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DT Daily: iMessage cure, rocket powered bicycle, steerable cockroaches

Today on DT Daily: Apple takes pity on ex-iPhone users who were missing test messages, a crazy speed freak rides a rocket-powered bicycle to over 200mph, and sound-controlled cockroaches could help rescue teams find disaster survivors in the future.

If you’ve made the switch from Apple’s iPhone to another smartphone recently, you may have found it difficult escaping the company’s clutches completely, and had a few problems receiving text messages. The annoying problem is due to messages continuing to be routed as Apple-formatted iMessages, which won’t show up on anything other than an iPhone.

Often, the only solution was to call Apple and get them to sort it out, but now, the company has created a special tool to de-register your telephone number from the service. It’s easy to use, it’s available online, and it even explains how to turn iMessage off on your iPhone, if you’d prefer not to use iMessage at all. Just follow the instructions, and you’ll soon be free of Apple’s walled garden.

When we’re riding a bicycle, even 20mph feels pretty fast, so imagine how utterly terrifying it would be to travel at ten times that speed. Speed freak Francois Gissy decided he wanted to give that idea a try, and to achieve it, he strapped some rockets to a specially designed bicycle frame, and went to a race circuit to give it a go. And go he did!

The result was zero to 207mph in less than five seconds, and the pleasure of obliterating a Ferrari off the line; all on a bike with skinny wheels, and no stabilizers, aerodynamics, or anything stronger than a helmet and a fireproof suit for protection. Oh, and no, it doesn’t look like his feet were on the pedals at the time.

The amazing achievement smashes Gissy’s own previous world record of 163mph, set last year. But we have a feeling this won’t be enough to satisfy this madman’s thirst for acceleration.

Very few of us can claim to ever be pleased to see a cockroach, but that could change in the future, if some cyborg cockroaches get put to work.

Called “biobots,” these roaches wear tiny backpacks equipped with highly sensitive microphones, ready to pick up sounds of survivors in disaster areas, where rescue crews can’t easily explore. A different biobot with a directional microphone can then go in and pinpoint where the sound is coming from, giving people a higher chance of being found quickly.

The really clever, and slightly unnerving part, is the packs also use acoustics to control the direction the biobot moves in, so it can be steered towards light to recharge the solar-powered microphones. We’d be quite happy for this system to be fitted to all cockroaches, so we can point all of them in any direction away from us.

Still, if they’re going to hang around, and you know they always will, we may as well put them to good use.

Your host today is Greg Nibler. Miss a day? Watch all the episodes of DT Daily right here. And be sure to catch our latest podcast.