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Archive for March 9th, 2014

9
Mar
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Fujitsu’s latest all-in-ones don’t need to be turned off


With all of the talk surrounding smartphones and tablets, it’s sometimes easy to forget that desktops still occupy most of our working days. Fujitsu hasn’t forgotten them, however, and is wheeling out a pair of all-in-one units that’ll accompany you on the 9-to-5. The Esprimo X923 comes with a 23-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS LCD and a wide variety of build-to-order options, including a choice of Core i3 – i7 CPUs, HDD or SSD and up to 16GB RAM. It’s so far, so Fujitsu, but the company is also trumping low power active mode, a sleep state that’ll keep the hardware on and connected to your network, but drawing so little power that you don’t actually need to turn it off. The other model that’s been outed today is the X923-T, which, as you can guess, is exactly the same as the 923, but with a touchscreen. Both are available from today, so it’s high time that you started sending flattering emails to your company’s purchasing manager.

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Source: Fujitsu, (2)

9
Mar
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23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki envisions the future of preventative medicine


Anne Wojcicki and her genetic sequencing company 23andMe are locked in a battle with the FDA. Even though it can’t report results to customers right now, Wojcicki isn’t letting herself get bogged down in the present. At SXSW 2014 she laid out her vision of the future of preventative medicine — one where affordable genome sequencing comes together with “big data.” In addition to simply harvesting your genetic code, the company is doing research into how particular genes effect your susceptibility to disease or your reaction to treatments. And 23andMe isn’t keeping this information locked down. It has been building APIs that allow it to share the results of its research as well as the results your genetic tests, should you wish to.

It’s when that data is combined with other information, say that harvested from a fitness tracker, and put in the hands of engineers and doctors. In the future she hopes that you’ll see companies putting the same effort into identifying and addressing health risks as they do for tracking your shopping habits. Target famously was able to decode that a woman was pregnant before she told her father, based purely on her purchase history. One day that same sort of predictive power could be harnessed to prevent diabetes or lessen a risk for a heart attack. Whether or not that future is five, 10 or 15 years off is unclear. But if Wojcicki has her way, you’ll be able to pull up health and lifestyle decisions recommended for you with the same ease that you pull up suggested titles on Netflix.

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9
Mar
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Cosmos debuts tonight with a special message from Barack Obama


As if the revival of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos couldn’t get any more grandiose, tonight’s debut has a pretty special guest. President Barack Obama will intro the episode with a pre-recorded message that’ll supposedly urge viewers to explore new frontiers — like space! — and to imagine what the future could hold. Regardless of what your politics may be, it sounds like it could be pretty inspiring. Now, if the POTUS could just remind the nation to set its DVRs for 9pm ET tonight we’d be all set.

[Image Credit: Pete Souza for the White House]

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Source: Digital Journal

9
Mar
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Android lead says wearable developer tools coming in two weeks (updated)


We’ve got very few details at the moment, but Sundar Pichai is preparing to lead the Android charge into the wearable space. He announced that the company will launch a new wearable SDK for Android at SXSW Interactive. The tools will be available to download in roughly two weeks time and will expand the efforts to put Google’s mobile OS on smart watches or fitness bands. Pichai definitely didn’t limit Android to those two particular implementations, however. He focused heavily on expanding developers’ ability to harvest data from sensors of any kind… so long as they’re mounted on your body. He even suggested a future where your jacket is loaded with sensors and powered by Android.

He also promised when the SDK is available that the company will offer its “vision” of how it sees the market developing. Pichai said it will be quite sometime before Google announces any specific products, however. There will be an extensive period of collecting developer feedback from the SDK before moving forward with other plans

Obviously Google is trying to get Android into as many devices as possible. Moving into the wearable space only makes sense. It has made various efforts on TV front and at CES announced a partnership with a number of car manufacturers to get the little green bot inside your dashboard as well. Hopefully we’ll get see the rumored fruits of LG and Google’s efforts before the end of the year, and learn whether or not Mountain View got its money’s worth when it purchased WIMM Labs.

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9
Mar
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Gadget Rewind 2004: Motorola RAZR V3


It’s our 10th birthday, and to celebrate we’ll be revisiting some of the key devices of the last decade. So please be kind, rewind.

