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Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago

Brain Organoids

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 00:05

A new method for growing human brain cells could unlock the mysteries of dementia, mental illness, and other neurological disorders.

Availability: now

Project Loon

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 00:05

Billions of people could get online for the first time thanks to helium balloons that Google will soon send over many places cell towers don’t reach.

Availability: 1-2 years

Internet of DNA

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 00:05

A global network of millions of genomes could be medicine’s next great advance.

Availability: 1-2 years

Car-to-Car Communication

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 00:05

A simple wireless technology promises to make driving much safer.

Availability: 1-2 years

Liquid Biopsy

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 00:05

Fast DNA-sequencing machines are leading to simple blood tests for cancer.

Availability: now

Magic Leap

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 00:05

A startup is betting more than half a billion dollars that it will dazzle you with its approach to creating 3-D imagery.

Availability: 1-3 years

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2015

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 00:01

Technology news is full of incremental developments. These are the breakthroughs that matter.

How People Will Use the Apple Watch

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 07:45

Developers and designers debate whether the Apple Watch will find its purpose.

When Apple unveiled the first iPad in 2010, many pundits scoffed. Among the gripes: tablet computers had been tried before without success; most people already had laptops; and wasn’t it just a giant iPod Touch?

A Film Studio for the Age of Virtual Reality

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 15:00

A Montreal-based film studio is making movies that you’ll watch with a virtual-reality headset, pointing the way to a whole new form of entertainment.

Imagine sitting back in a chair, sliding a headset over your eyes and headphones over your ears. Suddenly, you’re sitting on a rock in a sun-dappled clearing, surrounded by tall trees, alone with the noises of the forest. Alone, that is, until you turn your head and spot Reese Witherspoon walking toward you, looking like a haggard camper with a giant pack on her back.

A Pancreas in a Capsule

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 00:00

Stem-cell advocates pin their hopes on a method of treating diabetes.

Fourteen years ago, during the darkest moments of the “stem-cell wars” pitting American scientists against the White House of George W. Bush, one group of advocates could be counted on to urge research using cells from human embryos: parents of children with type 1 diabetes. Motivated by scientists who told them these cells would lead to amazing cures, they spent millions on TV ads, lobbying, and countless phone calls to Congress.

A Pancreas in a Capsule

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 00:00

Stem-cell advocates pin their hopes on an artificial pancreas to treat diabetes.

Fourteen years ago, during the darkest moments of the “stem-cell wars” pitting American scientists against the White House of George W. Bush, one group of advocates could be counted on to urge research using cells from human embryos: parents of children with type 1 diabetes. Motivated by scientists who told them these cells would lead to amazing cures, they spent millions on TV ads, lobbying, and countless phone calls to Congress.

Our Fear of Artificial Intelligence

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 00:00

A true AI might ruin the world—but that assumes it’s possible at all.

Years ago I had coffee with a friend who ran a startup. He had just turned 40. His father was ill, his back was sore, and he found himself overwhelmed by life. “Don’t laugh at me,” he said, “but I was counting on the singularity.”

Why We Don’t Have Battery Breakthroughs

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 00:00

A promising advance that came to nothing suggests what it will take to make cheap batteries for electric cars.

Electric cars are quick and quiet, with a range more than long enough for most commutes. If you want a car with extremely fast acceleration, the Tesla Model S is hard to beat. And, of course, electric vehicles avoid the pollution associated with conventional cars, including emissions of carbon dioxide from burning gasoline. Yet they account for a tiny fraction of automotive sales, mainly because the batteries that propel them are expensive and need to be recharged frequently.

Q&A: Steven Chu

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 00:00

The former energy secretary, who has begun chasing emerging technologies again, looks back on his successes and failures in government.

What left you the most frustrated or disappointed at the Department of Energy?

Additive Manufacturing Is Reshaping Aviation

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 17:45

Advanced manufacturing technologies are leading to smaller jet engines.

The aviation company Pratt & Whitney is exploring whether technology known as additive manufacturing could be used to develop more compact jet engines that could make commercial airplanes lighter and more fuel efficient.

IBM Says Watson Can Help Declutter Your In-Box

Thu, 02/05/2015 - 15:11

IBM’s new messaging software uses algorithms to learn how to organize your e-mail better .

Over 100 billion work e-mails are exchanged each day, but research suggests that only around a quarter of those are actually essential. IBM hopes to lighten that load. Later this month the company will open up a trial of a new online e-mail service called Verse, which uses algorithms to work out which messages and people are most important to you.

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