Showing posts with label Latest Tech News Today. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Latest Tech News Today. Show all posts
One week ago, President Donald Trump held a press conference wherein he claimed Google would be building a screening website for the coronavirus that would direct people to testing sites. As we learned in the following days, that wasn’t true. Google’s sister company Verily did launch such a site, but only for the Bay Area and reportedly it only offered tests to a very small number of people. Google, however, did say it would launch some sort of website and after a small delay, it’s here.
Alongside the website and potentially more importantly, Google will start providing more enhanced information cards for people who search for terms related to the coronavirus. There will be information tabs for symptoms, prevention, global statics, and locally relevant information. It will look a bit like this:
The website is at It does have useful resources, including a card that mimics what you see above. Google’s post announcing the site says that you will be able to find “state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators and businesses.” Google emphasizes that it’s pulling information from “authoritative” sources like the WHO and the CDC.

It’s only available in English right now, but a Google spokesperson tells The Verge that Spanish language support is soon to follow. The site was also designed with accessibility in mind, including with the larger fonts that Google usually uses.
The website has videos in ASL, a global map showing confirmed cases by country, and plenty of information about Google’s other relief efforts — plus some feel-good YouTube videos.
Reading through that description, however, you’ll notice that it doesn’t include what Trump originally claimed it would. The nearest thing to finding a test is a drop-down menu that provides links to local websites — for example, choosing California provides a link to the California Department of Public Health.
Right now, the CDC has a “self-checker” chatbot that Microsoft helped build, but the WSJ quoted an executive from a healthcare provider who put in a realistic context: “It’s just something consumers need now to help with anxiety.”
In other words, lots of big tech companies are making efforts to provide coronavirus-related support, but none of them are able to solve some of the biggest problems in the pandemic: access to testing and the impending crisis in our healthcare infrastructure.

Just ask, and Google Assistant will sing a song while you lather up to make sure you go the full 20 seconds.

We’re all focusing on hand hygiene amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, particularly the advice to sing “Happy Birthday” twice while giving our hands a good scrub. But if you or your kids want a cheering section while you’re lathering up, Google Assistant can help—and teach you the right way to do it.

According to a tweet today from Google, you can now say “Hey Google, help me wash my hands,” and Google Assistant will sing a 40-second rendition of a tune that’s perfect for the occasion: “Wash, wash, wash your hands, for 40 seconds please!”You can say the command on your Google Assistant device of choice: phone, Google Home or Nest speaker, or Google Nest display. If you happen to ask your Google display for help washing your hands, Assistant will play an animation of soap bubbles while it sings.So, hold on—40 seconds? What happened to the 20-second hand washing guideline?Well, as the Global Handwashing Partnership points out, the World Health Organization does, in fact, recommend that you wash your hands for anywhere between 40 to 60 seconds, but that includes everything from getting your hands wet to drying them off with a towel. In terms of the actual lathering process, 20 seconds—or about the length of singing “Happy Birthday” twice—should be just fine, according to UNICEF and the CDC.

