Best of IFA 2017: upday UK’s tech recap

All the major news from Europe’s biggest tech show. Plus other stories that made our geeky hearts flutter.

Welcome to Europe’s biggest tech show. 📸 — Getty Images

IFA Highlights

If your knowledge of tech trade shows is limited to CES in Vegas, here’s a bit of a history lesson: Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) is Europe’s oldest technology show, dating back to the 1920s. And it’s also grown to become Europe’s biggest tech event. So naturally, that’s where we (figuratively) spent most of our week.

This year’s showcase may not have been as ground-breaking as 1931 — when the first showing of the cathode-ray tube was held at IFA — but it still gave our favourite tech companies a chance to showcase their latest smartphones, wearables and laptops. From Fitbit’s “Apple Watch killer” to a Bang & Olufsen’s jaw-dropping wireless headphones, here are some favourites from Stuff.

Samsung may have made its big announcement last week, but it wasn’t going to sit out IFA 2017. After all, the two go wayyy back.

We know and love Samsung smartphones, but let’s not forget it also has a huge business selling appliances, TVs and other gadgets. Redefining the “new normal”, Samsung dropped a serious roster of all-star gadgets, including three wearables we’re particularly excited about.

Self-driving Samsung

Another big win for Samsung this week was that it got the go-ahead to test self-driving cars on California’s roads.

Samsung has been practising it’s self-driving skills since May, when it received approval to test cars in its home country of Korea. But with an American license, Samsung will be parallel parking next to other big players in this space like Apple, Bosch, Delphi, NVIDIA and Waymo.

What’s that Sound?

Astronomers searching for evidence of alien life detected unexplained radio bursts this week. They picked up 15 new fast radio bursts (FRBs) – which are powerful radio signals that flash from distant space for milliseconds and then disappear.

FRBs were first discovered about 15 years ago, and have since been detected a couple dozen times. But science is still unable to come up with a solid explanation for why they exist or what – or wh0 – may have caused them.

There’s a whole lotta “I dunno” in this story, but it’s worth a read:

So folks, what do you think: Are aliens trying to hail us from afar?

But imagine if we did find alien life — that would be the biggest discovery in human history. After all, we’ve been speculating about what they look like and how they act for years. Gizmodo asked serious astronomers and senior physicists to paint their picture of aliens so that we don’t have to let our imaginations run wild.

Banks try Blockchain

Big banks are learning a thing or two from blockchain – the technical backbone of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

British banks like Barclays and HSBC have joined a project started by Swiss banking giant UBS to create a new digital currency that could go live as early as next year.

Sky Taxi

It seems the whole world has gone gaga for air-cabs: Dubai is racing to be the first to put flying cabs in air, Nasa and Uber are working on “a future of on-demand urban air transportation”, Airbus is promising to have an air taxi prototype ready by 2020. But do we even want clever copters whizzing over our cities?

If the idea of hailing pilotless sky taxis freaks you out, you’re not alone.

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