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Tesla Shares Tank on SolarCity Merger Proposal
June 23, 2016
Shares of Tesla Motors fell sharply Wednesday after the company, helmed by Elon Musk, made an offer to buy SolarCity for $2.8 billion. Musk is the chairman and top shareholder of the struggling alternative energy provider. Tesla made the offer Monday, in a letter to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, noting that Musk and Antonio Gracias would recuse themselves from voting on the proposal.
Gadget Ogling: Pliable Phones, Clever Kicks, and Sumptuous Speakers
June 21, 2016
Lenovo has peeled back the curtain on a smartphone that you can wrap around your wrist, sporting a full-color screen. The "CPlus," as Lenovo calls the prototype, runs Android and has a 4.26-inch display. It will be available in 12 colors if and when it goes on sale. It's clear bendable smartphones will be a viable consumer product in the near future.
Plume Podifies Home WiFi
June 21, 2016
Plume last week introduced its eponymous self-optimizing WiFi system for the home. Plume adapts in real life to the different network demands made by various devices and ensures that each gets the fastest speeds possible, according to the company. The recommended setup is one pod per room and connecting space, such as a hallway, plus any cable or DSL modem or any modem/router combination.
AI for President
June 20, 2016
Andy Rubin, Android's daddy, last week made some interesting comments about quantum computing and artificial intelligence. The part I agree with is it won't be long until most things we have are connected to an intelligent machine. However, when referring to something that will be far smarter than we are, the use of the term "artificial" would not just be inaccurate -- it would be rude.
Google: Dare to Daydream
June 18, 2016
Google's Cardboard has proved to the masses that virtual reality is more than a pipe dream. Inexpensive cardboard headsets leverage smartphones to create makeshift head-mounted displays for low-level VR experiences. For those whose fancies of owning a US$600 Rift or a $900 Vive were out of reach, Cardboard was a way to keep their imaginations captive while Google was dreaming of Daydream.
Rubin Sees AI Quantum Computer Running the Show
June 15, 2016
Just one quantum computer running artificial intelligence algorithms would be capable of connecting pretty much all the devices on the planet, Android creator Andy Rubin said Tuesday. Rubin, who also launched Google's efforts in robotics, is now CEO of Playground, which together with Redpoint Ventures has invested in an unnamed startup working on quantum computing.
Fiery Ex-NASA Chief Unveils Neuro-Computing Firm
June 13, 2016
Former NASA administrator Dan Goldin last week introduced a 10-year-old startup to the public. Backed by $100 million in private funding, KnuEdge is working to develop breakthrough technologies in voice biometrics and neural computing. KnuEdge launched two new products upon its emergence from stealth mode. KnuVerse offers military-grade voice recognition and authentication technology.
Google and the Birth of the People-Delivery Drone
June 13, 2016
Larry Page is rumored to be building a flying car, apparently dropping a whopping $100M into the effort. Surprisingly, this actually makes more sense to me than a self-driving car does, because it potentially solves two problems at once: You won't have to fly the thing yourself; and it eliminates the need for roads for those who commute to work. Roads could be just for moving heavy stuff.
Devs Light Up for Alexa
June 10, 2016
Amazon last week announced the availability of more than 1,000 different skills for its Alexa voice assistant technology. Third-party developers have created the vast array of new capabilities for the highly popular line of consumer products that use Alexa, including the Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap and Amazon Fire. The announcement comes less than a year after Amazon released the Alexa Skills Kit.
HPE Wants Open Source Devs to Kick The Machine Into Gear
June 10, 2016
Hewlett Packard Enterprise on Tuesday announced it was open-sourcing The Machine to spur development of the infant computer design project. HPE has invited the open source community to collaborate on its largest and most notable research project yet. The Machine focuses on reinventing the architecture underlying all computers built in the past 60 years.
Larry Page May Be Blazing a Trail for Self-Flying Cars
June 9, 2016
Google cofounder Larry Page reportedly is working with two Silicon Valley startups to develop a flying car. One is Zee.Aero, which Page personally has funded since its launch in 2010, when it set up shop next to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. The firm reportedly has filed a patent application for a small, all-electric vehicle that could take off and land vertically.
Zenbo Home Robot Pours on the Charm
June 7, 2016
Asus recently unveiled a family robot that can serve as a home healthcare assistant, control connected devices in the smart home, monitor security, perform various online tasks, and function as a playmate, among other things. Asus' Zenbo made its debut at last month's Computex computer show. At the same time, Asus launched a program that provides devs with access to the Zenbo SDK.
Microsoft's Holographic Platform Opening Mixes It Up
June 6, 2016
Microsoft last week announced it would open its Windows Holographic platform to partner firms looking to develop products for the Hololens ecosystem. Microsoft already is already working with a range of partners -- including Intel, AMD, Qualcomm and others -- to build a hardware ecosystem that can support mixed-reality environments, company officials said at Computex.
Windows Holographic: Changing Our Perception of the World
June 6, 2016
There were a lot of interesting announcements last week, ranging from cool new devices to what was basically an Amazon Echo on wheels from Asus. Such is the nature of Computex -- arguably one of the most powerful technology shows in the world. However, one of the most fascinating was Windows Holographic, which goes far beyond Hololens to redefine the world as we perceive it.
Google's Magenta AI Tickles the Ivories
June 3, 2016
The Google Brain team on Wednesday released a tune created by machine intelligence. The composition is part of Project Magenta, which seeks to boost the capabilities of machine intelligence to create art and music. Among other things, the Magenta team is developing algorithms that enable artificial intelligence systems to learn how to create compelling art and music on their own.
