Amazon Adds Video With New Echo Show Virtual Assistant

The latest version of Amazon’s Echo will have a seven inch touchscreen that can double up as a videophone. The addition of a screen on the $230 device fulfils three main roles. The first is to give a visual element to the Alexa assistant while retaining the hands-free convenience. For example, as well as getting […]

Spray Paint Turns ANYTHING Into a Touchpad

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they can turn virtually anything into a computer touchpad by using a conductive spray paint. The technology is simply a more ambitious implementation of how touchscreens already work. While older ‘resistive’ screens worked by the user physically pressing down a screen until it contacted a second layer beneath, modern capacitive […]

Having A Landline No Longer The Norm In US

Most American homes don’t have a landline telephone according to newly published figures. Young adults and renters are the most likely to be cell-phone only. The figures come from the National Center for Health Statistics. Twice a year it carries out a wide-ranging survey of around 20,000 households on health issues and asks for a […]

NASA Wants Help With Aircraft Code

NASA is offering a prize to coders who can help speed up the supercomputer software used to improve aircraft performance. You’ll need to be a US citizen and able to work with Modern Fortran. While many people think of NASA as being a space organization, it also works on aeronautics closer to home. This includes […]

Elon Musk’s Underground Road Network Officially Boring

Elon Musk wants a network of subterranean city tunnels carrying cars around at 130 miles per hour. But the project is moving ahead about as quickly as a pet snail he cited. Late last year he tweeted “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” For […]

Man Plays a Dangerous Game of “Five Finger Fillet” With a Knife-Handling Robot [Video]

The robot might not be as complex as Bishop from Alien, but fortunately for the man lending his hand for the experiment, he’s just as agile. Five finger fillet with Staubli TX40 robot speeding up for the second pass. A demonstration of confidence in Staubli speed and precision (and my programming!) by my next door […]

Verizon Launches ‘Gigabit’ Internet

Verizon is to offer a Gigabit internet service for the first time, albeit in a limited range of places and not quite at the implied speed. The service is an upgrade to the existing Verizon Fios ‘Instant Internet’ offering of 750 Mbps for both uploads and downloads. The new deal will be available to the […]

Robert Taylor, Internet Pioneer, RIP

A man who played a key role in the development of the Internet has died. Robert Taylor, who arguably conceived ARPANET, was 85. Taylor brought together two sets of existing work and ideas at ARPANET, a network at the US Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. The idea of a computer network joining together multiple […]

Museum Displays Thousand-Year GIF

A Finnish museum plans to display an animated GIF for the next thousand years. Its title, As Long As Possible, acknowledges that may be a stretch. The GIF at Kiasma’s Museum of Contemporary Art is the work of artist Juha van Ingen and is designed to celebrate both the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence and […]

Space Flight Boss: No Bathroom On Board

The boss of a planned space tourism service says there’ll be no toilets or sick bags on the flight. But Jeff Bezos says neither should be needed. Bezos, who made his fortune from Amazon, now runs Blue Origin. It plans to run flights for six passengers that cross the Karman line that lies around 62 […]

Cellphone Voice Call Ban Continues For US Flights

The FCC looks set to continue a ban on voice calls by cellphone users on planes. The commission had previously considered dropping the ban on the grounds it was outdated and increased costs for passengers. Chairman Ajit Pai has formerly proposed ditching a 2013 plan to eventually allow cellphone calls. That proposal will need a […]

Apple Dubbed Most Accurate For Battery Life Claims

A consumer group says many laptops it tested had battery lives around half those advertised by manufacturers. The difference may well come down to “real world” use vs generous lab testing conditions. Which?, a UK group similar to the US’s Consumer Reports, gathered together data from its tests of 67 models over the past year. […]