Scott Boutwell

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Google hooked 14 robot arms together so they can help each other learn

Convolutional neural networks help these machines get an education<p>Researchers at Google are trying to help robots navigate the world as well as humans can, and that means a lot of practice. Research scientist Sergey Levine and his team took fourteen robotic arms, networked them together, and used …

Turning Windows into Solar Panels

National Labs are taking a fresh approach to solar power by harnessing the power of quantum dots.

iOS 7 Running Behind, Rumored to Have Significant Visual Makeover

In a Branch chat, which at the time of this writing is still going on, <i>Daring Fireball's</i> John Gruber says, according to what he's heard, iOS 7 is running behind schedule and that it will bring a significant user interface (UI) refresh.<p>What I've heard: iOS 7 is running behind, and engineers have been …

More on iOS 7, iPhone 5S, and Apple's plans for 2013

MG Siegler instigated an interesting conversation on Branch today when he wondered out loud about Apple's plans for 2013. I've already posted several …

New Tesla sales plan offers the Model S for $500 a month, but only after some extremely creative math (update)

Tesla has seen strong sales of its Model S electric car, but Elon Musk is now hoping to bring in more buyers — and to do so, he's rolling out a new sales plan that promises to give potential owners a Model S for a mere $500 a month. On its face, that's far less than you'd pay for a luxury car …

The European Space Agency Has Made A Snap-Proof Super-Thin Space Tether

Aw, snap!<p>Electric solar sails use long metal tethers that conduct electricity and interact with solar wind ions and propel a spacecraft. Invented in 2006, the technology could allow us to sail through space cheaper and faster than ever before: One day, the European Union's ESAIL project could take …

Gallery: April 2013's Hottest Gadgets

Scientists Build Hollow Virus For Cheaper Vaccines

This foot-and-mouth virus has a stable exterior, but no genetic material in its interior.<p>Call it hollow-hearted. Researchers have built a mimic of the outer capsule of the foot-and-mouth disease virus. Inside, where the virus' genetic material normally lives, is empty.<p>Such synthetic virus-like …

How A Tool For Perfect Human Vision Grew From One Of NASA's Greatest Blunders

Technology used to build NASA’s newest eyes on the heavens will help people see farther and clearer.<p>Since the day the Hubble Space Telescope blinked open and saw a blurry heavens, the world of telescope optics has revolved around double-checking every possible detail. To see clearly, a telescope's …

FBI Wants To Spy On Your Online Chats As They Happen

Technology has moved on, and the FBI wants to be right there, snooping on the latest tech.<p>"Is this conversation unencrypted?" is going to be the new "Are you wearing a wire?"<p>Noting that communication technology has changed faster than the law, FBI general counsel Andrew Weissman said recently that …

Watch This Snake Robot Grip Whatever It Touches

Just stay away from our necks, snake 'bot.<p>We've seen Carnegie Mellon University's modular snake robots before, and it looks like one of them has learned a new trick. Throw it at a tree branch or field goal post or some other cylindrical object, and the 'bot will wrap itself around it, holding on …

Warp Factor

A NASA scientist claims to be on the verge of faster-than-light travel: is he for real?<p>Last September, a few hundred scientists, engineers and space enthusiasts gathered at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Houston for the second public meeting of 100 Year Starship. The group is run by former astronaut …

In A Future Where Newspapers Still Exist, Let's Deliver Them By Drone

Delivering mail with quadcopters may be silly, but the concept is being talked about for real.<p>April Fool's Day sucks, because people on the Internet say things that would be awesome if they were real, and sadly are not. For instance, I would love to be able to search smells. But this idea--which …

Watch This Remote-Controlled Robot Dragonfly Tear Up The Skies

Super-light, flapping-wing flight in any direction<p>There's apparently a niche market in robot dragonflies, what with an Indiegogo project for building them blowing past its $110,000 goal with more than $1.1 million. Now we've got another 'bot entering that field: the Festo BionicOpter, a …

First 3-D Acoustic Cloak Hides Objects From Sonar

It's just simple plastic rings!<p>This plastic ring system doesn't exactly make the eight-centimeter ball inside less noticeable to the eye—but it does make the ball undetectable to sonar at a specific pitch. Spanish scientists have created the first cloaking device to completely shield a 3-D object …

Faster-Than-Light Drive

Instead of using rockets or thrusters, a craft equipped with warp drive would move by distorting space.<p>The warp drive proposed by Miguel Alcubierre would achieve faster-than-light speeds by distorting space-time. The device would generate a field of negative energy that would squeeze or stretch …

Baidu Working On Chinese Version Of Google Glass, Called Baidu Eye

China's biggest internet company attempts another ripoff.<p>Baidu, the kind of bizarro Chinese Google, is rumored to be working on a take on Google's latest creation, Google Glass. According to ChinaDaily, Baidu's "Eye" project will include "an LCD display, voice-controlled image recognition and …

Distant Black Hole Wakes Up To Grab A Light Snack

Later this year, the black hole in our own galaxy will do the same, munching on a passing gas cloud.<p>Astronomers have spotted a black hole wake up from a decades-long nap to munch on a small passing object, maybe a brown dwarf or a super-Jupiter. For astronomers, it's a preview of a similar feeding …

XYZbot's Fritz offers a cheaper robot head, free trips to the uncanny valley (video)

It's been relatively easy to get your hands on an expressive robot face... if you're rich or a scientist, that is. XYZbot would like to give the rest of us a shot by crowdfunding Fritz, an Arduino-powered robot head. The build-it-yourself (and eerily human-proportioned) construction can react to …

Hacker turns Kindle Paperwhite into wireless Raspberry Pi terminal

The Raspberry Pi is all about low-cost computing, which makes this particular hack quite fitting, as it allows you to make a terminal for your lil' Linux machine out of something you may already have at home: a Kindle Paperwhite. Displeased with the glare from his laptop's screen on a sunny day, …

Google Rolls Out Quickoffice for Android and iPhone

Google on Wednesday announced the release of Quickoffice for Android and iPhone, available gratis for all its Apps for Business customers. If you fit the bill, you can download the apps now for free from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.<p>Google’s Quickoffice is meant for business users that have to …

Apple to Begin iPhone Production This Quarter

Apple Inc. plans to begin production of a refreshed iPhone similar in size and shape to its current one in the second quarter of the year, according …

Men's Fashion, Style, Grooming, Fitness, Lifestyle, News & Politics

Review<p>A deep dive on <i>Avengers</i> for those who've seen the movie.<p>By The Editors of GQ4 days agoView More<p>Hair Gods<p>See the Avengers star's new facial hair …