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My Passport gets new ticket

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Western Digital has announced a new line of My Passport portable hard drives that offer Mac and PC users storage capacities up to 3TB and include software for easy back-ups and personalisation.

WD, a Western Digital company providing storage solutions, has introduced the new, redesigned My Passport Ultra portable hard drives and My Passport for Mac drives. With the My Passport line now in its 7th generation, the My Passport Ultra and My Passport for Mac portable hard drives are now available in capacities up to 3 TB and in four stylish colors – Classic Black, Brilliant White, Wild Berry and Noble Blue. WD is also introducing a new optional accessory – WD Grip Pack – a soft band, available in a variety of colors, which encircles the drive, offering consumers an easy way to personalise their My Passport drives.

“With more photos being taken than ever before, it’s critical to have a high capacity, reliable external storage solution that you can carry everywhere,” says Tony Tate, general manager and vice president of Content Storage Solutions at WD. “The latest generation My Passport drives deliver an easier automatic back-up experience, hardware-based encryption for security and higher capacities than ever before. Consumers can keep all their content in their pockets, while expressing their personal styles with the colours and WD Grip Pack.”

My Passport Ultra portable drives come in 3 TB, 2 TB, 1 TB and 500 GB capacities and feature 256-bit AES hardware encryption – delivering a high level of security with no impact to write-speed or CPU activity. If your My Passport Ultra falls into the wrong hands, the 256-bit AES hardware encryption protects users’ files, folders, photos, videos and music with a password known only to them. USB 3.0 compatibility provides fast data transfer rates of up to 5 gigabits per second, while being backwardly compatible with USB 2.0. My Passport for Mac portable drives are available in capacities of 3 TB, 2 TB, 1 TB and also feature 256-bit AES hardware encryption with USB 3.0 connectivity.

Says Anamika Budree, WD Branded Sales Manager – South Africa, “These redesigned My Passport Ultra portable hard drives and My Passport for Mac drives further confirms that WD understands the needs for consumer storage and the complexities facing the DAS market and users. As South African users consume more and more digital content, these portable drives are the perfect choice with options of higher capacities, increased features and functionality, while ensuring data is safely stored and protected.”

Sold separately, the WD Grip Pack accessory for My Passport Ultra is available in five colours (smoke, slate, grape, sky and fuchsia) and, when wrapped around one of the four colours of My Passport Ultra drives, enables consumers to create a total of twenty possible colour combinations. The WD Grip Pack comes with a colour-matched 18-inch flat USB 3.0 cable, creating a stylish complete solution.

My Passport Ultra’s built-in WD Backup software is a simple-to-use application with focus on reducing frustration when setting up a backup plan to preserve data. Since 31% of devices have had malware at some point, having your data safely backed up onto a secondary device like a My Passport drive is critical to preserving precious data.

Pricing and Availability

My Passport Ultra and My Passport for Mac portable drives will be available in South Africa in June 2015 from select retailers and distributors. My Passport Ultra and My Passport for Mac have a Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price (MSRP) ranging from R799.00 up to R2 399.00 inclusive of V.A.T. depending on capacity (3 TB capacity available next month). Both the My Passport Ultra and My Passport for Mac will offer a 3-year limited warranty. Terms and conditions of WD’s limited warranty may be found at support.wdc.com/warranty. WD Grip Pack accessories will be available in June and will have an MSRP of R150.00 inclusive of V.A.T.  All pricing is subject to Rate of Exchange (RoE).

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Meet the ambassador to the future

Tilly Lockey, 14, lost her hands as a toddler, but sees it as a massive opportunity to embrace technology. She chatted with ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK about the human of tomorrow.

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Picture by Arthur Goldstuck

It is a description that defines 14-year-old Tilly Lockey: She lost her hands at the age of 15 months, and now uses bionic hands to show the world how to overcome disability.

That could easily read as an advertisement for a prosthetics company, but Tilly refuses to be defined by marketing messages. She has not only embraced what is supposed to be a disability, but wants to become nothing less than an ambassador to the future.

Picture by Arthur Goldstuck

That is in effect what she is achieving by pushing the boundaries of what is possible with artificial hands. It means that, eventually, she will have more capabilities built into her body than most able-bodied humans can imagine. She collaborates closely with Open Bionics, a start-up that is using 3D printing to create low-cost prosthetics with high-tech capabilities.

“I have very high hopes for the future,” she said during a chat on the sidelines of the SingularityU Summit at Kyalami north of Johannesburg. From Newcastle-on-Tyne in the United Kingdom, she was at the Summit as a guest speaker, chaperoned by her father Adam and sister Tia. 

