Richard Branson. Photograph: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

How much closer is the co-founder of Microsoft to making space open source?

Pushing for change: Some parts of Texas  have already introduced gender-neutral bathroom policies with little opposition. Austin has enforced this rule for all premises with single-use facilities for more than a year. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Safety issues raised after retailer Target allows use of facilities based on gender identity

 EMC’s CTO Bill Schmarzo

Before jumping into data science, business executives need to work out what they’re trying to accomplish with big data, and data(...)

“Sure, it is cost effective to locate in Ireland, but we’ve been there for a long time and many of our people have established roots. So there are no plans to leave anytime soon,” says EMC products and marketing president Jeremy Burton. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Consolidating two large firms involves challenges of staff, markets and goods

EMC has had a presence in Cork since the 1990s. Beginning with tech support, it has gradually expanded into other areas such as management software development and product management.

Tech company, which employs 3,000 people in Ireland, outlines expansion plans

Facebook: social media engagement should be part of the work day.  Photograph:  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Ask open-ended questions, be curious, and most importantly listen to the response

Paul O’Brien: Growth Hacker and start-up consultant

Attention to detail is recommended when assessing tech hubs beyond Silicon Valley

San Francisco: “If you’re in tech, you need to go to the US in order to succeed. It’s that simple,” says Andrew Mullaney, chief technical officer of Irish Social Content Discovery Platform, NewsWhip

The biggest mistake any Irish tech start-up can make is not trying to break the US market

Man robot: “You need to start thinking about how cognitive science and psychology can help augment any artificial lifelike android into a convincing replica,” says Prof Hiroshi Ishiguro.

The latest advances are nothing if a robot is not psychologically conceived

US president Barack Obama  at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival: “I don’t recall the phrase being, ‘Yes I Can’. It’s ‘Yes We Can’.”  Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Austin’s South by Southwest festival still attracts big names and even bigger ideas

What makes us laugh? Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Can something as intangible as humour be understood scientifically, its parts isolated and explained mathematically? It would appe(...)

Macnas presents its pop-up theatre spectacle on 6th Street in Austin, Texas sponsored by IDA Ireland during SXSW

A healthy mix of business and creativity makes South By SouthWest Interactive 2016 a success for ‘Ireland Inc’

Katherine Power of Clique Media Group and Emily Weiss of Glossier at SWSX: the conference heard from Jacquelline Fuller,   the head of Google’s  philanthropic arm, that about about 70 per cent of  staff in the tech world is male. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Creative answers are needed to increase participation, SWSX Interactive hears

U.S. President Barack Obama, right, waves to the audience after speaking with Evan Smith, chief executive officer and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, during the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas

Obama says we have ‘fetishised’ the security of our phones above every other value

Participants at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, this week: Barack Obama attended the festival on Friday, becoming the first US president to do so. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

President asks tech community for help in improving civic engagement in digital age

Consul General Adrian Farrell (left) with Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler (right)

The South By Southwest festival may bring whole new influx of Irish startups to the Texas city

Electronics is one industry that can always use more light, yet strong materials like magnesium.  Photograph: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg

Could magnesium be the element of choice in the future? Some hope so

Gamma rhythms can be likened to the ocean’s waves advancing and receding. More surfers can catch the slower waves, just as more information can be saved on a slow gamma. Photograph: Getty Images

New research into memory transmission may impact treatment of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s

“Mice bring several really important advantages for discovery-based research.” Photograph: Thinkstock

Lab work that involves animals is controversial but such research is heavily regulated

The cryptocurrency known as bitcoin and the digital ledger upon which its transactions are recorded, the blockchain, are now being taken seriously by more than just e-pirates. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Most simply and accurately described as a digital ledger, the technology, still in its infancy, cannot be ignored

Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network

Unicorns are dropping like flies in Silicon Valley and being replaced by a more proletarian ruling force: the cockroach

Pavlok is a wearable device which will vibrate, beep or send “zaptic” feedback to help change one’s naughty behaviour