Facebook AI Digs Deep Into User Content
June 3, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday introduced DeepText, an artificial intelligence-fueled text analytics engine. "Text is a prevalent form of communication on Facebook," wrote Facebook software engineers Ahmad Abdulkader, Aparna Lakshmiratan and Joy Zhang in a post describing its capabilities. "Understanding the various ways text is used on Facebook can help us improve people's experiences with our products."
No Man's Sky: Life After Launch
June 2, 2016
Persistence. It's what permeates the fabric of upcoming sci-fi odyssey No Man's Sky, and it's what will see the game well past its launch this summer. While eager to set out into a digital space that's populated with 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets, most gamers have expressed patience as developers march toward the release.
The Rise of Drone Racing, Part 2
May 31, 2016
With lucrative broadcast deals and cup competitions now crowding calendars, drone racing has become one of the primary factors driving the surge in demand for consumer drones. Mountain Dew and DR1 Racing earlier this month announced a special DR1 Invitational presented by Mountain Dew. The one-hour broadcast will air on Discovery Communication's Discovery and Science channels in August.
Gadget Ogling: A Homier Google, Flicking Lamps, and Busy Earbuds
May 27, 2016
Taking a page or 10 out of Amazon Echo's book, Home is a blend of a smart speaker and a personal assistant, which you control using your voice. It can handle the types of queries Google Now and its successor, Google Assistant, can take on -- from simple questions like what's on your schedule for the day to more complex ones about the history of your favorite sports team.
OnePlus Offers Free Headsets to Lure Crowd to VR Smartphone Launch
May 25, 2016
The 30,000 virtual reality headsets OnePlus announced it would give away as part the unveiling of its OnePlus 3 smartphone were snapped up Monday, the day they became available. OnePlus has set up a VR space called "The Loop" in which it will unveil the OnePlus 3. The Loop can be accessed only by users of the OnePlus Loop VR headsets, made by AntVR.
Oculus Riles Users Over Piracy Block That Fails Anyway
May 25, 2016
It took a hacker just a day to come up with a workaround for the platform update Oculus released last week, which blocked users from running the company's games on rival virtual reality systems. Version 1.4 of the Oculus App blocked a hack from LibreVR called "Revive" that allowed users to play Oculus games on rival systems, including the HTC Vive and Valve.
Versatile iBot Wheelchair to Make a Comeback
May 24, 2016
Toyota and DEKA Research and Development last week announced an agreement that will revive development of the iBot, a wheelchair that can climb stairs. The companies revealed their pact to develop mobility solutions for the disabled community at the annual convention of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. One of the first initiatives under the agreement will be to resurrect the iBot.
The Rise of Drone Racing, Part 1
May 24, 2016
Tearing through open spaces and timing each turn to burst out of them, a seeming continuum of drones weaves through a set of obstacles lap after lap, until the stutter of a pilot's joystick breaks the cadence of this competitive concert and destroys the illusion. It's the drama -- anticipating and reacting to those human moments -- that has propelled drone racing to the spotlight.
Google's New Custom Chip May Not Live Up to the Hype
May 23, 2016
Google last week announced the Tensor Processing Unit, a custom application-specific integrated circuit, at Google I/O. TPU was built for machine learning applications and has been running in Google's data centers for more than a year. Google's AlphaGo software, which thrashed an 18-time international Go champion in a match earlier this year, ran on servers using TPUs.
Hyperloop Dreams Are Getting Real
May 21, 2016
The Hyperloop -- the high-speed transportation concept Elon Musk has promoted heavily -- is edging closer to becoming a reality. Russia plans to develop a Hyperloop network for freight transportation, the country's transport minister announced Friday. MIT last week unveiled its Hyperloop Pod, a prototype of its award-winning design concept intended for human travelers.
Google Patents Tech to Limit Injuries in Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents
May 20, 2016
The United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week granted Google a patent for "Adhesive Vehicle Front End For Mitigation of Secondary Pedestrian Impact." The patent application, filed a year and a half ago, credits Google employees Alex Khaykin and Daniel Lynn Larner as the inventors of the new technology. This latest patent grant is for "a system for protecting a colliding object from a secondary impact."
Gadget Ogling: Speedy Tortillas, Racing Robots, and Real-Time 3D
May 20, 2016
Flatev is a pod-based system for instant tortillas in the mold of a Keurig coffee maker. Insert a pod of fresh dough -- you have several choices, all organic -- then adjust settings for type of dough and desired crispiness, and 90 seconds later you'll have a fresh, warm tortilla. There's a heated drawer to keep your tortillas warm while you make as many as you need.
Apache Guru Behlendorf to Helm Hyperledger Project
May 20, 2016
The Linux Foundation on Thursday announced that Brian Behlendorf, a primary developer of the Apache Web server, has joined the Hyperledger Project as executive director. The project is a collaborative effort to advance blockchain technology by identifying and addressing important features for an open standard for distributed ledgers that will apply across industries.
Google Plots Home Invasion
May 19, 2016
Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the company's annual I/O developers conference on Wednesday with a keynote address that included previews of a batch of new products. Among those showcased were Google Assistant, a tool that can understand and respond to complex questions in real time; and Home, Google's highly anticipated response to Amazon's Echo speaker.
Otto Kits Out Big Rigs With Aftermarket Self-Driving Tech
May 18, 2016
Otto on Monday introduced a self-driving kit designed to help those behind the wheel of big rigs drive more safely and efficiently. The company is developing a suite of sensors, software and other truck-related enhancements that could be retrofitted into existing vehicles. The technology has been tested in Otto's research fleet, and the company completed an autonomous demo on public highways.
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Live streaming video...
is the next big thing.
is a passing fad.
will dramatically improve citizen journalism.
will feed a lot more disturbing imagery to the Web.
doesn't interest me.