ShinyShiny snippets: Google opens technology centre for disabled

tech for disabilities
An alarm clock for people who are deaf is on display at the Google tech centre. Image: Google

If you design technology with disabled people in mind, you design technology better for everyone. This was the sentiment from Google as it opened its first UK research and development centre dedicated to making tech to help people with disabilities. The Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People and disability charity Everyone Can have worked with Google on developing the centre in London. It is the company’s first accessibility-focused site outside the US. BBC technology reporter Paul Carter said the tech being developed by Google had the “potential to be significant” for disabled people. “Technology now touches so many aspects of everyone’s daily lives, but for disabled people it can literally be life-changing,” he said. BBC 

A jump in demand for electric vehicles helped the UK new car market grow 23.5% in November, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), as the Tesla Model Y became the second best-selling car of the month, with almost 4,000 vehicles sold. Over 55,000 battery, plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles were registered during the month, a 32% increase on last year as EVs climbed to hit a one-third share of the total car market in the UK, with the Model Y becoming the ninth most popular car of the year with almost 25,000 vehicles registered since January. The surge in EV registrations comes despite the removal of the road tax exemption for new EVs by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Evening Standard 

Amazon is planning to resume multimillion-dollar advertising on Twitter, according to reports. The move will see Amazon ply about $100m (£81.3m) per year into the platform, now owned by Elon Muskaccording to Reuters news agency, citing a tweet from the tech blog Platformer. The tweet by a Platformer reporter said the company’s return is pending some “security tweaks” to Twitter‘s advertising platform. According to a Bloomberg report, Twitter’s CEO Mr Musk has said Apple Inc has also resumed its full advertising. Neither Amazon nor Apple have yet responded to the reports. Sky News 

Sky Stream
Sky has taken its satellite-free pay-TV service from the Glass television and shoved it into a tiny streaming box that you can plug into your existing kit and hook up to wifi. The Sky Stream box subscription starts at £25 a month with a £20 fee upfront, which gives you Sky’s entertainment package for 18 months plus a basic Netflix account. It then rises in price depending on any other channels or content you add. Alternatively, you can subscribe on a 31-day rolling contract and chop and change as you see fit, although without an active subscription the box becomes useless. The Guardian. 

The unabashedly liberal city of San Francisco became the unlikely proponent of weaponized police robots last week after supervisors approved limited use of the remote-controlled devices, addressing head-on an evolving technology that has become more widely available even if it is rarely deployed to confront suspects. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 on Tuesday to permit police to use robots armed with explosives in extreme situations where lives are at stake and no other alternative is available. The authorization comes as police departments across the U.S. face increasing scrutiny for the use of militarized equipment and force amid a years-long reckoning on criminal justice. AP News 


Chris Price