IBM seeks the secrets to the science of scent Imagine the ability to completely disguise offensive flavors in healthy foods, or negate the familiar bathroom smell that wafts through airplanes. Kush Varsheny, a researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, and his brother Lav have just published an intriguing description of device that might be able to do that. After accurately sensing the current odor landscape, this device would first calculate, and then dispense, the appropriate counter mixture to fully cancel it. The idea hinges on a concept which has recently come to be known as olfactory white. The main idea behind it is that as additional equal-intensity odors are added to any already sufficiently diverse mixture, the perceived smell of different mixtures tends to become the same. By analogy to other sensory systems, we get the visual perception of the color white when those criteria are met for […]

Global Web Crackdown Arrests 17, Seizes Hundreds Of Dark Net Domains When “Operation Onymous” first came to light yesterday, it looked like a targeted strike against a few high value targets in the Dark Web drug trade. Now the full scope of that international law enforcement crackdown has been revealed, and it’s a scorched-earth purge of the Internet underground. On Friday, the European police agency Europol along with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security announced that the operation has now arrested 17 people in as many countries and seized hundreds of Dark Web domains associated with well over a dozen black market websites. In addition to the takedowns of drug markets Silk Road 2, Cloud 9 and Hydra revealed Thursday, it’s also busted contraband markets like Pandora, Blue Sky, Topix, Flugsvamp, Cannabis Road, and Black Market. Other takedown targets included money laundering sites like Cash Machine, Cash Flow, Golden […]

Google’s Vision for 2015: Content, Mobile, and Beyond If you’re looking for a crystal ball to tell you what’s in store for the digital space in 2015, this is as close as it gets: A Google insider has given the world a road map. Senior Vice President of Americas Sales, Dennis Woodside, recently discussed a myriad of changes the company is expecting in 2015, and ways in which we can all prepare and benefit. Woodside covered everything from mobile payments to real-time everything. His ideas are insightful, educated, and likely very close to the truth. Read some of these visions below and start prepping for the future. The Endless Consumption of Media There will be no end in sight in the coming year to the amount of content each individual will consume. In Woodside’s words, “Today, we live in a world of engagement. People don’t want to be bludgeoned with […]

HP Sprout Bundles 3D Scanner, 3D Projector, And Touch-Sensitive Work Mat In An Entirely Fresh Take On The All-In-One Computer HP Sprout is a desktop PC in all-in-one form factor.  That’s not what makes it interesting.  Instead, it’s unique in that it integrates a 3D scanner, a 3D projector, and a touch sensitive 20-inch mat right in front of the display that allows users to interact with digital objects in a physical manner. What can it do?  You can use the 3D scanner to create a 3D model of any object you place in the mat, as well as manipulate the model by using your hands.  It can also project interactive virtual items onto the mat, such as keyboards and game controllers, as well as turn it into a second screen as an extension of whatever application is running (you can, for instance, drag an object from the main screen […]

Aloe Blacc: Streaming Services Need to Pay Songwriters Fairly I am many things: a singer, a musician, a businessman, and a philanthropist. But above all, I am a songwriter. At our core, songwriters are creators. We challenge ourselves and others to reflect on the world around us. And the work we produce has power—power to capture people’s emotions and imaginations like few other art forms, power to transcend traditional barriers of age, language and culture, and power to transform a conversation and generate positive social change. But does our work as songwriters have value? Coming from someone who has spent his life working hard to master his craft in order to touch the lives of others, that may seem like an absurd question. But in today’s rapidly changing music marketplace, the answer is increasingly unclear. Just this week, Taylor Swift removed her music from Spotify—not because she doesn’t want you […]

Google’s Quest to Write the Rulebook for Interactive Design Google’s new design language, material design, makes its debut this week in Lollipop, the latest version of Android. It brings a bright new look to phones and tablets. But to hear Google’s designers explain it, material design is something far more ambitious than a new coat of pixels. By combining relevant rules from the world of graphic design with new ideas about interfaces and input, Google is aiming to establish some best practices for the fledgling field of interactive design at large. Material design is a few things. It’s a makeover—a “sweeping, well-reasoned, and often beautiful redesign” as we said earlier this year. It’s a new way of understanding user interfaces, in which UI elements get stacked like physical objects in three-dimensional space. And it’s a bid to unify Mountain View’s products across platforms and devices, a modular design language built […]

Would You Pay for an Ad-Free YouTube? The sky is blue, grass is green, water is wet, and YouTube is free. For many, many years we’ve all lived in a world where one can just go to a website and watch billions of hours of video – for free. I don’t think it’s Google fawning to say that YouTube, and its open, unrestricted video database, is one of the most important and influential entities of the internet age. The free, ad-supported model that YouTube has employed for years has worked – in that YouTube is the biggest video site in the world. Most internet users have simply accepted that, in order to watch videos on YouTube, you’re going to have to sit through an ad. It might be 30 seconds, it might be 15. YouTube might even let you skip it after five seconds. But chances are, you’re going to […]

