Tim Peake Will Return to Outer Space

Wednesday 08 February 2017 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

With an announcement just in that British Astronaut, and Techmix Magazine cover star, Tim Peake, is set to return to space, we ask: What is daily life like as an Astronaut?

The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable human-made satellite that orbits Earth between 205 - 270 miles above us – about the same distance as London to Paris. Life on board is mainly about conducting experiments, but living in zero gravity certainly isn’t easy. So just what is it like to live in space?

“You wake up in the morning, have a cup of tea, eat a bacon sandwich and get to work” – Tim Peake

Daily Schedule

Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm, an astronaut’s day is mapped out on the computer. Monitored by mission control back on Earth, they race to work at the pace of the red line as it moves across the screen. Experiments change but lunch and two hours of exercise remain the same.

The daily schedule of ISS astronauts: A race to keep up with the red line.
Photo Credit: NASA


With ovens but no fridges, astronauts make their own meals but in a slightly different way. Spag-bol for dinner? Just add water. Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Add heat and water. Brownies? Ketchup? It’s all there. Meals are planned to ensure each astronaut gets the right nutrition for the extreme conditions.

Tim Peake's daily food supply.
Photo Credit: Tim Peake/Flickr


With 15.5 orbits in 24 hours, 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets, you can’t rely on the sun to tell you it’s night time. So, the ISS is set to GMT - a good split between US and Russian time – which means whatever time it is in London, that’s what time it is for the ISS astronauts.

The European Space Agency control room, Munich, Germany.
Photo Credit: ESA


When water doesn’t run, it sticks to your skin instead, showering suddenly becomes a little trickier. So instead, damp wash cloths are the best alternative. And of other bathroom hygiene, Tim’s only comment is “When going to the toilet, gravity is your friend”.

The toilet on board the ISS.
Photo Credit: Tim Peake/Flickr

Free time to be creative

Whilst in space, Tim found his creative side and a new passion for photography. He spent most of his spare moments in the Cupola, gazing out of its 7 windows and capturing breath-taking images like these.

Tim relaxing in the Cupola.
Photo Credit: Tim Peake/Flickr

Aruara Astralis, photographed by Tim on 12th June, 2016.
Photo Credit: Tim Peake/Flickr

England on St. George's Day. 23rd April, 2016.
Photo Credit: Tim Peake/Flickr


Read all about Tim's return to Earth here.

Should We Colonise Mars?

Monday 23 January 2017 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe


Should We Colonise Mars?

Scientists, innovators and explorers all agree; if the human race has a next destination in space, Mars is it. SpaceX have successfully created the world’s first reusable rocket, Falcon 9, which has instantly reduced the cost of spaceflight 100 times over. As a direct result, both SpaceX and NASA have announced plans to send humans to Mars, with the ultimate aim of colonising the planet:


"I think there are really two fundamental paths... One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event… The alternative is to become a spacefaring civilisation and a multi-planet species.”

- Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, the world’s most successful private space company.


"Mars is the next tangible frontier for human exploration, and it's an achievable goal. We [will] become Earth Independent, building on what we've learned on the International Space Station and in deep space to send humans to low-Mars orbit in the early 2030s.”

NASA, Journey to Mars

These announcements spark a major debate around practical logistics, potential risks, and moral dilemmas; Should we colonise Mars? What’s your view? We asked students from Tech City College to explore the pros and cons of human life on Mars.



Ayub Mapara

Engineering Student, Tech City College

"History suggests that, someday, the Earth will no longer be a suitable home for us. With five mass extinctions already recorded, it’s inevitable another will happen eventually. So we should colonise neighbouring planets to ensure our survival, and become an interplanetary species.

But why Mars? First, it’s similar to Earth. Mars has immense amounts of water frozen underground, along with the same rotational patterns. Second, we can develop sustainable fuel there through fusion technologies. A millilitre of liquid hydrogen can produce energy equivalent to 20 tons of coal. But we must consider the planet’s toxic atmosphere. Pushing the boundaries of science and technology industry leaders have come up with ways of making Mars’ atmosphere more like Earth’s, including: using giant space mirrors to reflect sunlight and melt the polar ice caps into oceans; redirecting and smashing asteroids into Mars to release trapped air, water and heat to speed up the melting process; and growing plants to release greenhouse gases, reducing CO2, and making the atmosphere more habitable.

Once all of this is done, travelling to Mars will offer a fresh start for the human race to become a more intelligent and civilised species. Becoming an interplanetary species is inevitable."



Detta Wadday

Science Student, Tech City College

"The many problems with Mars start with no surface water and an atmosphere that is deadly to humans. Plus, lethal solar radiation, incredibly low temperatures and none of the natural resources we have here on Earth. However, humanity is the real problem. If we cannot live on our own planet without destroying it, morally is it right for us to go to another and potentially cause more damage?

To get around these problems, advocates of Mars colonization talk about “terraforming” - increasing its temperature to make it more like Earth. Antarctica has the closest temperatures to the red planet, an average of -49°C (56°F) compared to an average of -55°C (-67°F) on Mars. Despite having a completely breathable atmosphere and plenty of fresh water, Antarctica has no permanent residents; so what really makes Mars so appealing? To successfully colonise Mars, we will need self-sustaining, resource neutral systems using solar energy. Seemingly impossible even here on Earth.

Perhaps we should put our efforts into conserving and appreciating our own planet first. Earth is teeming with fascinating life forms and covered with mind-blowing geographic features. If we start treating Earth with respect, we may not need Mars as a back-up plan."


What do you think?

Join the debate

Be your own Online Music Producer... Free!

Friday 06 January 2017 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana

Music. It's like pizza. Sure, there's good pizza and bad pizza but if I offer you a dodgy slice – be honest – you're still going to take the pizza. As it goes with baked cheese on dough, so it goes with music. Your playlist may be packed full of Skrillex, but there was that one time you sneaked an ear pop at Katy Perry and Spotify never forgets.

Our appetite for music is fiercer and more eclectic than ever before. We want the latest, we want the greatest and we want it all the time. The online music war is over (ask your parents what an HMV is). Music to stream at your fingertips has meant that today, your favourite tracks are instantly available and free (ish) to all. Bad news for established artists – great news for you. Why? Thanks to myriad online platforms like SoundCloud and Beats, there has never been a better time to go from coulda-woulda-shoulda to fledgling artist. So get out there. Make something. Put it online. Let the world see what you have to offer.

But what if you're not an aspiring artist, perhaps you fancy a lofty perch as a mogul music producer? You need a band. We now have unprecedented access to the minds of our peers via social media as well as public playlists on our favourite streaming apps. We know what our friends are listening to, when they're listening to it, and we know what we have in common with our peers. Those with similar tastes may have similar aspirations. That girl who sits three rows across from you? Might have a voice that can blow the doors off any room she likes! That boy at the bus stop with bitchy resting face that you pass every day? Turns out he's an incredible guitarist. Perhaps you've created a track and discover an aspiring DJ online who just happens to be the remixing key to unlocking its full potential. Build your online community. Invest in each other. Use the tools at your disposal... the key tool, being access. We (mostly you - my drumming days are over) have an opportunity to build a community of digital artists. It just requires someone to put the pieces together and put their hand up. And maybe that someone is you.

Okay, so there's platforms out there, you've got your content sorted, but you don't have the software to record your soon-to-be masterpiece? Not a problem. There are free software and music making programs available online, like Temper and DarkWave Studio, and the majority have comprehensive online tutorials and helpful user communities to help as you take your first steps into music production. This game is a marathon, not a sprint. Anything worth doing, probably takes longer than fifteen minutes. Invest in yourself and learn. Last issue's cover star and online supremo Jamal Edwards did not wake up one day and discover he had a burgeoning empire. He put his hand up, and behind the flashy success of SB.TV, lay pain-staking hours of learning to edit via online video tutorials. This is where success begins.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there. Make something. Be fearless and experiment. Anything you make today is 100% better than the thing you didn't make. What does this mean? It means you can't fail. Your bedroom is now your studio, your mobile phone – your mobile office. So get in your studio, flip the lap top open... and dazzle us. We've been waiting for you.

These platforms, online communities and free software have democratised music production and industry itself to such an extent that what you create in your bedroom today, could be heard by a girl in Los Angeles or a boy in Cape Town tomorrow. These platforms have given everybody the opportunity to have their voice heard. I dare you to pick up the microphone...


The World’s Most Powerful Women 2016

Monday 21 November 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

With winter forcing us to retreat indoors, the summer hype of Pokemon Go seems forever ago. And with nothing but the dread of Christmas shopping to look forward to, 2016 is coming to an end. What better time to take a positive reflection back on the year that has passed.

Forbes recently published their list of the World’s Most Powerful Women in 2016, and we noticed a certain tech-y trend in the top spots. Counting down from 8, we’ve focused on the stories of the tech leaders who also happen to be some of most empowering women around.



Susan Wojcicki

CEO, YouTube, U.S.

In 1998, a little start-up called Google set up office in her San Francisco garage. In 1999, she became Google’s first marketing manager, and has since developed their range of successful advertising and analytics products: AdWords, Ad Sense and Google Analytics. She handled two of Google’s largest acquisitions; YouTube (2006) and DoubleClick (2007). In 2014, she became the CEO of YouTube. Wojcicki is; a mother of 5, the first Google employee to take maternity leave, the CEO of the world’s most successful video sharing platform, and a massive advocate of finding your career-family balance.



Sheryl Sandberg

COO, Facebook, U.S.

Early in her career, Sandberg worked for the US Secretary of the Treasury from 1996-2001. Once Bill Clinton’s cabinet ended, she moved to Silicon Valley, serving as Senior Vice President at Google. After meeting Mark Zuckerberg at a Christmas party in 2007, she joined Facebook as Chief Operations Operator. In 2012, she became Facebook’s first female member of the board of directors. A passionate spokesperson for gender equality in the workplace, she writes in her book: “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”. Creator of the #BanBossy campaign, she is a passionate believer that equality will become a reality if it is instilled in children from a young age.



Christine Lagarde

Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, France

A lawyer and politician, Lagarde was the first woman to become finance minister in a G8 summit (the world leaders), and in 2011, she became the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund – a position she has just been reelected into for a second 5 years.



Mary Barra

CEO, General Motors, U.S.

The first female CEO of any global car company, Barra has worked her way up through the ranks at General Motors. She joined as a co-op student aged 18, climbing the ladder for 24 years all the way to CEO in January 2014.



Melinda Gates

Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S.

Naturally intellectual, with a strong interest in computers, Gates graduated in Computer Science, and took a job at Microsoft. Climbing the ladder over her 9 years with the company, her last role was General Manager of Information Products. After meeting at a company event, Melinda and Bill dated for 6 years before marrying in 1994. That year the couple set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is now the largest private foundation in the world. The non-profit’s aims are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.



Janet Yellen

Chair, Federal Reserve, U.S.

In 2014, Yellen became the first female to hold the position of Chair of the Federal Reserve, which she was nominated for by President Obama. This position is the head of the central banking system of the U.S.



Hillary Clinton

Democratic Party Leader, U.S.

Graduating in the top 5% of her class, Clinton went on to train in Law, and later became the first female partner of Rose Law Firm, Arkansas. She was First Lady for 8 years whilst her husband Bill was President of the United States of America from 1993-2001. A powerful advocate of women’s rights since having the stage to do so, she delivered a famous speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995, where she declared "it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights". The speech was a key moment for the empowerment of women, and it has been quoted for decades following it. Now she is leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S.



Angela Merkel

Chancellor, Germany

Chancellor, is Germany’s title for Prime Minister. The first female leader of Germany, Merkel is currently in her third term and has been in power since 2005. She is frequently named the most powerful woman in the world, and has just announed plans to run for her fourth term in 2017.


Take inspiration, lades. See Forbes’ full list of the World’s Most Powerful Women 2016 here.


Related Links:

Fortune's Most Powerful Women 2016

Royal Navy Unmanned Warrior 16

Monday 17 October 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

Off the west coast Scotland and Wales, the Royal Navy’s Unmanned Warrior 16 demonstration is well underway. Taking the (remote control) wheels on Thursday 13th October, the Navy and 40 collaborating companies are putting on a spectacular display of over 50 Maritime Autonomous Systems (MAS) covering the roads, skies and sea for over 6 weeks. In other words, the UK’s real-life Q’s, M’s and 00’s are driving the very best in battle machinery to the biggest and most competitive arena there is: the open air. Robot Wars we’re glad you returned, but we want a ticket to this party!

Photo Credit: Royal Navy / Twitter

Photo Credit: Royal Navy

At the cutting edge, the collection enters the realms of “surveillance, intelligence-gathering and mine countermeasures” and showcases the very latest in military technology. This is the first of the Warrior displays to feature autonomous engineering and is the first since the government announced the new “Defence Innovation Initiative and the £800million fund that supports the generation of ideas to benefit both defence and British businesses”.