“When I started working with Open Bionics, I wanted it to include lighting, music, Bluetooth, a projector in my palm, all over-optimistic things. But then I feel that is not too far away, and then a disability would turn into and enhancement of normal human hands. I’m really excited about it.

“I know there’s a couple of things they are working on right now, like trying to get the built-in battery thinner, because it’s hard to get overcoats and jackets over it, so they are trying to get the hands slimmer. They’re working on haptic feedback, to give a sense of touch of vibration, which tells me of I have a good grip on something. It could be coming soon. These hands I’m using now were made in the past five years. In another five years, I think we’ll have all of it.”

The hands in question are called Hero Arms, which its creators, Open Bionics, say is “the world’s first clinically approved 3D-printed bionic arm, with multi-grip functionality and empowering aesthetics”.

Click here to read more about the development of Open Bionics’s Hero Arms.

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How Tilly Lockey became a Hero

Part 2 of ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK’s interview with Tilly Lockey explores her amazing career.

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Picture courtesy SingularityU South Africa 2019 Summit

This is the second part of this series of articles. To start from the beginning, click here.

Tilly Lockey was diagnosed with Meningococcal Septicaemia Strain B when she was 15 months old.

Her mother spotted the tell-tale signs one day in 2007: a fast-spreading skin rash that looks like pinpricks, along with symptoms like lethargy and bruising. She was rushed to hospital, but the bacterial poisoning spread so aggressively, doctors gave Tilley no chance of survival. They had to make a quick decision to amputate her hands to save her life.

Twelve years later, her future truly came into focus: “I was surprised with really cool Alita: Battle Angel bionic Hero Arms and went on the blue carpet at the world premiere of the movie with Rosa Salazar and director James Cameron.”

That pivotal moment in her life would not have been possible without the intensive efforts of her mother, Sara, to raise funds to buy something better than the metal prosthetics issued by the National Health Service in the UK. She increased Tilley’s profile with a campaign to “Give Tilley a Hand”, and today works as a fundraiser and events organiser for the Meningitis Now support group. Her involvement in an event meant she was unable to join Tilley on her trip to South Africa last week, when she spoke at the SingularityU Summit. After coming off stage, Tilley told us that Sara was her biggest inspiration in her life, and the closest to a role model.

“I’m usually a speaker at her events. I tell everyone my story and what I’m doing now and give these kids inspiration, because they often feel they can’t do anything because of what Meningitis did to them.

“I am home schooled now, which is pretty cool, because I’m able to have a career and get educated at the same time. I feel I can do a lot of things that friends can’t do. I can take a whole class on an aeroplane. I have a great time traveling and meeting so many inspiring people who are making a difference in the world.”

The form of Mengingitis that attacked her leaves hidden scars and issues that only become apparent years later. She is almost absurdly cheerful about the challenges that have faced her.

“I personally figured out that my left leg had stopped growing. I’m still finding out things it has caused, but you survive. At least I’m here and I’m alive.”

It does help that she’s comfortable in the spotlight, happy to give interviews, and eager to show what she can do with her bionic hands.

“I want to go into public speaking a lot more, and it could be an option as career. I want it to continue because it’s a lot of fun, and I feel I’ve got a story to share. If I can inspire people to change the world, I will. “

Her travels this year will still take her to Barcelona, Jakarta and New York. In the Big Apple, she will accept a humanitarian award, and intends “to give a funky speech”.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, she will take part in a fashion catwalk and do a makeup tutorial live. She learned to do makeup with one of her bionic hands when she fractured her right elbow in a fall at school

“I got makeup for Christmas and wanted to play with it, and got the idea of doing it with an open hand. It took a lot of perseverance and patience, but after studying how to do it, I was able to recreate a full makeup routine using one hand. It wasn’t a great situation at the time, but now I’m happy it happened because it got me into doing what I do now.”

What she is doing with makeup is remarkable in its own right. She gives tutorials on YouTube, where she says she is “kinda new”, as she has “only around 16,000 followers”. That may well soon expand into cooking videos.

In other words, everything is an opportunity: “I could be sad, just sit on my bed and cry, or I can live my life and realise what I’ve got: these amazing bionic Hero Arms.

“All I want to do is help give people confidence in themselves, accept who they are, accept their scars and everything about them. That they don’t have to impress everybody and just be themselves.”

Read more in the third article of the series about how family remains at the centre of Tilly’s life.

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