Motorola had been slinging its “hellomoto” campaign for several years by the time the RAZR V3 hit the scene in 2004. It’s likely that you’ll remember the iconic design of this handset, either as your communicator of choice or with a faint twinge of envy at never having scored one yourself. This ultra-slim flip phone had a backlit keypad that screamed Tron and its magnesium and aluminum outer shell gave it a lightweight, yet solid build. Motorola made the right move by providing an array of colors to choose from — not quite the rainbow of flavors that today’s Moto X offers, but it was enough to satisfy those with funkier tastes. As its name implied, the RAZR V3 was the switchblade of cellphones and cut a strikingly sharp figure, especially when flipped open. A minor downside to the design was its width; at just over 2-inches it was an exception at the time, although still a few notches below what most of us are pocketing today.

The RAZR V3 was up against some serious competition from Nokia and Samsung, but Motorola was on to something and by July 2006, the handset had sold 50 million units. Not only was it becoming one of the most ubiquitous handsets around, but it had a good amount of staying power. According to the analysts at NPD, the RAZR V3 was the top-selling handset of 2008 in the US — still trumping the competition almost four years after its release. Its recognizable success was so rampant that the RAZR name was resurrected in 2011 to enhance the credibility (and likely sales) for Motorola’s Droid line. Although, with tough competition and the “samey” nature of smartphone designs, future iterations of RAZR-branded devices failed to deliver the impact of the “OG” model.


Did you own the RAZR V3? Add it to your Engadget profile and join the discussion to reminisce or share photos of your device with other like-minded gadget fans.

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9
Mar
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Inhabitat’s Week in Green: human diamonds, floating farm and a 13-year-old nuclear fusioneer


Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

Ever wish you could take a bite out of Kanye West? A new (possibly satirical) startup is taking meat alternatives to an absurd new level, with plans to make salami from animal meat and human tissue from celebrities. No word yet on what Kanye thinks of the venture. In other weird science news, a Swiss company says it is creating diamonds from cremated human remains. The company claims that its so-called memorial diamonds are almost indistinguishable from a typical diamond.

We frequently hear about Jurassic Park-style attempts to revive extinct animals like dinosaurs, but why stop there? A team of scientists recently revived a virus that had had been trapped in the Siberian permafrost for more than 30,000 years. Greenland’s ice sheets are melting at an alarming rate, but a team of French architecture students has hatched a plan to capture some of that fresh water. The students recently unveiled plans for a huge floating farm that uses the water from melting icebergs to grow fruit and vegetables. Providing America’s homeless with a warm place to sleep is an ongoing challenge, and artist Michael Rakowitz is on the case. Rakowitz recently designed the ParaSITE, an inflatable one-person shelter that uses excess HVAC air to keep homeless people warm.

Last week, a 13-year-old boy from England built a nuclear reactor in his parents’ garage and successfully carried out an atomic fusion reaction, making him the world’s youngest nuclear fusioneer. Also on the energy front, reports have surfaced that Facebook may purchase Titan Aerospace, a company that specializes in solar-powered drones. Solar power could also be used to explore distant planets. The company Northrop Grumman says it already has the solar technology to build an unmanned inflatable aircraft that could explore outer space for up to a year unaided. And back here on Earth, Ghana announced plans to build more than 600 megawatts’ worth of solar parks, creating both jobs and solar energy for the West African nation.

A futuristic world of self-driving flying cars may not be that far off. The company Terrafugia recently announced that it’s developing flying cars that can drive and fly on their own. The goal is to create a flying vehicle that is both safer and easier to operate than today’s cars. In other green transportation news, America’s first all-electric school bus began transporting students to and from school in Central California last week. Riding a bike is easy on the environment, and if you buy a bike from one innovative startup, you can also help children in need. Peace Bikes has a “buy a bike, give a bike” policy so for every purchase you make, the company will give a bike to a kid who needs one. Tired of hearing the same old sounds every time you pass through a subway turnstile? James Murphy, the former frontman for LCD Soundsystem, has come up with an idea for musical turnstiles that replace the current beeps with pleasing music.

3D printing tech is developing at a furious pace these days, but scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have plans to make it 500 times faster. The lab has partnered with machine tool manufacturer Cincinnati Incorporated to create a speedy new printer that could make the technology more economically viable. A UCSD professor recently produced a new kind of magnetic material that could revolutionize both computer hard drives and energy storage. High-tech water filtration systems are great, but maybe we’re over-thinking things. A new report by MIT researchers suggests that if you run out of drinking water in the woods, all you need to do is to break off a branch from the nearest pine tree. By pouring lake water through the branch, you can produce up to four liters of drinking water a day. A Kenyan technology company recently unveiled a lightweight and portable internet router that is designed to work anywhere in the world — even in places with sporadic power outages. And for parents who need to pinpoint their kids’ location at all times, a British company recently debuted a new GPS watch that enables parents to track their kids’ movement.