Here are the full lyrics for the song:
  • Wash, wash, wash your hands for 40 seconds please,
  • So we’ll chase the germs away so you don’t cough and sneeze.
  • Lather up your hands about a minute more,
  • Get in between each finger you can never be too sure.
  • Clean, clean, clean your hands and if you’re getting bored,
  • Remember friend that in the end good health is your reward.
  • Scrub, scrub, scrub your hands, you’re almost there hooray,
  • Soap and water lather up, at least five times a day.
  • Rinse, rinse, rinse your hands, just five more seconds now,
  • We’re having fun, we’re almost done, not let’s get you a towel.
Amazon is temporarily refusing to stock certain items in its warehouses, to cope with overwhelming demand for household essentials due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It means third-party sellers of non-essential items could find it difficult to ship orders to customers.
The move will last until 5 April and cover warehouses in the US and Europe.
Some items – including many brands of toilet paper – remain out of stock on Amazon’s UK website.
The decision to restrict warehouse stocks to household essentials and medical supplies has been met with dismay by some sellers of other products.
“My sales just doubled and Amazon halted all my shipments,” said one in a post on discussion site Reddit.
“This is absolutely crazy,” wrote another – though they added they had been “prepared” for disruption.
Third-party sellers can still list and sell items on Amazon but they would have to carry out packing and shipping of the products themselves.
"We are temporarily prioritising household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfilment centres so we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers. We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding."
"Small businesses will hurt because of it and some will completely go bankrupt if the supply chain disruption goes beyond a month," said Samantha Morrison, who sells a range of electrical and computer-related goods via Amazon.
She said it was nonetheless important that Amazon remained able to provide essential items to people in a time of need.
Ms Morrison added that she thought her own business would be minimally impacted as she had enough stock to "weather the storm".
Andrew Helgeson, a seller based in Lincoln, said he had "no idea" how many fewer orders he would be able to ship because he has been relying on Amazon's services for eight years.
Mr Helgeson sells items including DVDs and Blu-ray discs and said he would have to switch to packaging the products individually himself at home.
He added that he had already applied for a three-month mortgage holiday from his bank and would be seeking other government help.
The Coronavirus outbreak has not only gripped the world but has also had a crucial impact on cyberspace. With reports emerging from all parts of the globe about cyberattacks surrounding COVID-19, leaders in cybersecurity have come together to combat cyberattacks particularly targeting the Healthcare sector in the wake of the pandemic—an additional threat level to overburdened hospitals, clinics, and research facilities.
The investment firm, C5 Capital, has created the C5 Alliance of leading cybersecurity firms like ITC Secure, IronNet, Haven Cyber Technologies, Enveil, 4iQ, and Blue Cedar to combat this new threat vector. The alliance is a response to a 150% increase in healthcare cyberattacks in the last two months, such as phishing emails pretending to be from the World Health Organization (WHO), and ransomware.
“Healthcare companies and organizations are facing growing threats, as seen with the NHS attacks in 2017. Now with the COVID-19 crisis, they are facing an unprecedented assault from cyberattacks. This initiative takes immediate action in helping to protect health services in the U.K. and Europe in the best way possible, with the knowledge of some of the world’s best cybersecurity experts,” said Andre Pienaar, Founder, C5 Capital in a release.
As part of the alliance, Collective Cyber Defence for Healthcare initiative has been launched to free access for hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities in the U.K. and Europe, to C5’s IronDome system.  The collective crowdsourcing defense product, based on IronNet’s collective defense solution, will be managed by ITC Secure’s SOC in London.
The alliance will help ensure hospitals and clinics protect their internal systems and databases for patients, healthcare workers, and volunteers. The alliance also aims to protect pharmaceutical research and development facilities while developing a vaccine to fight the COVID-19 virus both safely and efficiently.
“With the dramatic spread of COVID-19, a coordinated approach to the crisis is crucial. The cybersecurity industry has a key role to play, and this initiative addresses a growing and immediate issue. We are proud to be joining forces with a host of excellent cyber security companies to help tackle this problem within healthcare,” Paddy McGuinness, C5 Strategic Partner and former U.K. Deputy National Security Adviser for Intelligence, Security and Resilience, commented.

How will the Xbox Series X's radical new Velocity Architecture affect the future of PCs? We're just beginning to find out.

Microsoft’s reveal of the Xbox Series X already makes the console look like a top-of-the-line gaming PC in terms of its specifications. But Microsoft said Monday that at least part of its revolutionary new storage architectureDirectStorage, will be coming to real PCs. 
DirectStorage is the Windows API that will be used to control what Microsoft calls the Xbox Velocity Architecture. It’s Microsoft’s approach to reducing the storage capacity that an Xbox Series X game will require, promising to load the game and its assets as quickly as possible.
It’s a small but key part of the Xbox Series X game console. Microsoft said, “This newest member of the DirectX family is being introduced with Xbox Series X and we plan to bring it to Windows as well.”