A wearable aversion therapy device helps smokers and nailbiters break the habit

China’s first domestically-developed electrically-powered light aircraft (Rui Xiang RX1E). The two-seater airplane is made of a carbon-fibre composite material and is powered by an electric motor running on lithium batteries, with each recharge using only 10KW at a cost of about 80 cent. Photograph: Chinafotopress/Getty Images

There are many reasons to invest more in research into electric flight

Flavour is still proving tricky with meat produced in vitro, but some commentators joke that cultured meat still tastes better than many vegan options currently on the market

At the intersection of food and medical science, cultured meat produced in cell culture is slowly moving into the mainstream

Facebook’s “Like” logo: Social media providers are in the unique position of being able to turn passive empathy into the more active variety.   Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Digital campaigns that encourage empathy still have long-term positive effects

‘The technology to extract water and other precious minerals from asteroids is there – we just need to deploy it,’ says Chris Lewicki of Planetary Resources.  Photograph:  REUTERS

‘Armageddon’ saw a mining crew drill into an asteroid. It’s not so far-fetched

An artist’s impression of the Hyperloop: its backers say it can never crash and is immune to weather

The potential of Elon Musk’s rail system will be examined at a Web Summit forum

The historic cable car on San francisco city

The Camino De San Francisco continues to attract Irish tech start ups in their droves. Can anyone or anything stop the growth of S(...)

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop  was the subject of a keynote speech at SXSW Eco

The opportunity for mining water from asteroids was just one of the topics discussed at SXSW Eco

Tommy Furey of the Marine Institute onboard the Celtic Explorer with maps of mountains in the Atlantic Ocean. Ireland is leading the world in deep-sea mapping. Photograph: Andrew Downes/XPOSURE

There is a growing movement to map the oceans, so why is space getting all the publicity?

‘We are not in a position to control a cloud brightening experiment scientifically,’ says one critic of the idea

A project aims to manipulate cloud formations in order to combat climate change. The naysayers are lining up, but the group argues(...)

A Facebook page affiliated with Islamic State shows the group’s militants in Damascus, Syria. Photograph: Rased News Network, via AP

Data analysts are developing tools to help combat the spread of terrorism online

Research at NASA for the last two decades has focused on the International Space Station

NASA may no longer rule space, but it is still a launchpad for technical innovation

US border patrol agents detaining undocumented immigrants  after they crossed the border from Mexico into Texas. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

Republicans ‘just come here to get their pictures taken’ grouses Democrat

Artist’s rendering of unit to remove CO2 from air. Any such machine must be able to run passively, “like a tree standing in the wind”, says Prof Klaus S Lackner, who has designed a prototype.

Scientists mimic trees to provide another potential solution to growing CO2 emissions

It is easy, relatively speaking, to compare humans and chimps. When one moves to more distant comparisons, however, the DNA sequence becomes more divergent. Photograph: Altrendo Images/Getty Images

All life on Earth shares a single common ancestor, but is it possible to measure our genetic similarities accurately?

The technology underlying brain-to-brain communication has already been used effectively in a number of clinical settings

Irish researcher leads team in cutting-edge brain-to-brain communication

 Hacker attack: everything from your car to your home appliances are vulnerable. Illustration: Getty Images/iStockphoto

US and EU taking measures to protect drivers’ privacy and security from hackers

Differences in culture, business approach and regulation may put many people off the possibility of growing into places such as Africa but that doesn’t mean there aren’t major opportunities there

Irish innovators are overcoming differences in culture and regulation to do business beyond traditional markets

Photograph: Thinkstock

A marine scientist has placed a ‘minimum figure’ on the value of the seven seas in an effort to revive conservation. But isn’t the(...)

José del R Millán from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the electrode-studded hat capable of analysing brain signals which are then given to a robot as instructions to follow. These instructions are transmitted in real time over the internet

Thought-controlled robotics designed to assist people with physical disabilities takes another step forward

Optical fibre: researchers at San Diego received data after it voyaged 12,000km through cables with standard amplifiers and no electronic regenerators.

