Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

Tech News: 5 Things to Know in Australia Today

TGIF. Want to just jump straight in?


1. Doubt clouds Neuralink brain implant trials

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain implant company, is facing a new roadblock on its extremely ambitious avowed quest to cure blindness and paralysis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reportedly shot down Neuralink’s application to proceed to human trials with its device. For years, Musk has repeatedly claimed that human trials for his brain computer interface are right around the corner. In 2019, Musk said his company was angling for FDA approval by the end of 2020. In 2021, the billionaire tweeted that his company might advance to human trials later the same year. In April 2022, Musk reportedly said that Neuralink was angling to get to its first human implant before 2023. Most recently, in November 2022, he promised human testing was only “about six months” away. Read more about it over here.

2. An underwhelming Tesla show and tell

Staying on Elon Musk for a minute and yesterday Tesla held an investor day. It was underwhelming. Mr Billionaire-Hand-In-Every-Pie presented Tesla’s much-hyped “Master Plan 3″, but instead of revealing a new Tesla model, specifying the date of the repeatedly delayed Cybertruck launch, introducing a more affordable electric car (as previously promised), or announcing some significant advancement in the company’s robo-taxi plans, Musk took a different approach, offering almost no new information about Tesla products. We were semi-impressed with his plans for recycling, though. Although, everything he said could just be bullshit.

3. Using drones to protect the Maldives

Mixing it up a little and over in the Maldives, the infestation of the hairy caterpillar (Euproctis fraterna) is threatening local life and ecosystem. It feeds on the Indian almond tree, whose roots are essential to prevent coastal erosion. It also is covered in toxin-covered hairs that leave severe rashes and blisters upon skin contact, as well as respiratory distress when inhaled, causing closures of schools and businesses. The traditional pesticide method of on-ground pole spraying is inefficient and ineffective, so a team led by entomologist Dr. Bart Knols is finding a new solution with the DJI Agras T30. Dr. Knols is working with local professionals in the Maldives to use the T30 to use drones to spray the Indian almond trees to protect the local ecosystem and economy.

4. Smart boys make smart buoys

Back home in Perth and Harvest Technology Group Limited has built a way for an oil and gas exploration company to gather real-time data from one of the most remote places on the planet – the sea floor. The system uses acoustic transfer technology to securely transmit data 24/7 from a monitoring structure on the sea floor to a “smart buoy” at the surface. The smart buoy acts as a modem to communicate data back onshore via mobile or satellite link – at a fraction of the bandwidth typically required, alleviating the challenge of relying on retrospective data to make critical operational decisions.

5. ACCC ‘greenwashing’ probe uncovers widespread concerns

The ACCC in October launched a campaign to identify deceptive advertising and marketing practices by businesses or industries, an act known as ‘greenwashing’. Following this ‘internet sweep’, the watchdog yesterday announced it will be doing some investigating. “Our sweep indicates a significant proportion of businesses are making vague or unclear environmental claims. This warrants further scrutiny,” ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe said. Read more about it over here.

BONUS ITEM: Something you or someone you care about might be interested in taking a look at.

Have a great weekend.

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