Week In Tech: Tech for good

This week we see technology trying to help solve issues in our society: from homelessness in the developing world, to the health crisis concerning our youth and… improving your music listening experience. Admittedly that last item isn’t quite in the same realm of importance as the previous ones, but they can’t all be home runs.

It’s illegal to print your own money, but you can print your own house.

Getting on the property ladder in the UK, especially in London, is a dream equivalent to that of England winning the World Cup. You feel it’s going to happen at some point in your life, but you have no idea when and it doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon.

That could be about to change.

Icon, a construction firm, has developed a 3D-printed house which takes 48 hours to build, costs just $10,000 and at 650 square feet it is certainly substantial enough. Icon have teamed up with New Story, a non-profit that sets up housing for those in need, to help battle the problem of homelessness in the developing world. For now, this tech is rightly being used to help those who need it most, but it might not be long before we start seeing this on our own shores. You can’t blame a guy for hoping…

Spotify voice control 

Ever interrupted a song on Spotify because you were scrolling through a playlist and accidentally pressed play on something else? Or been driving while listening to a playlist when that song you hate comes on, but you can’t skip it? These problems could be a thing of the past with Spotify’s new voice search technology. With reportedly accurate results, this could be an end to you fumbling around trying to find the track you want to come on. This is a welcome development for Spotify addicts like myself, although I’m going to have to stick to silently typing my requests in public when searching up S Club 7’s greatest hits… Can’t have everyone knowing about that.

Fitbit Ace – helping kids fight obesity

With television, consoles, smart phones and tablets all providing children with such a great variety of entertainment from their sofa, there is little incentive to go out and exercise. This is clearly having an effect. According to The Telegraph ‘figures from NHS Digital suggest 32% of girls and 36% of boys in the final year of primary school are obese, while the UK is also one of the least active countries in the world’.

This is where the new Fitbit Ace comes into play, offering incentives to be the most active family member and vibrating to remind you to get up and move. Its aim is to help “Empower the entire family to embrace a healthy and more active lifestyle,” according to their CEO. There is no motivation like competition, especially against your own family!

So there we have it, technology is helping to solve all our problems, even the ones it has inadvertently contributed to.