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Weaponized Drones May Fly the Friendly Skies of North Dakota
August 28, 2015
Police in North Dakota can use drones armed with what are optimistically called "nonlethal weapons," thanks to the passage of House Bill 1328, which Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law this spring. The new law gives police the authority in a roundabout way: Section 5 states a law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle armed with lethal weapons.
Apple Watch Nips at Fitbit's Heels
August 28, 2015
Despite disparaging sales reports, the Apple Watch is closing in on market leader Fitbit, according to a new IDC report. During the second quarter, Apple shipped 3.6 million watches -- 800,000 units behind Fitbit's shipments for the period. Shipments for all wearables during the quarter increased 223 percent from the same period a year ago, IDC reported, to 18.1 million units from 5.6 million.
YouTube Opens Video Game Floodgates
August 27, 2015
It's alive! YouTube Gaming, a hub that's home to over 25,000 video game pages, on Wednesday began broadcasting live and on-demand streams, let's play videos and the like. The gaming hub is accessible on desktop PCs, and on Android and iOS devices. YouTube's new hub is likely to offer a serious challenge to Twitch, the video game streaming service Amazon bought last year.
No Joke, MultiFab Prints 10 Materials at Once
August 26, 2015
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, or CSAIL, this week presented a new MultiFab printer at SIGGRAPH, an annual computer graphics conference. For all of the promise 3D printing has offered, additive manufacturing techniques generally have been limited to one material at a time -- until now.
Cyber-Posse Aims to Round Up Ashley Madison Hackers
August 25, 2015
The Toronto Police Service on Monday reported on the progress of Project Unicorn, the official investigation into the hack attack on Ashley Madison, an adultery-promoting website. The Toronto police are working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the RCMP, the FBI, and the Ministry of the Attorney General's criminal law office in carrying out the investigation.
Wii U to Become Pokken Tournament Playing Field
August 25, 2015
Nintendo and The Pokemon Company last week announced that Pokken Tournament -- the Pokemon fighting game developed by Namco Bandai -- will expand from arcades in Japan to a worldwide launch on the Wii U in the spring of 2016. Instead of just issuing commands to use special attacks, players of the fighting game can direct the blows their Pokemon deliver.
Samsung to Ask SC to Reverse Tide in Apple Case
August 24, 2015
Samsung last week filed a motion to stay the U.S. Court of Appeals' order in its multiyear patent war with Apple, indicating that it plans to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Samsung reportedly will ask the Court to hear its appeal of a 2012 federal jury's verdict that it violated Apple's iPhone patents. Samsung has received support for its position from several large tech firms.
Intel: Putting Innovation Back in the Hands of the Innovators
August 24, 2015
We are living in an amazing time, but many of us seem to take it for granted. We have private spaceships. Self-driving cars are on the road, even though we can't buy them yet, and there are plans for a 12-mile-high inflatable building. Granted, a number of us are convinced it will end up looking like a giant version of the inflatable fan blown stick man often seen outside of car dealerships.
Gadget Ogling: Swimming Aids, Drinks Fixers, and Sleep Rings
August 22, 2015
As an occasional swimmer, I'd like a better way of monitoring how well I'm doing. It's not so easy to use a stopwatch on my phone in the pool as it is while out for a jog. So, Misfit is looking to bring wearables to the water with a new version of its Shine activity tracker, developed with Speedo. The Speedo Shine apparently can monitor your progress on laps across all types of strokes.
Mum Robot Goes Darwinian on Her Kids
August 21, 2015
A "mother" robot has demonstrated natural selection and the process of evolution in action, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge. Scientists typically have to go back in time to study evolution -- it's rarely observable over the course of a human lifetime. However, for robots and artificial intelligence, it's a different story.
Sony's SmartBand 2 Takes the Plunge
August 21, 2015
Sony on Thursday unveiled its SmartBand 2 fitness tracker. It has an advanced heart rate sensor and a variety of communications capabilities. It informs wearers when they get calls, messages, emails or notifications on social media sites. It sports interchangeable silicone rubber bands in black, white, pink and indigo. The SmartBand 2 is compatible with many Android and iOS devices.
Razer Can't Wait to Intro Its Unnamed VR Camera Baby
August 20, 2015
Razer has introduced a camera that incorporates Intel's RealSense technology, suggesting use cases as a depth-sensing accessory in PC gaming and beyond. The company described its camera concept at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, which was chock-full of big announcements. Intel updated developers on its efforts in the wearables market, and it introduced its solution for IoT security.
