FS Fives: Friday, July 29

First up, we bring you news of two talented schoolgirls who developed an app for women who found it difficult to get the right make-up for their skin colour.

Selina Gourlay and Dilusha Francis Aloysioos, both from Glasgow, wanted to come up with a solution for women who find it difficult to find the right make-up to match their complexion.

Their ‘Elegance Beauty’ app proved such a hit with entrepreneurs and investors at Glasgow’s Rookie Oven Academy – a six-week start-up school for teenagers – that they came top of a pitching competition.

“The RookieOven Academy was a fantastic opportunity to get to grips with how a tech start-up works,” said Selina. “I’m going on to study software engineering in September so this experience has been invaluable in showing what it takes to become a successful digital entrepreneur. I really hope that one day I can turn an idea like this into reality.”

Robots are not just for Christmas

‘Extreme form factors’ will dictate the next generation of robots, according to Edinburgh University’s Professor of Robotics, Sethu Vijayakumar.

“Either very big, massive machines which can, for example, 3D print a whole house or a building, or nano bots which can do drug delivery inside your body, and monitor things and cure a lot of diseases inside the body,” says Professor Vijayakumar in a YouTube post released today as part of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s ‘Quiz a Whiz’ series.

Professor Vijayakumar says also that given robots are now becoming ubiquitous in society there is a huge role for lawyers, ethics and social engineers to understand the implications of the applications of robots in every day life.

“It doesn’t matter if you are somebody who is interested in maths or physics or engineering, or even computing or aesthetics or art; there is a niche for applying your abilities, your technology into robotics,” says Vijayakumar.

A police state from some sci-fi novel of the future. Er, it’s here now

That’s the worrying conclusion from Edinburgh Napier university’s Professor Bill Buchanan, who has looked at the implications of a new law passed in the United Arab Emirates.

If you thought we had problems with the so-called ‘Snooper’s Charter’, wait until you read about a new royal edict in the UAE which will potentially imprison people for using a secure tunnel, VPN or secure proxy service (basically anything which attempts to hide your identity online).

“If there was ever a Future World Police-state law, it is this one,” says Professor Buchanan.

“This is a strange law, both from an ethical point-of-view and from a technical point-of-view … which basically says … “If I can’t see what you have done, then it’s a crime.

“VPNs, Proxies and Tunnels are all standard ways of “hiding things”, and especially focused on stopping malicious agents spying on you, or even modifying your Internet traffic.

“I’ve read the ruling many times, and it is difficult to interpret, so the main advice is perhaps not to use VPNs or proxies or even SSL, if you are in UAE.”

Berlin. Start-up capital of Europe

There is no better place for budding tech entrepreneurs these days than Berlin, reports Bloomberg. Tech start-ups coined in investment worth €2.4b from VCs last year as young millennials flocked to Germany’s vibrant capital city in ever greater numbers – taking advantage of, among many pull factors, cheap rents and a great night life.

“The federal government has a great interest in promoting venture capital and startup companies,” Finance Ministry spokeswoman Friederike von Tiesenhausen told reporters in Berlin on July 25.

At a time when Brexit has put a question mark over freedom of movement for the kind of labour needed in Scotland – particularly the ‘mothership’ (Edinburgh) – politicians arguably need to provide some certainty, quickly, to ensure Scotland’s own buzzing tech start-up scene does lose out to places like Europe’s economic powerhouse.

And finally…Data captured from the Large Hadron Collider is being turned into music. And it’s cosmic!