NASA is planning for a robotic spaceship to lasso a small asteroid and park it near the moon for astronauts to explore, a top senator said Friday.
Tag Archives: closer
Following this afternoon’s announcement that Amazon has agreed to acquire Goodreads, I had a few minutes to talk to the Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler and Amazon VP of Kindle Content Russ Grandinetti. They stayed pretty vague about the two things I was most curious about — how the deal came together, and the specifics of the planned Kindle/Goodreads integrations — but they did drop a few hints about future plans.
Chandler (pictured here with his co-founder and wife Elizabeth) said that Kindle integration has been a popular request among Goodreads users, and Grandinetti said he wants to make it “super easy” to have a social experience on the Kindle device and apps. As for what that will look like, he said, “We prefer to talk about features when we ship.”
A startup called Rabbit believes consumers will jump for always-on video chatting that lets you watch movies with an infinite number of friends.
With so many video-chat applications already on the market, it sounds like a silly idea: build a new one while pretending the others never existed.
This weekend at Expand in San Francisco, a handful of emerging startups will compete for $ 25,000 and the proper Engadget review treatment. In the latest installment of our e-publication, we have a peek at the finalists of the first-ever Insert Coin: New Challengers crowdfunded battle royal. In addition to those gadget hopefuls, we but both the TiVo Mini and HTC One through their respective paces while we relive the week that was SXSW Interactive in a collection of snapshots. All of the usual features and columns are here as well, filled to the brim with goodness that awaits via your favorite weekly download link.
Facebook users in Canada can use the company’s Android phone app to make free calls
An update to Facebook’s messaging app for Android phones allows people in Canada to make voice calls to their Facebook friends also using the app for free (even if those friends are outside of Canada). The new feature puts the company in direct competition with other call providers such as Skype (owned by Facebook ally Microsoft) and cellphone networks.
coondoggie writes “NASA says an asteroid about half the size of a football field will blow past Earth on Feb 15 closer than many man-made satellites. NASA added that while the asteroid, designated 2012 DA14 has no chance of striking Earth, since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Editor’s note: David Teten is a partner with ff Venture Capital and founder and chairman of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York.
The good news for TechCrunch readers: Every major study conducted to date has placed angel investors’ internal rate of return (IRR) between 18 and 38 percent, as summarized by my Partner John Frankel and Professor Robert Wiltbank in previous TechCrunch articles. The bad news: The data on angel returns has historically been difficult to obtain, analyze, verify and, therefore, rely upon.
Any smartphone owner who’s ever watched a streaming HD video buffer… and buffer… and buffer on even LTE connections will appreciate the ITU’s speediness today. Just months after MPEG proposed the extra-miserly H.265 video codec, the ITU has approved it as an official standard. As it’s greenlit so far, the format (also known as High Efficiency Video Coding) includes 8-bit, 10-bit and photo-oriented profiles that should cover most 2D capture and playback. Pros are promised 12-bit and chroma profiles in the future, while there’s work on 3D for all of us. We’ll have to wait for both software support and hardware acceleration to reap the rewards, but there should be many: the halved bandwidth requirements have obvious benefits for cellular devices as well as 4K media delivery for that rash of giant TVs about to hit the market. Let’s hope that camera and mobile device makers are just as impatient as we are.
We’re one step closer to seeing bendable phones hit the market.
Dell is trying to bring the ARM and x86 processors closer by supporting a new systems management technology, a step toward making both the CPU technologies interoperable, the company said on Wednesday.
So, it’s a wrap. Done, dusted. To celebrate, the whole Engadget crew rolls up for the last podcast from the show floor. It’s fast-firing tech talk with a bunch of giveaways, and best of all you can catch it all again right here.