Engineers have set new power and distance records for fibre-optic communication

The data showed the total number of calls made by individuals who had recently lost their jobs dropped by 51 per cent following their layoffs

Algorithms examine call data from two European countries to measure unemployment rates

Dallas police officers during a standoff with a gunman who attacked the police headquarters on June 13th. Photograph: Ralph Lauder/EPA

Austin police chief says law will put people at risk and create unease in community

In a data set recording more than one million users’ credit card transactions for three months, researchers were able to identify 91 per cent of people’s identities. Photograph: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files

It is easy for criminals to find out your credit card details in just a few clicks

Agriculture is the number one consumer of water in California. Photograph: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Surviving with growing populations and shrinking water supplies is the new normal in parts of the US

University of Texas Austin campus:  students at the university and from Dublin are coming together later this month to take part in a unique international student-focused start-up event for social enterprises

An event in Dublin this month aims to help Irish and American students who are interested in setting up social enterprises based(...)

Harry Potter receives the Cloak of Invisibility: now German researchers have engineered a portable invisibility cloak powerful enough to be used for demonstrations in classrooms or lecture halls

While cloak couldn’t conceal an entire wizard, it can make smaller objects disappear

Inspirational: Star Trek’s replicator was the original inspiration for the Genie

Inspired by ‘Star Trek’ , a new concept may revolutionise how we prepare our food

An airbnb floating house in London: the tech start-up is considered a unicorn as it has reached a €1 billion or more valuation. Photograph: Mikael Buck/airbnb/PA Wire

The explosion in new technology has led to a wave of new web-based services

GPS in a smartphone might be affected by interference from other applications, frequent movement or our sweaty hands getting in the way

New centimetre-accurate GPS to revolutionise drone delivery, vehicle safety and gaming

Rev Scott Hopkins of the United Methodist Church, in Vienna, Virginia, voices his support of gay marriage as Tracy Grisham, of Amarillo, Texas, shouts her disapproval. Photograph: John Boal/EPA

Even if the US supreme court rules in favour, conservatives will still fight on

Tough time: John and Mackenzy moved to the US to care for Mackenzy’s mother after her cancer diagnosis

Our problems are the same as everyone’s. There may be occasional banana daiquiris, but there are also sick mothers-in-law and mone(...)

Despite any nefarious connotations associated with gambling, as well as the resulting comparisons people might make with its recent decision to go full-crypto, the Isle of Man has nonetheless chosen to dip its toes into another financial area which still has questions to answer.

Ireland might learn as the Isle of Man positions itself as the new bitcoin capital of the world

Silicon chip: its monopoly in the computer-chip industry may be in decline as increases in chip speed slow further

Dublin’s tech hub has been designated Silicon Docks but the metalloid element may be superseded by new computing materials

Smartphone checking: people’s growing overdependence on digital media is now being taken seriously by psychologists, but ironically it is technology itself which may help us to alleviate the ‘addiction’. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Many of us check digital devices regularly, but is it interfering with our lives?

A different weld: TechShop offers classes in different disciplines, so novices can learn the skills needed to build a prototype and bring it to life

In our ongoing series on TechShop, where you can access industrial tools, we get down and dirty with welders

I had one goal for my little microprocessor: for its red light to blink when connected to a power supply. It did. Success

John Holden learns to build IT hardware in part two of our tech shop series

3D printing may not be as satisfying as building something with your own two hands

First of series on TechShop Austin: using a 3D printer to make a bust of Yoda

 Sir Ernest Shackleton: objective shifted from adventure and personal glory to guaranteeing a safe return home for himself and his crew.  Photograph: Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.

Innovation is often associated with creativity, but that is only a small part of it

Left: co-founder of The Gravity Centre Cian O’Cuilleanain with Fred Schmidt, director of international affairs at Capital Factory, Austin.

Further ties were forged last week with a deal signed to open a new incubator in Dublin with direct links to its Texas-based inspi(...)

