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Foxconn in Trouble Again Over PS4
October 10, 2013
Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, one of the world's most vilified workers-rights violators, confirmed reports that it is manufacturing Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 on the backs of university interns. Chinese media broke the story, asserting that thousands of students from an engineering program at the Xi'an Institute of Technology are being forced to work at Foxconn's Yantai plant.
Nest Brings Brains and Brawn to Smoke Detection
October 09, 2013
The company that brought Apple-style elegance to the lowly home thermostat is attempting to do the same for the common smoke detector. Nest Labs, founded by Apple emigres Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, on Tuesday announced Nest Protect, a US$129 combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector with more smarts than others in the market.
Russian 'Pirates' Offer Hobbled NASA a Helping Tech Hand
October 08, 2013
Russia's Pirate Party wrote a letter to NASA offering to host the agency's website, which is currently out of commission because of the government shutdown. The Pirate Party -- a minority political movement in many European countries predicated on privacy and transparency -- informed NASA that it could use the party's dedicated servers until the U.S. government got off the ground.
Researchers Beat Drum for Quantum Communications
October 07, 2013
Researchers at JILA, a joint institute of the University of Colorado at Boulder and NIST, have demonstrated quantum entanglement between the motion of a minuscule mechanical drum and a microwave field. This lets scientists observe quantum behavior in larger objects. Quantum entanglement occurs when pairs or groups of particles interact such that their quantum states correlate.
Fitbit Uses 'Force' for Flex Follow-Up Device
October 03, 2013
Fitbit only just released its first fitness-tracking wristband back in May, but the company is reportedly getting close to rolling out the next generation. Dubbed "Force," this new device will apparently be both smaller and more capable than the current Flex. Among several new features expected in the upcoming device are a built-in altimeter and watch functionality.
Scientists Catch Up With Jedi in Understanding Light
September 30, 2013
Scientists from Harvard, MIT and CIT have demonstrated that light can behave in a way previously observed only in science fiction -- that is, photons can bond and create a molecule. The fundamental properties of light derive from the fact that photons, which are the quanta of light, do not interact with one another. Two crossed beams of light pass through each other, for example.
4 Young Innovators Capture Google Science Fair Awards
September 25, 2013
Google has announced the winners of its Science Fair, awarding three students for their innovative ideas in public health, alternative energy and app development. The company's third annual competition drew contestants between 13 and 18 years of age from more than 120 countries. Google this summer announced 15 finalists, who presented their final projects to a panel of judges last weekend.
Google's Next Search: The Fountain of Youth
September 19, 2013
Google on Wednesday launched Calico, a company that will focus on health and well-being, with a particular emphasis on aging and associated diseases. At the helm of this new endeavor will sit founding investor Arthur Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech, chairman of Apple, director of Hoffmann-La Roche and now Calico's CEO.
High-Tech Tools Make Indoor Cycles Brainier and More Fun
September 18, 2013
Bicycles have seen much in the way of technological advancement in the past 150 years, and that was widely apparent on the show floor at the annual Interbike trade show in Las Vegas this week. The modern face of cycling was clearly visible in the electric-assist motors that make bicycles an optimal alternative vehicle for commuting, for example, and the space-age carbon fiber frames that aren't limited just to the high end.
A Satellite's-Eye View on Mobile Payments
September 17, 2013
Turn-by-turn directions have become a common technological enhancement to the automotive world thanks to a set of satellites dedicated to the task. To date, these radio positioning signals have been supplied to consumers primarily by the U.S. military through a satellite constellation called "GPS," or Global Positioning System. Essentially, receivers on the ground interpret the signals and tell you where you are.
Hot Off the 3D Presses: A New Generation of Fitness Equipment
September 17, 2013
Health buffs today have no shortage of apps, gizmos, gadgets and devices promising to help them get and stay in shape. At the same time, new materials are enabling lighter, stronger and more diverse products. The next revolution in fitness, however, could come from a technology that seems to have little to do with athletics but is already being used daily in the development of new products.
Voyager's Intrepid Flight a Reminder of Human Audacity
September 13, 2013
NASA has confirmed that after 36 years of journeying, Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space. Voyager 1 has been traveling for about a year through a transitional plasma region in the space between the influence of Earth's sun and other stars. "Voyager 1 is the first true stellar explorer from Earth," said James R. Webb, Ph.D., professor of physics and director of the SARA Observatory.
Huawei Blasts US for Illegal NSA Spying
September 13, 2013
Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei is taking a PR victory lap following reports suggesting that the National Security Agency spied on the company. Earlier this week, Brazilian TV network Globo revealed a raft of documents that purportedly came from Edward Snowden. The files implicate the NSA, along with its British snooping ally, GCHQ, in spying on numerous targets.
DNA 'Glue' May Someday Repair Damaged Organs
September 11, 2013
Researchers at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University have found a way to trigger the self-assembly of tiny water-filled gel-like cubes into larger structures, a discovery that could lead to practical applications in tissue engineering. The scientists developed the self-assembling system by programming DNA to act as a glue that guides the hydrogels into the larger structures.
Video Game Rejuvenates Brains of Older Adults
September 06, 2013
A multitasking 3D video game that helped some older adults show neurological activity similar to much younger adults could shed light on the plasticity of the older brain. A UCSF research team recently tested a 3D-driving game on a group of adults. The game play was designed to elicit a multitasking response, which generates a certain interference in the brain that increases with age.
Ice Wall Offers Thin Hope for Fukushima Recovery
September 04, 2013
The Japanese government on Tuesday announced it would be allocating $473 million to help the operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant build an ice wall to prevent water being used to cool it from poisoning the surrounding groundwater. However, the proposal would be at best a short-term solution to the troubled facility's problems stemming from a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The Future of Farming, Part 3: The Business of Urban Ag and CEA
September 03, 2013
"Growing crops is only half the job. The other half is marketing -- and if you don't do that right, you will probably go out of business," said AG Kawamura, founding member of Orange County Produce and head of the 114-acre Orange County Great Park Farm. Taking a crop directly to farmers' markets, grocery stores and restaurants to sell is only a small part of the marketing job.
Earth-to-Moon Laser Tests Could Ignite New Era in Space Comms
August 30, 2013
NASA is poised to launch a mission that will use lasers in a test of two-way communications between the Earth and the moon. The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration will herald a new area of space communications. The LLCD equipment will be on board the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, which will launch Sept. 6 using Orbital Science's Minotaur V rocket.
Having Fun on the Robotics Playing Field
August 30, 2013
From programmable robots to robotic family pets, toy robots are pushing the limits of interactive technologies. "Robotics is definitely influencing toys, and there are plenty of robots to talk about," said The Toy Insider's Laurie Schacht. With its Mindstorms robot sets, LEGO is one of the leaders in the toy robotics industry. Users can design and program their own robots.
My Wish Is Your Command: Scientists Make Imperius Curse Real
August 28, 2013
It sounds like something out of science fiction: One person thinks about pressing the spacebar on a keyboard to fire a cannon in a video game, and another person across campus is compelled to press the spacebar for real, even though he doesn't see the game on-screen. It's essentially that very scenario, however, that scientists at the University of Washington recently achieved.

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