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9
Mar
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Fujitsu’s palm-scanning laptops won’t be fooled by severed limbs


For all the popularity of fingerprint scanners, Fujitsu believes that it can go one better. The Japanese company has been working on palm-based systems for the last few years, and we’ve already seen turnstiles, wallets and tablets that are accessed from your hand. Fujitsu believes that palm vein sensing is around a thousand times more secure than conventional biometric methods and it’s implementing the technology in its next range of business-focused laptops due out this week. We’ve been shown around some of these models, which have the new sensor fitted into an area that is roughly the same size and position as the company’s existing fingerprint scanners, just below the bottom right corner of the keyboard. Using it is simple: Hold your hand a few inches above the sensor and the hardware will quickly scan the unique arrangement of your veins. If it judges you to be the real deal, it’ll open up its secrets for your enjoyment.

Of course, your biggest objection to that would be that, if some nefarious type wanted to get at your Amazon account, all they’d have to do is grab a sword and lop off your hand, right? Turns out, biology has provided us all with a built-in failsafe. Fujitsu’s technology only works while blood is flowing through your veins, so your lifeless limb can’t be used to breach the wall. Having seen this technology in action, we’re reasonably sure that it’s ready for prime-time, and we’re excited to see if this as fool-proof as Fujitsu claims. Even if it is, however, the easiest and least messy way to access someone else’s login will always be to ask them — an approach that worked just fine for Edward Snowden.

Sharif Sakr held his hands in the air (like he just didn’t care) for this report.

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9
Mar
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MSI gaming laptop packs next-gen NVIDIA graphics and ’3K’ display into Ultrabook thickness


A nice little surprise here at CeBIT: A 15.6-inch laptop from MSI that gave us an early look at one of NVIDIA’s unannounced 2014 laptop GPUs. MSI’s reps at the event wouldn’t reveal anything about the new graphics chip (which we guess is based on NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture) except that it should be able to handle many of the latest games at high settings on their unit’s optional “3K” (2,880 x 1,620) display. The laptop itself is called the GS60 Ghost Pro and it’s a pleasure to look at and to hold — it’s just three quarters of an inch thick (19.5mm) and 4.4 pounds (1.99kg) in weight. Check out the gallery below and you’ll see that the machine has an understated design that should help it to appeal not only to gamers but also to power users looking for configurations up to Core i7, dual SSD storage (in Super RAID, if you wish) with additional HDD, plus 802.11ac WiFi. Expect units to start shipping in April priced between 1,600 and 2,000 euros ($2,200 to $2,800) depending on your spec choices.

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9
Mar
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We’re here at CeBIT 2014!


SONY DSC

If you don’t count IFA, and for this week at least, we don’t, then CeBIT is our favorite German tech show. It may be aimed squarely at business and infrastructure types, but that doesn’t mean there’s almost always some gems stuck between the server racks and modems. Hannover’s Deutsche Messe is currently full of burly scene-movers and covered by a hazy cloud of sawdust and smoke, but by Monday, it’ll become one of the world’s biggest trade shows. Naturally, we’ll be cherry-picking the most exciting of what’s on show and delivering it straight to your eyeballs via this wonderful thing called the internet.

Pro Tip: Use the CeBIT2014 tag on the site and the #EngadgetCeBIT hashtag on Twitter to keep up with all of our adventures this week.

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9
Mar
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Samsung announces security-minded Cloud Print apps for Android and iOS


Does anyone actually cable up to a printer anymore? Not if they’re kitted out with Google Cloud Print, Apple AirPrint, or Sammy’s new alternative: Samsung Cloud Print. The service will launch with an Android app in June, followed by an iOS version in the second half of the year and possibly a Smart TV app at some point too, and all the apps will come with a number of promises about security. Users will have their data encrypted between their device and their inkjet, and those who also use Samsung’s freshly updated Knox service are promised “enhanced security” through a level integration between Knox and Cloud Print. Finally, the Android app will also support NFC pairing, allowing a compatible mobile device to be connected to “as many as 20 printers with just a few simple taps” — although that currently only applies to Samsung’s small range of NFC-enabled Xpress-branded printers.

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