About to pop: inexperienced tech companies could soon fall on their swords causing another big tech bubble to burst.

At least one prominent tech investor is warning about the imminent risk of another Silicon Valley crash

Astro Teller, who oversees Google X, speaks of driverless cars at South by Southwest Interactive. Photograph:  Reuters/Laura Buckman

Irish man Trevor O’Shea talks about MVP, a pub set up on €5K

Computer programmer and theoretical physicist Stephen Wolfram: “The language is easy to understand. In most cases you can almost read the words in a code to get an idea of how a programme would work. Even kids with no experience could use it.”

Computer programmer says professionals no longer have an advantage over novices

Google chairman Eric Schmidt: “I’m not a dystopian. I’m a utopian, and I believe technology will make us happier and the world a greater place.”  Photograph: Victor J Blue/Bloomberg

Google chairman says he is optimistic that computers and humans make a good team

According to Think Beyond Plastic, an initiative which began in Silicon Valley in 2006, in the last two decades we have consumed more plastic than in the entire 20th century, going from 1.5 million tonnes in 1957 to 256 million  tonnes in 2010.

How might business initiatives improve our over-reliance on harmful plastics?

Saoirse Ronan: There are a dozen Irish music acts, 17 Enterprise Ireland-backed companies and a number of start-ups, at SXSW but Irish representation in comedy and film is low.  Photograph:  Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Irish business and music industries well represented at SXSW with comedy and film severely lacking

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has called for greater economic ties with the city of Austin and Texas more generally in a speech made at the SXSW Interactive event

Kenny encourages closer ties with ‘Export State’ at SXSW interactive US event

Steve Case, chairman and chief executive officer of Revolution LLC and co-founder of America Online (AOL), told the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas that the third wave of disruption from the internet is on the way

Steve Case tells SXSW that food, health and education sectors will be affected

Al Gore addresses the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas

More than 70,000 expected in Austin, Texas as annual showcase begins

MetLife team members Yvonne Hill, Rosemarie Dizon and Michael Quinn

Staff are now an integral part of how the public view a company so communicating with them is vital

Social media and the city: when accumulated and geo-localised, social media can be used by big data analysts in practical ways, such as improved urban planning and public sentiment analysis

Infodemiology is the buzz word for using social media data for gathering useful information on our trends

Quantum cryptography offers a path to improved internet security, the idea being that you can hide information in the quantum state of sub-atomic particles

Information stored as photons cannot be infiltrated due to uncertainty principle

Solar City will provide and install all the equipment required with no up-front cost to get a household or business up and running for solar energy. How? The consumer then pays Solar City for the power that they generate

Their new business model removes the initial prohibitive expense of installation

A US stealth bomber approaches for mid-air refuelling: stealth aircraft are one of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s biggest success stories. Photograph: Reuters/Hyungwon Kang

Darpa has been successfully backing innovative research for the US for five decades

A worker waits to connect a drill bit on Endeavor Energy Resources LP’s Big Dog Drilling Rig 22 in the Permian basin outside of Midland, Texas. Of all the booming US oil regions set soaring by a drilling renaissance in shale rock, the Permian and Bakken basins are among the most vulnerable to lower oil prices. Photograph: Brittany Sowacke/Bloomberg

The price of oil continues to plummet and threatens to spoil economic growth in the Lone Star State, the likes of which haven’t be(...)

LogoGrab chief executive Luca Boschin and chief technical officer Alessandro Prest: making instant brand image recognition possible

Italian tech firm in Ireland may have the right mix – and help – to make it

Domestic disrupter: learning thermostat Nest – recently acquired by Google

The technology already exists to create smart and connected thermostats which offer massive opportunities for energy efficiency (...)

Ageism in business and entrepreneurship most certainly exists, particularly in sectors like tech and innovation

Ageism in entrepreneurship is a problem but things are improving in the world of startups thanks in part to the financial crisis (...)

