Watch Out

July 21, 2014
There are two ways to look at what’s ahead in TV displays: the short-term view towards this year’s holiday season or the longer outlook about evolving technology for the next five years.From either perspective, it’s mostly about Ultra High-Definition TV (Ultra HDTV). Of course, there are other visions about how television sets will look but for now the focus is on the models already in the distribution pipeline or on electronics makers’ drawing boards. And it’s mostly about higher-resolution screens. There is also growing enthusiasm about Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) very slim flat-panel technology, now that manufacturers are solving the yield problems...

The Virtual Reality Race

July 14, 2014
After decades of promises, the backing of companies like Facebook and Sony are poised to unleash affordable VR first to gamers and eventually to the masses. A few days before Facebook forked over $2 billion to acquire Kickstarter-backed startup Oculus VR on March 25, virtual reality was shown at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). In addition to the new high-definition display and improved head tracking for the Oculus Rift, which has been wowing press for a few years, Sony Computer Entertainment officially entered the VR race with its PlayStation 4 Project Morpheus. Richard...

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez Speaks Out

July 08, 2014
Edith Ramirez was designated to serve as Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) effective March 4, 2013, by President Barack Obama. The 100-year old FTC is the nation’s primary consumer protection agency and shares responsibility for enforcement of antitrust laws with the Justice Department. A Southern California native, Ramirez has served since April 2010 on the commission, where she has prioritized addressing consumer privacy and data security issues in the era of big data, and launched an examination of the competitive impact of patent assertion entities. While at the FTC, she has also sought to preserve competition in...

The Cutting Edge of LEDs

May 27, 2014
From LEDs (light emitting diodes) to lasers, automakers and suppliers are developing new lighting systems that are as functionally advanced as they are stylish. The result: drivers who can see farther ahead, and cars that are safer at sharing the road with other vehicles. Moving forward, experts say exterior and interior lights will play a key role in the future of self-driving cars—facilitating both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-occupant communications.   LEDs: Revving Up Style LEDs were introduced as automotive high-beam headlights in 2007 by Audi (in its R8 sports car) and by Lexus (in ...

Inside the Wild World of Bitcoin

May 19, 2014
When Overstock.com began accepting Bitcoin, the cashless (and cardless) alternative to online payment at the beginning of this year, it became the first major online shopping site to do so. Just three months later, the online retailer reported that it exceeded one million dollars in sales from the cryptocurrency alone. And of the more than 4,300 customers that made purchases using Bitcoin, as many as 60 percent were new to the site. “We did not expect to hit this milestone so quickly,” says Overstock.com’s Chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne. He says the company first decided to start accepting the controversial currency...

The Smartphone Smart Home

May 16, 2014
All of the incredible technology and full home automation in the HGTV Smart Home 2014 can be demonstrated with a few swipes of a tablet or smartphone. Located in Nashville, Tenn., the English cottage-style residence features technology to give the homeowner remote control over energy use, security, interior climate and lighting. Family members can customize and control everything via apps and many of the devices are smart enough to adjust themselves. The home automation market has been steadily rising over the past few years. Factory sales of home technologies including structured wiring, lighting controls, climate systems and ...

A “Neo-Sensory” Future

May 13, 2014
And you thought "haptic interface" just meant sliding your finger over a flat glass surface. How about shoes that send a tingle to your toes about which direction to turn when you’re on unfamiliar turf (or if you’re blind)? What about watching “feel-o-vision” TV that transmits the vibration of a speeding car into your viewing experience? Or maybe you’ll shake or “shoogle” your mobile handset to feel if any messages are jiggling around in there, rather than using a inger to scroll up and down a list. There’s also a smart steering wheel that can help auto-correct your direction if you’re...

The 2014 International CES Dazzles

April 24, 2014
The 2014 International CES was a one-stop shop for global cutting-edge technologies. In fact, the #CES2014 hashtag garnered 2.88 billion impressions around the world and more than 3,500 exhibitors converged in Las Vegas from January 7–10, to receive unprecedented exposure for their products and services. From keynote addresses from Audi, Cisco, Intel, Samsung, Sony and Yahoo! to the Innovations Design and Engineering Awards Showcase to the new launches from fledgling startups in Eureka Park, every major technology player was on hand. And across more than 250 ...

Innovations Inspired by Science Fiction

April 14, 2014
Just five years after the original Star Trek series went into reruns, a Motorola cell phone inspired by the show’s handheld communicator device was demonstrated during a 1973 press conference. Motorola engineer and CE Hall of Fame inductee Martin Cooper says it was more than just the flip-up antenna grid on the communicator that inspired his team. Voice dialing was also a feature worth inventing. “Suddenly, there’s Captain Kirk talking on his communicator—talking, with no dialing. That was not a fantasy to us, although to the rest of the world it was,” Cooper says. Ten years later, the...
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