How the Xbox Velocity Architecture works

Before today, Microsoft had already made some of the details surrounding the Xbox Series X public, including that it’s powered by a CPU based on AMD’s latest Zen 2 core, as well as an advanced Radeon GPU that supports hardware-based ray tracing. Microsoft also told us that an SSD would be included, so as to virtually eliminate load times. One of its mysteries, though, has been what a large, undefined slot on the back of the console will be used for. 

Well, now we know. The slot will receive the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X—a custom, removeable 1TB NVMe drive that will (obviously) be manufactured by Seagate. The NVMe interface, which connects directly to the PCI Express bus, will be used to minimize latency. It guarantees 2.4GB/s of throughput that will allow the drive to serve as a sort of virtual memory, according to Digital Foundry’s behind-the-scenes look. The 1TB removable memory card will double the Xbox Series X’s existing 1TB internal SSD storage, though there apparently will be other capacity points as well. 
The SSD and the DirectStorage API will be two of the four parts within the Xbox Series X Velocity Architecture, which also includes a dedicated hardware decompression block, and what Microsoft calls Sampler Feedback Streaming. All will work together to reduce latency in loading new games and restoring old saved game states quickly. Microsoft calls this latter feature Quick Resume, and it will allow gamers to quickly resume saved games across multiple games, and not just one. 
“The CPU is the brain of our new console and the GPU is the heart, but the Xbox Velocity Architecture is the soul,”  the technical Fellow on Xbox Series X at Microsoft. “The Xbox Velocity Architecture is about so much more than fast last times. It’s one of the most innovative parts of our new console. It’s about revolutionizing how games can create vastly bigger, more compelling worlds.”
At this point, many questions about Xbox Velocity Architecture remain unanswered. For example: whether it’s an open design that will be licensed to other storage manufacturers to reduce prices; whether the interface will allow users to daisy-chain or otherwise combine cards to avoid having to replace them; what price Seagate will charge for these cards; and what performance penalty users will face if they use USB-connected drives with the Xbox Series X.
Seagate officials referred our questions to Microsoft, which confirmed that Seagate's card will be the only one sold with the Xbox Series X at launch. Microsoft officials declined to comment on the card's cost, whether it would be sold at additional capacity points, or daisy-chained. Rival WD declined to comment as well on whether it would be making NVMe cards to rival Seagate.
"At launch, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X will be the only Expansion Card available," Microsoft said in a statement. "We look forward to sharing more details in the future.”
We do know, however, that Microsoft appears to be making its Velocity Engine synonymous with the NVMe drives. “Previous generation Xbox titles can still be played directly from external USB 3.2 hard drives,” Microsoft wrote. “However, to receive all the benefits of the Xbox Velocity Architecture and optimal performance, Xbox Series X optimized games should be played from the internal SSD or Xbox Series X Storage Expansion Card.”
Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb further clarified the issue. “You can continue to use your USB 3.1+ external hard drives on Xbox Series X & run Xbox One, 360 and OG Xbox games directly from the external USB HDD,” he tweeted. “Games optimized for Xbox Series X & Velocity Architecture need to be run from the internal SSD or the Expandable Storage Drive.”
Or, put even another way: "The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X features faster loading times than a standard external USB HDD and enables players to play games directly from the card without compromising performance,” Microsoft officials said in their statement.

How DirectStorage could improve the PC

So what does this mean for the PC? We have some hints. Microsoft describes DirectStorage as “an all new I/O system designed specifically for gaming to unleash the full performance of the SSD and hardware decompression.” Games, especially gorgeous open-world games such  continuously load assets into the background so the player can roam around the world without seeing a loading screen. 
DirectStorage can reduce the CPU overhead for these I/O operations from multiple cores to taking just a small fraction of a single core; thereby freeing considerable CPU power for the game to spend on areas like better physics or more NPCs in a scene,” Microsoft adds
Microsoft’s Goossen told Digitial Foundry that doing decompression on the 4K textures to match the speed of the SSD rate would have consumed three Zen 2 CPU cores, plus an additional two more just for the I/O overhead. With DirectStorage, Microsoft reduced that down to just a tenth of one core. All that CPU power can now be repurposed for other things.
DirectStorage works in conjunction with the Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS) technology also built into the Velocity Engine, reducing the number of textures that actually need to be loaded. 
This increased efficiency translates into two to three times improvement on the effective amount of physical memory, and two to three times more I/O bandwidth, Could we see these sort of improvements within PC gaming, too? Let’s hope so.

