Tech Review Top Stories

Silicon Valley to Get a Cellular Network, Just for Things

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 00:00

A French company plans to build a wireless slow lane for small, low-power devices.

San Francisco is set to get a new cellular network later this year, but it won’t help fix the city’s spotty mobile-phone coverage. This wireless network is exclusively for things.

Business Adapts to a New Style of Computer

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 00:00

Are companies ready for billions of everyday objects to join the Internet?

The technology industry is preparing for the Internet of things, a type of computing characterized by small, often dumb, usually unseen computers attached to objects. These devices sense and transmit data about the environment or offer new means of controlling it.

We Need a MERS Vaccine, but High Costs, Regulations Make One Unlikely

Mon, 05/19/2014 - 15:47

New technologies give vaccine developers a boost in early development, but large-scale testing and production are bogged down by high costs and lengthy trials.

Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, is spreading across the globe, and while a vaccine could be developed, there’s little commercial incentive to make one.

Jawbone’s Vision: Activity Tracking Now, Remote Control Tomorrow

Fri, 05/16/2014 - 00:00

Fitness bands like the Jawbone Up are in an unusual and enviable position in the electronics business: people rarely take them off.

If you wear a Jawbone Up24 around town, people might ask what it is. The wristband looks like a piece of futuristic jewelry, skinned in a rubbery plastic with a wavy pattern. Even in matte black, the most unexciting of available colors, it stands out.

How Much Will It Cost to Solve Climate Change?

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 16:40

Although major reports conclude that avoiding climate change is affordable, costs could skyrocket without smart, immediate action.

Major reports are concluding that stabilizing greenhouse-gas emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change is possible and can be done at a relatively low cost. But the details of the reports make it clear that when you factor in real-world issues—such as delays in developing and implementing technology and policy—the cost of solving climate change gets much higher. Switching from fossil fuels to low-carbon sources of energy will cost $44 trillion between now and 2050, according to a report released this week by the International Energy Agency. That sounds like a lot of money, but the report also concludes that the switch to low-carbon technologies such as solar power—together with anticipated improvements in efficiency—will bring huge savings from reduced fossil-fuel consumption. As a result, the world actually comes out slightly ahead: the costs of switching will be paid for in fuel savings between now and 2050.

A Smart Watch Controlled by Twists, Tilts, and Clicks

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 00:00

A movable smart-watch screen makes it easier to read a map or play a game.

The first time I tried out a smart watch with a touch screen, I quickly went from feeling excited to feeling clumsy. Tapping or swiping the small display on my wrist often failed to yield the response I expected. It might have been the quality of the screen, but it may have also been simply that the screen was too small and my fingers too big.

Intergalactic Entrepreneurs Prepare for Blast-Off

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 14:00

A unique gathering of 13 companies showcases a coming year of launches.

It was a rare meeting of minds. Representatives from 13 commercial space companies gathered on May 1 at a place dedicated to going where few have gone before: the Explorers Club in New York.