Click visits the West Bank to check out its burgeoning tech scene, and travels beneath the streets of London to visit a 'smart' tunnel.
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Could the next flappy bird be somewhere in here?
This week on Click we'll visit the West Bank to check
out its burgeoning tech scene,
we'll also shed some light on the tech rarely
seen on TV as we venture below the streets of London in search
of the world's first smart tunnel, and we look forward to that tiny
footballing event called the World Cup in Webscape.
Welcome to Click. I'm Spencer Kelly.
If you were watching the show last week,
you will have seen some amazing tech from our trip to Israel,
from flying ambulances to smartphone cancer detectors.
There's a real buzz around the area in terms of research
but Israel's not the only location we've visited on our recent
travels, which demonstrated a thirst for all things geek.
Ramallah in the Occupied Territories is being called
the Palestinian Silicon Valley.
You can't visit this region without being aware of the conflict
which defines much of the landscape and that includes technology.
As we saw last week, the military heavily influences Israeli tech.
We saw that with the ambulance drone,
part funded by the Israel Defence Force.
And while Israel leads the world with some of its tech,
just a few miles away in the Occupied Territories
of the West Bank, it's a different story.
Here, Israeli occupation means import
restrictions for Palestinians
and hi tech infrastructure is lacking as a result,
but amid the conflict and the problems it causes,
there are shoots of a tech industry that's starting to grow.
Jane Copestake travelled to the West Bank to find out more.
We're driving into Ramallah
to visit some of the tech start-ups
based in the city.
20 kilometres north of Jerusalem,
it's been touted
as a new tech hub for the Arab world.
'Our first stop is a game of table tennis
'with the chief technical officer of Yamsafer.
'It's a hotel booking website for the Middle East and Turkey.
'It's now one of the most successful start-ups in Ramallah,
'but it faced an early setback - many potential customers didn't
'have credit cards, so they couldn't pay for their bookings online.
'Yamsafer developed a trust algorithm
'to rank people using their site.'
We had a really big problem with credit cards here,
so we just figured it out after we faced the problem that OK,
everything is good, we have good product,
we have good inventory, but the customers can't book
because of the payment method, so it was like about...
It took us, like, about one year to figure out this solution.
'It's a small example of some of the challenges
'that come with working here.'
We said, "Yeah, we'll go with it."
'Khaled Abu Alkheir is co-founder of gaming company PinchPoint.
'They're hoping to find success by making the next flappy bird.
'His company spends weekends brainstorming game ideas
'that they can turn around quickly, like Egghead Runaway.
'Their latest major release is Spermania.
'You play a sperm on the way to fertilise an egg.
'They say these unusual ideas are partly inspired by life
'living under occupation.'
With all the challenges and all the things...
Everything we do is actually with...
faced with challenges so we always have to think outside the box
whether it's a service or it's a game and I think this is what
drives us is that we're not afraid to try something else.
Before developing video games, Khaled was focused on a major hurdle
for Palestinian tech developers - lack of access to 3G networks.
This issue was highlighted
on a recent visit by President Obama.
Signs were telling him not to bother bringing his smartphone to Ramallah.
Israel controls mobile band width in the Occupied Territories
and Palestinian network companies
don't yet have access to 3G networks.
Large payment companies like PayPal don't accept payments
to and from accounts in the Occupied Territories,
but Google recently changed the tag line on its search engine
from Palestinian Territories to Palestine.
This was after a UN vote that gave Palestine non-member state status.
When Google actually recognised Palestine and we got the domain,
it was a huge buzz,
because everyone uses Google.
If Google recognises Palestine as a UN state, then that's it,
you see Palestine on Google and you see it on the maps also.
But Google maps weren't much help on our way to Yata,
80 kilometres south of Ramallah, especially without a 3G signal.
HE ASKS FOR DIRECTIONS
We spend an hour driving around looking for signs to our location.
'It seems an unlikely place to meet Khalil Shreateh,
'but the hacker from Hebron was born and brought up here
'and it's where he lives with his family.
'Khalil became famous around the world when he hacked
'into Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page last year.
