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Graphene Helps Copper Wires Keep Their Cool

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 00:00

An exotic form of carbon could help relieve a growing problem with the copper used in computer processors.

When people in the chip industry talk about the thermal problems in computer processors, they get dramatic. In 2001, Pat Gelsinger, then vice president of Intel, noted that if the temperatures produced by the latest chips kept rising on their current path, they would exceed the heat of a nuclear reactor by 2005, and the surface of the sun by 2015. Fortunately, such thermal disaster was averted by slowing down the switching speeds in microprocessors, and by adopting multicore chip designs in which several processors run in parallel.

Sony Joins Virtual Reality Race with New Headset for PlayStation

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 13:55

Inspired by Oculus Rift, Sony is adding virtual reality to the PlayStation 4.

Sony unveiled its long-rumored virtual reality headset on Tuesday at the 2014 Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, stood in front of a packed auditorium of game developers and said: “Virtual Reality is the next innovation from PlayStation that could shape the future of video games.”

Sony Looks Back to Virtual Reality with a Headset for PlayStation

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 13:55

Inspired by Oculus Rift, Sony is adding virtual reality to the PlayStation 4.

Sony unveiled its long-rumored virtual reality headset on Tuesday at the 2014 Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, stood in front of a packed auditorium of game developers and said: “Virtual Reality is the next innovation from PlayStation that could shape the future of video games.”

Apps by the Dashboard Light

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 00:00

New cars will soon come with high-bandwidth connections and app stores.

Starting next month, many car buyers will be getting a novel feature: Internet connections with speeds similar to those on the fastest smartphones—and even a few early dashboard-based apps, engineered to be as dumbed-down as possible.

Before Snowden, There Was Huawei

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 00:00

The travails of a Chinese telecom company show how spying charges could hurt U.S. firms.

How’s this for a tough sales job? The American sales reps of Huawei offer top-notch telecom gear at a 35 percent discount. But anytime they get near to closing a sale, their customers get a visit from the FBI or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Spinoffs from Spyland

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 00:00

How America’s eavesdropping agency commercializes technology.

It takes more than a little tradecraft to spin off a startup from the National Security Agency.

For Swiss Data Industry, NSA Leaks Are Good as Gold

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 00:00

Here’s how the Swiss promise to keep your data safe.

There is data security, and then there is Swiss data security.

Spying Is Bad for Business

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 00:00

Can we trust an Internet that’s become a weapon of governments?

Following a one-day summit in Brasilia this February, negotiators from Brazil and Europe reached a deal to lay a $185 million fiber-optic cable spanning the 3,476 miles between Fortaleza and Lisbon. The cable will be built by a consortium of Spanish and Brazilian companies. According to Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, it will “protect freedom.” No longer will South America’s Internet traffic get routed through Miami, where American spies might see it.

Look, Smartphone: No Hands!

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 00:00

Controlling an iPhone or Android phone with just your voice and a noise-cancelling headset is doable, but frustrating.

I usually enjoy making fun of people who walk around wearing Bluetooth headsets, seemingly talking to themselves. So of course I felt like a hypocrite this week wandering around downtown San Francisco doing exactly that.

SpaceX Set to Launch the World’s First Reusable Booster

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 14:19

SpaceX’s reusable booster rocket, the first of its kind, could pave the way for radically cheaper access to space.

On Sunday, if all goes well, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, will achieve a spaceflight first.

The Numbers Behind Japan’s Renewed Embrace of Nuclear

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 15:08

The Fukushima disaster led Japan to shut down nuclear power plants, but three years of rising costs and carbon dioxide emissions are forcing it to reverse course.

In the three years since the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japan has tried to replace nuclear energy with fossil fuels. But the costs have proved prohibitive, and now the government is convinced it must turn its reactors back on.

Entrepreneur Hopes to Use Interference to Improve the Mobile Internet

Mon, 03/10/2014 - 16:03

WebTV’s creator thinks his forthcoming wireless technology will give us faster, better mobile Internet access.

Ten years ago, when most of us still had no idea what a smartphone was, Steve Perlman was contemplating a future in which we’d be watching so many YouTube videos over cellular networks that the radio frequency bands available to wireless carriers would get clogged up.

Virtual Reality Startups Look Back to the Future

Fri, 03/07/2014 - 00:00

Thirty years after the first wave of virtual reality, new startups are determined to take it mainstream.

It’s been almost 30 years since the computer scientist Jaron Lanier formed VPL Research, the first company to sell the high-tech goggles and gloves that once defined humanity’s concept of where technology might soon take our species. In the late-1980s, a person could pull on a $100,000 head-mounted display and electronic gauntlet and fool their brain into thinking they had stepped inside the simulated space rendered on the screen.

Artificial Organs May Finally Get a Blood Supply

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 00:00

Artificial tissue has always lacked a key ingredient: blood vessels. A new 3-D printing technique seems poised to change that.

In what may be a critical breakthrough for creating artificial organs, Harvard researchers say they have created tissue interlaced with blood vessels.

Google Glass Still Needs a Killer App

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 00:00

Glass is still a pain to use, but a few apps reveal what it could become.

Aside from the fact that it’s not yet publicly available, there are plenty of reasons to not wear Google Glass even if you get the chance. To name just a few: it’s expensive, it looks and feels weird, it doesn’t work that well, and, whether you’re at home or walking down the street, people will stare at you and the small, prismatic display on your face.

Heart Implants, 3-D-Printed to Order

Tue, 03/04/2014 - 00:00

Tailor-made medical devices could give a more detailed picture of cardiac health and may be better at predicting and preventing problems.

It’s a poetic fact of biology that everyone’s heart is a slightly different size and shape. And yet today’s cardiac implants—medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators—are basically one size fits all. Among other things, this means these devices, though lifesaving for many patients, are limited in the information they can gather.

Intel Designs a Safe Meeting Place for Private Data

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 00:00

A super-secure place for sensitive data to mingle could free companies to get the benefits of sharing it without risking leaks.

As companies from the financial sector to the health industry amass ever larger, more detailed databases of information about people, it is clear that combining different data sets can offer powerful insights. But to protect users’ privacy, many of these data sets stay locked up inside corporate firewalls.

Putting Crowdsourcing on the Map

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 00:00

Mapillary is trying to build a community-generated version of Google Street View.

Even in San Francisco, where Google’s roving Street View cars have mapped nearly every paved surface, there are still places that have remained untouched, such as the flights of stairs that serve as pathways between streets in some of the city’s hilliest neighborhoods.

A $629 Ultrasecure Phone Aims to Protect Personal Data

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 16:30

With a heavy emphasis on encryption and strong controls over all data from your phone, Blackphone launches amid intense interest at Mobile World Congress.

A phone touted as the first to put privacy and security ahead of all other considerations launched at a packed event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, today.

Augmented Reality Gets to Work

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 00:00

Augmented reality hasn’t yet lived up to its promise, but it could catch on in situations where it makes employees more efficient.

 

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