Forget carrying a separate hotspot router to have a local network wherever you go -- what if you were the hotspot? Fashion designer Borre Akkersdijk has come very, very close to making that vision a reality with his experimental BB.Suit. The goofy-looking cotton onesie is knitted using a special 3D technique that leaves space for WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC connections, turning the owner into an access point. Akkersdijk showed off the potential of the suit at South by Southwest, where it became a roving jukebox: attendees could both track it on Google Maps and upload songs through it to create a special playlist.
If you asked the average American what they think about the coming crop of technologies, you'd probably get some generic optimism. According to a recent Pew Research survey found that 59 percent of Americans expected that technology would make our lives better, only 30 percent worried that we'd be worse off because of scientific progress. More than eight in 10 even expect us to be growing replacement organs in labs within the next 50 years. But when dig into specific technologies, opinions start to turn a little more sour.
The AeroPress is a deceptively simple device -- it's basically a coffee syringe. The quick brewing coffee maker sits somewhere between an espresso machine and a French press. You pour hot water over your grounds then force the water through them with a plunger. What makes the AeroPress unique is how quickly it can spit out a high quality cup of Joe. The entire process takes roughly one to two minutes and at the end you've got a heavily concentrated, smooth mug of coffee. But unlike other modern methods for making a hot caffeinated beverage, the AeroPress was dreamed up by an engineer who spent a good chunk of his career making toys and electronics.
Before arriving at the Samsung Innovation Museum, I had an idea of what to expect: the Korean company shoehorning itself into every technological milestone, whether it deserved to or not. Fortunately, the five-storey complex in Suwon's Digital City (that's a nerve center of Samsung Electronics) starts with the advent of electricity and goes from there and any notion that this is a Samsung... thing is when the company starts building electronics itself -- oh and a big helping of those see-thru touchscreen displays boxes... yeah, they were a hint. The museum opens to the public today, but we took an (admittedly on-the-rails) tour with other foreign media last week. Is it worth a trip to Korea? Maybe not, but if you're a tech obsessive already visiting Seoul, it could be worth the trip out to Samsung's Digital City. Be warned: it was mildly educational.
With the advent of touchscreen smartphones, BlackBerry lost its position as king of the mobile world. In response, the company bought QNX and hibernated, plotting a reinvention centered around BlackBerry 10. When the business emerged with the Z10, everyone knew that this was the device that the company's future relied upon -- and we know how that ended up. When we reviewed it, we found that every element of the hardware was solid, adequate and pleasing. Unfortunately for BlackBerry, nothing stood out as being better compared to the devices that launched in its stead, nullifying any attention the handset's big launch had garnered. It's been just over a year since the Z10 launched, so we thought we'd ask all of you what it's been like living with this device. Hop over to the forums and let's chat some BlackBerry.
It's like Sega and Sony all over again. We don't mean the hardware arms race (although that's certainly happening), but how the smartphone world's two top players are now fighting over the most popular games... and their sequels. Gaming is one of the top money-spinning app categories on smartphones and tablets and according to a WSJ report, both Apple and Google are trying to get popular games and their developers on their side. The companies promise headline placement in their respective online stores and prominent ads around the app portal, in exchange for exclusivity, or at least a lead. This was apparently the case for Plants Vs. Zombies 2 last year, where Apple got a two-month lead over the Android version -- and it's not the only one.
What the internet giveth, it also taketh away... and then giveth back again (sort of). Back in January, the script for Quentin Tarantino's next film, a western called the Hateful Eight, showed up online and Defamer drew the web's attention to its presence. In response, the filmmaker sued for copyright infringement and shelved the project. It appears time has caused Tarantino to reconsider that initial reaction, however, as Deadline Hollywood reports that he's simply going to rewrite the ending to the movie and film it next winter. (The lawsuit remains pending, though the parties are currently trying to settle things via court-ordered mediation.)
The BentProp Project has spent years finding American soldiers who went missing in the Pacific during World War II, but available technology has limited its success. Team members have frequently had to scan wide areas themselves, slowing down their efforts to find downed aircraft and unexploded bombs that might hide human remains. However, the outfit's searches have just taken a big step forward after it got cutting-edge drones from both the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Delaware. BentProp can now automate much of its scanning, and CNET notes that the organization's latest expedition found two Navy airplanes. That's a breakthrough for a group that only occasionally makes a big discovery.
It seemed like the inevitable future at the time, we're sure. On April 20th in 1964, Bell Telephone showed off the Mod 1 Picturephone -- a precursor to the Skype and Hangouts video calls that have become a standard but under-utilized feature of modern communications. The demonstration was part of the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, visitors were able to step into a booth and have a conversation with a person thousands of miles away in Disneyland. But instead of just talking into a handset, users sat in front of an oblong device that housed both a video screen and a camera. The service delivered a 30 frame-per-second black-and-white feed to wowed Fair-goers. A few months later, in June of the same year, AT&T took the service commercial.