Key unanswered questions

All of this is intriguing, certainly, but what will it mean for PC design? At this point, we have several unanswered questions.
For one, when will DirectStorage arrive within Windows? We expect to see additional DirectX Raytracing improvements within Windows 10’s “20H1” or version 2004, which Microsoft alluded to within the context of the Xbox Series X. But we haven’t heard anything about DirectStorage, which we would assume would be released before the Xbox Series X is released, perhaps as part of a Windows 10 “20H2” release in the fall.
Second, will NVMe expansion slots for similar hard drives be added to PCs? It’s true that the Xbox and PC have moved closer and closer together over time, but we’ve never seen a high-speed I/O expansion port besides Thunderbolt, and some of the display-specific interfaces like DisplayPort. NVMe SSD drives are becoming more common within PCs and laptops—WD’s 1TB NVMe is just $165 right now—but external drives in the form factor that Seagate is proposing are new. 
Third, if Microsoft does see the Velocity Engine as the future of console gaming, then it seems possible that Microsoft could take the Velocity Engine in whole or in part to the PC. With the coronavirus and the end of the Windows 7-to-10 upgrades depressing sales, gaming PC vendors are going to be looking for the next big thing. Will we see “Velocity Engine” branded gaming PCs within a year’s time?
All of these are intriguing questions about the PC’s future. And with Microsoft showing a radical new design with the Xbox Series X, it’s certainly possible that we’re seeing part of the future of the PC, as well.
BANGKOK: Disinfecting drones. Talking robots. Artificial intelligence that can scan thousands of medical images in a flash.
These are just some of the technologies rolled out by Asian countries including Singapore and China to contain the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 6,500 people worldwide.
Technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI) is helping track the outbreak, clean hospitals, deliver supplies and develop vaccines, with Asian governments encouraging universities and corporations to expedite innovations.
"Sometimes the pace of innovation in emerging digital technologies can be held back by infrastructure, financing and bureaucratic constraints," said Jonathan Tanner, a digital consultant at the Overseas Development Institute think tank.
"When faced with a challenge like responding to the coronavirus outbreak, there are strong incentives to overcome these constraints quickly and put new technology to the test," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In Singapore, where open government data has enabled detailed mapping of the outbreak, robots are delivering meals and medication to patients. Some can also talk.
In China, where the virus emerged late last year, robots are disinfecting hospitals, drones are delivering medical supplies and AI is being used to sort scans to spot the infection.
While in South Korea, authorities are tracking potential carriers using cellphone and satellite technology.
It is not surprising that these countries have pressed new technologies into use quickly, said Carolyn Bigg, a partner at law firm DLA Piper in Hong Kong who focuses on technology.
"Countries such as Singapore and China want to be leaders in big data and analytics. They are showing how big data platforms can be mobilised quickly and transparently, and be a force for good," she said.
"It will lead to greater awareness of how big data can be used," she said.
More pragmatic
The coronavirus outbreak, labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week, has led to city lockdowns, school closures, shutting of borders and cancellation of sporting and cultural events.
But countries have responded differently.
The WHO said last month that data protection regulations had delayed delivery of crucial information about the spread of the outbreak outside mainland China, while praising the approaches of the governments of China and Singapore.
While data protection laws in Europe are driven by the intrinsic right to privacy, many Asian countries have "more pragmatic" legislation, even though there are robust compliance frameworks to prevent abuse of data, Bigg said.
"Many data protection laws around the world have provisions to allow governments to bypass getting consent in certain circumstances, for say national security or public health emergencies," she said.
In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), requires anyone seeking to process someone's data to obtain their consent. Mass tracking of people's movements and contacts using smartphone location data violates this.
Singapore's Personal Data Protection Commission has relaxed its terms to allow the collection, use and disclosure of personal data without the person's consent to carry out contact tracing and other coronavirus response measures.
'Mass surveillance'
Yet other South-East Asian countries are using personal data without protecting people's privacy, said Emilie Pradichit, head of human rights charity Manushya Foundation in Bangkok.
Vietnam is tracking locals and foreigners through mobile apps, while Thai immigration authorities are using location data of those arriving in the country, which amounts to "mass surveillance and a serious risk to privacy", she said.
In the absence of an independent data protection authority in many countries, there is a risk that some of these measures will stay in place even after the situation eases.
As more new technologies are introduced at this time, the dilemma of greater efficiency at the cost of reduced privacy will stay, and the coronavirus outbreak may accelerate the need for decisions about "what is and isn't acceptable", said Tanner.
"A fundamental tension exists between the capacity of digital technologies to harvest data for specific purposes and the risks the use or misuse of that data can pose to individual liberty or security," he said.
"We need governments to ensure citizens are able to play an active role in shaping future policy frameworks that shape how we use AI, digital identity or facial recognition systems so that they can be used with legitimacy."

