Scanner ‘Reads’ Pages Of Closed Books


A variant on X-rays could scan the pages of a closed book according to MIT researchers. Tests already show the technique working on a bundle of nine sheets of paper. The research is detailed in the snappily-titled Nature Communications article “Terahertz time-gated spectral imaging for content extraction through layered structures.” It’s based around using T-rays, […]

Google To Explicitly Flag Insecure Sites


The Chrome browser will soon start flagging sites with password or card number fields that don’t use encryption. The change in January will be the first of a multi-step process. Until now Chrome has worked like most browsers by putting the emphasis on positively identifying secure sites with the familiar padlock icon in the address […]

Starchiness: A Sixth Taste Discovered?

By Ehsanislav (French fries) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Starch could be a taste in its own right, newly-published research suggests. Tests found subjects could detect the taste as separate from sweetness in carbohydrate-rich foods. While we can detect countless flavors — each a combination of taste and aroma –, the standard explanation at the moment is that we can only detect five distinct […]

Star Trek Ships Available As 3D-Print Models


A 3D printing company has signed up the rights to nearly 400 models from the Star Trek universe. Fans will be able to customize and personalize each model. It’s technically a game rather than movie or TV tie-in. The company, Eucl3d specialises in producing physical models of characters and locations from video games and this […]

Morgan Freeman & Star Trek’s LCARS Get New Tech Voice Roles


It’s a great week for celebrity voices. Morgan Freeman has finally come to GPS voice navigation while Star Trek’s LCARS could appear in both the new show and on mobile devices. Freeman’s voice is now available as an option for the spoken directions in Google-owned navigation app Waze. Without explanation, the controls may be a […]

Google Ditches Modular Smartphone


Google has given up on its modular smartphone plans known as Project Ara. The news comes only a few months after it significantly scaled back plans for the devices. The original idea was that the phones would effectively be nothing more than a frame with every major component replaceable and upgradable in a process that […]

OpenOffice May Be Doomed


The people behind OpenOffice say the free software may need to be ditched. A lack of staff working on the project is making it increasingly difficult to be confident about maintaining security in the software. The news comes in an email from Dennis Hamilton, vice president of the Apache group that oversees the software. He […]

Steve Jobs Job Lot On Sale


Dozens of clothing items belonging to Steve Jobs are up for auction. But there’s barely a black turtleneck in sight. The curious collection of lots is being sold by the estate of Jane Fonda, though exactly how they ended up there is uncertain. The standout attraction for collector value is a leather jacket Jobs wore […]

Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet Digitizes Ink Pen & Paper


If you like the idea of a stylus but prefer pen and paper, Lenovo’s latest tablet could be for you. The Yoga Book captures handwritten notes and drawings even through a paper notepad, though has some big limitations. Available in both Android and Windows 10 versions, the device folds out with a screen on one […]

Europe Gets Net Neutrality But With Some Catches


The European Union has published strict guidelines to enforce net neutrality. However, the rules do have exceptions that mean they fall short of a ‘pure’ interpretation of the principle. While the net neutrality debate in the US has been bogged down in arguments about legal authority in the rulemaking process, the EU had already agreed […]

‘Mars Visitors’ Return After Year-Long Mission


Six people have finished a year of isolation designed to replicate life on Mars. The crew have been inside a 36 by 20 foot dome near a Hawaiian volcano. It’s the third and longest such mission following previous experiments lasting four and eight months. While similar studies have concentrated on the long journey inside a […]

John Ellenby, Laptop Pioneer, Dies Aged 75

Astronaut John O. Creighton poses with onboard GRiD Compass computer, displaying a likeness of Mr. Spock of Star Trek, aboard Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-51-G on 18 June 1985.

The man whose company made the first widely-sold laptop has died aged 75. John Ellenby was credited with having a notable ability to turn technology into commercially viable products. Ellenby spent much of the 1970s at Xerox when it was working on the Alto range, generally regarded as the first to use a graphical user […]