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UK Greenlights Amazon's Drone Delivery Tests
August 2, 2016
Amazon, which has appealed to U.S. regulators for years for permission to test package delivery with aerial drones, last week announced a new partnership with the UK government to launch a pilot program there. A cross-government team, supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, has granted Amazon permission to begin testing three critical performance factors.
Uber Sees the Cartography on the Wall
August 1, 2016
With an eye on its future, Uber last week announced it was increasing its investment in mapping. "The ongoing need for maps tailored to the Uber experience is why we're doubling down on our investment in mapping," said Brian McClendon, Uber's vice president of advanced technologies. Uber has committed to investing $500 million in the mapping initiative, according to news reports.
SolarCity Deal Would Take Tesla Where No Company Has Gone Before
August 1, 2016
Tesla Motors has announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase SolarCity. The deal could create the world's first vertically integrated sustainable energy company. The merger would drive efforts to develop rooftop solar systems, and better storage batteries for homes and businesses, as well as electric vehicles. It would, in essence, tie together Elon Musk's sustainable energy businesses.
Gadget Ogling: Pretty Printers, Bargain Smartwatches, and Font Finders
July 26, 2016
Paper, designed by Ludwig Rensch, is sadly a concept for now. It holds a ream of paper to make loading the printing material easier than shuffling with a stack of loose leafs. It can scan documents and send them to your phone if you desire. It can make copies. There's a string of LEDs to show how much ink is left for each color, and there's even a handle on top .
Aquila Test Flight Carries Facebook's Internet Ambitions Aloft
July 26, 2016
Facebook has carried out the first full-scale test flight of Aquila, a high-altitude solar-powered unmanned aircraft designed to provide Internet access to remote regions. The company had flown a one-fifth scale version of the airplane for several months. The full-sized craft has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 -- 46 yards -- but reportedly weighs less than 900 pounds fully laden.
Musk Plots Out Tesla's Next 10 Years
July 22, 2016
Elon Musk has unveiled a second master plan for Tesla, a follow-up to the vision he shared 10 years ago. The original master plan is now in the final stages of execution. The refresh sketches out a multiyear, four-pronged strategy that is about more than vehicles. Musk also plans to advance an integrated solar-roof-with-battery product and create a ride-sharing program, among other things.
Teal Pushes Drone Speed Limits
July 21, 2016
Teal Drones on Wednesday introduced what it billed as the world's fastest production drone. Aside from its drone's capabilities, the company is drawing attention because George Matus Jr., its founder and CEO, is an 18-year-old recent high school graduate. The drone can fly at 70 mph in all weather conditions and has reached a top speed of 85 mph. It can withstand 40 mph winds.
Gadget Ogling: Purely Personal Air, Transparent Audio, and Wah-Pedaling Shoes
July 18, 2016
I was diagnosed with mild asthma as a kid. I don't take any medication, yet knowing that illness lives in my respiratory system means I try to be especially conscious of what I'm breathing. Air quality is difficult to control, so a personal air purifier is something that fundamentally interests me. Wynd filters allergens, dust, smoke and other pollutants.
Apple Patents Tech to Foil Concert Pirates
July 16, 2016
A patent for an infrared system that could be used to shut off iPhone cameras and microphones at live performances is one of dozens recently awarded to Apple. The system could assist the music and movie industries by automatically disabling camera functions at movies or concerts. It could have other applications as well -- for example, turning an iOS device into a museum or city tour guide.
Consumer Reports Urges Tesla to Pull Plug on Autopilot
July 15, 2016
Consumer Reports has urged Tesla to disable the automatic steering function and change the name of its Autopilot driving assist feature. Questions recently have arisen over whether Tesla's Model S vehicles can operate safely without regular human intervention. Consumer Reports' change request sprang from concerns over a number of recent test crashes, including a fatal accident in Florida.
Facebook's OpenCellular Offers DIY Wireless Access for Remote Regions
July 14, 2016
Facebook last week introduced OpenCellular, an inexpensive, open source wireless access platform. Telecom operators, entrepreneurs, OEMs and researchers will be able to build, implement, deploy and operate wireless infrastructures to serve people living in remote areas. The platform is available in various options, ranging from a network in a box to an access point.
Polaroid Swing Gives New Meaning to Moving Pictures
July 13, 2016
Polaroid Swing, a new iOS app for creating animated photos, on Tuesday debuted at the App Store. The app has ties both to instant photography pioneer Polaroid and Twitter founder Biz Stone. Polaroid Swing lets a "phonetog" capture 1-second videos posing as images that become animated when a phone is tilted, or when they're swiped or tapped. The app presents three options.
SiFive Launches Freedom FOSS SoC Platforms
July 13, 2016
SiFive on Monday announced its flagship Freedom family of system on a chip platforms. The platforms are based on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture that several of the company's founders created at the University of California at Berkeley. SiFive's Freedom U500 and E300 platforms take a new approach to SoCs, redefining traditional silicon business models.
Google Dabbles in Post-Quantum Cryptography
July 12, 2016
Google has launched an experiment with post-quantum cryptography in Chrome. A small fraction of connections between Google's servers and Chrome on the desktop will use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm in addition to the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm already being used. The idea is that large quantum computers eventually might be able to break current security algorithms retroactively.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 2: Devices and Apps
July 12, 2016
Concerns have been multiplying in the United States over the creaks of a medical infrastructure that's bearing the weight of an aging population. Current and upcoming members of the over-65 club are helping to drive a new age in healthcare, in which devices connect patients with caregivers, things get even smarter, and machines get even better at learning what sensors are saying.