Microsoft is revealing today that 1 billion active machines are now running Windows 10. “Today we’re delighted to announce that over one billion people have chosen Windows 10 across 200 countries resulting in more than one billion active Windows 10 devices,” says Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Modern Life and the Search & Devices Group. “We couldn’t be more grateful to our customers, partners, and employees for helping us get here.”
This number includes PCs, laptops, Xbox One consoles, and HoloLens devices running Microsoft’s latest operating system. It means Microsoft has now hit its original goal of a billion devices running Windows 10, albeit two years later than it originally expected. Microsoft is also revealing that it now has 17.8 million Windows Insider testers.
Microsoft had been planning to get Windows 10 running on a billion devices within three years of its release, but the company extended that timeline after Windows Phone failed to challenge iOS and Android. The milestone comes less than five years after the original release, and less than six months after Microsoft hit 900 million devices on Windows 10.
Windows 10 is now “the only operating system at the heart of over 80,000 models and configurations of different laptops and 2-in-1s from over 1,000 different manufacturers,” reveals Mehdi.
The new billion figure also comes just a couple of months after support ended for Windows 7. It’s clear that Windows 7 upgrades from businesses have helped Microsoft achieve a billion Windows 10 active users, and the company cited these upgrades for stronger Windows performance in its earnings back in January. These upgrades also helped push the PC market to its first year of growth since 2011 as businesses and consumers look for new machines.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to speak to engineering firms on Monday about whether they can shift production lines to building NHS ventilators.
It comes amid growing concern about a shortage of the life-saving equipment as coronavirus infections increase.
Carmakers and the construction equipment firm JCB are among manufacturers to be contacted.
Downing Street said it wanted the manufacturing sector "to come together to help the country".
"Preparing for the spread of the coronavirus outbreak is a national priority and we're calling on the manufacturing industry and all those with relevant expertise who might be able to help to come together to help the country tackle this national crisis," Downing Street said.
"We need to step up production of vital equipment such as ventilators so that we can all help the most vulnerable, and we need businesses to come to us and help in this national effort."
However,  manufacturers were far from ready to switch production.
One company told him that comparisons with the accelerated production of Spitfire aircraft during World War Two were misplaced as there was no accepted design nor guarantee components could be sourced quickly.
It is understood one subject on the agenda during the prime minister's talks with industry on Monday is whether specialist firms that make ventilators and other critical equipment might be prepared to share their intellectual property.
Engineers have already been asked to draw up plans to quickly produce more ventilators. And on Sunday evening, Tory MP Tom Tugendhat tweeted: "The Prime Minister is calling for a National Effort for Ventilator production. We have been inundated with offers.
"If you produce ventilators please call the BEIS Business Support helpline on 0300 456 3565. A specific team receiving these calls will start at 10am tomorrow."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said engineering firms should consider switching some manufacturing to help ramp production of the vital equipment. He accepted it was the kind of policy normally reserved for times of war.
"We've got high quality engineering in this country," Mr Hancock said. "We want anybody who has the manufacturing capability to turn to the manufacture of ventilators, to do that."