Hosts: Tim Stevens, Brian Heater
Producer: James Trew
Hear the podcast
Filed under: Podcasts
The Pebble smartwatch has been promised multiple times now, only to be delayed for whatever reason. As such, some investors may be getting antsy, wondering if the product will ever come to light. Those worries can be eased, with the e-ink smartwatch gaining FCC approval, a sign that it is not only real, but closer
An anonymous reader writes with a story about the possibility of genetically engineered salmon showing up on your table. “A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer’s dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn’t appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it. AquAdvantage salmon eggs would produce fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon. If it gets a final go-ahead, it would be the first food from a transgenic animal – one whose genome has been altered – to be approved by the FDA.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
HP couldn’t help but harsh the mellow of cutting-edge workers when it revealed the ElitePad 900 wouldn’t ship until January. Still, there’s less chance of any setbacks now that we know the FCC has rubber stamped the Windows 8 tablet. The version passing through the agency is a 3G model for mobile road warriors and touts the 850MHz, 1,700MHz and 1,900MHz bands we’d expect to for HSPA on AT&T, T-Mobile and Canadian networks. Few other surprises exist; we’re mostly happy to know that NFC exists alongside dual-band 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. No, the approval won’t be much consolation to the suits and ties wanting a tablet of their own as of yesterday, but it should be a relief to IT managers planning a much more creative use of the company budget in 2013.
A crushed tube the size of a thread spool has brought the United States one step closer to harnessing nuclear fusion as a clean, almost limitless power source.
These days, just about every Apple product is defined by a non-removable battery. It’s with no small hint of irony, then, that Apple just received a US patent for a universal removable battery system. As proposed, the technique would let Apple cut batteries from lithium-polymer or similar materials into commonly sized packs that could then be swapped between devices, providing all the benefits of removable, rechargeable batteries with a longer lifespan than an old set of AAs. Batteries could have serviceable cores for when they finally give up the ghost, and computers could even alternate between charging the batteries (when plugged in) or using them to extend the runtime of MacBooks. We’d recommend against basing any purchasing strategy around Apple’s filing, though. The Cupertino team originally applied for the patent in 2010, and in turn broke out the technology from a patent it had filed in 2007 — there’s no guarantees Apple is still interested in replacing those disposables, let alone any sealed-in batteries. That won’t stop us from yearning for the day when a Magic Mouse lasts for more than a week of heavy use.
Filed under: Peripherals
ananyo writes “A robot that can reproduce the dexterity of the human hand remains a dream of the bioengineering profession. One new approach to achieving this goal avoids trying to replicate the intricacy of the bones, joints and ligaments that produce our most basic gestures. A Sandia National Laboratories research team has adopted just such a strategy by designing a modular, plastic proto-hand whose electronics system is largely made from parts found in cell phones. The Sandia Hand can still perform with a high level of finesse for a robot, and is even capable of replacing the batteries in a small flashlight. It is expected to cost about $ 10,000, a fraction of the $ 250,000 price tag for a state-of-the-art robot hand today. The Sandia Hand’s fingers are modular and affixed to the hand frame via magnets. This gives the researchers the flexibility to design interchangeable appendages tipped with screwdrivers, flashlights, cameras and other tools. The fingers are also designed to detach automatically to avoid damage if the hand hits a wall or other solid object too hard. The researchers say the hand can even be manipulated to retrieve and reattach a fallen finger. The Hand’s current incarnation has only four fingers, including the equivalent of an opposable thumb. In the video with the article, the Sandia Hand demonstrates a number of capabilities, including, perhaps most impressively, dropping a AA battery into a flashlight.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Looking back on the Southeast Mini Meetup trip, I can’t help but remember Atlanta as the shining star of our week-long (five city) tour. We met southern belles, ate a lot of pork, and essentially experienced a hurricane-style lightning storm, but try as we might to recap the event for you, we simply can’t top this video created by Crisp.
ananyo writes “Developing oral contraceptives for men has not gone as swiftly as researchers imagined in the early 1970s; they suggested at the time that a ‘male pill’ was not far off. But researchers now report a new way to make male mice temporarily infertile. Although the treatment is not ready for human use, the method avoids some of the pitfalls of earlier attempts. The technique appears to have a much more specific action than previous methods: it impairs sperm production by blocking a protein called BRDT. This protein was singled out as a potential therapeutic target five years ago because it only occurs in the testes, where it is required for the division of sperm cells. If the approach proves safe in humans, it would be an improvement over hormone-based methods of male contraception, which are not completely effective and cause side effects such as mood swings, acne and a loss of libido (abstract). On the downside, however, the compound ‘shrank the mice’s testes.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
California’s State Assembly advanced a bill on Monday that aims to establish rules and regulations covering the safe operation of driverless cars on the state's highways.