Photo Credits: Ministry of Defence / YouTube

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said:

“Unmanned Warrior is a clear demonstration of the Royal Navy’s ambition to lead and win through technological innovation. Unmanned maritime systems will change how we operate, but they’re just the start. Our pursuit of new technologies and ideas – from big data to 3D-printing – will ensure we remain one of the most capable and successful navies in the world.”

With tech like this filling the landscape, we’re pretty gutted our invite got lost in the post. But for now, it’s enough to check out cool images like this and imagine an alternative reality where our surname is Bond and this boat is heading straight to our front door…

Photo Credit: BAE Systems/Twitter


Royal Navy

Royal Navy Unmanned Warrior 16

Ministry of Defence

BAE Systems Maritime

Elon Musk Announces Plans to Colonise Mars

Monday 03 October 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

Speaking at the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) on Tuesday 27th September 2016, Elon Musk, founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, addressed a huge audience live and online across the world to unveil his ambitious plans to make the human race a multiplantetary species.

- A multi-what did you say?

A multiplanetary species.

- Oh. :0

Photo Credit: SpaceX/YouTube

His mission for SpaceX, and for the human race as a whole, is to make us the only living species we know of, to colonise and live on more than one planet at the same time. And he was speaking at the IAC on Tuesday to explain how.

Yep. Mind blown and the introduction has only just started.

And so, he began this hour long speech by addressing the question "First of all, why go anywhere? Right?".

Yep. Right. I mean, we quite like it here, it's warm (most of the time - outside of the UK), our friends are here, and oh also, THERE IS OXYGEN. Always a bonus.

"I think there are really two fundamental paths... One path is we stay on Earth forever um, and then there will be some eventual extinction event. Um. I don't have an immediate doomsday prophesy but there's, eventually history suggests there will be some doomsday event."

"The alternative is to become a spacefaring civilisation and a multiplanet species which, er, I hope you would agree that is the right way to go."

And so, after a glossed-over prediction of the end of humanity and an unusual roar of agreement from the conference audience, he began to explain how.

Photo Credit: SpaceX/YouTube

The primary objective to make this happen, is to make going to live on Mars an affordable option. Only then can it become reaslistic. At the moment there may be millions of people across the world who would like to go if they could, but who can afford to pay the $10m that it currently costs for one seat? Very few, that's who.

But if somehow tickets to Mars were to cost the same as, say, the average home (approx. $200,000), then suddenly it is a realisitic option, and the choice then becomes: Do I want a home on Earth... or a home on Mars?

Throughout the talk, Elon clearly outlines the four objectives needed to make this possibility real.

The first of this is making a reusable rocket. Make it reusable and suddenly you reduce the cost dramatically.

The second is the ability to refuel in orbit. If you cannot refuel after departing Earth, you need to build a craft of three compartments: 1 for people and cargo, 1 for launch fuel, 1 for fuel to Mars. But considering second tank will be empty after launch, if that could be reused and refilled in orbit, then a third compartment is suddenly no longer needed. Elon claims that by doing this, the cost is reduced by 5-10 times.

The third is being able to make fuel on Mars to return the rocket back to Earth. Without this, the rocket cannot be reused, meaning that the next rocket must be made from scratch.

The fourth is creating the right kind of fuel on Mars.

Photo Credit: SpaceX.com/Mars

It all starts with building a very large rocket. A rocket 3.5 times the size of NASA's Saturn V - largest spacecraft ever built - that carried the Appollo missions to the Moon. 

Photo Credit: SpaceX.com/Mars

Throughout the announcement, Elon Musk stresses the inportance of relationships with governements and private organisations in funding the mission. He also went on to say "The main reason I am personally accumulating assets is to fund this. So I really don't have any other motivation for personally accumulating assets other than to be able to make the biggest contribution I can to making life multiplanetary."

As the founder of Paypal, the CEO of Tesla and SolarCity, and with an estimated net worth of $12.7billion that is a very large value of assets to begin with.


So what is the timeline for this, I hear you ask?

Well. The orbits of Earth and Mars around the Sun work as such that every two years, they pass within the closest distance of each other. Which means that there is possibility to send out spacecrafts from Earth once every two years. Take a look at Elon's proposed timeline for the next decade...

Photo Credit: SpaceX.com/Mars

Along with this slide, he says "We're going to try to send something to Mars on every Mars rendezvous from here on out. Dragon 2, which is a propulsive lander we plan to send to Mars in a couple of years."

"We want to establish a steady cadence, that there's always a flight leaving like a train leaving a station. With every Mars rendezvous we will be sending at least a Dragon to Mars and ultimately the big Spaceship."

So if you thought that the human spacetravel industry was steadily declining after 1969's Moon landing, then maybe things are looking up...


Related Links:

Full Video


Wednesday 14 September 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

App of the week this week is Companion; the security app that's got everyone's back.

Companion is an app that does exactly what you'd think. It gives you with a companion when you need one most. Now, we're not talking about a night when you're stood up by bae and you need a bit of company... We're taking more like a time when you're walking the scenic route home and the streetlights are about to bail.

Now, instead of getting your phone out and waking up your mom in the middle of the night, open up companion instead. Type in your destination and choose a contact to share your location with. Even if they don't have the app, your contact can track you on your route and will get an alert if anything happens. Simple as.

Photo credit: Companion.io

So Companion's got your back, but better than that, this app makes sure it doesn't happen again. The good guys behind this slice of tech genius collect the data on how many people log the area - and exactly where - and passes it on to the community. So even if it just turns out to be sketchy vibes, a black cat or a bout of paranoia, hopefully you won't need the app next time! What a lovely bunch of guys they are.

Now stop acting all manly, download companion and go get a cuddle off bae. We know that's what you've really been thinking about.


Related Links:

Companion App


Thursday 08 September 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Rory Sadler
Graduate, Westminster Business School


BuzzDose: the first patient enrolment, engagement and management app for the Clinical Trial Industry


The Global Clinical Trials Industry is worth £30 billion a year, but in Britain there is a growing need for more subjects and more reliable results. The solution? - BuzzDose. 


BuzzDose is the first app designed solely for clinical trial companies who struggle to prove their findings are 100% reliable and who are at risk of providing inaccurate information. Buzzdose tackles this issue through the app's multifunctional capabilities: it assists patients in finding trials they are suitable for, allows companies to monitor progress and helps to generate more accurate results. The app will generate data and help the clinical trial firms monitor their patients and their progress. BuzzDose also acts as a companion to the patients over the course of a trial and as a result, improves the reliability of results, as among other measures, the data will show if the drugs were taken on time or at all. Importantly, the app puts control into the patient’s hands, helping them to keep track of their trial through an easy-to-navigate interface.

Image: BuzzDose

As part of the Business Management with Entrepreneurship degree at Westminster Business School, I participated in the Entrepreneurship Project module. The project involved realising a business idea and pitching it to investors. In order to achieve this, I undertook a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough capital to develop an initial prototype so that it was easier for the investors to understand BuzzDose and how it would work. 

This was an entirely new experience for me, and it taught me valuable lessons that I would have otherwise never have learnt. The most powerful was the ‘Bird in Hand’ principle, which essentially promotes working within your means and surroundings. This was influential in my crowdfunding campaign and helped me achieve my target figure. Running the campaign required my attention and time every day but it made me appreciate that the more hard work you put in, the more you get out. 

By raising the target amount I was able to hire an app designer to help with a basic prototype to demonstrate BuzzDose and its capabilities. My mentor, James Balmain of Zesty, was impressed with how far I had come in such a short space of time. 

The entire project and crowdfunding campaign has since given me an immense boost in confidence as it not only showed me that I have many family and friends who believe in and support BuzzDose, but that the public and a CEO of a leading health-tech company do too. 

This was just the first step for BuzzDose and after my initial success, I am now a lot more driven to persevere with this startup. The next steps are to build the team and to develop the prototype further to improve potential investment opportunities. For me, this is only the beginning of what I see to be a really exciting and revolutionary project. 


Related Links:

BuzzDose Crowdfunder



Get Hired

Tuesday 09 August 2016 TECHMIX NEWS


GET HIRED: The day that does exactly what it says on the tin

After attending a Get Hired day in 2014, Saffia Derdeb was hired by Creative United, a business providing financial products which help to grow cultural and creative industries in the UK and make the arts accessible to all.

After leaving university in 2014 with a languages degree, Saffia wasn’t sure what her next step would be. We talked to Saffia to hear her story as she made the transition between education and employment.

‘"I was unemployed and looking for work but I kept being told that I needed experience. It was very frustrating and I felt lost, with nobody to turn to.’"
Saffia Derdeb

Whilst looking for a job, she went to the The Job Centre for advice. It was here that they introduced her to The Princes Trust and she embarked on a Get into Administration course. The programme included work experience and after completing the course, Saffia was invited to a Prince’s Trust Get Hired day, sponsored by Standard Life.

“The day itself was a bit intimidating,” she remembers, "I had no interview experience, but we were given a great interview skills workshop in the morning and I felt ready to give it a go. In the afternoon we listened to the presentations, then chose which of the businesses we wanted to interview for. I was drawn to Creative United because I wanted to work for a not-for-profit and what they do sounded interesting."

Businesses involved in the Get Hired days are aware that the young people being attending through the Prince's Trust don’t necessarily have much experience, so look more closely at a person’s skills and potential instead, which is a trait that is hard to come by when applying for jobs via other routes.

"It felt like they were really trying to get to know me and that felt good – I had something to say and was able to talk about myself and what I could offer them."
Saffia Derdeb

After the day, Saffia was given feedback from all her interviews and supported to follow up the ones where she’d been offered a second interview. In December 2014, Saffia took on the role as a Marketing and Communications Assistant and has recently been promoted to Marketing and Communications Manager for Creative United.

"I’ve grown with the company," says Saffia. “It’s been a great opportunity that I wouldn’t have had without The Prince’s Trust and the Get Hired day. It’s a fantastic way to meet employers who aren’t just looking for the same type of employees and are looking at your talents more than your CV.”

Tosin Adeniji, Head of Marketing and Communications at Creative United has seen the positive benefits of working with The Trust and the organisation has hired three young people through Get Hired.

"It’s a great way to meet young talent which can potentially be part of your company for a long time. When you go through a recruiter or more traditional routes you’re forced to judge people on their CV. Get Hired allows businesses to meet fantastic young people with lots of potential, in a more informal setting, and then nurture their talent." 
Tosin Adeniji


For more information on Get Hired please click here.

If you are a business and would like to get involved with Get Hired please email Imran Choudhury ; Imran.Choudury@princes-trust.org.uk


Wednesday 29 June 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

TOP FIVE: Weirdest Robots in the World

1. The Camel Jockey Bot

Camel racing is the oldest and most traditional sport in the Gulf. Thankfully, child jockies were banned in 2002, and these bizzare, whip-cracking little bots were developed as the alternative. Ready… set… move that hump!

Photo: Jockey bot racing in Saudi Arabia

2. BigDog

As the name would suggest, this bot closely resembles a large cainine. Built by Boston Dynamics (owned by Google), and designed to aide the US Army, BigDog can run at 4 mph, climb slopes up to 35 degrees, walk across rubble, climb muddy trail, walk in snow and water, and carry up to 340 lbs. But unfortunately, as 4mph is his top speed, the soldiers have found BigDog tends to be more lagging-behind-dog.

Photo: BigDog in action, Credit: Boston Dynamics

3. The Farmbot

A two-year trial, which starts next month, will train a “farmbot” to herd livestock, keep an eye on their health, and check they have enough pasture to graze on.

Photo: Farmbot hard at work, Credit: Australian centre for field robotics

4. Nadine

Thanks to the likes of Ex-machina and iRobot, humanoid robots are the stuff of sci-fi fuelled nightmares. Subconsciously, we all worry that we might be replaced with a better, more electronic version of ourselves in the future. Well Nadine makes that future uncomfortably close. Designed and created by Nadia Thelmann (pictured), Nadine works as the receptionist at Nanyang Technological University in Signapore. Creepy.

Photo:  Nadia, posing with Nadine. Or Nadine, posing with Nadia.

5. The Robot Hotel

Japan is at the forefront of most technology advances, but whether this is really an advance can be up for debate. The Henn Ha opened it's doors in 2015, and is completely staffed by robots. Want a dinosoar to speak English to you whilst checking in your bags? Head to Sasebo, south-western Japan and your dreams can become reality. Excuse us while we check in to the Hilton next door...

Photo: Reception at The Henn Na, Credit: http://www.h-n-h.jp/en/


Found a weird robot that you think could challenge this top 5 list? Surely not!

Tweet us @techmixmag if you can prove it...!


The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Tuesday 28 June 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Phil Smith, CEO

Cisco UK & N. Ireland

Without question the UK has an innovation heritage we can all be proud of. From inventing the telephone to the World Wide Web, we also spearheaded the first Industrial Revolution with British cities like Manchester and Sheffield being the workshops of the world.