'He had hoped to be rewarded by the company's bug bounty program,
'which pays money to people
'who report issues with the site's security.'
Actually I hacked the Facebook twice and not for one time,
er, the one that everyone knows and the last one,
Facebook paid me 5K dollars, 5,000.
-So they did pay you?
-The second time, yes.
'Khalil taught himself how to code online
'and saved up for two years to buy his first computer.
'After the Facebook hack, he received many lucrative job offers,
'including from Israel, but he chose to stay in the West Bank.'
I could make more...
a lot of money if I went to travel outside Palestine, but to
work inside Palestine, first it's something loyal and I like my work.
It's a better place here for me than travelling outside.
'There's a lot of talent here in the West Bank, but the limitations
'faced mean much of the development remains small-scale.'
There's a lot of companies here who work with software,
small companies and big companies,
but if you want to make a big product to face the global markets,
you can't fund it, or it's hard to fund it,
because you need money to start it
and here the Palestinian market doesn't have that much money
to start a company and start facing the global market.
'Back in Ramallah, we meet Husni Abu Samrah at the Movenpick Hotel,
'often a meeting place for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs.'
So it gives you the BMI is 20.31...
'His company, MobiStine, creates health related apps for IOS
'for the Arabic-speaking market, which he says is underserved.
'This one tracks your pregnancy, everything from pictures
'of your bump to allergies and medical information.
'It even lets you log how you're feeling.
'The app is designed to link up with your doctor to the cloud,
'so they know your symptoms before you arrive for an appointment.
'It's received backing from various funders to be
'developed in Arabic and English,
'but finding people to work on the technical side
'has been a challenge.'
It's not easy to get technical people
when we started the development for smartphones.
They were almost very few,
very few people, technical people who can develop apps, so we had to hire
and train them for a few months then
to be able to produce or develop apps.
'However, Husni's work has already inspired his teenage son to
'learn how to program apps for IOS.
'Like Khalil in Yata, Diaa taught himself how to program online
'We came for tea at his home in Ramallah and he showed us
'some of the apps he's been working on.'
-This is my first app.
-This is the first one, yeah.
-So this is all herbal remedies?
-And do you sell these apps or do you... Are they free?
I told him the money you will get from selling your apps,
I'll give them to you.
'Making money through technology is a focus for young developments
'especially in Ramallah.
'Another company, Fadfid, which means venting in Arabic.
They can find a list of therapists here and book a session.
'It's a platform which discreetly connects people
'across the Arab world with therapists
'for confidential online counselling.
'Today, it still feels a long way from Silicon Valley,
'but for those working in this nascent tech scene, the hope
'is Palestinian technology will one day be a global focus.'
We need a success story here in Palestine.
This will excite everyone
and be the reason why many people start working on their own
start-ups, so I think what is missing now in Ramallah is a success story.
Jen Copestake with a fascinating look at life
and tech in the West Bank and if you have any thoughts on that
story or indeed anything else
that we cover, the address as always is...
Next up, a look at this week's tech news.
The UK's National Crime Agency has advised internet users
that they have two weeks to protect
themselves from a major cyber threat called Gameover Zeus.
The piece of malicious software which
phishes around your computer for financial or other sensitive
information has been taken control of by the FBI in America,
but it's estimated that it could be back up and running
in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, the advice is fairly familiar by now, to
use different, complex passwords
for all the important sites that you use.
Musicians, including singer Billy Bragg
and Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien, have asked the European Union
to intervene in a row with YouTube.
The dispute centres on the rates the video sharing site is said to be
offering small music labels to be included in a new advert-free
music subscription service.
YouTube has refused to comment on what it says are
"ongoing negotiations" with artists.
And London-based Rocksteady Studios' much anticipated third Batman
game Arkham Knight has been delayed.
The Caped Crusader's computerised exploits will now be released
on next gen consoles the PS4 and Xbox 1, along with PC next year.
The Dark Knight detective's development delay is just
the latest in a spate of next gen games which have
seen their release dates postponed due to increased production times.
Now, here on Click we really do like to get to the bottom of every
story, but sometimes to find the most innovative tech
you have to go really, really deep, as Dave Lee discovered
when he descended below these very streets to meet the people
who are getting on top of some very important research.