Tier 1 internet service providers (ISP) mesh their high-speed fiber-optic networks together to create the internet backbone, which moves traffic efficiently among geographic regions:

The internet generates massive amounts of computer-to-computer traffic, and insuring all that traffic can be delivered anywhere in the world requires the aggregation of a vast array of high-speed networks collectively known as the internet backbone, but how does that work?

What is the internet backbone?

Like any other network, the internet consists of access links that move traffic to high-bandwidth routers that move traffic from its source over the best available path toward its destination. This core is made up of individual high-speed fiber-optic networks that peer with each other to create the internet backbone.
The individual core networks are privately owned by Tier 1 internet service providers (ISP), giant carriers whose networks are tied together. These providers include AT&T, CenturyLink, Cogent Communications, Deutsche Telekom, Global Telecom and Technology (GTT), NTT Communications, Sprint, Tata Communications, Telecom Italia Sparkle, Telia Carrier, and Verizon.
By joining these long-haul networks together, Tier 1 ISPs create a single worldwide network that gives all of them access to the entire internet routing table so they can efficiently deliver traffic to its destination through a hierarchy of progressively more local ISPs.
In addition to being physically connected, these backbone providers are held together by a shared network protocol, TCP/IP. They are actually two protocols, transport control protocol and internet protocol that set up connections between computers, insuring that the connections are reliable and formating messages into packets.

Internet exchange points (IXP) tie the backbone together

Backbone ISPs connect their networks at peering points, neutrally owned locations with high-speed switches and routers that move traffic among the peers. These are often owned by third parties, sometimes non-profits, that facilitate unifying the backbone.
Participating Tier 1 ISPs help fund the IXPs, but don’t charge each other for transporting traffic from the other Tier 1 ISPs in a relationship known as settlement-free peering. Such agreements eliminate potential financial disputes that might have the result of slowing down internet performance.

How fast is the backbone?

The internet backbone is made up of the fastest routers, which can deliver 100Gbps trunk speeds. These routers are made by vendors including Cisco, Extreme, Huawei, Juniper, and Nokia, and use the border gateway protocol (BGP) to route traffic among themselves.

How traffic gets on the backbone

Below the Tier 1 ISPs are smaller Tier 2 and Tier 3 ISPs.
Tier 3 providers provide businesses and consumers with access to the internet. These providers have no access of their own to the internet backbone, so on their own would not be able to connect their customers to all of the billions of internet-attached computers.
Buying access to Tier 1 providers is expensive. So often Tier 3 ISPs contract with Tier 2 (regional) ISPs that have their own networks that can deliver traffic to a limited geographic area but not to all internet-attached devices.
In order to do that, Tier 2 ISPs contract with Tier 1 ISPs for access to the global backbone, and in that way make the entire internet accesssible to their customers.
This arrangment makes it possible for traffic from a computer on one side of the world to connect to one on the other side. That traffic goes from a source computer to a Tier 3 ISP that routes it to a Tier 2 ISP that routes it to a Tier 1 backbone provider that routes it to the appropriate Tier 2 ISP that routes it to a Tier 3 access provider that delivers it to the destination computer.
Dyson didn't just decide to make a pair of hair straighteners. It spent seven years obsessing over them before the reveal this week of the Dyson Corrale.
Inside its Hair Laboratories in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, Dyson has used air pressure chambers, electromagnetic interference labs and product-crushing bunkers to develop and test the latest in its line of (very) premium haircare products.
The standout feature of the £399 pair of straighteners is its flexible plates. Regular straighteners, according to Dyson, have simple, rigid aluminium plates based on 20-year-old tech, which use a lot of heat as they lack tension and control.
The Corrale’s plates flip this around – the flexibility allows more hair to be gathered with even tension, increasing control and spreading heat evenly. This means you can style hair at lower temperatures, reducing the risk of damage and dullness.
Disassembled from the main body, each magnesium-copper alloy plate is incredibly light and flexible. The surface is around 65 microns thin, or the same width as a (thick) human hair. Give them a prod when they’re actually assembled in the Corrale though, and their flex isn’t as huge as you’d expect. Prototypes are made with industrial nylon powder 3D printers such as the EOS P 770.
Dyson engineers settled on the final flex by using a machine used in the food industry to measure the breaking point of biscuits. “Earlier prototypes were more flexible,” says design engineer Dan Evans. “But we found that people felt like the straighteners weren’t doing anything, as the feedback was too soft. We settled on the final level of flexibility which was enough to gather and evenly put tension across the hair, while still letting you feel everything.” Apart from the level of flex itself, the plates are also flexed precisely 422,772 times – the equivalent of two 30 minute styling sessions every day, for five years straight.
Stroll through Dyson’s labs, and, a little disconcertingly, you’ll see tresses of human hair everywhere you look. “It’s a unique material that can’t be replicated, so we use ethically sourced human hair,” says Evans. Studying hair from the inside out, Evans’ lab also went through the painstaking task of manually tying knots into single strands of hair, before capturing the effects under a high-powered electron microscope – the same microscope that more than likely gave you nightmarish close-up photos of dust mites in your biology textbook.
Hair, he explains, has three different bonds in its molecular structure. Salt bridges and hydrogen bonds, and disulphide bonds. The former are weak, and can be broken and reformed (i.e. the act of straightening and styling), without causing permanent damage.