Skip forward to 2016 and we’re in the heart of the fourth Industrial Revolution: a digital revolution characterised by a mix of technologies that is increasingly blurring the lines between the physical, digital and even biological. The scale, scope and complexity of transformation unfolding around us is unprecedented and it’s widely accepted that this technological revolution and move to a truly digitised world will fundamentally change the way we live and work.

What’s less understood is how we manage and embrace this change. Digital disruption will displace 40% of companies in the next five years, but organisations and countries that are ready for digital transformation will be able to seize new opportunities to thrive.

Photo credit: Cisco.com/uk

So just how ready are we here in the UK?

The Cisco Digital Readiness survey set out to discover just that by surveying IT leaders in eight countries across eight industries and rating their readiness on a 100 point scale. Even the most advanced companies scored only 77, with the UK scoring 75, compared to Germany at 72. And it seems that there are some key issues facing IT departments globally and in the UK: 43% of UK IT leaders cite security as their primary concern in an increasingly connected world, and the ability of IT to respond to change and demand is limited – only 33% of UK businesses are able to deliver on IT requests within 48 hours.

While the UK may not be performing badly on the global stage, more needs to be done and in a world where every day brings new technological innovations, time is of the essence. And of course, successful digitisation relies on more than just technology and effective IT: consideration needs to also be given to business models, processes, skills and culture.

In recognition of this, we announced a number of commitments in the UK in July 2015, totalling an investment of $1 billion over the next 3-5 years to support the UK’s digitisation plans and accelerate digital economic growth. It’s part of an initiative that we’re rolling out across the globe and here in the UK we’re working in partnership with the government to focus on key issues such as productivity, education and skills, and enablers such as innovation and entrepreneurship, infrastructure, cybersecurity and smart cities.

Photo Credit: Cisco.com/uk

Why this matters to us all

Undertaking such a major programme is about more than just a large corporate investing money in the country. That’s obviously important but we passionately believe that by working collectively with the combined force and capabilities of academia, industry and government, we can drive, support and foster a culture and climate ripe for digitisation. Together, we can collectively address some of the major challenges facing this country and ensure that the UK continues to strive ahead in the era of the fourth Industrial Revolution. Digitisation has the potential to create sustainable and positive impact for every area of society as well as drive a stronger economy and foster increased opportunities for the UK.

That’s good for the country on the global stage, good for businesses and – most importantly – good for you and me, the people who live and work across the country.


External Links:


Online Bio

Cisco UK

Mars Explorers wanted

Wednesday 22 June 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

Curious whispers are flying around the internet after NASA quietly released a series of recruitment posters on their website. Are NASA really hiring? Will we really be living and working on Mars in the near future? Who are they looking for? Am I really eligable even if I don't have the skills or training? How do I apply?!

Sleekly designed in a simple, vintage style they are eye-catching with a clear message: anyone can become an astronaut, and they want you.

The posters are available to download and print off. They are very high quality so you can put them up in your bedroom, school, office or anywhere else all for free. But why are they there? They may be there solely to inspire, to get us all dreaming and boardening our horizons. Or maybe they really are hiring... no official word yet, but with trips to Mars already scheduled in for as soon as 2018, watch this space! (pun intended).


Photographs: NASA



The Great British Astronaut

Monday 20 June 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

On Saturday 18th June, 10.15am BST, Britain regained a hero. Having spent the last 6 months living and working on board the International Space Station, Tim Peake returned to terra firma after a bumpy landing on the Kazakh Steppe in Kazakhstan. “Re-entry was pretty dynamic, feeling a lot of dizziness and vertigo but on the whole, doing okay!” says Tim as he’s carried, seated like a king, from the landing site to a nearby medical tent.

“The best ride ever” says Major Tim Peake directly after landing back on Earth.

Joining Tim on expedition 47, also arriving back to Earth on Saturday were Commander Tim Kopra (USA) of NASA, Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko (Russia) of Roscosmos.

Photograph: Twitter/Astro_timpeake

Photograph: Twitter/Astro_timpeake

We headed down to London’s Science Museum to watch the thrilling journey of the Soyuz space craft live, with Helen Sharman, Britain’s first astronaut to be sent to space.

Photograph: Helen Sharman at Science Museum / Techmixmag

Helen recalled how it felt to return to Earth and took us through how Tim would be feeling once he landed.

Nauseous. As the spacecraft falls to the ground the astronauts inside feel the force of 5G’s. That’s 5 times the force that we feel stood on Earth. Think of the stomach ‘drop’ you feel on a particularly thrilling rollercoaster… then triple it!

Heavy. Helen said “after being used to the feeling of weightlessness, when the effects of gravity suddenly return even your little finger feels heavy!”

Hot. As the Soyuz space craft entered Earth's atmosphere at 100 km altitude its exterior heated up to a very toasty 1600°C. It’s not the largest capsule either, with Helen recalling that even as a slight woman, her shoulders were overlapping with the astronauts’ next to her for the whole 5-hour journey. The space suits are bulky for insulation, to absorb impact, protect the human body, and even inflate in case of emergency! So all in all, it’s a sweaty experience; no wonder Tim needed a personal flannel holder!

Heightened senses:

Smell. “The smells of Earth are just so strong” says Tim Peake, after being carried from the Soyuz space craft. On board the space station, the air is made mechanically from splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. So needless to say, the space station is pretty void of smells. When you’re accustomed to this, even the smell of warm air would seem strong.

Sight. They we’re just wearing those sunglasses to look cool! After spending 5 hours crammed into the Soyuz spacecraft, shoulders overlapping, the three astronauts

Touch. Next time you feel a slight breeze of the air on your cheeks, a splash of water trickling down your nose, stop and think. In space you don’t feel any of that. Helen says she missed feeling the wind on her skin, and even 25 years after returning to Earth, sometimes it still makes her stop to think how lucky she is.

Photograph: Soyuz Space Craft after landing / NASA

Photograph: Tim Peake being carried from the Soyuz to a medical tent / NASA

During his 186 days, Tim has conducted over 250 experiments, carried out educational demonstrations, performed a spacewalk, given a ‘Cosmic Classroom’ science lesson to thousands of British school children, sent 2kg of rocket seeds back to Earth for British schools to grow, run the London Marathon, launched the Astro Pi experiment, eaten gourmet space food designed by Heston Blumenthal, answered thousands of questions of twitter and inspired not only the young generation, but every Briton living today.

Photograph: Tim Peake floating with packaged rocket seeds / twitter, Tim Peake

Tim is now at the home of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Cologne, where he has been reunited with his family. But it’s not all relaxing for our star, as he now begins weeks of rigorous testing to determine the effects of 6 months in anti-gravity on the human body. Once the tests are over, he will begin a 2-year tour, speaking on his time in space.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 21st June, Tim will give his first press conference.

Photograph: Tim Peake, hugging his mother, with his father clapping. / Philippe Sebirot/ESA/PA


Related Links:

Expediton 47, Soyuz landing video

ESA, Tim Peake

Principa Mission



Humans need not apply

Wednesday 15 June 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

If you’re thinking of going into office administration work, transport, sales and services, construction or manufacturing, there’s a good chance you might be out of a job before you make it to retirement. In fact, over the next 20 years, we can expect around 35% of jobs to become automated.


Like many things, Mark Zuckerberg is ahead of the pack. In January he posted this status update:

Image: Facebook / Mark Zuckerberg

If he succeeds, Personal Assistant will be the next job where Humans Need Not Apply.

But we’re not in the business of scare mongering, we are just fascinated by the creation of this technology! Another very smart person and their detailed report also tells us that with “the rise of the Internet of Things, Big Data and robotics means that 65% of children entering primary school today will be working in roles that do not exist yet".

We’re already seeing this change happen. Many regular, smaller roles are being made easier with technology, and some are already becoming automated. Think about self-service checkouts taking over half the space normally manned by cashiers. Voice dictation is being used type out messages instead of employing a typist or secretary.

Baristas, lorry drivers and factory workers will be among the first to be booted out by a machine, but it won’t be long before jobs like stock traders, musicians and reporters will become obsolete as well. The stats are saying that 65% of librarians have lost their jobs since 2001 and almost half of personal assistants and secretaries.

AI develops as humans become better at programming it. So jobs within technology, engineering and other related industries are very unlikely to be at risk. Creativity is also something that an algorithm cannot be taught, and ultimately, human relationships will always be needed.

Jobs paying less than £30,000 will be five times more likely to be automated than jobs paying over £100,000. So whilst a large portion of roles are not at risk, these roles will increasingly have digital elements to increase efficiency.


Half way into 2016, there’s only 6 months left to go, Mark. We’re waiting…



Queen's Honours

Monday 13 June 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Image Credit: BBC

Hope Lowe

Incase you've somehow missed out on the copious tea, cake and soggy picnics that took place all across the country this weekend, it meant only one thing; our Majesty the Queen turned 90. Along with having two birthdays and millions of people partying along with her, another perk to this particular birthday is her Birthday Honours List. 

Now, we're sure she picked out all 1,149 people on this year's honours list by herself, whilst stroking her corgies, and so we'd like to personally congratulate her on putting together such an excellent list. 2016 shows the most diverse list since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917, with the greatest ever number of recipients coming from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, and more focus on technology and entrepreneurship than ever before.

Here's a round-up of our key facts:

  • In total 1,149 people have received an award
  • 70% of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity
  • there are 538 successful women candidates in the list, representing 47% of the total
  • 8.2% of the successful candidates (90 people) come from a BAME background: the greatest ever number of BAME recipients in an honours list
  • 5.2% of the successful candidates consider themselves to have a disability under the Equality Act 2010
  • Science and technology make up 3.3% of the total


Techmix’s technology and entrepreneurship stand-outs are:

Tim Peake – Astronaut, first man to receive an award from the Queen whilst in Space

Dr David Grant received a knighthood for his outstanding contribution to engineering, technology and education

Scott Button & Sarah Wood – Unruly “Video ad tech”

Emma Mulqueeny – Young Rewired State “A worldwide community of young coders and digital makers”

Mike Butcher – TechCrunch “The latest technology news and information on startups”

Bonamy Grimes & Barry Smith – Skyscanner “Flights comparison site”

Ben Medlock & Jonathan Reynolds – SwiftKeySmart prediction technology for easier mobile typing

Debbie Bestwick – Team 17 “Independent video game developer and owner of the world’s first games label”

Wendy Tan-White – Entrepreneur, investor and cofounder of Moonfruit  "The free website builder"

Eben Upton – Raspberry Pi “The tiny affordable computer”

Alexander Chesterman – Zoopla The UK’s most comprehensive property website”

Julie Devonshire – KCL Entrepreneurship Director

Alice Bentinck & Matthew Clifford – Entrepreneur First "Investors in entrepreneurs not their businesses ideas”

Rajeeb Dey – Enternships “Your entry to the world of work”

Carol Hazel Fitzsimons – Young Enterprise “Empowering young people to learn, to work, to live"

Jasprit Jeetly – Jeetly “The first clothing brand for women 5’3 and under”

Ren Kapur & Renu Raksha Wing – X-Forces “Start-up loans”

Rachel Elizabeth Mallows – The Mallows Company Ltd “Complementary services to businesses, charities, organisations and individuals”

Mark Moran – The Hydrant Drinking System “The flexible drinking aid”

Anthony Pile – Blue Skies Holdings Ltd “Quality prepared fruit and freshly squeezed juices”

Emma Sinclair – EnterpriseJungle “SAP application suite”

Timothy Sawyer – Start Up Loans

Soul Klein – LocalGlobe 

Andrew Fisher – Shazam “Music discovery”

Tim Steiner – Ocado “The online supermarket”

Debbie Wosskow – Love Home Swap “Home exchange”

Alex Depledge & Tim Nimmo – Co-founders Hassle.com

Jo Twist – UKIE

Caroline Plumb – FreshMinds

Full List of Queen's Birthday Honours


'Smile' for a coffee

Wednesday 01 June 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana

At CES this year, digitalSTROM debuted their 'Coffee for a Smile' coffee-maker – the latest addition to their SmartHome Technology and quest to make everyday living easier. Armed with an Intel Real-Sense 3D camera, the coffee-maker is able to detect even the most minor movements like facial expressions, and has been designed to start brewing coffee the moment its sensors recognise a 'smile'.

Pretty nifty, although a smile at 6am might be too big an ask for most of the Techmix team. This is just one example of the burgeoning industry that is the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of physical objects and devices that are embedded with mini computers, sensors and network connectivity, that can be accessed remotely or via your smartphone.

It seems that this technology is not just here to stay, but is set to impact every facet of our lives. Indeed, the rising number of Smarthomes stands to drive the global connected devices market through the roof by 2020.

