FS Fives: Thursday June 2

Welcome to the latest FS Fives – FutureScot’s lunchtime round-up of Scottish digital news.

First up, CodeBase has details of this year’s Turing Festival as well as an opportunity to pitch to a venture capitalist in the back of a cab. The festival on 18-19 August sees the return of ‘Full Stack Marketing’, with the addition of a ‘Product/People’ day to hear practical lessons on how to build a global digital product. Meanwhile, this Friday in Edinburgh, you can get the chance to book an Uber with an investor waiting in the backseat to listen to a 10-minute pitch, and then give 10 minutes of feedback. Submit your idea; if selected you’ll receive a promo code allowing you to book the ride.

How do you take your whisky? Ice, a little water – or how about with Samsung’s Gear VR Occulus. Each day of Islay’s week-long whisky festival is led by one of the island’s distilleries, ending with Ardbeg Day. Some people were fortunate enough to participate in Ardbeg’s ‘Untamed Islay Experience,’ which went beyond the boundaries of time and space to bring the island – and the distillery – to fans who couldn’t be there in person. Through the headsets, guests were provided with a 360-degree VR introduction to Islay and the Ardbeg caverns, flying in over the Atlantic Ocean and through Ardbeg’s famous peat moss straight into the distillery. Now, where did I put my glass?

Scotland’s farmer co-operatives are to take a lead in rolling out precision farming techniques, agri-tech and data analytics to their members through a project delivered by the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS). “Last year, we encouraged agricultural co-ops to give us their own future vision and one of the roles they identified was to become conduits to new and smart technologies on behalf of their farmer members,” said James Graham, SAOS chief executive. “Co-ops have a unique ability to aggregate data across members, and with others in their supply chains, to ensure most efficient production in response to customer requirements. The fact that the farmers will own the data that is collected by their co-op, for the collective benefit of members, is really important.”

You know that staring at a screen all day can’t be good for you, right? Now a series of reports is helping to quantify the risk. Between 70% and 90% of people who use computers extensively, whether for work or play, have one or more symptoms of computer vision syndrome. The effects of prolonged computer use are not just vision-related. Complaints include neurological symptoms like chronic headaches and musculoskeletal problems like neck and back pain. Use of a computer for even three hours a day is likely to result in eye symptoms, low back pain, tension headache and psychosocial stress. Worldwide, up to 70m workers are at risk from computer vision syndrome, and those numbers are only likely to grow. Science writer Jane Brody has some advice.

And finally…nature has begun its fightback against technology. A Dutch company is training eagles to capture drones. The birds of prey learn to intercept small, off-the-shelf, drones used to drop contraband into prisons.