Teen cyber ninjas, 3D printing at home and Apple's AirPods dissected: E&T editors on the week's tech news
E&T staff pick their favourite news stories from the past week and reflect on what these latest developments in engineering and technology mean to them.
Rebecca Northfield, assistant features editor
Turn your teens in, keyboard warriors, but in the good, non-trolling way. Schoolchildren will now be taught how to defend our online world from attacks, which is a darn good idea. We’ve already got them into basic coding in primary school, so it wouldn’t hurt to try teaching older children to defend the world from hackers who could set off nuclear bombs. Or something. As the world becomes more connected, and the Internet of Things gets into everything, future generations are going to have to step up, because it’s not going to be easy to be an online superhero beating the baddies at their game when the villains could potentially be able to find their way into anything, if they have the software and intelligence. I say, teach our kids to be kick-butt tech ninjas. It’ll be a positive move.
Georgina Bloomfield, digital content editor
Investing in a 3D printer could be one of the wisest financial decisions anyone can make, a new study suggests, as the technology could help save consumers significant sums of money in a very short space of time. So far, the only people I know who own personal 3D printers are cosplay enthusiasts. It’s not easy to master the fine art of making a Daredevil mask by hand, you know. On the other hand, will the 3D printer have more of a domestic place in the household? Will it become the new bread maker of our lives? We purchase a gadget with a large cost only to use it twice and stuff it away in a cupboard somewhere. Researchers used 3D-design search engine Yeggi to print the objects, including tool holders, snowboard binder clips, shower heads and mounts for GoPro cameras and Dremel tools. Honestly, it’s quite cool but I’d rather just buy a shower head for a fiver.
Dominic Lenton, managing editor
I’ve got no problems with anyone spending just over £150 on headphones for their mobile. If they’re Apple fans already the technology’s swappable between other gadgets they’re likely to have and whenever I’ve had a chance to listen to audio on high-end equipment I admit the difference is obvious. As someone who baulks at paying out in double digits for something this size that’s inevitably going to get mislaid though, I wonder whether AirPods are an example of nifty engineering for its own sake. That said, I can see the advantages of being wireless, reflected in the fact that cable-free headphones accounted for three-quarters of sales in the US last Christmas. And the fact AirPods detect when you take them out of your ear and pause whatever you’re listening to is a feature that I can see becoming ubiquitous in the years to come. So good luck to the early adopters swanning around with these conspicuous little buds poking out of their ears. For the rest of us, this look at what’s inside the tiny form factor will have to do. Not to mention the Schadenfreude of the zero out of ten rating for reparability which means that if they pack up you’re looking at chucking them away and getting a new pair.