joey river

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UN debates a preemptive ban on killer robots

Killer robots are at the heart of popcorn fare like the <i>Matrix</i> and <i>Terminator</i> movies, but there's a serious debate underlying it all: do we want to trust fully autonomous machines with lethal weapons? Some would argue that it's just too risky, and the United Nations has accordingly held its first …

Oculus denies John Carmack stole VR tech from his former employer

When word came out last week that Oculus VR Chief Technology Officer John Carmack was being accused by his former employer of stealing intellectual property for use in his new gig, the nascent Facebook subsidiary only issued a cursory statement: "It's unfortunate, but when there's this type of …

SunSet Timer for Android: It Does What it Says on the Box

If you’re a stickler for sunsets, you might like SunSet Timer for Android.<p>Using GPS to access your location, thus bypassing the need for an internet connection, SunSet Timer does exactly what it says on the box. Walkers, bikers, runners or, indeed, anyone who needs to be home before it gets dark …

The First Kids Wearable Is Like an Activity-Tracking Tamagotchi

The stroller set is adept at iPhonery, tots have tablets before they’re talking and now wearables come in kid-size. LeapFrog announced LaunchPad, the first activity tracker for kids that will be available for their little wrists by August. Just like mommy’s!<p>Yes and no — this isn’t <i>exactly</i> mama’s …

Japan wants to build a space-based solar energy farm

A new proposal from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) lays out a plan that would solve the country’s energy woes for decades to come.<p>The power source? A series of platforms launched into orbit around the planet to collect solar energy. Yeah, that’s right — a space-based solar energy …

Mobile speech recognition can give thumbs a rest

It's common knowledge that you can use your voice to get information from your phone. From the weather forecast to local restaurants to actress Kristen Bell's height (5-foot-1), iPhones and Android phones will either show you or tell you what you want to know. Whenever someone in my family asks a …

Kristen Bell