Smart living is about to become the norm. digitalSTROM are already at the heart of this, providing a simple way to connect all the electrical appliances in your home, using your existing power line. This offers the ability to change lighting ambience, operate your devices and even increase energy efficiency within your household, simply by using your smartphone. There is even a plug and play concept at work, which means that soon the majority of modern digital products (coffee-makers, boilers, toasters) could all be made Smarthome friendly, simply by making it compatible and connecting it with the digitalSTROM interface. 

Business is booming at both ends of the spectrum. A thrifty DIY kit called Iris - also revealed at CES, lets buyers control heating, lighting and security with their Smartphone. Marketed as the ideal for Londoners living in compact flats, Iris can transform a flat into a Smarthome for as little as £130.

Yet if 'Coffee with a smile' is anything to go on, it is conceivable that in the not too distant future, this intuitive technology won't even require a Smartphone, but will simply be able to understand what we want, merely by looking at us. And there will be time to tremble before a future seemingly laid out from the mind of Philip K. Dick. After all, a connected home is a networked home – and nothing that requires wi-fi can ever be truly secure - but for now let's just pretend that we're Jedis and make coffee with our minds... or cheeks.



Photo Credit: www.digitalstrom.com

Photo Credit: www.digitalstrom.com


Jamming in the 21st Century

Thursday 26 May 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana


Everyone wants to play guitar, for obvious reasons. It looks cool, sounds great, but spoilers... it's really hard! Sure, you can try to learn yourself, but like anything it's easier if you have a teacher – even if it's just to point out signs you're going wrong (besides the heinous racket you're making). But guitar lessons are really expensive.

The tech industry have provided an answer in the form of a revolutionary new smart guitar called the Jamstik.

A Bluetooth enabled digital guitar comprised of real strings & frets (but no body), the Jamstik and its interactive iOS teaching apps allow you to play your very first chords almost immediately. Sensors in the fretboard work in tandem with the app to detect finger placement and display them on your phone, so you'll never be unsure whether you're playing correctly.

Chords are to the guitar what verbs are to language – the building blocks for everything that follows. Also, given that the majority of failed guitarists give up at the first hurdle because of trouble mastering basic chords, this technology is hugely advantageous.

It's portable, practical and easy to use. When you've got your chords and scales down, launch the JamTutor lesson app and have a virtual teacher guide you through the interactive learning process at a pace that's right for you. If that wasn't enough, once you've grown in confidence and the creative juices are flowing, you can use Jamstik in collaboration with hundreds of other apps to record entire songs and get this show on the road.


Photo Credits: Jamstik.com


Wednesday 25 May 2016 TECHMIX NEWS


The Sportswear armed with Samurai Bacteria

Kris Pathirana

Scientists at MIT's Tangible Media Group have developed a revolutionary kind of sportswear called 'bio-skin' – a 'living' garment that acts like a second skin – expanding and contracting to sweat and body heat by peeling away to reveal breathable holes.

As part of a larger project called 'BioLogic', that seeks to move away from manufactured materials towards growable, sustainable sources, bio-skin was created using natto cells – a bacteria used in Japan to ferment soya beans, that responds to atmospheric moisture. Venture into any self-respecting Udon joint in London and you'll find Natto on the 'extras' menu (sounds awful – tastes delicious). 

Legend has it that a Samurai discovered the bacteria living inside dry rice stalks (which were woven into bags to transport soya beans) when he was attacked during an evening meal. Ever since this has been the fermentation bacteria of choice for the creation of Natto, and the mythic inspiration for bio-skin. 

The fashion and beauty industry have been increasingly linked with the tech industry in recent times. Even L’Oréal, the cosmetics company better known for tousled locks than technology, have partnered with logistics leader PCH to create a new range of wearable tech. Their first product, a stretchable patch worn on the skin like a plaster, can be scanned using a smartphone app to track the strength of the sun’s UV rays.

The possibilities of this biological and synthetic fusion has huge implications for the future. Not merely to shave a few seconds off an athlete's personal best, but in an era where clothing is increasingly mass produced and discarded, instead of recycled, could this step towards materials that can be 'grown' cheaply be the starting point for something world changing.


BioLogic at MIT


Thursday 12 May 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Virtual shopping in the real world

Kris Pathirana

You have two items in your cart. Customers who bought your item also bought The Great Gatsby DVD... You looked at the Rick Stein Cook Book... we recommend this industrial sized BBQ...

We have become so used to shopping like this on the internet. Online retailers know what we want before we do - based on what we're buying, what we like, and what we peruse – which is why ads of interest always seem to pop up just when we're looking for those blue-tooth speakers that work in the shower. But now that same philosophy of both personalising your shopping and using data to predict and influence your shopping habits, has hit the high street.

Nestled in a trendy corner of Spitalfields Market and in association with the Tech City-based Idea London initiative, The Dandy Lab, a men's clothing and lifestyle store, uses Cisco's 'Internet of Everything' to fast track retail into the twenty first century. Self-described as a 'living laboratory' for retail tech, The Dandy Lab fuses the perks of e-commerce with the in-store consumer experience, bridging the gap between online and retail. This means they can now target customers with products in their proverbial wheelhouse as soon as they set foot in the store.

But how? They say you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes – but in this case – that's actually statistically true. Using cameras installed at foot level, software courtesy of London start-up Hoxton Analytics, analyses demographics based on what kinds of shoes you're wearing upon entry, counts customer visits and timing of visits per day, and can even record whether you're shopping alone or in a group. A sophisticated AI algorithm then uses this data to build profiles and make predictions as to the kind of products those customers are more likely to buy. Also, as this real-time data analytics is focused on foot traffic alone – The Dandy Lab are able to collect information without its tech being being privacy invasive like facial recognition or the harvesting of social media.

This interactive approach is continued throughout the store. A device tracks the wi-fi pings of customers as they walk around the shop – thus creating a heat map of information – so the owners can tell where customers are stopping to look and which displays are working best. The shop window itself is even designed to change depending on the customer profile. In front of the very real, shop window is an LCD screen that changes depending on the time of day and who's stopping to look.


Though the 'retail laboratory' is still in its beta phase – analysing what works and evolving towards what the public wants and accepts - The Dandy Lab offers a compelling look at how physical retailers can embrace the latest digital technology, rather than being out-muscled by online rivals like Amazon and ASOS. Perhaps this technology could one day even be used to enhance independent book stores. Perhaps there is hope for the great British high street after all.





73 Brushfield Street

Old Spitalfields Market



Supercharge your Summer

Monday 09 May 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

The sun is beginning to blaze and summer is finally on its way.  Have you just started contemplating your plans for the summer, but don't know where to look? Why not supercharge your summer and spend 4 weeks exploring the outdoors, making new friends, developing skills for work and life and building your own community project?! 

National Citizen Service is the UK’s leading youth development programme for 15-17 year-olds. Available in England and Northern Ireland, the 2-4 week programme takes place during the spring, summer and autumn holidays. The 4-week summer programme includes a week of adventure activities, a week of skills building with industry leaders and two weeks of social action. It is recognised by UCAS and will help with your applications into further education, apprenticeships and employment. Thanks to government funding, a place on NCS only costs £50 per person!

Want to know more? We spoke to an NCS grad, 18-year-old Adam, who did the NCS summer programme in 2014 and got the scoop on what to expect before the programme, what happens during the 4 weeks and what opportunities it can bring once you graduate.

Adam, 18, Portsmouth, - NCS Graduate Summer 2014 - NCS Leadership Programme - NCS Social Media Community Manager


Tell me about your experience with NCS from the very beginning.

I did the 4-week summer programme in 2014. I signed up originally because my Mum heard about it at a parents evening. I hadn’t heard about it because I wasn’t one of those people who looked at the mainstream education system and thought “I love this!”. I didn’t really fit in so there were a lot of things I missed in assembly’s and things. So Mum said to me this looks like an amazing opportunity for you – I’d done things like PGL in the past so she knew that I had that adventure side of me but she also knew that I had social anxiety and I was struggling with confidence a little bit.


Did you find that NCS helped you overcome any of those anxieties?

On the phase two and the phase three, you really build your confidence by building your friendship groups and your skills in general. In the first week I did things like cliff diving, camp fires, exploring caves, so many things that I wouldn’t do in my normal environment in Portsmouth. It was incredible to meet so many new people as well, people that I wouldn’t normally see myself with: from different backgrounds, different groups with Portsmouth and it was really cool to hear their stories of how they got involved and where they want to go.


Do you think NCS helped to prepare you practically for future life?

On the second week, we stayed in a cottage in our group, where we learned about independent living. For me where I am right now in my life that was a really important experience because I’m thinking about moving out to a bigger city and bigger opportunities. I learnt to cook for myself, I learnt to budget, I learnt about mortgages with Barclays Lifeskills and NCS was actually where I found out I had a really passionate interest in Photography.


Wow that’s a real learning curve within 4 weeks. How were you introduced to photography?

So on the second week we met a range of different companies. Each focused on building a different skill each day. We had a local company called Strong Island who are online media specialists and also run festivals in Portsmouth. They did a journalistic photography course with us which taught us basic rule of thirds, basic colour, contrast and stuff like that. That’s when I first thought this is a lot of fun, I can take a memory and put it into a digital file which I hadn’t really explored that idea before. I just thought oh cool, Instagram this is great.


You mentioned that your programme was based in Portsmouth, and that you had opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds in the area, but what about outside the course within the wider community of Portsmouth?

The 3rd and 4th weeks were the social action part of the programme where we, as a group, picked our own charity within Portsmouth. We decided we were going to raise money for a local café in a local hospital. They were going around to people’s beds with a little tray of sweets and things that they don’t normally have in hospitals. We raised just under £700 which were were really proud of, you know, we as teenagers have just done this incredible thing which we started completely from scratch. We started from the planning stages, mocked up power points, delegated team roles and built up our own business and worked together. My side of things, I was project manager and also helped out with the marketing side of things and communications. So I made a poster and I also looked into social media marketing and that’s when I found an interest in that side of things, which has lead me to this role I am currently working in with NCS at their headquarters.


This all sounds like incredible experience for a 4-week programme. How did you make the jump from completing it to your permanent role within NCS now?

After completing the course, I was actually selected as one of the 100 people from across the UK in that NCS intake to go on to the leadership programme in London. You’ve got people from all across the UK there and it was interesting transitioning from meeting people from different parts of Portsmouth to suddenly everywhere across the country. We spent a week in Dulwich College doing a lot of different things. I went to Parliament, I went to meetings with Starbucks and Facebook and Google, and other huge companies like that. Just incredible opportunities that I never thought I would be able to do. There was networking meetings, development meetings and speaking to loads of different kinds of people, just constantly pushing ourselves out there.


What after that?

Then more projects came along for me after that too, the biggest of which was the billboards campaign. I was on 1,200 billboards across the UK at one point, and I worked with a Photographer called Rankin who does a lot of the photography for Nike and other huge companies like that. Seeing my face on a billboard was something else.


So you’re fresh from the leadership programme with your face plastered around the UK, and a new found love for Photography, what did you decide to do next?

I went to college and took up a photography course along with graphic design and digital film-making. But whilst I was doing this I realised that education still wasn’t really in my system so an apprenticeship might be better for me. So I did drop out of college after the first year and went into an apprenticeship in marketing and events at the college I dropped out of ironically! And that’s when I got an email from the creative team at NCS asking if they could use some of my film footage for their TV advert campaign. Which of course I said yes to! I got to be a bigger part of the filming for the campaign from that too, I went down to London’s biggest TV and film set which was an incredible experience seeing their full set-up. It was very exciting and a breath-taking moment, seeing my footage on the TV for the first time. And after that, the advert was extended into Cinemas too!


Tell us more about the opportunities NCS has given you since then?

The opportunities never stop for me with NCS. A couple of weeks later I left the apprenticeship and was offered a full time role with the social media team, and I’m now working on community management. I’ll be here for the foreseeable future, and I’m also able to continue working as a freelance photographer. Through contacts I’ve made with NCS I’ve taken photos of Craig David, Tinie Tempah, Jess Glynne and the Victorious Festival. And I hope to go around to various festivals across this summer.


What are your highlights?

Through NCS Leaders I made contacts at Sky News, and through them I got the opportunity to meet David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Natalie Bennett, I’ve been on TV with Sky News a couple of times. Thanks to NCS sewing those seeds its things like this which have made me both grow as a person and grow my career.


Where do you see your future now compared with before you started the programme?

My long term goal when I was 17 was to live and work in London by the time I’m 25. I’m now 18 and I’ve got a full-time job and I’m about to move up to Brixton. So I’ve got to rearrange everything now and it’s just given me more opportunity, bigger goals I can set and absolutely achieve. Which is great! I can’t wait, I love it so much!


What would your advice be to someone who has seen the NCS programme and is maybe considering it but maybe not sure?

I would say, you would be surprised what happens on NCS. I don’t think they know how the magic works but it really is magic. You’re thrown together, out of your comfort zone and it’s your chance to see your potential and overcome any anxieties and grow in confidence in who you are. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone considering it. I meet so many people who are older than me and say they wish they had done NCS when they had the opportunity to because it opens so many doors.