4-Acre Spider Web Engulfs Building How many spiders does it take to creep you out? 10? 100? How many spiders make an “extreme spider situation”? The Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant put out a call for “extreme spider” help in 2009, when a giant spiderweb covered almost 4 acres of their facility. Scientists eventually estimated over 107 million spiders were living in the structure, with densities of 35,176 spiders per m³ in spots.  An Immense Concentration of Orb-Weaving Spiders With Communal Webbing in a Man-Made Structural Habitat (Arachnida: Araneae: Tetragnathidae, Araneidae). American Entomologist, 56 (3), 146-156. The “immense” in their title doesn’t really begin to cover it. From the paper: “We were unprepared for the sheer scale of the spider population and the extraordinary masses of both three dimensional and sheet-like webbing that blanketed much of the facility’s cavernous interior. Far greater in magnitude than any previously recorded aggregation of orb-weavers, the visual impact […]

Gadget Competitions, Gadget of the Week $50 Winner and Coolest Gadget of the Week are… by Al The winner of last week’s coolest gadget competition is the Magic wand remote. If you’re bored of the same old TV remote, why not ditch it for this magic wand remote. Use flicks of your wrist to change the channel and big sweeping moves to record your favourite TV show. The wand will learn up to 13 commands from your old remote and you can choose which moves control each command, making your remote un-hijackable! It will also work on your Sky box, stereo or any other infra-red device. Congrats again to Decide What to Buy. In second place we have the Walkie Talkie Watches. The first thing we thought was “a walkie talkie in a watch? That’ll be poo! It will have no range, eat batteries, have no functions and be seriously […]

Google Smart Contact Lens Lets Diabetes Patients Monitor Their Glucose Levels By The Second A smart contact lens does seem like the logical evolution of eye-mounted wearable gadgets — why look like a weirdo with Google Glass on your face when you can do everything on the sly? And while Google’s new Smart Contact Lens doesn’t exactly come with Glass’ functionality (cramming that much hardware into a piece of plastic that fits over your cornea probably isn’t feasible at this point in time), it does provide a glimpse into smart eyewear’s potential future. Aimed at diabetics, the contact lens allows wearers to constantly monitor their glucose levels. It can take as frequent as one reading per second, ensuring users get up-to-date information that can prove crucial to their well-being. The Google Smart Contact Lens performs its feat using a wireless chip and a miniature glucose sensor that takes it measurements […]

Want To Build A PC With 22 Hard Drives? Now You Can With The ASRock X99 Extreme11 Whatever weird, specific requirements you have for the next PC you’re building, chances are, there’s a part in the market that can accommodate even your most inane ideas.  Yes, even if that idea involved housing 22 different drives inside a single PC case.  If that’s what your heart dictates, simply include this ASRock X99 Extreme11 in the next month’s shopping list and you’ll be set. That’s right, a whopping 22 drives on a single board.  We’re not sure what kind of case you’ll need to house such a massive collection of rectangular slabs (maybe a desk PC?), but this is the motherboard that will let you put together a single computer that just happens to be a veritable, self-contained data center. Of those 22 ports on the ASRock X99 Extreme11, eight are SAS-3 […]

Android alternatives to the Apple iPhone 6 If you’re thinking about preordering the iPhone 6, first check out what’s on deck from its Android competiton. Thinking about preordering the iPhone 6? Try looking into these handsets first.  As the dust begins to settle from Apple’s event earlier this week, and preorders for the iPhone 6 (as well as its larger counterpart the iPhone 6 Plus) kick off this Friday, it may appear as if the tech giant’s new marquee handsets are the only phones worth considering. But for those who are on the fence about the devices, the smartphone market has tons of viable alternatives available now. These phones do most of the same things the new iPhones do (if not more), and there are a number of other handsets with big potential that are coming down the pipeline too. For more information about these phones, check out our breakdown […]

3D Robotics IRIS+ Drone Can Navigate And Record Subjects All On Its Own There’s no shortage of drones available in the market for aerial photography and videography.  When it comes to ease of use, though, it’s going to be tough to find one as newbie-friendly as the IRIS+. Made by 3D Robotics, it’s an erstwhile regular quadcopter drone, similar to the ones from Parrot and the dozen or so consumer drone manufacturers in the market.  Except it’s designed to eliminate the skills barrier, giving everyone, from tech-averse grandmas to clumsy kids, the chance to use a drone for aerial photography without watching their money crash into a useless pile of junk. The 3D Robotics IRIS+ comes with an integrated GoPro mount, so you can simply slap on an action cam without having to set up anything else.  Capable of detecting when it’s flown out of range or running out of […]

The Tulip Bath/Shower In a small bathroom there’s always a problem with space and the Tulip Bath/Shower designed by Piotr Pyrtek provides the solution. Saving space is not its only feature, having a number of characteristics that qualifies it as a luxury item, like underwater jets or massage programs. READ MORE

Ethernet is coming to cars More like this The next wave of cars may use Ethernet Virtual model car wireless internet security Once your car’s connected to the Internet, who guards your privacy? Researchers to name the most hackable cars at Black Hat One of the top microchip suppliers for the auto industry has announced its first automotive-grade Ethernet chipset and software, paving the way for car makers to install 100Mbps networks in vehicles. Data integration is often underestimated and poorly implemented, taking time and resources. Yet it Learn More The new processors from Freescale will connect in-car electronics and Wi-Fi routers over standard two-wire twisted pair cable, not CAT 5, making it robust enough to serve as a networking topology for vehicles. A move toward Ethernet reflects the fact that in-vehicle electronics are becoming more sophisticated to support autonomous driving, exterior and interior cameras, embedded displays and infotainment systems. […]