Apple Car May Have a Smart, Sensor-Equipped Windshield
August 19, 2015
Apple might be working on a heads-up display for windshields, Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research at Global Equities Research, said last week in a research note. It will have built-in sensor technology, and the entire surface will function as a HUD. It may be a "completely new device," he wrote. The display measures between 27 inches and 50 inches and might be gesture controlled.
12-Mile-High Tower May Launch Spacecraft Horizontally
August 19, 2015
Thoth Technology last month won patents in the U.S. and UK for a space elevator -- a 12-mile-high tower that could herald a new era of space transportation. If all goes as planned, the freestanding ThothX Tower will be the tallest structure in the world by far. Dubhai's Burj Khalifa, currently the world's tallest building, is a mere half mile in height.
FCC Fine Hints at End to Exorbitant Convention Center WiFi Fees
August 19, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Smart City Holdings had agreed to pay a $750,000 fine to settle allegations that it blocked personal mobile hotspots in several convention centers, forcing exhibitors and attendees to use its services instead, at $80 a day. Blocking FCC-approved WiFi connections is "patently unlawful," remarked Travis LeBlanc, chief of the commission's enforcement bureau.
Fork Release Intensifies Bitcoin Community Bitterness
August 18, 2015
A full release of Bitcoin XT just became available, heaping fuel on the fire spreading throughout the community. One site went so far as to ban XT-related posts, resulting in allegations that a small cabal had taken control and was suppressing discussion and dissent. The cause of all the furor is a dispute over how to ensure that the Bitcoin system's capacity keeps up with its rapid growth.
Truth May Be Wiggly in Wikipedia's Hot-Button Science Articles
August 18, 2015
Users should take extra care when exploring Wikipedia's science topics, because many articles on controversial issues such as global warming and acid rain have been targeted for editing by revisionists who reject scientific findings, new research has found. Due to its crowdsourced model, academics widely regard Wikipedia as a starting point for research -- a compass more than a map.
AT&T Went Above and Beyond for NSA, Say Snowden Docs
August 18, 2015
The National Security Agency considered its relationship with AT&T unique and particularly productive, accordingto a report published Saturday. The information about the company's close ties with the agency came from the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. NSA lauded AT&T for its "extreme willingness to help," giving it access to billions of emails among other things.
Apple Car Evidence Piles Up
August 18, 2015
Apple apparently has been scouting for locations to test an autonomous vehicle it's developing, and there are indication the oft-rumored Apple car project could be much further along than previous reports have suggested. Giving credence to that view is the fact that Apple engineers earlier this year met with officials from GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre former naval base.
Legislation Aims to Bring Product Warranties Into the Internet Age
August 17, 2015
The process of "checking the fine print" always has been an important aspect of consumer behavior. For product manufacturers, providing important transaction information to consumers also has been a challenging part of business operations. Take the fine print of warranty information, for example. In the world of e-commerce, how should sellers and buyers approach the warranty issue?
Gadget Ogling: Smart Rings, Breathalyzing Bike Locks, and Laptop-Sized Transports
August 15, 2015
Please, whatever you do, don't decide with your loved one it would be a good idea to get rings that vibrate only when you're trying to get in touch with one another. Omate and Emanuel Ungaro are offering schmucks the Ungaro ring, which does just that. It buzzes when one designated person, whoever that may be, sends a text message or calls you. It will retail for up to $2,000.
Fitbit Hooks Up With Windows 10
August 14, 2015
Fitbit on Thursday introduced a new app for Windows 10, Windows 10 mobile and Xbox One, scheduled for availability later this year. The Fitbit for Windows 10 app features an improved design that allows users to personalize the way they utilize Windows devices as part of a fitness routine. It handles traditional fitness tracking and provides the user with advice to help reach overall fitness goals.
The Pichai Era: Google's New Age of Innocence?
August 13, 2015
"A" is for new Google parent company "Alphabet," for Sundar Pichai's "ascension" to CEO, and for a slimmed-down search engine company that seeks to become more "agile." Consumers may wonder if that "A" also stands for "altruism." Pichai's work ethic and congeniality helped drive his ascension to the top, and he'll need both to redirect the mounting mistrust of Google -- his greatest challenge yet.
Qualcomm Ups the Ante With Next-Gen Processor Innovations
August 12, 2015
Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled its Adreno 5xx GPU architecture next-generation visual processing technology and its 14-bit Spectra image signal processing unit at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. The first two GPUs to use the new architecture, the Adreno 530 and 510, will be integrated in Qualcomm's forthcoming Snapdragon 820 and 620/618 processors. The Snapdragon 820 also will feature the 14-bit ISP.

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