The Crossrail project being built in London today is the biggest
civil engineering feat in Europe.
It's a completely new train network buried deep under London's streets.
Huge machines weighing 1,000 tonnes each
are digging out 41 kilometres
of tunnel, each one between six and 11 metres in diameter.
Engineering marvel this may be,
but it also brings with it a few problems, because as this map
shows, so much of the ground beneath London has already been tunnelled.
If this vast underground network is disturbed,
it could cause disaster on the surface.
To make sure that doesn't happen,
you need to go down and down and pay very close attention.
More than two thirds of the tunnels in London were
built during Victorian times.
Researchers want to be sure the new construction nearby isn't putting them at risk.
We are 25m below the hustle and bustle of central London
and these tunnels have been here for almost 100 years but less
than 2m below where I am standing a new tunnel is being made
and engineers at the University of Cambridge have filled
these tunnels with sensors to monitor any movements.
This really is the world's first smart tunnel
because we have filled it with so much instrumentation
that we now have the ability to understand
how this tunnel is behaving in a way that was never possible before.
We've got fibre-optic cables that run along the top
and around some of the rings.
Those are used for measuring how the tunnel rings
deform against each other and actually how their shape changes.
We've got some displacement sensors here which, again,
are looking at how the rings move with respect to each other.
And we've got a range of targets here that are being used with
digital camera technology and that enables us
to take a picture right down the length of the tunnel and see how
different bits of the tunnel are moving in respect to each other.
The tunnel is able to create live data about its own health.
Information that can be collected and crunched on-site.
It means the team can keep tabs on the tunnel in real-time.
If anything unexpected happens, they'll know almost instantly.
They've been gathering all this data for over a year now.
It gives them previously unavailable insight into the effect digging tunnels can have.
Until this one was made into a smart tunnel,
experts had to rely on more expensive equipment like this.
Getting data out was painfully slow.
Any small change picked up by the sensors in this tunnel
could signal a potentially major problem above ground.
The effect is not only going to be on the tunnel itself
but that would mean that the soil is moving to move inside.
So the soil is coming from inside which means anything that you have
on the surface could be affected
so it could cause catastrophe, it could cause unpredicted movements
to assets and to structures that are not even close to this tunnel.
Construction teams are working 24 hours a day to make sure
Crossrail is up and running for 2018.
The team from Cambridge will be watching carefully
to make sure everything remains safely on track.
For decades, anyone going to the cinema would be familiar with this...
The sound of film whirring through the projector.
Of course, these days,
for many cinemas that has been replaced by this...
The sound of a happy hard drive.
But what's next in the evolution of the silver screen?
Al Moloney has been taking a look.
'Edison, the late sage of Menlo Park,
'with Henry Ford as he re-enacted filming one of the first movies
'entitled A Man Sneezing Featuring Fred Ott.'
I was the first leading man in the movies.
It created a sensation.
Moving pictures have certainly come a long way over the past 100 years,
from giant robots to giant monsters,
the fantastic can now seem commonplace.
Available in our homes and even on our phones, cinemas have had
to find new ways to entice customers to part with their hard-earned cash.
One company hoping to deliver that magic is Canadian firm IMAX.
Known to many for their big screens and auditoriums, they've also
invested heavily in next generation of camera and projection technology.
And this is the company's latest edition,
located in the heart of London cinema district in Leicester Square,
the screen is over five storeys high and almost 90 feet wide.
But any regular cinemagoer will tell you that size isn't essential,
what matters most is the picture and clarity of the image that is
up on screen, which is why the method of projection is so important.
And while cinema may have spent the last few years changing over
to digital systems,
IMAX is betting big on the fact that laser technology is the way forward.
The technology involves replacing the xenon bulbs
traditionally found in digital projectors.
Theoretically, they should use less power, cause less heat,
have to be replaced less
and even cause less noise than current projectors.
It's a good prototype.
It is not reflective of what we would productise.
But what it does do is show proof of concept.
We use it as a test to test how far can we push the limits of the system.
