Welcome back to the August edition of the CoTalent Tech Review. A round-up of the most exciting trends and developments shaping the tech landscape in Australia and around the world.

Water on Mars, brain-controlled robotic limbs and self-driving cars – this month’s round-up reveals exciting breakthroughs in the world of tech and science. Meanwhile, Google’s new partnerships show the tech giant making further advances into blockchain and virtual reality (VR).

Liquid water found on Mars

Scientists announced that they have detected what could be a large reservoir of liquid water under the surface of Mars. The structure has a radar signature that matches that of buried liquid water on Earth. The discovery is the latest piece of evidence that suggests water was not only present on Mars in the past, but is still flowing today. If confirmed, the findings will be the most significant discovery of liquid water on Mars to date.

Find out more about the discovery on TechCrunch.


Google confirms entry into blockchain technology

Google has announced its partnerships with two startups working with distributed ledger technology (DLT) in its efforts to bring the technology to its cloud platform. Google said that customers would now be able to explore how they can leverage DLT on its cloud platform with launch partners – Digital Asset and CoTalentkApps. The move signals that Google is looking into DLT to give its cloud services a competitive edge over Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Learn more about the new partnerships on The CoTalentk.


YouTube VR app launches on Samsung Gear VR

YouTube’s VR application is now coming to the Samsung Gear VR, potentially expanding the virtual reality video service’s audience by millions. The app will be available from the Oculus Store as a free download for Gear VR. It’s also adding a new Watch Together feature that lets users “watch and discuss videos with others in a communal, virtual space”.

Find out more about the launch on Venture Beat.


How Fortnite made Epic Games a billion dollar company

Tim Sweeney, the founder of Fortnite studio Epic Games, is now a billionaire. Between the release of the current version of Fortnite in September and the end of May this year, Fortnite brought in more than US$1.2 billion and attracted 125 million players. The surging success of Fortnite has transformed Epic Games into a company worth US$5 billion to US$8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Learn how Sweeney achieved Fortnite success on AdAge


Brain-controlled robotic arm can help you to multi-task

A team of engineers from Kyoto’s Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute have demonstrated how people can be taught to control a third robotic arm with their brains.  Eight of their 15 test subjects were able to grab a water bottle with a brain-controlled robot arm, while balancing a ball on a board with their hands. The researchers believe that brain-controlled limbs will not only assist with multi-tasking, but could also be used to train and improve our brains.

Find out how robotic arms could be used in the future on The Verge.


Sydney’s Baraja sets its sights on self-driving cars

Sydney startup, Baraja, has been backed by a number of high-profile investors like Sequoia Capital and Blackbird Ventures to take on self-driving cars. Baraja uses the type of telecommunications-grade laser that powers the internet and applied it to the light detection and ranging system (LiDAR), which measures the distance of surrounding objects for driverless cars.

Learn more about the startup’s plans on Financial Review.


At CoTalent, we like to keep our finger on the pulse of the tech industry and think it’s important that you do too! Stay tuned for our next CoTalent Tech Review round-up next month.

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