Augmented Reality Mobile Game Puts Pokemon in Real World
July 9, 2016
Pokemon Go, the highly anticipated augmented reality game from Niantic Labs, is finally available for download for iOS and Android mobile devices in the U.S., as well as in New Zealand and Australia. Niantic, the former Google unit behind the popular augmented reality game Ingress, has teamed up with The Pokemon Company and Nintendo to bring the iconic Pokemon title to mobile platforms.
Leveraging IoT to Redefine Your Business
July 8, 2016
While most businesses are focusing their Internet of Things efforts on areas that will generate immediate cost-savings and operating efficiencies, a number of IoT pioneers already are leveraging a new generation of connected products to fundamentally change their business models. There is no question that the safest bet in today's IoT environment is targeting narrowly defined deployments.
Sidewalk Labs: Taking It to the Streets in Columbus
July 7, 2016
Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of Google, recently began negotiating a plan to help restructure the public transportation system in Columbus, Ohio, after the city won the Obama administration's national competition to ease traffic gridlock issues. Sidewalk Labs will leverage its cloud-based transportation data to help Columbus implement a smarter public bus and parking system.
Gadget Ogling: Artsy Audio, Stress Detectives, and Wee Violins
July 2, 2016
I don't think any product range beats speakers for running the design gamut from gorgeous to ghastly. There are so many to choose from, in all shapes, sizes and colors, that there's something for everyone -- plus a few things no one should buy. But what if your sound system were a piece of art, literally? Case of Bass has created a boombox print that houses a speaker system in a shadow box.
Clinton Issues Clarion Call to Boost Tech in the US
June 30, 2016
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential candidate, this week unveiled a technology and innovation agenda that calls for a broader commitment to improving computer science and STEM education, expansion of broadband Internet to the entire United States, and deployment of 5G wireless networks. Clinton's plan calls for advancing high-tech training in American schools.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 1: A New Concept in Healthcare
June 30, 2016
Manufacturers are eager to lay the bricks and help pave the road to better, more personalized healthcare through integration of connected devices in the new Internet of Medical Things. Compared to other industries, healthcare has been "inherently conservative and slow" to embrace innovations such as the cloud and the Internet of Things -- but that's changing.
AI Playmate Cozmo Wants to Get to Know You
June 27, 2016
Anki on Monday introduced Cozmo, a little robot powered by an advanced artificial intelligence. Cozmo promises to be far more interactive than any toy robot that has been released to date. Although he's designed with play in mind, the combination of technology from toys, videogames and robotics represents a major leap forward, according to Cozmo's creators.
Tesla Shares Tank on SolarCity Merger Proposal
June 23, 2016
Shares of Tesla Motors fell sharply Wednesday after the company, helmed by Elon Musk, made an offer to buy SolarCity for $2.8 billion. Musk is the chairman and top shareholder of the struggling alternative energy provider. Tesla made the offer Monday, in a letter to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, noting that Musk and Antonio Gracias would recuse themselves from voting on the proposal.
Gadget Ogling: Pliable Phones, Clever Kicks, and Sumptuous Speakers
June 21, 2016
Lenovo has peeled back the curtain on a smartphone that you can wrap around your wrist, sporting a full-color screen. The "CPlus," as Lenovo calls the prototype, runs Android and has a 4.26-inch display. It will be available in 12 colors if and when it goes on sale. It's clear bendable smartphones will be a viable consumer product in the near future.
Plume Podifies Home WiFi
June 21, 2016
Plume last week introduced its eponymous self-optimizing WiFi system for the home. Plume adapts in real life to the different network demands made by various devices and ensures that each gets the fastest speeds possible, according to the company. The recommended setup is one pod per room and connecting space, such as a hallway, plus any cable or DSL modem or any modem/router combination.
AI for President
June 20, 2016
Andy Rubin, Android's daddy, last week made some interesting comments about quantum computing and artificial intelligence. The part I agree with is it won't be long until most things we have are connected to an intelligent machine. However, when referring to something that will be far smarter than we are, the use of the term "artificial" would not just be inaccurate -- it would be rude.
Google: Dare to Daydream
June 18, 2016
Google's Cardboard has proved to the masses that virtual reality is more than a pipe dream. Inexpensive cardboard headsets leverage smartphones to create makeshift head-mounted displays for low-level VR experiences. For those whose fancies of owning a US$600 Rift or a $900 Vive were out of reach, Cardboard was a way to keep their imaginations captive while Google was dreaming of Daydream.
Rubin Sees AI Quantum Computer Running the Show
June 15, 2016
Just one quantum computer running artificial intelligence algorithms would be capable of connecting pretty much all the devices on the planet, Android creator Andy Rubin said Tuesday. Rubin, who also launched Google's efforts in robotics, is now CEO of Playground, which together with Redpoint Ventures has invested in an unnamed startup working on quantum computing.
Fiery Ex-NASA Chief Unveils Neuro-Computing Firm
June 13, 2016
Former NASA administrator Dan Goldin last week introduced a 10-year-old startup to the public. Backed by $100 million in private funding, KnuEdge is working to develop breakthrough technologies in voice biometrics and neural computing. KnuEdge launched two new products upon its emergence from stealth mode. KnuVerse offers military-grade voice recognition and authentication technology.
Google and the Birth of the People-Delivery Drone
June 13, 2016
Larry Page is rumored to be building a flying car, apparently dropping a whopping $100M into the effort. Surprisingly, this actually makes more sense to me than a self-driving car does, because it potentially solves two problems at once: You won't have to fly the thing yourself; and it eliminates the need for roads for those who commute to work. Roads could be just for moving heavy stuff.
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What's your alarm level over cyberattacks on the Internet's infrastructure?
Red: A deadly cyberwar will occur -- It's when, not if.
Orange: A big one could be costly and threaten public safety.
Yellow: We need to improve cybersecurity at a faster pace.
Blue: Regional outages will become more frequent and more annoying.
Green: There's no way anyone could take out the entire Internet.