Are you still in contact with anyone from your original NCS programme? Where are they now?

There was 15 of us within our core group and then 30 on our Portsmouth programme that summer, and I am still in contact with a few of them now. I would say the one I’m most in contact with still is Joe who I didn’t know before NCS at all, we met whilst cliff-diving on the first day from that moment on we were really close friends. Now he’s working on an apprenticeship.


Adam now works full-time for NCS within their Social Media team. Tweet Adam and the team @NCS

To read more about National Citizen Service and how to apply, head to their website: www.ncsyes.co.uk/

Check out Adam's photography portfolio here: www.adamgibsonphotography.com


Ways to be Memorable

Thursday 05 May 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

TOP 10: Ways to be memorable


Whether it's an interviewer, a new boss, or the cute girl in the other class, there are ways and means to make sure you stand out.

Here's our top ten ways to make sure you're noticed:


  1. Talk. Don’t just listen. Don’t be afraid to say your opinions and share your story
  2. Be blunt, a little controversial, and honest
  3. Use confident body language
  4. Make people feel something. As Maya Angelou famously said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
  5. Be genuinely interested in other people, ask questions about themselves and their story
  6. Remember people’s names, get their contact details and contact them afterwards; make sure they don’t forget you
  7. People are drawn to positivity. If you give off an optimistic vibe and you are content within yourself people will naturally want to engage with you and feed off your energy
  8. People hire people that they like, and people like people who are like them. Find common ground and engage in a conversation that you both enjoy
  9. Laugh. If someone makes a joke, you laughing at it makes them feel good, and instantly forms solidarity. Share a bond, share a sense of humour, and you’ll be sure to stick out in someone’s mind
  10. Listen. It’s great to talk, and it’s great to ask questions, but being interested in the answers is what forms a connection



Who Will London Elect?

Wednesday 04 May 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

It is time for our scruffy, yellow-haired, larger than life Mayor, Boris Johnson to end his 10-year reign and hand over the hat to his successor. But who will it be?

Tomorrow, London take their vote and have full say on who becomes the new leader of our magnificent city. Each candidate has a unique vision for the future of London, and with some very big differences.

Read here to find out who and what: https://www.londonelects.org.uk/im-voter/who-you-can-vote

Will the Mayor really have any impact? What is the Mayor of London responsible for?

The Mayor of London has a massive impact on the direction the city takes over their term as leader. They have the final say on everything that happens within the city in each of these areas:

But the question is, how many of us will take the time to vote?

In 2015, less than a quarter of all 16-24 year olds in the UK voted in the general election. Many people were of the view that their vote would have no impact and didn’t even register. Of the 7.4 million 16-24 year olds in UK, 50% registered to vote, and 43% of those chose to use it.

We are the world’s most connected, information-fed generation. We live in a time where these people are taking to twitter and answering public questions live and directly. Friend of Techmix, Jamal Edwards joined up with Bite the Ballot to empower people to use their right to have an impact on communities and decision-makers

The power is in our hands now. Tomorrow we will find out.


Find out how to vote in your area here

Read more about #bitetheballot here


Thursday 28 April 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

If you’re behind on your knowledge of SpaceX and their escapades, it's safe to say they’ve had a pretty epic year so far. With the announcement just in that they are planning a mission to Mars with NASA in the next 24 months, it’s about time we got to know them a little better.

Here’s our round-up of the most exciting events and what’s still to come. Get your diary out and strap in, it’s going to be a good ride.

So let’s start at the beginning. In 2012, SpaceX made history by becoming the first commercial company to visit the International Space Station. In 2014 they were assigned by NASA as the official re-suppliers of the ISS (where friend of Techmix, Tim Peake is currently stationed), under contract for the following decade. Since then they have been busy blasting the epic aluminium-lithium power-house Falcon 9 through the stratosphere, successfully delivering thousands of kgs worth of goodies to the admirable astronauts who live 400km above us, breaking numerous records as they go.

As Falcon 9 explodes into a 4,000mph emblazened archway across the sky, the Dragon is projected into orbit. The delivery craft must be on exactly the right path in order for it to fly in line with the ISS. From there it’s over to the astronauts. But while Dragon has completed the mission in hand, it’s Falcon 9 that has the trickiest journey of all: getting back down to Earth.

It’s all well and good being able fire a rocket off and sending the goodies to safety, but if the rocket can’t return to land without shattering into a violent cloud of expensive rubble, then it’s a long old wait to build a new one before we can watch it all over again. So the ultimate goal for the rocket scientists at SpaceX is to bring Falcon 9 to a safe landing. So far, it’s been proving to be a fairly tricky feat. Until…


8th April 2016

Mission: CRS-8. Falcon 9 soared into the history books as the first rocket to land safely back on Earth, a drone platform floating in the North Atlantic Ocean.  Let’s just think about that for a moment. A 70m-high rocket (the size of a 25 story building) flying at 4,000mph, managed to land on a 90m long platform (the length of 4 London buses) as it rides the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Mind. Blown.

If you missed the live-stream, check out the landing video here

-Photo credit: SpaceX Official Flickr. CRS-8 Mission

Now that we’ve let that sink in a little, we can appreciate why else it’s such a breakthrough. If SpaceX can made rockets that can precisely control their landings every time, then new rockets don’t have to be rebuilt each time they’re launched. Which means more frequent launches and more information on how to achieve success. Speaking of the mission’s success to WIRED on 8th April, Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of SpaceX, said “I think we’ll be successful when it becomes boring”. Like airplane boring.

And they’re not hanging around...

The next date for your diary is:

4th May 2016

Next week, Elon Musk and the team at SpaceX will be once again be striving to make history with Falcon 9. At 05.22am GMT this coming Wednesday, the rocket will once again be launched off to an explosive start, this time to project JCSAT-14, the Japanese satellite into orbit. If successful, it will provide telecommunications services to Asia and the Pacific for approximately the next 15 years. Yet again, the world will be watching to see if Falcon 9 can repeat the iconic landing of 8th April. Was it just a lucky fluke, or can it really be done again?

We’ll certainly be watching… will you?

To round us off, bang up to date, the final (and perhaps most important) thing to know about SpaceX is that yesterday on 27th April, they announced ambitious plans to send Falcon 9 and Dragon to Mars, as soon as 2018. So that’s… 24 months away. Mind. Blown. (Take 2)

-Photo Credit: SpaceX Official Flickr. Dragon on Mars

Related Websites:


SpaceX: Falcon 9

SpaceX Flickr


Doodle to the Future

Wednesday 27 April 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana

You've heard it before. You can't make something out of thin air... right? Wrong. Say hello to the 3Doodler - the world's first 3D printing pen – and start creating anything that is in your imagination. Now, if you can think it, you can make it.

For creators Maxwell Bogue, Daniel Cowen and Peter Dilworth – 3D printing was not already revolutionary enough. After having to 'endure' the hours-long process of creating prototype toys, they discovered their printer kept missing a couple of layers. Their wish to be able to simply fill in the gaps themselves proved to be the starting point for their game-changing creation.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the trio created the 3Doodler, which allows the user to create 3D objects out of thin air and functions in a similar fashion to a supercharged glue gun. 3D printing plastic tubes are inserted into the back of the hand-held pen, which are then heated and released as you draw in real time. The plastic quickly cools and dries, creating a solid structure of whatever object your heart desires.

If you have concerns that artistic ability is integral to use, have no fear. Like anything, it takes practice, but the team believe that people have a better idea of 3D objects, so even if you can't draw for toffee, you'll have greater success drawing in 3D because you have a more intrinsic sense of three-dimensional space.

Already the 3Doodler has been put to unique and innovative use, from learning aids for the visually impaired in education, to creating items of clothing for fashion shows in that bastion of couture, Tennessee. The team also want to expand their substantial horizons and make the impossible possible. Their goal is ultimately to create a pen capable of not only using plastic to create – but every single material available.

So watch this space... they'll probably draw in it.


You can pick up one of these for £99 online or in the Science Museum, London.

Once you've got yours, choose a project from their website or check their instagram for some inspiration... Here are some of our favourites:



Related Website:



Queen of the Digital Age

Thursday 21 April 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

Today, our Majesty the Queen turns 90 years old. So far she has reigned over our nation for more than 64 years and in that time she’s seen the invention of: radio, telephone, TV, colour TV, the internet, e-mail, mobile phones, social media, and many more mile stones.

So in honour of her Birthday, we’ve put together a list of our favourite moments when our Queeny lead by example with the latest tech (remember, she’s 90, she’s never going to be a tech-savvy-hacking-genius but she’ll certainly give our nan’s a run for their money…)


1976 she was the first monarch to send an e-mail, using the Arpanet username “HME2”, back in the days when Steve Jobs and Bill Gates bright-eyed, youthful and still quite poor.

In 2009, she sent out emails to 23 young internet-savvy people living in remote locations, who had written blogs about their lives in the Commonwealth – to celebrate it’s 60th Anniversary. Signed, Elizabeth R.

Mobile Phones

Gifted her first mobile phone in 2001 by her son, The Duke of York, the Queen took to her new Siemens Wap Phone – the height of technology - like a . Leading reports said that, in fact, she prefers email, yet here she is below showing the other VIPs how it's done.


Despite getting her first mobile in 2001, it took 6 years for her to upgrade to voicemail. In 2007, she enlisted her loving grandsons Wills and Harry (then 25 and 23) to help her set it up. And they dutifully recorded her message as…

“Hey, wassup! This is Liz. Sorry I’m away from the throne. For a hotline to Philip, press one. For Charles, press two. And for the corgis, press three.”

Thankfully she saw the funny side when she realised that how many VIPs might have heard the message! The Royal Secretary did not.


Considering that the Queen’s full title alone is well over the character limit for a single tweet – “Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith” stands at a whopping 176 characters long! Twitter nightmare. But that didn’t stop her getting involved. In 2009, she sent her first ever tweet. Standing on a podium, she removed her ivory, cotton glove, and wrote the tweet below at the Science Museum “Information Age” exhibition opening. She was retweeted 40,774 times and favourited 45,380 times. And that was without any hashtags. #justsaying.


Alright, we don't have evidence of her actually taking one, but she's definitely been in a load - whether she wanted to or not!


You can’t say the Queen isn’t there for every major advance in tech. And she's seen a fair few. But at 90 years old I think we can let her off for not being able to write her own code. She’s lived through the new developments of the last 8 decades and no doubt she will continue to do so.

But for now, if you fancy a job writing her tweets for her, you better get that CV up to scratch because she’s hiring!


Related websites:

The Royal Household - Head of Digital Engagement


The Pod that gets you a job

Wednesday 20 April 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

"The world's first immersive work experience simulator" - Barclays Lifeskills

Hope Lowe

Sat behind your desk in school, drumming your fingers on the table and pretending to listen; there’s a fine art to making your face say “you have my full attention and I’m in deep contemplative thought”, whilst really you’re deciding what to post next on twitter. So when your teacher drones on about how work experience increases your chances of getting a job by 68%, we all know the only thing you’re really focused on is catching the eye of the girl in row three.

Who wants to do work experience anyway, all you do is make tea, right?

Right. But secretly we all want to try it out because how are you supposed to choose what subjects to take when you don’t know what industry you want to go in to? Making tea or not though, there’s something about work experience – whether it’s a week or a day – that gives you a little bit of a confidence boost. The first day is always filled with nervous anticipation and unanswered questions like “What do I wear?!”, “It says I start at 9am, but what time should I get there?!”. It’s sorting out all of these little things and getting through that first day which is so important because the very meaning of a FIRST day is that you only have to do it once. Then the only way is up!

So you’re in, you want the experience. What next? 66% of companies say they look for work experience when hiring someone new. But only 30% actually offer it. So there’s never going to be enough to go around. Yet somehow, Hugo in 3B has managed to do two weeks at his mum’s advertising agency and a week shadowing his Dad’s friend at Facebook’s London HQ. There’s always one. So what about the rest of us?

Enter: The Lifeskills Pod. An innovative alternative to work experience that teaches you the real life skills you need to be successful in a 21st Century professional environment.

Chic, white and cuboid, the Pod takes you on the journey of your first day at a company. Right through from picking your outfit and deciding what time to arrive, through to the end of the day. After only 10 minutes, and four interactive questions, you leave the Pod with skills and the confidence to succeed in a professional environment.

Sitting comfortably in the big white chair, the HR leader of your new company stands in front of you, life-sized on a huge HD screen.

First off, you’re introduced to the different teams that you’ll be working with across the company: IT, Marketing, Finance & Sales, which teaches the importance of networking with others. Next, you’re set up with a computer and a company email, and tasked with communicating professionally with a customer. Resilience and problem solving are tested when you’re faced with an unhappy customer and you have to choose the right way to respond. Finally, the day is almost over, but your professionalism is determined by the way you choose to post about your experience on social media.

