Geek Weekly: Our top weird tech stories for 9 July 2015

Thursday, 09 July, 2015

Geek Weekly: Our top weird tech stories for 9 July 2015

Technology Decisions’ weekly wrap of IT fails, latest tech, new must-have gadgets, ‘computer says no’ moments and more.

Playing with holograms. When 3D images jumped out of us at the movies, we thought that was pretty cool technology. But Hewlett-Packard has gone one step further with its Zvr 60 cm display that allows you to pull objects out of the screen, move them around and view them in mid-air.

Close call! It’s been 9½ years in the making for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft to travel towards Pluto and provide us with the clearest images of the planet we’ve ever seen. And radio communications shut down last weekend. Fortunately, engineers were able to work out what caused the spacecraft’s main computer to crash — an attempt to compress data to free up memory while simultaneously installing an operating sequence for the Pluto encounter on its flash drive. The glitch cost about 30 observations of Pluto, but the lead researcher said it should not affect the overall goals of the mission.

Scorpion robot to enter nuclear plant. Toshiba has created a robot resembling a scorpion with a tail that moves up and down and carries a camera. This latest robot is due to go down Fukushima’s Unit 2 reactor in August. It’s 54 cm long and is radiation hardened to withstand conditions within the reactor for at least 10 hours. Hitachi had previously designed ‘snake’ robots that explored Unit 1 in April, though one of them got stuck.

No tax return money for you. “Technical difficulties” with the myTax online tax-lodgment portal are still causing a headache for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and many disgruntled taxpayers, one week into the new financial year. User complaints include not being able to log in or save their forms to lodge their claims, or being locked out of their account. There are now calls to return to the e-tax software which is due to be phased out next year.

And check this out, just because it’s cool. NASA has released a video showing a 5-year time lapse of the sun. Who knew it could resemble anything other than a giant ball of orange flame? Well, we do. Now.

Image courtesy of Toshiba.

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