Microsoft accentuates the positive, gives Windows Phone 7.8′s new start screen a closer look (video)
Reactions to news that Windows Phone 7 devices would never turn into Windows Phone 8 handsets were decidedly mixed, but the company is now making sure people know just what’s in the coming “pattern of upgrades.” Company evangelist Ben “The PC Guy” Rudolph shot this video of Windows Phone 7.8 running on a Lumia 900, showing off its updated Start screen with resizable tiles. We weren’t able to get hands-on time or take video when we saw one of the phones in person last week, but now you can see how smoothly it works for yourself. There’s more than just a video, as Ben’s blog post points out a new Windows Phone 7.5 site set up to keep owners updated on all the new features and apps they are getting (like Audible, Words With Friends and Draw Something), as opposed to focusing on the ones they’re not.
The latest entrant into the couple-sharing mobile app space is SimplyUs, a Toronto-based startup that aims to make couples happier by adding a little organization into their lives.
While other apps built for couples are primarily built for keeping a private collection of photos and memories, and providing private communication tools, SimplyUs takes a whole different approach: It’s focused on improving couples’ lives by helping them to become more organized together. As a result, its main features are built around joint calendaring and list tools.
Gogo has a virtual lock on in-flight WiFi for the US, but most of us forget that everything goes dark the moment you decide to cross the border. The company already has a deal with Inmarsat for Ka-band Internet connections, and now it’s partnering up with AeroSat to bring Ku-band satellite access. The tie-in will let Gogo offer precious relief from tedium on international flights, whether it’s a modest hop to the Great White North or an hours-long trip across the ocean. Gogo considers the deal an interim step until Inmarsat’s technology is ready, making for much quicker availability than if it had just waited until it could use Ka-band: Ku-band satellite linkups should be on airliners as soon as the end of 2012, while Ka-band won’t even show its face until at least late 2014. It’s unknown what kind of premium we’ll pay over the $ 13 maximum Gogo normally charges, but if AeroSat lets us squeak in a few more Twitter updates on our way home from Barcelona, it’ll be worthwhile.
mikejuk writes “The Goldbach conjecture is not the sort of thing that relates to practical applications, but they used to say the same thing about electricity. The Goldbach conjecture is reasonably well known: every integer can be expressed as the sum of two primes. Very easy to state, but it seems very difficult to prove. Terence Tao, a Fields medalist, has published a paper that proves that every odd number greater than 1 is the sum of at most five primes. This may not sound like much of an advance, but notice that there is no stipulation for the integer to be greater than some bound. This is a complete proof of a slightly lesser conjecture, and might point the way to getting the number of primes needed down from at most five to at most 2. Notice that no computers where involved in the proof — this is classical mathematical proof involving logical deductions rather than exhaustive search.”
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Microsoft will from now on be paying more attention to the icons, titles, and content of apps on Marketplace, and expects them to get more subtle and modest in the imagery used, the company said in a blog post on Monday.
Yesterday, Phoronix had encouraging news about the prospect of Steam for Linux: photo evidence of Left 4 Dead running on Ubuntu 11.10 with AMD Catalysts drivers. Today, the site followed up with video footage of that same scenario, posting a hastily shot clip to show that Valve is indeed making progress — slow as it may be — on porting the game engine to Linux. Got 14 seconds? Check out the video demo below the break.
AT&T wants to change how mobile devices are used, and the company’s CTO, Krish Prabhu, is looking for ways to deliver ‘intelligent’ cloud services to consumers over its network.
When we interviewed Ray Anderson, the CEO of mobile payments company Bango last month and asked him when we would see one of its key customers, Amazon, roll out its own mobile payment service, his cool answer was “in due course.” A report out today from Bloomberg points to the company getting warmer on the idea.
Bloomberg says that app publishers have been trialling Amazon’s payment service for around the last month. The service would cover both one-off purchases as well as subscriptions through apps. And, like Google and Apple, Amazon plans to take a 30 percent commission on payments made using the platform.
