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Yearly Archives: 2013

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Meta Launches Its AR Eyeglass Hologram Computer To Compete With Glass

Meta, a Silicon Valley startup with an Israeli Defense Forces veteran at the helm, has opted to try to out-perform Glass in functionality, even if it means a significantly less lightweight product. The company recently opened pre-ordering for its first consumer product, Mega Pro glasses.

New Study: Daily Multivitamins, Supplements ‘A Waste Of Money’

One of the few nutritional recommendations that most doctors seemed to agree with — take a daily multivitamin to plug any gaps in your diet — is facing a serious challenge in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The journal’s current issue features two studies and a meta-analysis which all conclude that multivitamins don’t deliver any significant health benefits.

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Gets $75M Investment: Coming To ‘Consumers Everywhere’

Virtual reality, long a dream of gamers and science fiction buffs, has moved much closer to reality since Oculus burst onto the scene earlier this year. The company got a significant vote of confidence recently, in the form of a $75-million investment round led by one of Silicon Valley’s most highly regarded venture capital firms, Andreessen Horowitz.

Google Buys Boston Dynamics in Sensational Eighth Robotics Acquisition

Google just acquired Boston Dynamics. It’s the eighth robotics company the California tech titan has purchased in six months and, by far, the biggest deal. For two decades, Boston Dynamics has been nearly synonymous with robotics.

Handheld Device TellSpec Can Detect Allergens, Chemicals, and Nutrients In Food

A hand-held spectrometer pioneered by Toronto-based TellSpec that can determine exactly what is in the user’s food and display it on his or her smartphone. The idea for the device came from co-founder Isabel Hoffman’s daughter, who suffers from gluten intolerance and other food allergies.

Will Advanced AI Be Our Final Invention?

There’s plenty of tech fear out there thanks to Hollywood, but there’s also the tendency to imagine we’re immune to AI risk because it’s been in a movie, so, ipso facto it’s fantasy. While it’s tempting to seek solace in this line of reasoning, the experts who are actually working on artificial intelligence have something else to say. Many point to a suite of looming problems clustered around the complexity of real-world software and the inherent uncontrollability of intelligence.

Evidence Mounts for Gene Therapy as Treatment for Heart Failure

Damage done to the vital organ by heart failure has been the focus of much research into gene therapy, a process in which patients receive, usually inside an inert virus, replacement genes for those suspected of causing an illness. One genetic treatment has gotten as far as clinical trials in patients with heart failure, and initial results presented recently at an American Heart Association meeting, suggest that the gene therapy may just help hearts damaged by heart failure heal themselves.

Coin Device That Consolidates Credit Cards Is Selling Like Hotcakes

Coin is a mat black, rectangular piece of plastic. It’s about the size and shape of a credit card, maybe a little thicker, and like a credit card has a magnetic strip. Unlike a credit card, coin carries a chip, sports a small digital display, and is a financial shape shifter—it can become any of eight stored credit cards with a button flick.

Ma Bell Dives Into Home Automation With Digital Life Package

Home automation is the rare futuristic idea that has almost universal appeal. Yet, it’s been slower to arrive than other, more controversial technologies. But a few recent developments suggest that it's edging toward mainstream adoption. AT&T is currently rolling out Digital Life, a home automation subscription service that connects alarm systems, security cameras, lights, thermostats and selected devices (like the iron) to a mobile app.

A Dual-Screen Smartphone? Hello YotaPhone

Ever wish your phone could swap between LCD and e-ink displays to save power? Wish no more. Yota XX’s YotaPhone offers both an e-ink screen (like the Kindle Paperwhite) on one side and a standard backlit LCD on the other.

Artist Paints Photorealistic Morgan Freeman Portrait With a $7 App on His iPad

UK graphic artist, Kyle Lamber, recently showed how powerful digital painting apps have become. Working from a photograph, Lambert used a painting app, his finger, and an iPad to compose an almost photo-perfect portrait of Morgan Freeman. The host of Through the Wormhole is, of course, a perfectly appropriate model for this demonstration of the power of tech.

Google Officially Enters the Robotics Business With Acquisition of Seven Startups

Last year, I visited a warehouse behind a typically fashionable San Francisco café where two startups, Bot & Dolly and Autofuss, were busy making the insanely immersive visuals for the film Gravity (among a host of other projects) using naught but assembly line robots, clever software, and high-def cameras. A few months later, I found myself in another warehouse—this time some forty minutes south of the city—where robotic arms, built and programmed by Industrial Perception, used advanced computer vision to sort toys and throw around boxes. What do these companies have in common? According to the New York Times, they were just secretly acquired by Google—along with five other robotics firms over the last six months—to design and build a fleet of super-advanced robots under the direction of Andy Rubin, the man behind Google’s mobile operating system, Android.

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