Tech Update: Teddybots, electric cars and the space race

Business, Technology | Thu 9 Mar | Author – Business & Finance Tesla-Model-S-P85D

Bite-sized news, views and updates from the global tech industry. Edited by Ruraidh Conlon O’Reilly.


Tesla smashes acceleration record

Electric car pioneer Tesla has clocked up yet another milestone in its short but fast history: it has become the fastest-accelerating production car in the world, getting from 0 to 60 in just 2.28 seconds.

The company unlocked its ‘Ludicrous+’ easter egg (a bonus written into the software) in a recent update to the Model S P100D, unleashing yet more performance from its torquey motor.

The experience wowed the Motor Trend test driver, who found that the acceleration ‘snaps your body in a manner that is utterly impossible to replicate in any other street-legal production car on normal tires and dry asphalt at a mid-$100,000 price point” and edges out the Porsche 911 Turbo S.

New Epsons: fit to print?

Printers are among the most derided of gadgets: expensive inks, fiddly connectivity and taking up too much space, many only see action to print out boarding passes or concert tickets. It’s little wonder HP Inc is scaling down its printer operations considerably.

Epson is betting that there’s still life at the top end of the market, though, with its 17-inch 10-colour SureColor model aimed at professional proofing, fine art and photography users. The SC-P500 joins 24-inch and 44-inch models in the range and prints at a whopping 2880x1440dpi resolution.

Sony sets out its stall

Consumer electronics giant Sony unveiled a raft of new products at the start of the year, including new 4K HDR TVs. The A1 series is the firm’s first Bravia OLED TV, with an eight million-pixel panel, Android TV, Chromecast and all mod cons.

The company also unveiled new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray hardware, Dolby Atmos sound bar, Extra Bass wireless speakers and headphones and hi-res audio Walkmen.

Irish firms advance in space race

Two Irish-based operations have landed contracts with the European Space Agency so far this year. In late January, Enniscorthy’s Taoglas secured €633,000 in funding to research antenna elements, data router and Wi-Fi tranceiver technology. The company was founded by joint managing directors Ronan Quinlan and Dermot O’Shea.

In Dublin, Curtiss-Wright has been awarded an even bigger gig: a €4.5m ESA contract, the largest ever awarded to a company in Ireland. The company will provide a telemetry data system for the ESA’s new Vega-C rocket, a mid-sized launcher designed to deliver government, commercial and science payloads into orbit. The first launch is due in June 2019 from French Guiana.

Teddybots land in Ireland

Combining the futuristic and the nostalgic, robot-shaped Teddybots have arrived in Ireland. They have no batteries, sensors or anything techy inside–but its Irish designers promise “fun and educational content to teach young people creative skills in art, music and storytelling” online.

E-health on the march

The Irish Defence Forces have signed up to a new e-health initiative with Citywest-based Clanwilliam Health.

The practice management software solution will work with the Army, Navy and Air Corps personnel management system, helping to keep track of personnel’s health status at home, at sea and overseas.


Kickstarter roundup

Titanic VR, a virtual reality experience of the doomed liner’s sinking and wreckage, is one of the most engaging Irish products on Kickstarter so far this year.

With a €50,000 goal, The Oculus Rift/HTC Vive/Playstation VR-compatible app is promoted by David Whelan of Waterford’s Immersive VR Education, and closes out on March 2nd.

Meanwhile, fellow Irish team myVolts have received the protoypes of their Ripcord USB power source for gadgets and musical equipment.

The innovative and eagerly awaited DC adapter has been delayed by manufacturing hiccups in China but is now performing well in testing: “getting there”, as its creators say.