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Printed Eye Cells Could Help Treat Blindness

Mon, 01/13/2014 - 00:00

The ability to print retinal cells could lead to new therapies for retinal disorders such as macular degeneration.

 

What's the Jelly App For? Shopping May Be One Answer

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 14:00

A new smartphone app from a Twitter cofounder makes it easy and fun to get your friends’ advice on everything from shopping to Chopin.

There are plenty of places to seek answers to questions, including search engines like Google and Q&A sites like Quora. Most recently, Jelly, a new startup created by Twitter cofounder Biz Stone, is squishing its way into the fray with a free smartphone app that lets you ask questions appended with images, and give answers to people in your extended social network.

CES 2014: Smart Homes Open Their Doors

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 00:00

Smart home appliances could become more common thanks to efforts by major companies including Lowe’s and Staples to make gadgets compatible.

When I interviewed Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod and now CEO of Nest, two years ago, he told me that he started the company, which sells smart thermostats and alarms, because existing products for taking control of your home over the Internet were clunky and appealed only to the technically minded (see “Nest’s Control Freaks”). “Home automation is for single geeky guys. It’s not for families,” he said.

CES 2014: Less Is More for Smart Watches and Other Wearable Gadgets

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 17:50

Companies have figured out that a smart watch can’t just be functional; it has to look good, too.

When Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled a smart watch during his keynote speech at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday, he brought his company level with Samsung and Qualcomm, both of which sell watches with sizeable color touch screens that are capable of running apps (see “Samsung’s Galaxy Gear” and “Review: Qualcomm’s Toq”).

New Battery Material Could Help Wind and Solar Power Go Big

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 13:00

Low-cost materials could make storing hours of power from a wind farm economically feasible.

Utilities would love to be able to store the power that wind farms generate at night—when no one wants it—and use it when demand is high during the day. But conventional battery technology is so expensive that it only makes economic sense to store a few minutes of electricity, enough to smooth out a few fluctuations from gusts of wind.

New Battery Material Could Help Wind Power Go Big

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 13:00

Low-cost materials could make storing hours of power from a wind farm economically feasible.

Utilities would love to be able to store the power that wind farms generate at night—when no one wants it—and use it when demand is high during the day. But conventional battery technology is so expensive that it only makes economic sense to store a few minutes of electricity, enough to smooth out a few fluctuations from gusts of wind.

CES 2014: Audi Shows Off a Compact Brain for Self-Driving Cars

Tue, 01/07/2014 - 12:12

A book-sized computer capable of driving a car could help the technology reach the mass market.

Carmaker Audi showed off a book-sized circuit board capable of driving a car on Monday at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Audi claims the computer, called zFAS, represents a significant advance in automation technology because it is compact enough to fit into existing vehicles without compromising design.

CES 2014: Intel’s 3-D Camera Heads to Laptops and Tablets

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 17:35

Controlled with gestures, these depth-sensing devices will appear in the second half of 2014.

A combined 2-D and 3-D camera from Intel will be built into laptops and tablets from a range of manufacturers, the company announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Monday. The camera allows a device to be controlled with arm, hand, and finger gestures, and is also intended to allow software to capture and understand the world around it, including people’s facial expressions.

CES 2014: Eye-Tracking Game Controller for PCs Launching This Summer

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 16:30

Accessory promises gamers more realistic interactions with virtual characters.

A new game controller announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Sunday could let PC gamers control the action with their eyes. The device, which is slated for release this summer, will likely mark the debut of eye tracking for a video-gaming product. Similar technology is typically used for psychological research or user experience testing.

How GPS Can Keep Track of Earthquakes and Flooding

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 00:00

Data synthesis and sensor coverage make for better monitoring of natural disasters.

We usually think of GPS as a way to find out where we are and how to get where we’re going. But over the past couple of years, researchers have discovered that GPS, when combined with sensors such as accelerometers and barometers, can be an important tool for evaluating and possibly predicting earthquakes and flash floods.

Nanomaterials Could Enable Large, Flexible Touch Screens

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 13:14

3M’s new silver nanowire films could lead to large, interactive, and ultimately flexible displays.

3M will begin selling flexible transparent conductive films made of silver nanowires for use in touch screens. These nanomaterials could enable wider adoption of large touch screens for interactive signs, displays, and personal computers. And the flexible films may come to be used in future foldable, curvy personal electronics, too.

Nanoparticle That Mimics Red Blood Cell Shows Promise as Vaccine for Bacterial Infections

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 00:00

A novel vaccine design could lead to new weapons against often deadly bacterial infections.

A nanoparticle wrapped in material taken from the membranes of red blood cells could become the basis for vaccines against a range of infectious bacteria, including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an infection that kills tens of thousands of people every year.

OK, Glass, Find a Killer App

Thu, 01/02/2014 - 00:00

Developers hope apps that improve upon their smartphone versions will help Google’s head-worn computer catch on.

When Google first introduced Glass over a year and a half ago, one question loomed: what kind of apps could make it worth wearing a head-mounted computer everywhere you go?

2013: The Best Long Reads of the Year

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 00:00

Advanced technologies are affecting everything from our sense of privacy and free speech to the types of jobs that are available to the foods that we eat. In our best features this year, we got into these highly controversial topics.

By The Editors

2013: The Best Business Stories of the Year

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 00:00

A bubble formed around social media in 2013. But other companies, nations, and ordinary people struggled to find advantage in technological change.

By Antonio Regalado

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