Roundup: Tech firms produce bumper crop of April Fool's tricks

Google and Virgin to venture to Mars by 2050

Google and Virgin announced a joint venture aimed at creating a human settlement on Mars by 2050, called Virgle.

The first Virgle Pioneers will be selected by numerous criteria, including an online questionnaire, video submission, personal accomplishments, expertise in scientific, artistic, sociological and/or political fields of endeavour, and inadequate Google and Virgin personal performance reviews.

"Virgle is the ultimate application of a principle we've always believed at Google: that you can do well by doing good," said Google co-founder Larry Page, who plans to share leadership of the new Martian civilisation with Branson and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Facial recognition technology to stop hackers

Security firm Sophos announced a new RAPIL (Recognition and Analysis of Potentially Intruding Lifeforms) system which can use a webcam to produce an analysis of a PC or Mac's user's facial features to determine if they exhibit any hacker characteristics.

With a clear background and provided the face is free of any obstructions, including hats, moustaches and sunglasses, the beta version of RAPIL has a success rate of 97.78 per cent.

Senior technology consultant Graham Cluley said: "With our new solution that can identify key physical characteristics, we can literally see when someone has hacker written all over them."

A video of it in action is available on the Sophos YouTube channel.

Electric technology shocks careless canines

Car maker BMW got into the spirit of things with adverts for a new car, backed up with news stories in morning papers that were in on the joke.

Metro reported on the German car maker's Canine Repellent Alloy Protection system, a technology designed to stop man's best friend from peeing on the allow wheels of what appears to be a BMW X6. It gives dogs a shock if they decide to relieve themselves on the vehicle.

A 200 volt charge is stored in capacitors - energy created by slamming the brakes of the car. The tyres form a natural insulating barrier preventing the capacitors from discharging, until urine is sprayed on the wheel. The capacitors will discharge through the wee and through the dog, a process known as Rim Impulse Power.

Thankfully, motion sensors can detect the difference between dogs and small children......allegedly.