E&T news weekly #10 – we choose our favourite news stories from the week

Friday July 11 2014

  Aasha Bodhani Faster Wi-Fi for UK commuter trains

Nowadays, every commuter expects freely available and faster Wi-Fi on their travels, well thanks to Network Rail failing to meet punctuality targets; part of its multimillion-pound penalty will go towards installing faster Wi-Fi speeds on trains. The project is expected to last over a four year period, as commuters travelling on busy routes across England and Wales, such as London, Bedford, Brighton, Portsmouth and Leeds will experiences faster internet access.

Daily digital banking transactions near £1bn in UK

Digital banking is finally being embraced by the British public as digital banking transactions have almost reached £1bn a day according to the British Bankers Association and EY. Also announced is the rise of contactless cards, as spending increased to £6.1m a week this year compared to £3.2m in 2013. It would appear, the negative perception around digital and contactless spending, is not much of a concern, however this adoption will result in the closure of unprofitable bank branches.

Aasha Bodhani, assistant technology features editor


  Jonathan Wilson Energy-saving pan builds on rocket science

The idea that technological principles derived from research in to jet engines and rocket propulsion have filtered down to create the ultimate fast-boiling saucepan is pretty cool. As a devotee of the mashed potato (the food, not the dance), I applaud any new development that speeds up the hob-to-table process.

London busses to go cashless from Sunday

Having ‘enjoyed’ the transitional changes on London’s buses, from the days when an on-board conductor issued tickets and carried spare change in a leather satchel, to cash customers having to pre-purchase a ticket from a machine on the street (an exercise in frustration if short of coins, or encountering a broken machine, in the rain, at night, with your homeward-bound bus bearing down on the stop), the announcement by Transport for London that passengers can now simply use a contactless bank card to pay for ad hoc tickets is very welcome news.

Jonathan Wilson, online managing editor


  Dickon Ross Fashion focus could give UK lead in wearable technology

It could be a big industry for the UK if fashion designers get to work on it.

Dickon Ross, Editor-in-Chief

3D printing allows hands-on approach to ancient artefacts

An interesting application for 3D printers certainly, but not the quite the same as the real thing. Why? Because you know it isn’t the real thing.

Dickon Ross, editor-in-chief


  Abi Grogan Hurricane tracking drones designed by students

I interviewed America’s most prolific hurricane chaser, the late Tim Samaras, for E&T magazine. He would have been excited to see more sophisticated equipment being developed to discover more about storms.

Abi Grogan, assistant engineering features editor


  Edd Gent BAE unveils futuristic aerospace technologies

BAE has revealed some ‘drawing board’ aerospace technologies that it believes could be in use by 2040. Predictions about technology on that kind of timescale are prone to being inaccurate, but they’re nonetheless entertaining and it’s good to see companies allowing their engineers to be creative.

Edd Gent, online news reporter


  James Hayes IBM to invest $3bn in future of semiconductors

This investment reflects IBM’s commitment to playing the long game when it comes to being a major influencer in the development of computing technology at all levels, and its understanding that more and more aspects of ICT – such as optical transmission – can be shrunk onto integrated circuits. It spotted the potential of carbon nanoelectronics earlier than most, and that’s largely because it makes a point of including scientists from a range of specialisms in its multidisciplinary R&D programmes.

James Hayes, technology features editor


  dominic-lenton Labour backs carbon capture and storage ahead of elections

It’s refreshing to see the political sabre-rattling ahead of next year’s general election moving beyond the headline issues of the economy and immigration. I wonder how many people will cast their vote based on how parties are planning to address longer-term challenges like climate change though?

3D printing allows hands-on approach to ancient artefacts

The reopened Imperial War Museum is a great example of how technology is bringing the past to life, but there are still lots of places where the stuff of history is behind glass cases or carries a ‘do not touch’ signs. Lancaster University and Kendal Museum have used an increasingly affordable bit of engineering to put objects thousands of years old into the hands of schoolchildren without worrying about how fragile they are.

Dominic Lenton, managing editor

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