Week Ending: 18th June - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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How time flies, it’s already Friday! That means it’s time for our Weekly Roundup! Bringing you up to date on the latest developments from the world of tech and I.T.

This week we look at the graphene breakthrough which gives hard drives ten times more storage, food delivery apps overcharging up to 44% more and Virgin Atlantic explores ‘flying taxi’ partnership.

Let’s catch you up.

Graphene breakthrough gives hard drives more storage

Would you believe that a material used in pencils could also be used to develop ultra-high density hard drives giving them 10 times more storage? Well, even the tiniest amount of graphene can achieve this!

Hard drives are made of two components, a platter and a head. The data is written onto the platter using the magnetic head, this then spins rapidly with the space between the head and the platter continually decreasing to allow for higher densities.

This spacing is normally taken up by carbon-based overcoats to protect the platter from any mechanical damage. Throughout time these overcoats have decreased from 12.5nm to only three nanometres (3000 times wider than a human hair) however, researchers have managed to make this even narrower! Using thin layers of graphene, hard drives will have less friction and be provided with better protection again corrosion.

Dr Anna Ott, from Cambridge Graphene Centre, commented,

“Demonstrating that graphene can serve as protective coating for conventional hard disk drives and that it is able to withstand HAMR conditions is a very important result. This will further push the development of novel high areal density hard disk drives.”

The increase in HDD’s data density is critical to more sustainable and durable data recording. In 2020 around 1 billion terabytes of fresh HDD storage was produced meaning these results indicated a route for mass application of graphene in cutting edge technologies.

With more materials being introduced to technology, who knows what developments we will discover in the future!

Read more here.

Food-delivery apps up to 44% more expensive

During the pandemic, many people have relied on food-delivery apps to obtain groceries or full meals quickly without having to leave the house. However, according to a Which? survey this may not have been the cheapest option.

Apps such as Deliveroo, UberEats and Just Eat have become increasingly popular over the past year for their convenience, but research conducted by Which? shows that on average a takeaway will cost 23% more on an app rather than ordering directly from the restaurant.

Comparing the cost of meals from five restaurants bought directly and ordered on apps showed that Deliveroo was the most expensive, costing an average of 31% more than ordering directly. UberEats followed in second with it costing an extra 25% more and Just Eat in third with orders costing only 7% more.

The reason behind this price increase comes down to commission rates, for Deliveroo the extra money is based on paying the riders fees among other things such as reinvesting back into the business and customer services.

Not only are there hidden fees, but complaints against food-delivery apps, compared to the restaurant itself, are also higher. Many customers found complaining difficult, with the apps not having sufficient customer service representatives or being offered credit, rather than money back, as a refund.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, commented,

“Next time you fancy a takeaway, you should be aware that the undoubted convenience offered by a delivery app comes with a hidden additional cost. If something goes wrong with your order, you might find yourself caught between the restaurant and the app.”

Technology has proven to be a blessing for most during the pandemic, however when does convenience outweigh overcharging?

Discover more here.

Virgin Atlantic explores ‘flying taxi’ partnership

Commercial flying giant, Virgin Atlantic, has announced its latest exploration in the transportation sector…a flying taxi service. In partnership with Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace, the airline has suggested electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) could fly from towns to major airports.

Many companies have promoted the idea of an autonomous ‘flying taxi’ that could pick up passengers from rooftops in city centres and take them to where they need to be. Think Uber but in the sky! Virgin Atlantic’s proposal is slightly less adventurous than this, suggesting that an eVTOL aircraft could pick people up from a city then fly them to a major airport such as London Heathrow.

Vertical Aerospace has commented that their VA-X4 craft would be able to carry four passengers and pilot up to 100 miles, all while being emissions-free and quieter than a helicopter. This craft could be ‘near silent’ whilst cruising.

Michael Cervenka, Vertical Aerospace president commented,

“There is a lot of hype in this market, we have taken the approach that is pushing the bounds of what is available in terms of technology, but not going beyond. The VA-X4 will be quieter than a helicopter, the rotors and wings would still make noise in forward flight but will sound no louder than a refrigerator from the ground, when cruising overhead. The company’s goals could be achieved with today’stechnology rather than hoping for the invention of a ‘magical new battery’.”

The development of this aircraft would require new air-traffic control technology along with public acceptance of more aircraft in cities and improvements in automation which could be a decade away. However, the concept itself is an exciting move forward in the technology industry that we would be excited to trial!

Find out 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.