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Week Ending: 28th August - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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This week has, once again, been a busy one in the world of I.T. and tech, with Fitbit launching its new Sense smartwatch, video-conferencing app, Zoom’s, global outage, plus, Rolls-Royce announcing a partnership with Reaction Engines and Virgin Galactic to produce the world’s first supersonic jet.

Don’t worry if you’ve missed out, our trusty roundup is here to bring you right up to date.

Fitbit launches its new Sense smartwatch

This week, Fitbit’s virtual press conference was held where the brand announced the launch of a new watch which will undoubtably rival the Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch.

At Fitbit’s virtual conference, it announced the launch of its most advanced smartwatch to date, the Fitbit Sense smartwatch, which will monitor individuals’ heart rate, skin temperature and how stressed people are. Clever right?

As we all know, 2020 has been a very stressful year for a lot of people, plus, stress is becoming an increasing problem across the globe. To help measure stress levels effectively, Fitbit has installed its new electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor in every watch.

EDA technology measures electrodermal activity responses. Owners of the smartwatch can place their palm over the face of the device to detect small electrical changes in their sweat levels. As a result of measuring the EDA responses, individuals get a better understanding of their body’s response to stress and ultimately how they can manage it.

Every user will also be presented with a Stress Management Score which calculates how the body is responding to stress based on heart rate, sleep, and activity level data.

The new Sense also records ECG straight from users’ wrists which can be sent straight to a doctor if it spots any irregularities. Furthermore, this is a Fitbit which will monitor daily health regimes such as steps and time in the gym, on-board GPS and over 20 on-device exercise modes for improved tracking.

Find out more about the Fitbit Sense here.

Zoom’s global outage

The popular video-conferencing app, Zoom, has had to apologise this week after it suffered a partial failure which left thousands of people in the US, UK and across the world unable to connect to work meetings or classes on Monday.

The areas which were most affected included the east coast of the US and Europe. Zoom apologised to customers on Monday and announced it was working hard to fix the problem which left users unable to start and join Zoom meetings and webinars – a major problem during the coronavirus pandemic!

Zoom Video Communications stated:

“We are in the process of deploying a fix across our cloud. Service has been restored already for some users. We are continuing to roll this out to complete the fix for any users still impacted.”

They later stated:

“We have resolved an issue that caused some users to be unable to start and join Zoom meetings and webinars or manage aspects of their account on the Zoom website. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience.”

Zoom has been an extremely popular video sharing app during Covid-19 with its shares increasing by 300%. It also recorded over 300 million participants during the height of the virus in April.

However, with the likes of Microsoft teams, Skype and Google Meets, Zoom will have to become more reliable in future if it wants to continue this growth.

Find out more here.

Rolls-Royce has partnered with Reaction Engines and Virgin Galactic to produce a supersonic jet

Rolls-Royce has partnered with aerospace firm Reaction Engines to create a propulsion system for the new supersonic jet which will be designed by British spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic.

The partnership, estimated to cost £20 million, includes Reaction Engines sharing its technology with the luxury car engineering company.

Richard Branson who owns Virgin Galactic announced the plane’s design will fly up to 19 passengers at up to three times the speed of sound. Furthermore, if everything goes ahead as planned, the supersonic jet will fly at more than 60,000 feet (twice as high as a normal plane) and the jet will complete a trip from London to New York in just 90 minutes – some jaw-dropping statistics!

The cost of a seat on the new jet has not yet been revealed, but Virgin Galactic is selling spots on its tourist spaceplane VSS Unity for $250,000 and we can only imagine a spot on this supersonic jet will be a lot more.

George Whitesides, Chief Space Officer at Virgin Galactic said:

“We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivalled customer experience.

We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft, and we are pleased to be working with the FAA to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start.

We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high speed travel.”

Discover more here.

Those were some of this week’s biggest stories in I.T. and tech, but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.