One historical example of biophilic design in Ireland is Christchurch Cathedral. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Biophilic design aims to make our buildings ‘evolve’ in a more natural way

Opponents of fracking during a rally across the street from the White House in Washington. photograph: mandel ngan/afp

Denton officials say hydraulic fracturing constitutes a public rights obstruction

A grasshopper burger topped with dried grasshoppers and mealworms: a gram of beef contains the same amount of protein as a gram of crickets. photograph: karen bleier/afp/getty images

People in Africa and Asia have recognised the nutritional value of insects for centuries. But can we learn to love the taste of in(...)

Man it up on Inis Meáin this December 31st

Michael Dell gives the keynote address to kick off Dell World 2014 at the Austin Convention Center in Texas. photograph: gary miller/getty

Dell World 2014 had a few things in common with the Dublin Web Summit

Metal-organic framework (MOF) material  are highly crystalline porous materials made up of 3D networks of zinc-oxygen clusters connected by organic molecules. Uses of MOFs include gas separation, gas purification, gas storage, or as catalysts.  Photograph: Science Photo Library

Metal Organic Frameworks offer incredible new storage capabilities for all sorts of gases

The number of logins, codes and passwords we’re expected to remember has gone beyond the ridiculous – but help is at hand

Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. The tech giant is moving from exclusively hardware  to include cloud products.  Photograph: Damon Winter/The New York Times

Founder and CEO says company’s new strategy is ‘resonating with customers’

Tough climb: at the University of Texas, Austin the focus is very much on the protection of intellectual property generated at the university and on trying to commercialise it in a multitude of ways. Going to court to protect ownership of IP is a natural part of that process

To maximise potential of new products, technology transfer offices focus on intellectual, financialand other elements. The experie(...)

Jeremy Lamri, chief executive of Monkey Tie, at the One Young World summit in Dublin: “We bring value to the candidate”

Jeremy Lamri’s company, Monkey Tie, adds a new layer to online recruitment: personality traits. Will it improve the service fo(...)

Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who sparked the MMR controversy, beside a supporter’s banner. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Scientists’ careers are increasingly dependent on how often they publish research. But the ‘publish or perish’ metric has its prob(...)

Lifestyle Action Cameras ‘Cube’ by Polaroid: it doesn’t come with many of the bells and whistles a hi-tech GoPro might have but it’s not supposed to. photograph: ina fassbender/reuters

Iconic brand is back with a camera that could disrupt GoPro’s cosy position in the market

The GradIreland Graduate Careers Fair is a ‘must do’ for graduates interested in moving their career up a gear. This year it promi(...)

Concepts for utilising wave power: floating bodies, buoys, oscillating shutters or tidal power plants Concepts for utilising wave power: floating bodies, buoys, oscillating shutters or tidal power plants. From top left: Dr Patrick Walsh from the department of mechanical and automobile engineering in Limerick; former minister for energy and natural resources Pat Rabbitte; and Conor Haughey, chairman of the Irish Wave Energy Developer’s Association

The burgeoning wave and tidal energy industry is awash with government money for research. However, many enthusiastic proponents b(...)

Ireland’s geothermal potential is good but the pace of progress has been slow

From bun to patty to topping: a 3D printed burger – most foods that begin as a paste, such as chocolate, jelly, pasta, are ideal for manipulation by 3D printing

The possibilities afforded by 3D printing in the food sector range from the decorative to potential game changers in terms of glob(...)

Irish companies are working on projects to advance less expensive space exploration

Walt Disney World resort uses wearable technology to track staff movements

Employers are already able to track and monitor each and every move their employees make

Once it was a straight choice between TV, radio and print. Now the marketing options seem limitless

Prof Eoin O’Reilly, newly appointed chief scientific officer at the Tyndall Institute, in Cork: “What I’m particularly excited about, however, is having a part to play in developing new talent.” Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Rank Prize-winner Eoin O’Reilly turns his laser precision on the Tyndall Institute

Many parents have called for the installation of CCTV camera equipment in all registered creches so staff could be monitored at all times. Photograph:  Getty Images

How creche and day-care facilities are using new technology to ensure children are not being mistreated

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