A force field umbrella that looks like something straight out of Star Trek, 3D printed houses made from mud for the homeless, Google mapping some of nature’s wonders, a journalist giving hacking a go, and Microsoft’s new smartwatch all in this week’s tech round up.
Microsoft about to release smartwatch?
Microsoft look set to release their own smartwatch in the next few weeks, according to Forbes.
It is still nameless and priceless, but rumour is it will monitor heart rate, have a battery that lasts more than two days (besting the others in the market), and will sync to iPhone and Android as well as Windows Phone.
Now that Apple have pushed back their smartwatch release date to early next year, now could be the perfect time for Microsoft to jump in the market with holiday season fast approaching.
3D house for the homeless
An Italian company named WASP hope 3D printed houses made from mud can help provide warm and safe dwellings for the homeless.
By developing an easily transportable 3D printer that uses the raw materials found at the location of where the house will be, WASP say they can create more houses faster than other 3D printing methods.
WASP plan to begin building these homes next year, starting in nearby Sardinia where they will iron out any kinks, before taking it to more remote locations around the world.
How hard is hacking, really?
Ever wondered just how hard it is to become a hacker? A journalist for The Guardian gave it a go and documented his results in this fascinating read.
Under guidance from some whitehat hackers (they’re the good kind), he learns the tricks of the trade, starting by brushing up on the programs a hacker will use, then giving them a go on some targets.
Gives great insight into just what exactly goes on behind the scenes in the world of hacking.
SEE ALSO: Hacking for good
Google Street View has mapped the streets of the world, and now it’s mapping some of the more precious parts.
Teaming up with the Jane Goodall Institute and the Tanzania National Parks, the tech giant has mapped the Gombe National Park, home to the chimpanzees Goodall began studying in the 1960s.
If you take a look at the gallery of images collected, you’ll see the chimps who live there, plus the institute itself.
"Pushing through the brush, carrying the Street View Trekker, we collected thousands of 360-degree images along the narrow paths of the park to share with the world," Google said in a blog post. "This imagery complements JGI’s current monitoring efforts using satellite imagery and mapping to protect 85 percent of the remaining chimpanzees in Africa."
Kickstarter project of the week goes to an umbrella from China that replaces a fabric shield with one made from air.
While it may look like the Star Ship Enterprise’s force field is protecting your head, it’s actually stopped by powerful airflow being pumped out the top.
Clearly it has caught the attention of backers, easily surpassing their $10,000 target, closing in on $100,000.
The battery lasts 30 minutes, which should be enough time to get out of the rain, but if not it will undoubtedly result in many utterances of “Our shields are down, captain”.
The makers hope to have them available for sale late 2015.
TechCrunch Disrupt Europe winners crowned
Crate have been crowned winners of TechCrunch Disrupt Europe event, with their plan to simplify and revolutionise backend developing.
The description of Crate’s plan quickly gets into developer speak, but it’s still a pretty interesting look into the way big data is changing the way developers have to adapt to huge amounts of information, and how Crate plan to make it much easier to develop.
TechCrunch Disrupt Europe is a spinoff of their American version, where start-ups compete against each other to discover the next big tech thing, with the winner receiving £30,000.
SEE ALSO: The winner of TechCrunch Disrupt America
Beats have gone all out for their new ad, creating a visually striking short film around LeBron James’ return to his hometown of Cleveland, after leaving Miami Heat.
James shows off his ripped upper body, working out to the Hozier track "Take Me to Church," while clips of his hometown memories are spliced in.
The emotional ad is promoting Beats’ Powerbeats2 Wireless, the LeBron inspired Bluetooth earphones which are also sweat and water resistant.