Today’s Tech Sightings:
No, it’s not science fiction. There are already three men in the world today outfitted with bionic arms that they control with their minds. The patients, who suffered nerve damage in climbing and motorcycle accidents, had their hands amputated and replaced with robotic hands in a procedure called “bionic reconstruction.”
The solar energy sector is booming; and researchers around the world are coming up with novel ideas to harvest the power of the sun. Think bionic leaves and 3D-printed solar powered trees, to name a few.
The Spanish city of Barcelona is getting ready for the hustle and bustle of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), coming up on March 2. The show marks the launch of many new products and features keynote speeches from industry leaders. Last year’s MWC fare drew more than 80,000 attendees.
According to Reuters, Beijing has dropped leading tech companies like U.S. network equipment maker Cisco Systems, among others, from its approved state purchase list. Conversely, the government approved thousands of local brands for purchase. Reuters said some attribute the move to revelations of Western cybersurveillance and China’s inclination to protect its domestic tech industry from competition.
Gemalto, the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards, acknowledged that British and U.S. intelligence services probably hacked its systems in 2010 and 2011. The Franco-Dutch company said the penetration “could not have resulted in a massive theft of SIM encryption keys.” The Intercept published documents last week that it said showed the hacking operation potentially allowed spy agencies to monitor billions of calls, texts and emails around the world.
The restructuring of Sony continues as CEO Kazuo Hirai eyes the company’s chips and batteries division after splitting up TV manufacturing and audio and video into new structures. Speaking in Tokyo Wednesday, Hirai said the chips and batteries division will need to be profitable to stay part of the company.
Citing Google’s recent move to drop GChat support, Microsoft announced it is dropping support for Facebook Messenger and Google chat in Outlook.com. The change is expected in the next few weeks.