Sure, you can take us on our word that the new iPad really is that much sharper than its predecessor — or, you can opt for a more scientific approach, and peek at that Retina display under a microscope. Our own Richard Lai slid his 64GB WiFi iPad under a USB scope, going far beyond the naked eye for a close-up look at those gorgeous high-density subpixels. As you can imagine, it’s impossible to distinguish one dot from the next when you’re looking at a cool three million pixels packed tightly within a 9.7-inch slab, but that view clears up quite nicely under a 230x microscope. Some easy math confirms what you’ll see — those tiny red, green and blue dots are now 50 percent smaller, when compared to the iPad 2. That means text that’s easily legible without a pinch, smooth icons and far sharper pictures. There’s a dramatic improvement for sure, but is that new display alone enough to justify the upgrade for you? A quick click through the gallery below should help clear things up.
Richard Lai contributed to this report.
Ever since Apple released OS X Lion, its desktop operating system started the long trek towards iOS, Apple’s other, more popular operating system. With the next version of OS X, Mountain Lion (released today as a developer preview), OS X will prowl even closer to its iOS cousin.
A number of the new features in OS X come directly from iOS. These include iCloud integration, Messages, Reminders, Notes, a Notification Center, a Game Center, AirPlay, and built-in sharing to Twitter, email, and more.
Got your wire-rimmed spectacles on? Had a full night’s rest? Eager to get those synapses firing? Here’s hoping, because Marc Cheneau and co. are doing everything they can to stretch the sheer meaning of quantum understanding. The aforesaid scientists recently published an article that details a method for measuring quantum particle interaction in a way that has previously been considered impossible. Put simply (or, as simply as possible), the famed Lieb-Robinson bound was “quantified experimentally for the first time, using a real quantum gas.” The techobabble rolls on quite severely from there, but the key here is realize just how much of an impact this has on the study of quantum entanglement, and in turn, quantum computing. For those interested in seeing what lives in a world beyond silicon, dig into the links below. You may never escape, though — just sayin’.
Following in the footsteps of Verizon and AT&T, it’s now Ford’s turn to open up its very own research center here in Silicon Valley. A prudent choice too, as Dearborn’s become more invested in advanced infotainment, not to mention bonafide smartphone apps. Slated to open in the first quarter of 2012, it reckons the center will help “prepare [Ford] for the next 100 years” as it scouts out new technologies and partnerships with local startups and universities alike. Mum’s the word on exactly where the new R&D lab will reside, but those interested can learn more about it and its sister facilities — whom Ford lovingly dubs its “innovation network” — in the PR after the break.
The ability of fictional superhero Spider-Man to swing off city skyscrapers using his sticky web could one day become a reality after US scientists developed a way to mass produce super strong spider silk.
The upcoming Metro update to Microsoft’s Xbox, shipping tonight and arriving on your console some time this week, pushes Microsoft’s gaming product away from the traditional run-and-gun of gaming consoles and into a new realm: that of the home media center.
While the Xbox existed as a media center before, allowing you to download video and music content and stream content from your home computers, this new update makes it easier to find disparate pieces of content, whether its from Microsoft’s own video/music store or another source or directly from the Internet through YouTube and various partner services. The update also allows Windows Phone users to control the Xbox remotely, adding items to the queue and looking up content to send to the TV while other content is playing. In short, this update isn’t about the games, it’s about content.
Will finding high ground save you when SkyNet becomes self-aware and Terminators annihilate the human race? Doubtful, thanks to Japanese robotics company Muscle Corp., which has built a robot that can climb ladders…and other stuff. “Dream Robo” certainly isn’t the first wall-climbing robot, but its eerie anthropomorphic shape is guaranteed to send its victims into paroxysms of terror when it slowly, inexorably make its way up the side of a building to sate its hunger for human blood. Muscle Corp. President Hirofumi Tamai says the robot only took three months to build, with 15 companies collaborating to create the vertical killing machine. The device incorporates five motors: two in the shoulders, two in the legs, one in the back, all of which can be seen in action in the video above. No word on the specs of the beams that rain hot, fiery death from its chitinous, soulless black eyes, but we’ll be honest — our fear wouldn’t allow us to inquire.