The stronger disulphide bonds however, can’t be fixed once broken, resulting in damaged hair. Extreme measures like chemical straightening and high temperatures cause these bonds to break, hence the desire to style in as gentle a way as possible.
Zoom out a bit, and you’ll find that hair is also made from two main components – a core made from cells that retain moisture, which is then surrounded by cuticle cells. “These cuticle cells are like roof tiles. When they’re flattened out, hair looks healthy and shiny. When they’re damaged, they stick out, and hair looks rough and dull,” Evans says.
Not content with engineering what the team believes are the ultimate straightener plates, Dyson has another lab, filled with giant racks of hair samples, which is used to create an algorithm for perfect hair. Covered in ventilation holes on both sides to create an even air pressure and minimise disturbance, this environmentally controlled lab measures the change of temperature, radius, drying time, style and shine for seven completely different hair types.
In general, hair is classified into different groups, such as straight, wavy, curly and kinky, with each type having numerous subsets that are differentiated by other factors, such as how coarse or fine they are. Incidentally, this lab is also where Dyson has mathematically calculated what a good hair day looks like.
“We created an algorithm based on hundreds of different hair samples,” says Emily Menzies, a senior design engineer. “We took styled hair, and asked people which ones they thought were straighter, shinier, et cetera. Then, we took thousands of photos of each sample to create 360-degree images of each hair tress, to view the effects of the straightener from all angles. We used the data to create an algorithm that automatically detects the style quality of all different hair types.”
Elsewhere, an electromagnetic interference lab – basically a giant Faraday cage – measures the electrical interference given off by Dyson products including the Corrale straighteners. It’s super quiet and covered in ferrite and zinc carbon tiles. The radio system is worth £80,000, the whole chamber around £700,000. Usually companies do this testing, to meet minimum standards to stop electronics interfering with each other, in external facilities.
Meanwhile in Dyson’s underground, fire-proof battery bunker, its litihium-ion batteries are stress tested. Engineers run them through 5,000 cycles to represent two straightening sessions a day for five years straight.
The bit that’s even more fun though, is crushing product samples with up to 220kg of weight and dropping them from 2.1 metres, without anything exploding, or functionality being destroyed. “That’s like me, wearing a pair of heels, and dropping the straighteners on the ground, before someone else jumps on my back, and I stamp on them,” says design engineer Connor Boyce.
Dyson engineers have live video feeds from other labs around the world, including Singapore and Shanghai, so that they can see what they’re working on, and take over development when one shift ends, and the other begins. Part of this is taking apart competitors’ products to see how they tick, and compare. “It’s true that you get what you pay for," says Boyce. "How much do people value safety? There’s some concerning stuff out on the market. If you take other products apart, some are literally held together with tape."