Networking, communication, problem solving and resilience are consistently named as the top four skills needed for work in the 21st Century. The Pod puts these to the test and builds on them like no other test we’ve seen outside of first hand work experience. You can’t learn these from a textbook. But you can learn them in a pod. At school. Even if you can’t get any work experience. And that’s pretty special.

- Photo credit: Mikael Buck/LifeSkills

Despite only being launched yesterday, at Lister Community School in Newham, the big white Pod already has swarms of students excited about getting their hands on a Lifeskills Certificate.

We went along for the launch and spoke to the lucky students who were the first to try out the new Pod.

- Photo credit: Mikael Buck/LifeSkills

“The Pod looks so cool, when I came into school this morning I wanted to try it out straight away. I liked that it involved how to use social media and email in a work environment because I’d never been taught that it’s important to think about what you say and how you portray yourself on the internet”
- Alex Jarrett, Year 11


“Going in to the Pod actually feels like going to work on your first day because it’s a new environment, you have to go in completely on your own, and you get to sit in a fancy swivel chair like you’re a CEO”
- Anisa Shahid, Year 10


“I’ve learnt a new word thanks to the Pod: ‘innovative’! It’s my new favourite word. The thing I like most about it though is that it teaches you things you would never be taught in a classroom, and it gives you feedback on what you did well and what you could improve on. I found that really helpful”
- Elijah Walker, Year 11


Plus, we heard from the Assistant Head teacher for the educator’s take on this as an innovative new solution to work experience.

“The kids absolutely love it. The Pod has created such a buzz being here so far, they all want to be involved and experience it which is great. It’s got kids in years 10 and 11 all talking about the skills they developed and got them thinking about alternatives to work experience which will help them get on track for the career they deserve. It’s even got kids as young as year 7 interested in it which is fantastic as it starts their inspiration early.

A week of work experience used to be compulsory for our year 10 students, but last year we made the decision to replace that week with workshops designed by ourselves and the Lifeskills team to build skills, and help them to write their first CV. It was seen as a risky decision and received some scepticism as we’re the first school in the area to try it, but overall, 99% of the kids said they felt both more confident in knowing what employers are looking for, and more confident that they have the skills needed to succeed. And that, to me, is a lot more useful than a student returning from a week at work to tell us that the skills they best developed was tea-making. We’re thrilled to be able to offer our kids this opportunity and with the support of Barclays Lifeskills, we will continue to do so.

So really, it goes to show that work experience isn’t always the most effective way of helping children get the skills they need to begin their working lives. We’re thrilled to be a part of the launch of the Lifeskills Pod -  as you can see. All the kids here love it not just because it’s new and exciting but because it’s got them thinking about skills they need and the skills they already have.”

- Mr Simon Beck, Assistant Head of Lister Community School, Newham

- Photo credit: Mikael Buck/LifeSkills

Finally, we chatted to the Head of Lifeskills, Kirstie Mackey (right), who told us about her ambitions for the project. Above, she tests out the POD with Lifeskills ambassador and Techmix cover star George the Poet.

“At Lifeskills, it’s our mission to help 1 million kids across the UK transition from education to industry as seamlessly as possible. Having the right skill set and the confidence in yourself are the main factors for success. Normally, these are gained through work experience, but unfortunately there is a huge deficit of it at the moment and young kids are struggling to secure any before they leave school. The skills you need to head into a professional environment now are vastly different to when I left school, with employers saying that they rank skills such as resilience, communication and networking at the top.

We have developed the Lifeskills Pod to reduce the number of kids leaving schools without experience, and to increase the next generation’s likelihood of succeeding in their first professional environment.

Our aim is for the pod to be accessible to everyone within our network of 70% of schools across the UK. Then the next step for us will be to develop the Pod to cover a wider range of 21st Century skills, and progress the format into the classroom directly via an online platform.

We are thrilled with the response from the kids here at Lister Community School, and we’re looking forward to touring the Pod with us around to the Digital Careers Shows across London for thousands more young people to experience.”

- Kirstie Mackey, Head of Lifeskills at Barclays


We at Techmix loved the Lifeskills Pod, as it does exactly what we aim to do: inspire, teach, and innovate. Plus, we tried it and we got a certificate! Just like Alex and Elijah below.

- Photo credit: Mikael Buck/LifeSkills

Want to give the pod a go? It will be travelling around the Digital Careers Show series in London. The next opportunity to try it will be at The Copper Box Arena, Olympic Park on 7th July.

Register for tickets here: Registration


Related Websites:

Barclays Lifeskills

Jobs in a lifetime, Linkedin Research

Digital Careers Roadshow

Tweets from Space

Thursday 14 April 2016 TECHMIX NEWS


One of the most inspirational, out of this world twitter accounts - @astro_timpeake is tweeting directly from space and we can't get enough of this delightful mix of wit and education. Follow him to keep updated, but to save all the scrolling, here are some of our highlights...














Tim Peake: Starman

Thursday 14 April 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana

Warning: this could get gushing.

It's hard for us to be objective about Commander Tim Peake. Admittedly, being the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS), and only the second British person in space, already makes him Techmix catnip. The fact that he has, is and will inspire a generation of young people across the world into science and technology careers doesn't hurt either. But it is the character of the man that is most endearing.

Ignoring (but only momentarily) the fact that the first meal of his six month mission aboard an actual spaceship was a bacon sandwich, that he watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens... in space, and that he regularly tweets his favourite songs (and tributes to David Bowie) under the hashtag #spacerocks; Peake manages to be both deeply humble and seemingly in perpetual surprise at the situation he finds himself in.

Peake began his career in the army and was then a commercial pilot before becoming an astronaut, beating over 8,000 candidates to win one of six places on the European Space Agency's astronaut training programme. Once accepted, he underwent intensive psychological profiling, medical testing and academic training before finally being selected for the mission.

You might wonder what kind of aptitudes qualify a person to be sent into space, but regardless of his test scores, there is no greater indicator of the kind of person Tim Peake is, than his decision to run the London Marathon this year for the Prince's Trust... in space.

Peake will run 26.2 miles on a treadmill aboard the International Space Station, while nearly 40,000 runners race through the streets of London. To compensate for his lack of gravity, he will wear a rucksack-like harness to keep him secured tightly to the treadmill and his progress will be tracked on a virtual reality iPad app that will show the streets of the capital, as if he were running on Earth.

So... basically every time you watch Eastenders, Tim Peake is doing something that will blow your collective mind; from watching the sunrise aboard the ISS, to space walking with nothing but infinite black behind him. But Peake knows how lucky he is (however hard earned) and is adamant that this is to be a journey shared – which is where the social media and outreach to schools aspects come in. He wants the public to feel a sense of ownership of the mission themselves, which obviously only ingratiates him to us further.

We have a tendency of being, y'know... British, to be cynical and indifferent as a cultural default. But the world and beyond is so awesome (in the literal definition of the word – to inspire awe) that anything less than sheer wonder at the potential for and joy of discovery is simply a waste.

So be curious, dig deeper, allow yourself the vulnerability of awe, and then ride that train for as long as you can... it might just take you to the final frontier.

BAFTA Gaming Awards

Friday 08 April 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe


Last night, Dara O'Brien took to the stage to host the 2016 BAFTA Gaming Awards in London's Tobacco Dock.

Here are our highlights:

New indie game Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture stole the show at this year’s BAFTA Games Awards. Nominated for a huge 10 of 19 possible awards, The Chinese Room team went home with 3 wins; Audio Achievement, Music and Performer (Merle Dandridge). The single-player adventure game lets the player explore a mysterious, abandoned English village, taking you on a journey of discovery.

But the Best Game of 2016 was awarded to Fallout 4 by Bethesda Game Studios. Fallout has won over 50 Game of the Year Awards across the series, and this latest edition is firmly continuing that trend. It’s a post-apocalyptic role-play classic that faithful followers will love and first-time will be instantly addicted to.

Independent video game director, Sam Barlow also had a superb evening with 3 wins for his new game Her Story; Debut Game, Mobile & Handheld and Games Innovation. The game is a fresh combination of thrilling detective fiction and compelling interactive storytelling. It’s a genre in itself, and definitely one to try if you haven’t already.


Check out the full list of BAFTA winners here: http://awards.bafta.org/award/2016/games


Related Links:

Everybody's gone to the Rapture

Fallout 4

Her Story

BAFTA Gaming Awards

Hacking Mad

Thursday 07 April 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

Meet the teenage hacker who's taking on Tesla and Google in the race to build the world's first commerical self-driving car.

In 2007, at just 17, George Hotz became the first person to hack an iPhone. At 20, he hacked the notoriously difficult security behind Sony’s PlayStation 3. At 21 he was hired by Facebook in an undisclosed role, and at 22 he was headhunted by Google.

Now 26, and with a few years working in AI under his belt, he has built a self-driving car in his garage in the space of a month. By himself.

As the story now so commonly goes with entrepreneur legends like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk (his new business rival), Hotz’s story so far follows a University drop-out who was headhunted by global giants like Facebook, where he quickly got bored of how slow and behind the times they were.

In July 2015, he quit his job at AI start-up Vicarious after learning “everything there is to know” (George Hotz, Bloomberg, Dec 15) within 6 months.

Now, only 9 months after showing an interest in autonomous vehicles, he and his team of four friends, based in his San Fran garage, have already built a deep learning software that can drive a standard car by itself. He launched the company Comma.ai in September 2015 and within a month had designed, developed and installed software to make the car drive him around from the passenger’s seat.


“I took a stock Acura ILX, threw on some cameras, added deep learning, and now it'll drive me down the highway.” George Hotz speaking at SXSW, Texas 14th March 2016


What he’s created is an impressive deep learning algorithm which learns how to drive like a human. It stops automatically for obstacles. It keeps in lane. It can emergency stop. It’s incapable of crashing.

Talking of his aims for the product in a recent interview with Forbes, Hotz said:


“Humans are bad at traffic. We can make something that drives super-humanly smooth through traffic.” George Hotz, Forbes, 8th March 2016


His aims for the company, however, go somewhat further than that.

Before starting up Comma.at, Hotz was personally invited to the industry leader’s, Tesla, factory in Fremont, California, where he talked at length with the formidable CEO Elon Musk about single-handedly replacing their current AI technology partners, Molbileye. A few days later, Musk offered him the multi-million-dollar job of a life-time. Which he promptly and politely declined.


“ “I appreciate the offer,” Hotz replied, “but like I’ve said, I’m not looking for a job. I’ll ping you when I crush Mobileye.” ” Bloomberg, 16th December 2015


So, as Comma.ai, he plans to take them both on. And beat them at their own race.

Tesla are worth a gigantic $25.5 billion, and have infinite more resources, connections and staff working on their technology. Yet Hotz managed to build the something even better in his garage, in a month, using products he bought from the shop and his own software.


George Hotz is on the brink of brilliance in a way that only an entrepreneur can be.

And guess what… he’s hiring.



Related links:




Wogrammer: Women in programming

Thursday 31 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

“Breaking stereotypes one story at a time”


When you really love what you do, passion drives you to follow what you believe in, even if it’s completely against the stereotypical norms.

For Facebook engineers Erin Summers and Zainab Ghadiyali, the possibly that their gender could effect their chances of being successful programmers never even occurred to them.

When they joined the team at Facebook on the same day in 2013, Summers and Ghadiyali instantly hit it off. But with their workplace environment dominated by men, they found that their gender was suddenly a hot topic of conversation. Taken from Facebook’s own research into diversity within the company, the Director of Global Diversity, Maxine Williams, recorded that in 2015, a measly 16% of technology roles were filled by women.

Despite never finding gender an issue, Summers and Ghadiyali began noticing that other people were increasingly interested in it because of their profession. Whilst the interest was never a problem, it was the types of questions they were being asked that got the duo thinking. For the most part, it was the bad and the ugly about gender in the workplace that people were most interested in hearing about; the good got hung out to dry.


“As software engineers, we get asked a lot about what it’s like to be a woman in tech. Are there any horror stories? Have we experienced sexism in school or at work?

We would much rather be asked about our technical accomplishments and the technology we’ve built. We decided to take control and do something about it, and that’s how wogrammer was born.”

Wogrammer, About us


So in the summer of 2014, the two friends cofounded wogrammer. The site is dedicated to solely spotlighting the professional achievements of women engineers from across the globe. Since it’s inception, the website has featured over 150 women from over 100 different countries.

Delving into a personal profile, each woman is celebrated for their professional achievements alone. The site showcases the cutting-edge technology that women have designed, created and been the driving force behind.


“The more voices of real, authentic woman engineers we can share, the greater hopes we have of breaking stereotypes and focusing on what really matters - the technical achievements of women engineers.”

