wirelessly from orbit into millions of homes. The European Space Agency will this week likely approve a three-year study to see if having huge solar farms in space could work and be cost effective. The eventual aim is to have giant satellites in orbit, each able to generate the same amount of electricity as a power station. Research ministers will consider the idea at a Paris meeting on Tuesday. While several organisations and other space agencies have looked into the idea, the so-called Solaris initiative would be the first to lay the ground for a practical plan to develop a space-based renewable energy generation system. BBC 

Just one in seven deals on Black Friday offer a genuine discount, according to new research from Which? The consumer champion analysed 214 Black Friday deals last year at seven major home and tech retailers – Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys, John Lewis, Richer Sounds and Very – looking at their prices every day in the six months before and after the sale day (26 November 2021). It found the majority of promotions (183 – or 86%) were cheaper or the same price in the six months before the sales. Of the deals, 209 (98%) were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year. None were cheaper on Black Friday alone. Sky News 

Image: Sony/Honda

Sony and Honda are joining forces on new electric vehicles that could incorporate PlayStation 5 consoles. Sony Honda Mobility was established in September and plans to build electric vehicles with entertainment like music, movies, and the PlayStation 5 in mind. “Sony has content, services and entertainment technologies that move people. We are adapting these assets to mobility, and this is our strength against Tesla,” president Izumi Kawanishi told the Financial Times (thanks TheGamer). Yasuhide Mizuno, who previously headed up Honda cars, said the joint venture will put content first, with the aim to release its first car model in North America by 2025. Eurogamer

Staff at Welsh semiconductor plant Newport Wafer Fab have accused Grant Shapps of putting 600 jobs at “grave risk” in the run up to Christmas by blocking a Chinese-backed takeover of the factory. The Business Secretary last week announced that Chinese-owned Nexperia will be forced to unwind its £63m takeover on national security grounds. Engineers at Nexperia Newport Staff Association have written to Mr Shapps urging him to reconsider the decision, saying: “You must see sense and protect our jobs by allowing Nexperia to keep their Newport factory.” Telegraph

Apple Books has been my main reading app for years for one very specific reason: its page-turning animation is far and away the best in the business. Unfortunately, that went away with iOS 16 and has been replaced by a new animation that makes it feel like you’re moving cards through a deck instead of leafing through a digitized version of paper. And despite the fact that I’ve been trying to get used to the change since I got onto the beta in July, I still feel like Apple’s destroyed one of the last ways that my phone brought joy into my life. The Verge

Chris Price
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