Weekend takeaway: 10 tech stories you need to take with you

13 May 2016

Essential weekend reading: digital crisis in Irish schools, Ireland's biopharma leaders and Apple's Project Titan

Ten nuggets of knowledge to take away for the weekend, including: digital crisis in Irish schools, Ireland’s biopharma leaders and Apple’s Project Titan.

1. 13 biopharma companies making their own luck in Ireland

On the day that’s in it, we take a look at 13 of the leading biopharmaceutical companies with operations in Ireland, in an industry worth a total of €12.6bn to the Irish economy.

2. Digital skills crisis in Irish schools prompts call for urgent reform

A senior academic at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has warned that fundamental reform in Ireland’s education system is needed if the digital skills gap in Irish society is to be bridged. A Google-funded programme discovered one 500-student school with only one computer for every 20 students.

3. DCU professor calls on researchers to impress at ResearchFest

ResearchFest will showcase the diversity of Irish research in plain language – so get your entries in now, says Prof Christine Loscher.

4. Apple triples R&D budget to $10bn for biggest pivot yet: Project Titan

Apple’s fabled product secrecy is a key ingredient in its success, but something big must be on the cards considering the company’s R&D budget has grown from $3bn to $10bn in four years. That big pivot could be Apple’s electric car ambition, codenamed Project Titan.

5. 1,800 construction jobs as Microsoft gets permission to build 4 data centres

Software giant Microsoft has received planning permission from South Dublin County Council to build four huge data centres that could involve investment of €900m, create 140 permanent jobs and as many as 1,800 construction jobs.

6. Life imitates art as ISS survives ‘Gravity’ moment

An image of one of the International Space Station’s (ISS) windows with a chip in it shows just how risky space exploration really is.

7. Alphabet steals Apple’s ‘most valuable company’ crown

Google’s parent company Alphabet is now valued at $498bn, overtaking Apple ($494bn) as the world’s most valuable company. However, will its lead last longer than a few days this time?

8. Pure Telecom to start providing 1Gbps broadband services around Ireland

Following on the heels of a €20m deal with Eir last year, Pure Telecom has launched the first of its ‘Lightning’ 1Gbps broadband services.

9. Ingestible origami robot can crawl into your stomach and heal wounds

Imagine swallowing a tablet knowing it contains a robot that, when it enters your stomach, unfolds like origami and crawls its way around to heal where the ailment is. This could be the future of healthcare.

10. Cloud working embraced by growing number of regional businesses – study

Adding to the impetus for rapid broadband rollout in rural Ireland, new research indicates that cloud technology usage has doubled among regional businesses and more staff are working at home on a regular basis.

Weekend takeaway image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years