Zainab Ghadiyali, writing for Huffington Post, June 2015


Although inequality still ebbs into the everyday of society, it is through the determination of a few that perceptions will slowly, finally change. Many talk of the ‘fight’ for equality, but it would seem that it is not a battle to charge head on at. It is through publically celebrating the success of those who would normally be overlooked, that inequality is effortlessly and relentlessly proven to be wrong time and time again. Sites such as wogrammer and the talented, passionate women spotlighted within, who will ensure that equality ultimately becomes reality.



Related articles:

Ghadiyali for Huffington Post


APP OF THE WEEK: Notetalker

Thursday 31 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

We've all been there. We want to take notes, but the lecture requires our complete attention, or we want to record the lesson, but we don't want to sift through an hour's worth of talking just to find that one nugget of information that's going to help nail that essay. The Notetalker app, recently launched at this year's Bett Show by 'assistive' technology experts Conversor, could be the solution.

Available for iOS and Android, Notetalker is an interactive voice-recording app to make the process of taking notes during lectures or meetings easier, so you can be a hundred percent focused on what's being said.

In addition to being a discreet and smart voice recorder (a nifty graphic equalizer feature adjusts for noisy backgrounds on playback), Notetalker offers you the ability to create bookmark notes at any moment, even while the audio is playing. This means that you're able to record spontaneous thoughts, musings and developments, without missing a beat, and you don't have to listen to an entire hour to find the section you were looking for.

You can even take photos while recording – like for example, during a power point presentation – and attach it in the exact same way you would for a written note. This means you can insert visual references to help you remember specific points in the audio. Once recorded, you can categorise your notes, add further comments and even share notes with your friends – whatever you need to clear your mind.

Notetalker already has deep links with education. They provide Secondary school and University students and teachers with a learning suite that incorporates the app, software and microphone accessories kit – which in addition to the benefits already outlined – make for exceptionally useful revision tools.



Related Articles:



Unveiled: the UK's toughest interview questions

Wednesday 30 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

... and how to answer them.

We’ve all been there. You’ve sent out what feels like thousands of CVs, written hundreds of cover letters and eventually, finally, when you’re just about to give up, you get an interview. Success! So elated and enthused that progress is finally being made, that for a brief, blissful second you forget that the hardest part is yet to come...


The dreaded interview.


First impressions count, and this is your shot to brand yourself as both an intelligent, much needed asset to the business, and an all round great human being. So, you’re desperately trying to prepare. You read up on the role, the company, do your research, and even have a sneaky stalk at the interviewer’s Linkedin profile (while not logged in, obvs).


But interviewers are getting more creative with their questions, and love to throw in a few that are quite frankly so bizarre that no matter how thorough your research, you could never be prepared for. But in many ways, that’s the point. They want to see how you cope with being thrown off track, how you deal with pressure, and how your mind works to solve a problem which you can’t possibly know the answer to.


It’s character revealing. Your natural instinct takes over and no matter what your answer (even if it’s completely ridiculous), it shows the interviewer something about you and your personality that they would never otherwise be able to grasp in an initial meeting. They aren’t looking for your qualifications – that’s all on a piece of paper in front of them. It’s about whether you’ve got the right personality for the job and the company.


Of course there will always be the classic interview questions like “where do you see yourself in 5 years time?” and “tell me a difficult situation you found yourself in and how you dealt with it”


But with high-profile companies like Google becoming notorious for their bizarre questions, it’s trend that’s catching on. And not without good reason either; the good people at Glassdoor have published a report which finds a direct trend between the difficulty of interview questions and job satisfaction.

So chances are, if it’s your dream job, you’re going to have to jump through a couple of hoops in order to land the role you really want.


Daunting, we know.


To help you along, we’ve taken the top 10 most difficult job interview questions asked in the UK in 2016, as collated by Glassdoor and published by the Independent, and have grilled the Techmix team for their answers…


“Which magic power would you like to have?”

Topshop, Sales Assistant Job, Portsmouth

Ed – The power to control time

Pauline – I would like to see into the future and know the impact of a decision before I make it

Hope – I don’t believe in magic, I make things happen with my own willpower and determination


“If you were a fruit, which would you be and why?”

Topdeck Travel, Trip Leader Job, London

Ed – Passionfruit, because I am driven by passion

Pauline – Apple, because you can't have a fruit salad without it and it goes well with every other fruit

Hope – A tomato, because it’s unexpected


“If you could have dinner with three actors are that no longer living, who would you pick?”

Blackberry, Commercial Director, Berkshire

Ed – James Dean, Ronald Regan and Marilyn Monroe

Pauline – Charlie Chaplin for his creativity, Audrey Hepburn for her grace and Robin Williams for his humour

Hope – Whoever replies to my invite in time for dinner


“How many hours would it take to clean every single window in London?”

IBM, IT Job, Portsmouth

Ed – How many hours have you got?

Pauline – Outside and in, or just the outside?

Hope – 5 minutes, if everyone cleaned their own window at the same time


“How do you get an elephant in a fridge?”

Gemalto, Software Engineer, London

Ed – Why are you putting an elephant in a fridge?

Pauline – Either make a very large fridge or make the elephant very small…

Hope – Open the door and put it in


“If the time is quarter past three, what is the angle measurement on the clock?”

Standard Bank Group, Product Control Leader, London

Ed – 7.5 degrees as the hour hand would have moved past 3pm for it to be 3.15

Pauline – 0

Hope – Depends if it’s digital or not


“If you had three minutes alone in a lift with the CEO, what would you say?”

Network Rail, Management Accountant Job, London

Ed – I would introduce myself and take the opportunity to get to know the CEO on a personal level

Pauline – Nothing unless they spoken to me first

Hope – Why should I work for Network Rail?


“How many people born in 2013 were named Gary?”

BT, Senior Proposition Manager, London

Ed – 23, I read it in the news at the time

Pauline – Twice more than half

Hope – Not many after Gary Glitter's escapades


“What will you be famous for?”

EY, Director, London

Ed – Fame doesn’t interest me, I’d rather be well respected

Pauline – My ambition, intellect and creativity

Hope – I wouldn’t like to be famous, but if I had to choose something to be known for, I would like it to be that I am honest, loyal and true to myself


“How many nappies are purchased per year in the UK?”

Aviva Investors, Graduate Programme Place, London

Ed – As many as required

Pauline – The same number as were sold by suppliers

Hope – A high percentage more disposable than reusable


Here are some of our favourites from the surveys in other countries across the world. How you would answer them?

“What would the name of your debut album be?”

Urban Outfitters, US

“Would you rather fight a 1 horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?”

Whole Foods Market, US

“How many ping pong balls fit inside a school bus?”

Google, France



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Plug In... to Chill Out

Thursday 24 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana

According to the Centre for Data research, the average... aaaaand I've lost you. You've switched off. Actually, you've switched over. You're checking Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter -  sure, you're connected - but you're not here. Not present. Not focused.

It's easy to be distracted by an endless, evolving stream of information. The next time you're writing an essay, tally up exactly how many times you pick up your phone. What does your tally look like? Embarrassing, right? Especially because you cheated (we noticed). But so what? You got the essay done. The problem is you worked half as hard for twice as long. At Techmix, we believe you should work smarter, not longer; particularly when these constant diversions affect your personal life. It is impossible to be a hundred percent present with your family and friends when you've got one foot out the virtual door.

Fortunately the tech industry is here to help us use tech... less. There is now a burgeoning market of innovative products explicitly designed to help us to get more R&R, so we become more productive in our work time and less distracted in our down time.

At the forefront of this movement, is Moshi Monsters creator Michael Acton Smith, who in 2012 co-founded Calm.com – designed to be an oasis of er... calm in an online desert. Even a visit to their home page is like taking a quick dip in Lake Zen. 'Million Dollar Homepage' creator and Calm co-founder Alex Tew believes the necessity for the site stems from something more serious.


“I read somewhere there is evidence that our brains are being re-wired by the internet, because we get a little dopamine kick every time we check our e-mail or Twitter or Facebook and there’s a new update. So we're all developing a bit of ADD.”


Apple creator Steve Jobs, was a well known practitioner of 'mindfulness' – a type of meditation taught in Zen Buddhism – believing it to reduce stress, increase clarity and enhance his creativity. So the idea of tranquillity has been in the tech Zeitgeist for some time. Now, we're not expecting you to delete your Facebook account and take up meditation, but if Steve Jobs can take five, then your Instagram feed can probably wait.

Perhaps the reason well-being is so hot in tech right now, is because it's a reaction against the culture of connectedness (yes, that's a word... now) that tech helped create in the first place. Being constantly contactable means by definition, that you can never truly switch off or truly be present, and nobody is feeling the need to unplug more than techies themselves.

Look, we get it, it's cool to be mainlined into the digital world. But the internet and social media was designed to make us more connected – not disconnected; to make the world smaller, not turn us into our own island. If our anti-social digital addictions mean we're not present in the company of those most important to us, or so disconnected from ourselves that we can't even stand alone in public without reaching for our phones like some digital security blanket – then it's diminishing who we are.

So whether you unplug or plug in... the important thing is that you chill out. Take five minutes of pure, unadulterated me time. Right now. You earned it. In fact, we'll join you...

Now how exactly does one get their Zen on? Wait... it's cool, there's an app for that.


Related websites:


Innovators at the ready

Thursday 24 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

Fancy yourself as an inventor? An entrepreneur?

Have you ever been sat in class and had a brainwave for how to make learning more fun, more interactive or more innovative? Do you have an exciting idea for a new digital product?

If so, the UFI Charitable Trust has got an incredible opportunity just for you.

The #VocLearnTech 2016 scheme opens for applications on 4th April. Apply with your idea for the chance to be gifted up to £50,000 to kickstart your project.


There’s a number of ways to make the most of your application from. To hear UFI’s top dog, Rebecca Garrod-Waters, talk about what the scheme is looking for, book your place on to the London workshop on 14th April. After the talk, there will be time to meet the UFI team and discuss your project with the people who matter.


If the idea of talking to powerful, successful business leaders, and receiving funding and backing for your project has got you excited, then register here to start your application. The journey to your success starts here.


Rebecca Garrod-Waters, Ufi CEO, said:

'Working at the cutting edge of learning technologies to make vocational learning an attractive market for future investment, [Digital Careers Roadshow] has real impact - creating new companies and new jobs in a new sector for digital technologies.'  


#VocLearnTech 2015 was a huge success, offering funding for 15 unique projects.

A favourite of ours from last year is MakersClub, the Brighton-based education technology startup that uses 3D printing and an intuitive online platform to engage kids 12+ and adults into design, programming and engineering.

See more of last years stories here


Good luck, young innovators. Go and inspire.



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Where in the world are the world’s billionaires?

Thursday 24 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

The coveted Hurun Global Rich List 2016 was released on 24th February, detailing the rankings for all 2,188 of the world’s billionaires.

What have we learnt from it? The industry that’s made the most number of billionaires this year is… you guessed it – Technology.

Here are Techmix’s highlights from this year’s list.


Industry: Technology, Media and Telecommunications produced the highest number of billionaires, with 14% of the list and 307 people in total. Technology is a key source for worldwide wealth for the third year in a row. 13% of the industry’s billionaires are new to the list this year, from companies such as AirBnB, MagicLeap and Flipkart.


Country: China

5 Chinese cities make the top 10 cities in the world, including the top spot…


City: Beijing

Beijing has been named the billionaire capital of the world, with 100 billionaires living within the city. It cleanly swipes the title from New York for the first time, with a huge increase of 32 new billionaires, taking the capital’s total up to 100.


Self-made billionaires: 1,510 people on the list have made their own fortune. That’s 69% of all billionaires in the world.


Self-made & under 40: 47 people on the list are young and rich, having made their billions before the age of 40. Bill Gates, who keeps the top spot this year, became a billionaire at the age of 31.


Youngest self-made billionaires

Men: Evan Spiegel, 25, co-founder of Snapchat

Women: Elizabeth Holmes, 32, CEO of Theranos


Women: 315 names on the list are female, which accounts for 15%.


Self-made women: 124

China leads the way again, with 93 female Chinese billionaires making the list this year, leaving only 21 from other countries.


China is the only country to have added female billionaire within the technology industry, and there are 9 of them up on the list.


Lin Xiaoya, cofounder and director of Qtone Education, is one of those 9. Qtone is China’s leading education technology company and provides the communication platform used by 25 million families and 8 million schools. The company is set to expand into online education over the coming year. With an increase in value of 500% last year, who knows what the year will hold for Lin and her company.  Qtone will be presenting at each event across the Digital Careers Roadshhow and are passionate about helping young people across the world into technology and education. Visit them at the next careers fair at Olympic Park, 7th July.



Related websites:



Tweets for everyone

Thursday 10 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

Out with the trash; in with the treats

Over the last few weeks the twittersphere has been revelling in the chaos that is KimYe and their recurring public meltdowns. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype when your twitter feed seems to be heavily focused on posts about celebrities and their crazy lives. Because let’s face it, we all secretly love a public meltdown (wrecking ball anyone?).

