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Superfast broadband crosses causeway to Holy Island

Holy Island. Credit: Angela Fullerton

Holy Island – home to a wealth of history dating back to 635 AD – has now truly arrived in the 21st Century.

Superfast fibre broadband has arrived at Lindisfarne, off the Northumberland coast.

As well as battling the North Sea, which covers the causeway access at high tide, a team of eleven BT engineers had to lay around 14km (8.6 miles) of optical fibres from Berwick to the island.

“Living on an island like Lindisfarne can present its challenges – not least of which is the need for suitable communications links. Tourism businesses have to be able to compete on a level playing field and residents too wish to receive the same level of service as their neighbours on the mainland. “I am delighted that through the iNorthumberland programme we have been able to provide superfast broadband to this community.”

– Cllr Dave Ledger, deputy leader, Northumberland County Council

The iNorthumberland programme is being delivered by Northumberland County Council, with the aim of fibre broadband to around 90% of homes and businesses in the county by December 2015.

"The benefits of faster broadband speeds are considerable for businesses with many of those situated on Holy Island serving the more than 650,000 visitors, who flock to the island every year. Businesses can now access booking systems, update websites and utilise social networking sites faster and more effectively, saving both time and money.

– Sean Atkinson, who runs the Lindisfarne Hotel on the island


Virtual reality to bring museums to life

Credit: Chronicles VR

Two Newcastle University students are bringing virtual reality (VR) to museums, allowing people to explore historic artefacts in their original context.

Dominic Deane and Rachel Derbyshire have designed special software for 3D VR headsets that can be worn by visitors.

The technology is being displayed at the Great North Museum Hancock in Newcastle.

Visitors will be able to walk into a virtual Greek villa and explore relics.

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Funding approved for Harrogate railway station refurbishment plan

Plans to invest up to £35,000 to put together a refurbishment plan for Harrogate railway station have been approved.

North Yorkshire County Council has been preparing the case for electrification of the Harrogate line Credit: Press Association

North Yorkshire County Council will appoint consultants to put together proposals for a refurbished railway station as well as improvements to the area around the station.

Harrogate is the busiest station in the county and over recent years has seen usage grow by over 20 per cent.

– David Bowe, North Yorkshire County Council

This initiative follows last week’s announcement by the government’s Electrification Task Force that the Harrogate line is in the top tier of schemes for future electrification.


Science Central officially opens in Newcastle

Cities Minister Greg Clark (centre) Credit: ITV News

A new £250m Science and Technology Hub has been officially opened in Newcastle. Science Central, on the site of the former Scottish and Newcastle Brewery, is a partnership between the local council, Newcastle University and private companies. Cities Minister Greg Clark opened the building today - he also signed off a £330m of Government investment in local infrastructure and businesses. The government believes that by 2021 the growth deal has the potential to create 5,000 new jobs for the North East.

Could this be the car of the future?

The lifesize concept car is on display in Newcastle

A driverless car has gone on display at Science Central in Newcastle. The car, inspired by Durham Cathedral, is called The Mini Cathedral and was designed by Sunderland born artist Dominic Wilcox. It is the first in a series of installations. This one looks at the future of transport.

This idea is a 'sleep car' with a bed inside

With the driver freed from actually driving, Wilcox had the idea of making vehicle's into a mobile office or a Jacuzzi car, a sunbed on wheels or a cocktail bar. This model is a 'sleep car'.

Dominic Wilcox had many ideas for what could go inside the car

“If there are no collisions, designers will no longer be restricted by the need to include the safety equipment we see in modern-day cars,”

– Dominic Wilcox, Artist

With no need for an airbag, steering wheel or gear stick – Wilcox was free to “create a living space on wheels”. The prototype has only a bed inside, where the passengers can sleep while the car takes them to their destination.

The design demonstrates the possibilities that driverless technologies make the roads safe enough for cars made of glass.
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