ShinyShiny snippets: Esports U-Turn for 2026 Commonwealth Games

The women’s Dota2 team won bronze for Singapore at the 2022 Commonwealth Games esports pilot event. Image: Global Esports Federation

Competitive gaming will not be a medal event in the 2026 Commonwealth Games, after a surprise U-turn. Esports was a pilot event at the 2022 Birmingham Games, co-funded by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Global Esports Federation (GEF). And the CGF called this a success, with its president saying she expected it to be included “going forward”. But the organisers of the 2026 Games, in Victoria, Australia, say esports will not feature. Despite numerous requests from BBC News, the CGF and GEF, the 2026 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee refused to give any specific reasons for the U-turn. BBC 

Microsoft has refreshed its line of first-party Surface hardware with new 2-in-1s, laptops and an enormously expensive all-in-one PC. While Windows computers and tablets aren’t exactly hard to come by, the Surface line is the closest thing that the PC world has to Apple’s MacBook, given Microsoft makes both the hardware and software for a theoretically smoother experience. Past devices have certainly been received positively by reviewers, even if they do cost a pretty penny. First out of the blocks will be the Surface Laptop 5, pictured above, which arrives on October 25. At first glance, it appears pretty similar to last year’s Surface Laptop 4, and if you put the two side by side, you’d struggle to tell the difference. Standard 

The Pixel 7 Pro builds on the success of last year’s model, with meaningful upgrades to its camera that put it on a level with the most capable and expensive models from Samsung. It is a well-made phone with a great screen, good performance and reasonable battery life. The faster fingerprint scanner is welcome, as is the fast but less secure face recognition for unlocking the phone. Google’s smart systems from in-line dictation to unblurring tech are thoroughly impressive, and you will get at least five years of software support from release. But really, the Pixel 7 Pro is all about the camera. The 10x optical zoom puts it in a class that only Samsung’s very best £1,149 phone can match. Guardian 

Scientists have developed robotic boot that helps people with mobility problems. Image: Kurt Hickman, Stanford University

A robotic boot that can help elderly people to walk by taking two stone off their weight has been developed by a team of scientists. It features a motor that works with calf muscles to give the wearer an extra push with every step, researchers from Stanford University in the US said. The team said its work, published in the journal Nature, could help people with mobility impairments “move throughout the world as they like”. Patrick Slade, a PhD student at the Stanford Biomechatronics Laboratory and the first author on the study, said: “There are a number of clinical populations we hope to help including older adults, people with muscle weakness and specific injury recoveries. Telegraph

A research team in the US has shown that human brain tissue implanted into rats can integrate into its host’s brain, promising to give scientists an entirely new way to study brain disorders – but raising ethical questions too. Professor Sergiu Pasca and colleagues at Stanford University in California took sesame seed-sized clumps of human brain cells called “organoids” grown in a test tube and implanted them into the brains of baby rats. In the research, published in the journal Nature, they report that not only does the human brain tissue survive, but it incorporates itself into the rat brain, making connections with rat brain cells and being served by the rat’s blood supply. Sky News 

Chris Price