But it’s good to take a step back every now and again because although it may seem like celebrity lives make up the majority, take a look past the chirping nonsense and there’s a lot of good going on if you just keep scrolling.

Here are some of Techmix’s favourite ways twitter is doing some good in the world.

1. The Barclays’ @Digitaleagles have made an innovative, interactive vending machine which churns out techy treats for every tweet made on your smartphone. The queue for this one at the #LonCareers2016 event: Digital Careers Show didn’t let up for the whole day

2. The geniuses behind @Facespics is spreading only pure joy across the internet. Their regular picture posts will make you see ordinary everyday objects in a whole new light

3.  Now that Daniel Craig’s days are numbered, if you fancy yourself taking over as the next James Bond, @CIA, are dishing out spying tricks of the trade. Plus, in one way or another, they’re already following you, so it’s only right that you follow them back

4. Ever wondered what it’s like to be an astronaut? Well follow Tim Peake. As the first British astronaut on the International Space Station, Tim’s tweeting straight from space and into our lives – taking us all on his incredible 6-month journey. And he’s loving every second of it

On the rise

Thursday 10 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

National statistics recently released show more jobs for young people

According to the latest release from Office of National Statistics, the number of young people (16-24yr olds) not in education, employment or training (NEET) has dropped to 11.8% of the population in December 2015.

At the end of 2015, the total number of unemployed young people stood at 853,000 across the UK. That’s 110,000 less than were looking at the same time in 2014. Between October to December 2015, there were 217,000 unemployed NEET young men, and 141,000 women (see Figure 1, below)

The decline has kept going at a steady pace for the last couple of years, but not without hard work and determination from a great number of people. From those writing endless CVs and cover letters spending hours trawling the job sites, to Job Centre mentors across the UK and large organisations like City & Guilds who specialise in helping young people secure apprenticeships: it's taking hard work and dedication but it's all paying off.

Getting your foot on the employment ladder is the hard part; once you’ve got experience the only way is up. So where better to start than within an industry that is at the forefront of change across the world. Get your foot in the door of a digital and technology industries, work hard, and you can have your Raspberry Pi and eat it too.

Large and small scale careers events are a great way to get a scope of the market and the types of jobs available at the moment. If you’re not sure of the exact role you’re looking for, you can talk to professionals about their jobs and get a good idea of their role and the company culture from just one brief meeting. At events like these, exhibitors are always companies who are actively recruiting, so getting the opportunity to meet face-to-face and make an instant first impression gives you pretty amazing exposure.

At the last Digital Careers Show event, City & Guilds reps were there, doing to ground work and guided over 1,000 young people making their careers choices. With links to hundreds of apprenticeships, courses and companies across the UK, they're a great place to start if you're one of the 11.8% still looking.

Look at our events page for the next careers show near you.


Figure 1: People aged from 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training as a percentage of all people aged from 16 to 24, seasonally adjusted

UK, October to December 2010 to October to December 2015

ref: Office of National Statistics


City & Guilds

Office of National Statistics

DCR: Roundhouse Review

Thursday 10 March 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Hope Lowe

The Mayor’s Digital Careers Roadshow kicked off with great success at the Roundhouse, Camden on 23rd February. Over 70 innovative employers exhibited to 15-28 year olds seeking jobs within the digital, creative and media sectors.

With over 150 jobs being recruited for on the day, the 1,700 attendees had a unique opportunity to face recruiting employers in an equal environment.

Students came to gain insight on the jobs market, learn about the kind of roles available, get a sense for various companies from small to large. Many used the day to help choose their career pathway.

Whereas final year students and second jobbers had come prepared with a pitch and headed straight for the company they wanted to work for. They saw it as the perfect opportunity to kick start their way into the job of their dreams.

Exhibiting employers and eductors pitched to individuals and to the mases, showcasing their products, their company cultures and themselves. With some of London's most innovative companies under one (very beauitful) roof, the Digital Careers Roadshow at Camden Roundhouse was a hive of the latest technology shown off with the passion and vigour of people who abosolutely love their jobs. 

Needless to say, it was a very interactive day. Highlights included; designing and printing your own metal water bottle with Digital Futures, watching a child’s robotic hand being 3D printed by Ultimaker, swapping a tweet for a techy treat with Barclay’s Digital Eagles, and so much more.


Hardware titans, CISCO built a striking stand which was buzzing with interest from start to finish. Accomplished tech experts, they moved seemlessly into the media realm to capture the day perfectly: 



Throughout the day, influential speakers from leading companies both small and large stood up and delivered engaging talks, bursting with enthusiasm, knowledge and exclusive tips. All at the top of their game and going strong, speech after speech discussed a new, exciting passion; everything from how to set up your own business, how to market yourself as a professional, how to network effectively, using social media to grow a business, women and equality within work, company culture and how to choose the right kind for your personality.

Overall, it was a great success for both visitors and exhibitors. Thousands of potential employees met, hundreds of new business connections made, and endless amounts of knowledge passed on.


Click to see a full list of exhibiting companies, associated courses, and guest speakers.


If you missed out on the fun this time around, the next event in the series will be at the Copper Box, Olympic Park on 7th July.


For tickets contact tickets@techmixmag.com

For exhibitor and guest speaker enquiries contact booking@techmixmag.com


Exhibiting Company Reviews:

Digital Futures

UFI Trust



Ultimate Assest

Harrow College

Tech Wrap

QA Education

31 Years Old & Worth $5 Billion

Tuesday 26 January 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana

And you have no idea who she is.

Elizabeth Holmes is the the CEO of Theranos, a $10 billion blood-testing company seeking to radically disrupt the lab test industry, who have developed a device named Edison, that needs only a few drops of blood obtained from a simple finger-prick. Not only would this revolutionise healthcare access across the world, but it could also help to facilitate early detection and prevention of disease. If that wasn't enough, it will also eliminate those wincing, needle-in-your-arm trips to the Doctor's, for those afraid of needles... or blood... or fainting.

It is fair to say Theranos sounds pretty exceptional, and that Elizabeth Holmes, who founded the company after dropping out of college at 19, must be pretty exceptional. Worth an estimated $5 billion, Holmes is the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Oh and did we mention... she's 31!

So why don't you know who Elizabeth Holmes is? It's a question that's been banded all around the Techmix office. One reason could simply be that she's American. But you're 'worldly' enough to know who Ashton Kutcher is (although young enough to wonder why), and he only played a Silicon Valley genius in a movie (Google it. That really happened).

The reason could be that Theranos, who operated in stealth mode for ten years, only came to public attention two years ago. Or that a company's 'valuation' is not actually real money, but a calculation based on how much venture capitalists have invested and what they thought the company would be worth in the future.

The reason might be the healthcare industry itself; maybe blood testing is not so glamorous, whereas if Holmes created a social media platform, you'd probably already be watching a movie about her. Also, in Britain, we take the NHS and free healthcare for granted, so the idea of an affordable blood-test (however revolutionary) is easier to slide past. Whereas in the US, Theranos' Edison device could prevent and detect illness long before the average person needs the treatment that they either couldn't afford or that would bankrupt them to get healthy again.

Could it possibly be because she is a woman? If Holmes were a buccaneering thirty-one-year old male billionaire who gave out business cards that said, 'I'm CEO, b***h,' would we be more familiar with her as a tech personality? Holmes may be the public face of Theranos, but it's clear from her passionate, compelling and inspiring words that she considers the work itself her raison d'être: Theranos is the star and Holmes is the conduit.

So why don't you know who this incredible female role model and potentially world-changing pioneer is? Answer: her work does not fit our modern narrative.

"Raise our little girls with the stereotype that they can be the best in engineering and science and maths. It changes everything.Elizabeth Holmes

Despite America being a fantastic architect of its own mythologised success stories, even it cannot overhaul a Zeitgeist of cultural bankruptcy. Theranos is a work in progress, a work already years in the making. It is not overnight and graft is not glamorous. Holmes understood this, which is why she named her marquee device after Thomas Edison, who after failing to make a light bulb at the thousandth attempt, responded to criticism by stating that he had not failed, but had actually succeeded in discovering one thousand ways to incorrectly make a light-bulb.

The minute you have a back-up plan, you've admitted you're not going to succeed.” Elizabeth Holmes

Holmes' mentality and thought-leadership deserves not only our admiration, but at the very least, our attention. Not everyone who is thrust into the Zeitgeist is so deserving. If we are fed a diet of Donald Trump and TOWIE, it is only natural to believe that the world is an uninspiring and uninteresting place. But the minds, knowledge and people making the unimaginable a reality are out there. You just have to change the channel. Be curious and see how far that curiosity will take and inspire you.

Overnight success is never overnight – it only looks like it. Respect the graft. Understand what it takes to get to where you want to be and then earn the right to be there. Remember Edison: do what you feel passionate about a thousand different ways, and when you succeed that 1001st time, the world will take notice. It won't be overnight. But it will look like it.


Photo Credit: Kevin Krejci

Dial Emergency... for Drones

Tuesday 26 January 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana

Drones get a bad rap these days. For good reason, they are generally associated with unmanned death and destruction. Yet it's easy to forget that the technology itself is still the stuff of borderline science-fiction, capable of myriad uses as we're ushered towards the future.

The most impressive of which is the AirMule, a drone ambulance capable of airlifting two people, that recently took autonomous flight for the very first time.

With its vertical take-off and landing, the AirMule is designed for conditions or situations unsuitable for a helicopter, such as an active combat zone. The drone, made by Israeli company Tactical Robotics, can carry up to 450kg for distances of up to 31 miles. While it is purpose-built for military use, the ability to navigate obstacles en route could mean that in the future, this tech has the potential to be used for domestic emergency services in densely populated and gridlocked metropolises.

Not to be outdone, Chinese company Ehang Inc. pulled off a coup at this year's CES, the annual consumer electronics and technology trade show in Las Vegas, when they unveiled the very first drone capable of carrying a human passenger.

The Ehang 184 can carry a single person for up to 23 minutes, can travel as fast as 63mph and requires only two commands after setting a flight plan - “take off” and “land.”. It also has a reading light... if y'know, your very own escape pod gets a little too boring!

As with any technological innovation, the long arm of commerce can't be too far behind. Amazon Prime Air is developing a future delivery system to send packages door-to-door in less than 30 minutes using small, unmanned aerial drones. Designed with sophisticated 'sense and avoid' technology and flying under 400 feet, Amazon hope that their Prime Air vehicles will one day be as normal as seeing the postman's van on the road. But not yet. Amazon will only deploy once it’s got the regulatory support needed to safely realise its vision. So watch this space, Santa Claus. You could soon be out of a job.

Suit Up Or College Sweat?

Tuesday 26 January 2016 TECHMIX NEWS

Kris Pathirana

If as Shakespeare suggests, that, “Apparel oft proclaims the man,” or clothes make the man (or woman), then you should probably ensure you're wearing some decent threads when you meet a potential employer for an interview, right?

This was the Jobs Jury topic for February's print issue of Techmix, but that question was about finding a job. What if you believe that it's better to invent a job than to find a job? What if you want to create your own start-up business?

Dressing down has become a status symbol of the tech elite. But that doesn't mean there isn't a uniform. Mark Zuckerberg made a hoodie and a grey t-shirt his sartorial signature, while Steve Jobs ensured he had enough black turtlenecks and 501 jeans to last a lifetime. Even Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who many assumed was merely aping Jobs' iconic look, was actually inspired by the black turtleneck Sharon Stone wore to the Oscars in 1996.

But what they wear is not important – what's important is why they wear it. All three of these billionaire tech entrepreneurs have the same mindset: they wear the same thing every day, to limit their decision making.

This is because of what psychologists call decision fatigue. Making decisions takes energy and if you're a trailblazer on the sharp end of the tech industry, you may have to make a hundred vital decisions every day. But even a Silicon Valley genius only has a certain amount of daily mental energy, which means they don't want to waste any deciding what to wear. As President Barack Obama explained to Vanity Fair in 2012:

"You'll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make."

These incredibly busy, influential people all tried to make their life simpler, so they can be more successful and efficient in their business, whether that business be running a social media platform or leading a nation. The thinking being, that their ability to make the correct pivotal, business defining decision may be reduced because they expended too much mental energy on things that didn't matter.

When starting your own fledgling business, the proverbial buck stops with you, which means you will have to make every single decision to move forward. For these titans of industry, what to wear, became a luxury decision that they couldn't afford, and what seemed an attempt to brand their own image, was actually an attempt at daily convenience.

This doesn't mean you have to wear the same thing the rest of your life, or eat the same balanced breakfast every day, but it does suggest that limiting the amount of decisions you make when taking on the world, might make you more productive and your business more successful.

So roll out that start-up and go forth and conquer... and remember that black goes with everything.


Photo Credit: Brian Solis - briansolis.com