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NASA and Google Do the Tango
April 18, 2014
Google's Project Tango smartphone, which is jam-packed with sensors, soon will be used in the International Space Station. NASA will swap out the smartphones it has used on two volleyball-sized free-flying satellites since 2011 with the Tango devices. NASA has flown modified Tango phones several times on an aircraft that can simulate microgravity by taking a parabolic flight path.
Americans Find Future Tech Both Fascinating and Frightening
April 17, 2014
The pace of technological change is getting faster, and many Americans are optimistic about the results, although a sizable minority are concerned, Pew Research has found. Nearly 60 percent think technological and scientific advances will make life in the future better, but 30 percent fear they will make life worse than it is today. Designer babies and robot caregivers sparked major anxiety.
Total Eclipse Paints the Moon Red
April 15, 2014
A total lunar eclipse in the early hours of Tuesday gave viewers a rare glimpse of what's sometimes called a "blood moon," due to the reddish hue it takes on as a result of dust in the atmosphere. Beginning at about 1:55 AM EDT on April 15, the eclipse lasted roughly three and a half hours -- peaking at 3:45 a.m. EDT. -- and was visible in North America, South America and Australia.
CAELinux Is the Ideal Distro for Designing Scientists
April 10, 2014
CAELinux is a perfect example of the power of open source to tailor the Linux OS to users' specialized needs. This computer-assisted engineering distro clearly is not for the vast majority of Linux users, but it certainly has all the features you would expect in any mature Linux OS -- and then some. The extra ingredients make CAELinux a unique Linux distro for engineers and scientists.
Stanford Controller Could Get Video Gamers' Blood Racing
April 09, 2014
Stanford researchers have created a new game controller that can measure a player's emotions. Eventually, developers may be able to use this information to adjust video gameplay, depending on a player's level of engagement. The prototype consists of an Xbox 360 controller with the back panel removed. Researchers replaced it with a 3-D printed plastic module that is packed with sensors.
There's a New Kid on the Solar System Block
March 28, 2014
Astronomers this week reported what they believe to be the most-distant member of our solar system discovered so far. 2012 VP113, a probable dwarf planet that was found to lie beyond the known edge of the solar system, was discovered by Chadwick Trujillo, an astronomer at the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, and Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Bioprinting, Part 2 - The Ethical Conundrum
March 27, 2014
Nearly 120,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list for an organ transplant that may save their lives, according to the American Transplant Foundation. "In the short term, we need many more people to register to be a potential organ donor," said Jordan Miller, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University.
Rocket the Vote! NASA Asks People to Vote on New Space Threads
March 26, 2014
NASA is asking people to vote on their favorite design for the outer shell of the new Z-2 spacesuit. While the Z-2 models may descend from their Apollo 13-style ancestors, there are some decidedly 21st Century twists. The "Biomimicry" design, for example, has a reptilian flare; "Trends in Society" has a more everyday look -- at least, as far as spacesuits go.
Bioprinting, Part 1: The Promise and the Pitfalls
March 26, 2014
It's long been the dream of humans to be able to regenerate body parts. Scientists have been researching this possibility for years, but the subject is complex, and they are just beginning to get to a glimmer of understanding as to what's required. "There are different layers of complexity in developing tissue-engineered products," said Charlie Whelan, a consultant at Frost & Sullivan.
Apple Will Light the Wearable Tech Fire
March 21, 2014
I'm usually not a prediction sort of guy because it's cosmically silly -- we're tiny little humans on a tiny little rock spinning in a very large universe. Yet here I am, looking at 2014 and the latest batch of smartwatch efforts from Samsung, Google, Motorola and LG. Here's what I see: None of these manufacturers has created anything that will resurrect the watch for whole generations of people.
Earth Narrowly Missed Solar Blasts in 2012
March 20, 2014
Enormous solar blasts, which possessed the potential to wreak havoc on electrical grids and satellites, barely missed Earth in 2012. The near-misses, revealed by researchers Wednesday, would have been akin to the 1859 Carrington Event, the largest solar storm ever recorded. While there were no satellites to cripple back then, the storm knocked out telegraph systems across the U.S.
Apple May Throw the Healthbook at You
March 19, 2014
Apple reportedly is working on a health and fitness tracking app called "Healthbook," which could be a one-stop shop for iOS users interested in using mobile tech to better keep track of their progress toward health goals. The app reportedly would help users monitor blood pressure, hydration, weight, respiratory rate, nutrition, physical activity, heart rate, and other health information.
All Hacks on Deck: Japan Invites Hackers to Go At Government
March 18, 2014
Japan invited hackers -- nice ones, that is -- to go to town on the nation's government departments Tuesday. The move is designed to expose weaknesses in cyberdefenses and bolster national security ahead of the 2020 Olympics. Japan enlisted 50 cyberdefense specialists to gather at an emergency response center in Tokyo; an additional 100-plus were stationed offsite.
Jawbone's UP24 Makes Its Way to Android
March 11, 2014
After initially launching to an iOS-only audience late last year, Jawbone's UP24 wireless fitness tracker on Tuesday finally arrived for Android. With the UP24 wristband and accompanying app, users can wirelessly sync sleep, movement and diet data to the app via Bluetooth Smart. "Our entire community can enjoy the benefits in real time," said Jawbone VP Travis Bogard.
Lenovo: IBM Strike's Not Our Problem
March 11, 2014
Chinese PC maker Lenovo is washing its hands of a wildcat strike at an IBM factory in Shenzhen, China. In January, Lenovo purchased one of IBM's server businesses, and the striking workers -- more than 1,000 of them -- are among those who will be absorbed by Lenovo. The $2.3 billion deal is not yet final, and Lenovo doesn't want to get stuck with any of IBM's headaches until the ink is dry.
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.
Brian Cox's Wonders of Life Brings the Universe-Tromping Physicist Back to Earth
March 05, 2014
There are three elements that bring a great nature documentary to life: first, you need great video footage; second, you need to infuse the content with a sense of time, scope, and wonder; and third, you need a cool narrator. Brian Cox's Wonders of Life app delivers all three. I stumbled upon the app after Apple highlighted it as an Editor's Choice.
Moov Brings Smarts to Fitness Tech
February 28, 2014
There is a new wearable fitness device on the horizon that may take this emerging technology niche to an entirely new level. Moov, developed by former tech specialists from Apple and Microsoft, promises not only to capture data about users' activities, but also to give them performance-improvement tips. A crowdfunding campaign launched Thursday seeks to raise $40,000 for a July release.
Cool Running: Gear and Gadgets for Runners
February 27, 2014
You don't need much to become a serious runner. There's no big investment in gear or apparel required. "Running is definitely a low-cost sport, which is why it is so attractive," said certified strength and conditioning specialist Scott Greenberg. "I think it can remain that way," he said. "However, some new tools can and will definitely have an impact on those looking to maximize performance."

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