This system involves the lasers generating
and then combining red, green and blue colour channels.
Those colours then get fed through an optical engine
and are projected onto the screen.
The big selling point for consumers is the improved contrast ratio,
that is the difference between the brightest and the darkest colours.
For example, a current digital 4K projector
has a contrast ratio of about 1,600 to 1.
IMAX claim that the laser projector will increase that
to over 8,000 to 1.
What that means is
when you come into the movies the blacks will be really, really black.
If you think about a movie like The Dark Knight Rises
that Chris Nolan directed a year and a half ago
that is really important for him
and the audience to be able to discern between the blacks,
the greys, the silvers, so you're going to get far more clarity on screen.
Laser also allows us
to use far more of the colour gamut that is available
so you are going to see on-screen far more vivid, vibrant colours
than you would ever see with current projection technology.
Currently in prototype stage,
projectors should reach theatres sometime next year
where they will likely be joined by several other brands
all eager to demonstrate that the future for the market is bright.
Of course, you can have the highest quality picture in the world
but if it is not backed up by a story you might be in trouble.
Just ask Adam Sandler.
-Start running fast!
Al Moloney, a man who, I believe, actually IS allergic to sunlight.
One person who really does never need to venture outside -
in fact she locked herself inside her digital cave about a year ago -
is Kate Russell. Here she is now with Webscape.
I'd probably get out more, Spencer, if I wasn't always hunting
through hundreds of apps on my overloaded handset.
If that sounds like you, Cover Lock Screen can make
an app obsession a lot more manageable by learning which apps
you use in different locations at different times of day,
adding them to your lock screen for easy access.
Giving your phone context depending on where you are is a brilliant idea.
In the morning when you wake up
your news and weather apps could be on screen.
In car mode, which could be triggered using motion detection
or proximity to in-car Bluetooth devices,
you will have quick access to maps and hands-free communication tools.
If you are using KitKat,
this app will even let you control music playback.
And if there are some apps you'd rather keep hidden,
this can all be tweaked in the settings.
Your ringer will even be set to vibrate when at work,
ring when at home
and automatically switch to silent for a peaceful night's rest.
Digital currency Bitcoin has had a turbulent ride this year
but, if it's going to survive,
one thing we really need to know is where we can use it.
That is the goal of open street map project Coinmap, which allows
users and shop owners to add venues where the currency can be traded.
There are a growing number of places you can use Bitcoin, as this map shows.
But the crypto currency has taken some big knocks recently.
China's banks have restricted usage.
In Russia, it is considered illegal, and in March,
the US tax office dealt a massive blow by declaring Bitcoin
to be property rather than currency
which saw it lose 17% of its value pretty much overnight.
If you want to track the price of the digital currency,
Bitcoincharts has a nice open source tracking tool.
NASA has released a new Flickr gallery containing 43 stunning images
which would make an excellent desktop design wherever you are.
# This is Ground Control to Major Tom. #
# Put your flags up in the sky... #
The FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil next week
and the BBC's dedicated apps and online content will help you stay
in touch with the touchline action on any device anywhere at any time.
There is live coverage of all the matches, breaking news,
expert analysis and UK viewers can enjoy streaming video
and highlights of every goal.
True football addicts should download the Forza app which lets fans track
live scores and statistics for their favourite teams
from 420 leagues and cups around the world.
Connect to rate players
and share opinions with other footy aficionados
and there are a couple of nice extras being
thrown in for the World Cup, including a live bracket feature,
a real-time updated info graphic showing the potential outcomes
throughout the whole group stages and beyond.
Kate Russell's Webscape and those links, if you missed them,
are all up at our website as usual.
And if you'd like to get in touch with us about anything you've
seen on this week's programme, you are more than welcome.
You will find us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Next week, we have a very special programme from Los Angeles.
It is the highlight of the video gaming year,
the Electronic Entertainment Expo, E3 as it is called,
and I for one can't wait, so I'm going whether you like it or not.
Thanks for watching and I'll see you in LA.
Click visits the West Bank to check out its burgeoning tech scene, and travels beneath the streets of London to visit a 'smart' tunnel.