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Google Buys Developer of Tremor-Canceling Tech
September 12, 2014
Google has purchased Lift Labs, which produces battery-operated utensils that make it easier for people with tremors to eat their meals. Parkinson's and ET patients' hands shake, making it difficult for them to eat or drink. Lift Labs' products, offered under the "Liftware" name, cancel more than 70 percent of tremors. Lift Labs also is working on attachments for painting and craftwork.
Will Ferrell Calls On Gamers to Launch Cancer Assault
September 10, 2014
Comedian Will Ferrell on Wednesday announced an effort to battle cancer by giving gamers a chance to participate in a two-hour gaming event with him. The Indiegogo initiative aims to raise $375,000 for nonprofit organizations Cancer for College and DonateGames, by asking gamers to contribute at least $10. One randomly selected giver will win the opportunity to play games with Ferrell on Oct. 26.
Apple Brings It
September 09, 2014
Apple on Tuesday rebuilt its iPhone foundation by introducing two new models with Retina HD displays: the iPhone 6 at 4.5 inches, and the iPhone 6 Plus at 5.5 inches. It launched Apple Pay, which promises to become the catalyst NFC mobile payment technology needs to become mainstream. Plus, it introduced the drool-worthy Apple Watch in two sizes, three style collections, and six choices of straps.
Can Cook Stir Up That Old Black Magic?
September 08, 2014
Excitement is mounting as the countdown to Apple's mysterious Tuesday event ticks away. Apple is widely expected to unveil two new iPhones -- one in the usual smartphone form factor and the other a phablet. There's also a good deal of anticipation for an iWatch or other stylish wearable that will kick the sector into high gear. Some expect Apple to go full blast into the healthcare industry.
Scientists Fire Up Brain-to-Brain Instant Messaging
September 05, 2014
It's a trivial matter to send a message to someone halfway around the world these days, but just imagine trying to do it without speaking or writing. That is just what a team of neuroscientists and robotics engineers recently achieved in an experiment that successfully transmitted a message directly -- and noninvasively -- from the brain of one person to that of another some 5,000 miles away.
Google Ratchets Up Quantum Computing Efforts
September 05, 2014
Google this week announced a hardware initiative to design and build new quantum information processors based on superconducting electronics. The effort is related to the launch last year of its Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab. Physicist John Martinis, winner of the 2014 Fritz London Memorial Prize, leads a group of UCSB scientists who will collaborate with the Google team.
Big Pharma Joins Google's Quest for Aging Antidote
September 04, 2014
Pharmaceutical giant AbbVie on Wednesday announced it was teaming up with Google-funded Calico, the life sciences initiative aimed at helping patients deal with diseases and other negative effects associated with aging. Under the terms of the partnership, both AbbVie and Calico will invest up to $250 million in the project, with the possibility of another $500 million each.
NASA's Opportunity to Lose Total Recall, Gain Spotless Mind
September 03, 2014
The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration next month will reformat the flash memory of the Mars exploration rover Opportunity. Opportunity's been undergoing computer resets with increasing frequency -- it had 12 in August alone. Recovery from each of the resets takes one to two days, which means the rover was out of action for most of the month.
Digital Clone: You Won't Be Able to Live Without One
September 01, 2014
A very interesting book just hit the market. Written by Martine Rothblatt -- apparently she is America's top paid female CEO -- its title is Virtually Human: The Promise -- and the Peril -- of Digital Immortality. The subject is digital clones, and Rothblatt goes into depth about what they are, when they are coming, and the likelihood they eventually will have equal human rights.
Gadget Ogling: Sapphire Phones, Waterproof Reads, Connected Hats and a Runner's Salvation
August 29, 2014
A current trend among smartphone makers is to thrust a sapphire screen onto the face. Among the 17 million rumors regarding the next iPhone is that it will feature such a display -- the camera and Touch ID components already feature sapphire. Until Apple reveals the truth about its next smartphone, other manufacturers, like Huawei, are jostling for sapphire-embossed market share.
Ralph Lauren Takes a Swing at Fitness Tech
August 28, 2014
Ralph Lauren this week merged the tech and fashion worlds with a new smart Polo shirt. Knitted into the Polo Tech shirt's core are sensors that read biological and physiological information. The company partnered with Msignal to develop a "black box" that includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, which capture movement and direction. Data is captured and sent to the cloud for analysis.