Well, this isn’t the strategy I was expecting, but it seems the FCC’s request to investigate the AT&T/T-Mobile deal under the lens of an administrative law judge last week just doesnt sit well with AT&T. Rather than be scrutinized, the company has instead withdrawn its application for the merger.
But don’t let that confuse you. Buying Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile is still big blue’s end goal — the FCC just happens to be blocking the road at the moment.
Facebook’s fertile ground for social experiments, and it wasn’t all that long ago that Yahoo tested the six degrees of separation theory using the site. Not to be outdone, Mark Zuckerberg’s crew, with an assist from the Laboratory for Web Algorithmics of the Universita degli Studi di Milano, has done a little digging of its own to find out just how intertwined its 721 million users really are. Turns out, instead of being six degrees away from your favorite dancing actor, you’re likely only 4.74 — which was the average distance between any two Facebook users globally. Considering that number shrinks to three when limited to relationships within your own country, and the worldwide number was at 5.28 in 2008 (and is shrinking all the time), you should be best friends with Kevin Bacon by 2020 or so. Don’t believe us? There’s plenty of statistical analysis to prove it at the source below.
I would love to think we might find life of some sort on a planet or moon inside our own solar system. Many think that one of the bodies in our solar system most likely to harbor life of some sort would be Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. Scientists have conjectured that under the icy [...]
Nissan will be showing off its latest electric vehicle concept called the Pivo 3 at next month’s Tokyo Motor Show. But ahead of the major event, the company has released some photos and videos this week of the third-generation Pivo and it’s looking much closer to a realistic production vehicle than ever before. The Pivo [...]
A huge asteroid about the size of an aircraft carrier will zoom past our planet next week, flying between the Earth and the orbit of the moon when it flies by on Tuesday (Nov. 8).
First time accepted submitter TheNextCorner writes “NASA scientists will be tracking asteroid 2005 YU55 with antennas of the agency’s Deep Space Network at Goldstone, Calif., as the space rock safely flies past Earth slightly closer than the moon’s orbit on Nov. 8. Scientists are treating the flyby of the 1,300-foot-wide (400-meter) asteroid as a science target of opportunity – allowing instruments on ‘spacecraft Earth’ to scan it during the close pass. “
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Stuxnet-like code found on industrial machines in Europe may have performed reconnaissance in preparation for attack.
A newly discovered piece of malicious code dubbed Duqu is closely related to the notorious Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s nuclear-enrichment centrifuges last year. Although it has no known target or author, it sets the stage for more industrial and cyberwar attacks, experts say.
RogerRoast writes “Scientists at the University of Manchester have come one step closer to creating the next generation of computer chips using graphene. By sandwiching two sheets of graphene with another two-dimensional material, boron nitrate, the team created the graphene ‘Big Mac’ – a four-layered structure which could be the key to replacing the silicon chip in computers. The research results were published in Nature Physics (abstract; full version paywalled).”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Hey, look Engadgeteers! It’s another Kinect hack — except this one uses a real deal robot. Honda ushered ASIMO out to the crowds at IEEE’s 2011 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems to show off its newly acquired pop and lock skills. Alright, so the silicon-gutted fella can’t krump with the best of’em yet, but he can probably do the locomotion — it all depends on your dance repertoire. After toiling away in their mad scientist lairs, the researchers behind the bot have managed to devise a means of mimicking human movement that translates mapped points on a user’s upper body into real-time, robot-replicated motion. The devious among you are likely imagining left-of-center uses for the tech, but let us deflate that mischievous balloon; there’ll be no instances of “stop hitting yourself ASIMO” here, as engineers have built-in collision and stability safeguards. The so-lifelike-it’s-Uncanny advancements don’t end there either, as ASIMO now also contains a database of text-inspired gestures — giving our future robot friend a means of physically expressing his cold, “I hate you so much right now” robo-tone. Other than finding himself at home in Italy, these innovations are sure to put ASIMO on the other end of our remote-controlled behest. Click on past the break to see this automated mime drop it like it’s hot.