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Hotel smartphone "keys" are a horrible idea

February 27, 2014 8:53 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Comments

One forward-thinking hotel chain wants to replace those easy-to-lose, plastic room keys with a smartphone app. It’s a horrible idea. OK, let’s back up. That chain is Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which is one of the savvier hotel options out there. Starwood is smart about making the most of new and popular technology.

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Tiny camera sees for the blind

February 26, 2014 2:19 pm | by Melissa Fassbender, PD&D Associate Editor | Comments

We have the hardware and software capabilities to develop devices that are approaching the same level as human vision. The devices can recognize objects, scenarios, and context. According to Erez Na'aman, OrCam Technologies vice president of engineering and business development, OrCam took this technology in hand....

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Five messengers beyond WhatsApp

February 26, 2014 8:34 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Comments

Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp has the technology world abuzz about messaging apps. This begs some questions: What are some other messaging apps? What makes them special? And, with standard texting and calling already built into most cell phones, what exactly can fancy messaging apps do for you? 

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Teddy bears or touchscreens? Playthings of the digital age

February 26, 2014 7:26 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Comments

Kids these days play more with tablets and touchscreens than traditional toys, according to a recent survey. The same survey shows this trend is poised to continue— could tech replace toys altogether? The Michael Cohen Group (MCG), child education specialists...

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Wearable technology: 6 effects you never thought of

February 26, 2014 7:11 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Comments

We know that wearables will transform our lives, but how? Giving tech access to workers who can't use handheld devices, living healthier lives, boosting retail shopping and sales, protecting employees, enabling cheating on tests, and revolutionizing both solving and committing crime.

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We don't need "smart" gun control

February 26, 2014 7:01 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

The nation is about to mediate a very serious gun control debate, and it has nothing to do with “assault weapons.” Rather, the advent of “smart” guns could bring about the mandated obsolescence of “dumb” firearms. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) has introduced legislation that would mandate all new guns be “personalized”....

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Lazy kids play with lazy toys

February 26, 2014 6:37 am | by Chris Fox, PD&D Managing Editor | Comments

Hasbro recently announced that it was revamping the Transformer product line. As the popular shape-shifters approach their 30-year anniversary, and will star in yet another movie, the company has enlisted a design and engineering team for an overhaul.

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Answering the reshoring question

February 25, 2014 11:08 am | by Pramod Gupta, Aakash Gupta, Hector Gutierrez, and Patrick Van den Bossche, A.T. Kearney | Comments

The U.S. has become a more attractive destination for manufacturing over the last few years. That’s a fact. And several U.S. companies are indeed bringing back their manufacturing operations. Several others are asking the question: “Should we reshore our activities as well?”

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Only a matter of time till computers know you better than you know yourself

February 25, 2014 11:01 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Comments

We have “smart” phones, watches, homes, cars, and even toothbrushes, and they’re getting smarter by the second. What will artificial intelligence revolutionize next? Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, bets it’ll be the search engine.

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Mandated 'smart' tech could put cars in charge of their drivers

February 25, 2014 6:53 am | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Comments

A new federal mandate could ensure that you’re not the only driver in control of the wheel. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is a big deal. Basically, it enables cars to “talk” to each other and exchange data such as speed and location. That way, if someone were to pull a dangerous maneuver, the cars would “know” and could respond to avoid a collision....

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Why the self-driving car will be the greatest technology of all time (seriously)

February 24, 2014 10:00 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

I am in desperate need of a self-driving car. We’re talking desperate. I would pay a considerable amount of money — in this circumstance not only does the self-driving car exist, it is widely available and I have hit the lottery — for a self-driving car.

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Are electric vehicles worth it?

February 24, 2014 9:16 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Comments

Last year alone, the U.S. sold almost 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles. That’s nearly double the purchase rate of 2012. But as more consumers and experts grow to love EVs, at least as many vehemently hate them. Are electric vehicles a worthwhile investment or just another craze?

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FCC’s re-write of Net Neutrality rules will likely come up short

February 22, 2014 12:30 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

There’s good news on the Net Neutrality front, and then there’s not-so-good news. First, the good news: On Wednesday, February 19, the Federal communications Commission announced it would not challenge the Federal Court’s ruling that vacated the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules and would instead rewrite its rules.

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Star Trek healing devices are coming to your local hospital

February 21, 2014 2:03 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Comments

Maybe we can transport patients with hover-stretchers and flying ambulances, too. Announcements like this are bound to raise a few eyebrows, but we live in a world where 3D-printed hearts and other highly advanced surgical procedures are slowly becoming commonplace.

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Navy's laser weapon is thwarted by Mother Nature

February 21, 2014 8:13 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Sci-Fi geeks rejoice — the U.S. Navy’s shipboard laser weapon will deploy this summer. *Cue John Williams soundtrack* But the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) — while dirt-cheap to operate — is hamstrung by Mother Nature: Inclement weather — plus a host of other conditions — could limit its effectiveness. Bummer....

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