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China to Test Drone's Smog-Clearing Powers
March 07, 2014
China is taking its chemical war with smog to another level. Government agencies in China hope a newly designed drone can help mitigate air pollution. The airborne vehicle will spray chemicals that freeze pollutants, thereby knocking them to the ground. This tack begs whether it is advisable to have pollution snowing on people from above -- but hey, at least the sky won't be so unsightly.
The Road to Immersive Smell Tech Could Be Paved With Bacon
March 07, 2014
Kraft wants you to wake up and smell the Oscar Mayer bacon, and its latest marketing campaign could point to smell-related technology finally getting a whiff of success. The company has debuted a new smartphone application designed to help users wake up to the sound of crackling bacon. Oscar Mayer also is giving away thousands of iPhone attachments that produce the bacon-frying smell.
Aether Scoops Your Music Taste Into a Cone
March 06, 2014
Maxwell Smart had his Cone of Silence, but silence was the furthest thing from the minds of the Aether team that designed Cone. Cone is a wireless speaker with a twist. It connects to a home WiFi network, but it isn't a slave to another device, such as a music player, tablet or computer. It uses machine learning to play what users want to hear before they know it.
Kickstarter Bags a Billion Bucks
March 04, 2014
Kickstarter announced it hit a new milestone Monday: It has surpassed $1 billion in pledges to crowdfund projects worldwide. In total, 5.7 million people have chipped in to fund Kickstarter campaigns, with about 1.6 million people backing more than one project. The pledges have come from 224 countries and all seven continents. The U.S. led the way with more than $663 million in pledges.
Facebook Floats Idea of Buying Drone Maker
March 04, 2014
Facebook reportedly is in talks to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace to bolster Internet.org, the project that aims to provide Internet connectivity everywhere in the world. Facebook, which is one of the main backers of Internet.org, may buy Titan for $60 million. Titan builds near-orbital solar-powered drones that can fly for five years before needing to land.
Now Drivers Can Engage Siri in Safe CarPlay
March 04, 2014
Apple on Monday unwrapped its CarPlay auto initiative at the Geneva International Motor Show, less than a month after Google announced its grand plans to bring Android into automobiles with its Open Automotive Alliance. CarPlay will enable iPhone users to make calls, consult maps, play music and receive messages either through the vehicle's native interface or through voice commands.
Galaxy S5 Could Win Over Mobile Payment Skeptics
March 04, 2014
Consumers love their smartphones, but a substantial number of them don't love using them to pay for purchases. With Samsung's introduction of its Galaxy S5 phone last week, the company is betting it can change some of those consumers' minds on that subject. Like Apple's iPhone 5s, the S5 has a fingerprint scanner. Unlike the Apple product, though, the S5's scanner can be used to pay for things.
Mobile's Year of Living Big, Strong and Superpowerfully
March 03, 2014
At last week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the major players showed up loaded for bear. Wearable computers became more robust, we got another Android fork, phones acquired superpowers, and it became clear that big -- really big -- is going to be all around us. Oh, and if you are into power and performance, this is the beginning of your era.
Chrome Encourages Searchers to Speak Up
February 28, 2014
Google has added hands-free voice search to the latest beta version of the Chrome Web browser. Users need not have to interrupt messy housework and first wash their hands in order to search for a recipe for homemade glass cleaner, for example. All they need to do is open a new tab or go to the Google homepage, say the words "OK Google," and dictate their search terms.
Apple Gets Litigious in China
February 26, 2014
Apple is suing China's State Intellectual Property Office and domestic company Zhizhen Network Technology over patent issues related to Siri, Apple's voice recognition software. The State Intellectual Property Office is responsible for patents rights protection in China, while Zhizhen developed software similar to Siri. Zhizhen patented its own voice recognition software, "Xiao i Robot," in 2004.
Google's Project Tango Struts Into the Spotlight
February 21, 2014
Google is making an increased push into the 3D imaging sphere with the announcement of its Project Tango technology. The project is aimed at helping mobile devices fully map a 3D space to give them the same type of understanding of space and motion that humans have, through a blend of robotics and computer vision tools. The prototype smartphone Google unveiled has myriad sensors.
French Teen in Hot Water Over Drone Footage
February 21, 2014
A French teen faces charges of "endangering the lives of others" over his use of a drone, which he sent skyward to capture impressive (and seemingly harmless) footage of the city Nancy. Eighteen-year-old Nans Thomas affixed an Internet-bought drone with a GoPro camera and then sent the contraption skyward. The ensuing video has been viewed more than 270,000 times already on YouTube.
Artemis Shoots for Wireless Networking Breakthrough
February 19, 2014
Technologist and serial entrepreneur Steve Perlman on Wednesday announced his new company, Artemis, and demoed its pCell technology. pCell technology "consistently delivers full-speed mobile data to every mobile device concurrently, regardless of how many users are sharing the same spectrum at once," he claimed. Instead of trying to suppress interference, the pCell exploits it.
Cuff Gives Link New Meaning
February 19, 2014
The nascent wearable devices market so far has focused more on function than on form, but Tuesday brought word of a company that aims to change all that. Specifically, Cuff unveiled a new assortment of safety-focused fashion wearables its founders call technology "you'd actually want to wear." At the heart of Cuff's fashion-conscious collection is a tiny component called the "CuffLinc."
High-Tech Suits a Suspect in Weak US Speedskating Performance
February 14, 2014
The U.S. speedskating team's high-tech suits -- which theoretically are supposed to help shave seconds and accrue medals -- have been identified as a suspect in the team's stunning faceplant at the Sochi Games. Before the Games, the suits, designed by U.S.-based sportswear giant Under Armour, were deemed to be on the cutting edge of racing technology.
URB-E, or How to Ride a Battery to Work
February 13, 2014
In any city or dense urban environment, getting around can be a hassle. Owning a car is expensive, and parking it can be a nightmare -- never mind actually driving it. Enter URB-E, a new foldable electronic bike/scooter invention that brings the sit-down ride of a powered bicycle to the foldable kick scooters that children ride around suburban neighborhoods.
A Deep Dive Into New Scuba Tech
February 13, 2014
Scuba divers always have relied on gear that lets the essentially fragile, air-dependent human body descend into oceanic depths. While air tanks, regulators, buoyancy control devices and dive computers have been around for years, digital technologies are altering how they function, how they're used, and how well they work. One recent innovation is iGills.
New Technique Hikes Printed-Cell Survival Rate
February 12, 2014
Researchers have developed a new technique for printing live cells by drawing inspiration from ancient Chinese woodblock printing. Scientists have been experimenting with different methods of printing cells, including using inkjet printers to build 3D cell layers. The method has been successful in several instances, including a recent study in which researchers printed adult eye cells.
Google's Got a Robot Friend in Foxconn
February 11, 2014
Google reportedly has partnered with Foxconn to advance its foray into robotics. Foxconn is widely known as the manufacturer of most of Apple's iPhones and iPads. The firm apparently now is working with Google. Last year, former Android chief Andy Rubin switched gears to lead development of Google's robotics initiatives. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou recently met with Rubin in Taipei.
New Quattro Could Be Shape of Digital Photography to Come
February 11, 2014
Sigma is known mostly as a maker of lenses for other companies' cameras, but a few years ago it latched on to a new kind of sensor technology that caused a stir in photography circles. Now it's introducing a new generation of its Foveon cameras with a redesigned sensor and a speedier image processor. "They capture light in layers, much like film did," said DPreview.com's Shawn Barnett.

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