Hacker Attacks on Healthcare Providers Jump 600 Percent
August 28, 2014
The recent data breach at Community Health Systems, in which Chinese hackers stole the personal information of 4.3 million patients, was another sign of a disturbing trend: Healthcare providers are coming under cyberattack at an alarming rate. "We've seen a 600 percent increase in attacks on the healthcare sector in the last 10 months," said Carl Leonard, senior manager at Websense Security Labs.
Robo Brain Teaches a Robot to Fish
August 28, 2014
Researchers are building Robo Brain, a large-scale computational system that collates information from the Internet, from computer simulations, and from real-life robot trials -- and learns from it. That knowledge base will be used to drive prototypes for robotics research, household robots and self-driving cars. The researchers have begun downloading an assortment of images and documents.
Scientists Zap Diamond With Laser to Record Quantum Behavior
August 27, 2014
Researchers recently developed a technique to record the quantum mechanical behavior of one electron in a nanoscale defect in diamond. The team used ultra-fast pulses of laser light both to control the defect's entire quantum state and to observe how the state of one electron in the defect changes over time. "This experiment uses a 'trapped' electron," said team leader David Awschalom.
To Your Health: Intel Inside Your Headphones
August 16, 2014
Intel on Friday announced it is working with rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's SMS Audio to develop earbuds that will monitor users' heart rates. The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones will have an earhook and will be powered by the user's smartphone. They will be sweat- and water-resistant. The earbuds will be available from SMS Audio in Q4; pricing has not yet been announced.
Apple Flexes Muscles in Health Field
August 15, 2014
Apple has begun ramping up for an incursion into the healthcare market, two months after announcing its HealthKit app at WWDC. The app will collate all a user's fitness and health data. Apple reportedly has discussed HealthKit with healthcare providers Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, along with electronic health records provider Allscripts.
Stepping Up the Search for ET
August 11, 2014
Atmospheric pollution may not be among mankind's proudest achievements, but it's an incontrovertible sign that we are here. Could something similar help us find civilizations on other planets? That's the premise behind one of several recently announced new approaches to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. One involves detecting pollutants like Earth's in the atmospheres of other worlds.
I Think, Therefore IBM
August 08, 2014
IBM has announced the latest version of its neurosynaptic processor -- that is, a processor whose workings are inspired by the human brain. It has 5.4 billion transistors and an on-chip network of 4,096 neurosynaptic cores. IBM claims it is the first neurosynaptic chip to achieve 1 million programmable neurons, 256 million programmable synapses, and 46 billion synaptic operations per second.
Researchers Finagle Sound From Silent Video
August 06, 2014
Researchers from MIT, Microsoft and Adobe have developed an algorithm to extract audio information from video footage. They recovered intelligible speech from a video of a potato chip bag that was shot at a distance of 15 feet behind soundproof glass. The team also obtained useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and the leaves of a potted plant.
LittleBits Leaps to the Cloud
July 31, 2014
LittleBits, the maker of what might best be thought of as electronic Legos, last week launched cloudBit, a module that provides users with access to the Internet. LittleBits offers modules that are used, like Legos, to build gizmos with electronic capabilities. The modules are held together by magnets, and no soldering or wiring is needed. "This is serious cool," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
Stanford Researchers Build a Better Battery
July 29, 2014
A new way to extend battery life would allow smartphones to last three to four times longer on a single charge, Stanford University researchers have found. A team led by Yi Cui, professor of materials science and engineering, has developed pure metal anode prototypes, which differ from the lithium-ion batteries seen in most devices. "I think this is very promising," Cui said.
Google to Search for the Meaning of Health
July 25, 2014
Google is seeking 175 volunteers from whom it will collect bodily samples in an effort to create their biochemical fingerprints and establish the baseline for a healthy body. The Baseline study, to be run by Google X labs, will seek to connect traditional clinical observations of health, such as diet -- or habits, such as smoking -- with molecular-level changes.
Long, Hot Summer Angling for Military Health Records Contract
July 22, 2014
Vendors could be spending a busy summer preparing to respond to a major federal IT project. The Defense Department is planning to issue a request for bids on a multibillion dollar EHR system by the end of September. The objective of the program is to modernize DoD's EHR system and to make records accessible to the VA, as well as to private medical providers.
Google, Novartis Team on 'Invisible' Health Monitor
July 16, 2014
Novartis' Alcon eye care division has entered an in-license agreement governing all ocular medical uses for Google's smart contact lenses, it announced Tuesday. Google unveiled a prototype of its glucose-monitoring lens in January. Novartis is aiming to expand its healthcare horizons. There are 382 million diabetics around the world today and that number is expected to grow to 582 million by 2035.

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