A hacker with a smartphone can unlock your front door [...] Criminals and intelligence agencies grab data from your home thermostat to plan robberies or track your movements. According to computer-security researchers, this is the troubling future of the Internet of Things, the term for an all-connected world where appliances like thermostats, health-tracking wristbands, smart cars and medical devices communicate with people and each other through the Internet. — Al Jazeera
While security is seen as the obvious initial use for Jr., Roambotics has broader plans for the future. Telepresence is one, but the self-directed robot could also be used to spontaneously document social gatherings, or to keep an eye on sick or elderly relatives.
There's also the possibility of using Jr. as a 3D mapping system, effectively turning it into a Google Project Tango camera on wheels. — slashgear.com
There’s no smooth sailing for at least one of Google’s mysterious barges.
Parts of the $4 million boat, located in Portland, Maine, are being sold for scrap, a Google spokesperson has confirmed to Fortune.
Google’s three barges sparked a media storm of inquiries when they first appeared in 2013, raising questions about their purpose. Were they floating data centers? A secret lab to design and launch Google’s next stunning project? — fortune.com
Today, Uber is announcing UberPool, a new feature that will let you pick up other riders on the way to your destination and split the bill.
While the feature should do a lot to cut costs for passengers, not everyone will want to ride with a stranger in addition to the driver picking them up; Uber notes that the new feature also serves as a kind of “social experiment.” [...]
Starting August 15 a public beta will launch in the San Francisco Bay Area. — techcrunch.com
[Traces] helps users bridge the disconnect between their real and digital worlds, in order to tackle anxiety caused by our online lives. Traces is a part messenger, part surprise-gifting service that lets users leave digital messages at physical locations for their friends to pick up with their smartphones when they are at those locations. [...]
The sender can construct a digital gift using any combination of text, images, video, tickets and vouchers. — wired.co.uk
In just a few minutes I was hooked. . . The photos and video were stunning. By assuming unusual vantage points, the drone allowed me to “see” so much more of my surroundings than usual.
[The view] would have otherwise been impossible without the use of a private plane, helicopter, or balloon. With any of those vehicles, I would have needed a telephoto lens, and all of them would have made an unacceptable commotion on the beach. What’s more, I would not have been in the photos! — Martha Stewart
Purveyor of all things "Good", Martha Stewart has added her two color-coded cents to the debate on drones in a nearly gleeful op-ed for TIME magazine. Titled "Why I Love My Drone", Stewart gushes about her new "useful tool" and marvels at how large-scale planning projects like Chateau de...
...University of Washington engineers have designed a new communication system that uses radio frequency signals as a power source and reuses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide Internet connectivity to these devices. Called Wi-Fi backscatter, this technology is the first that can connect battery-free devices to Wi-Fi infrastructure. — ScienceDaily
Elon Musk’s Space Exploration and Technologies Corp. plans to build the world’s first commercial launchpad near Brownsville in South Texas [...]
The state is providing $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to bring an estimated 300 jobs to the launch site, which will bring about $85 million of capital investment into the economy [...]
In the region near the proposed launch site, at Boca Chica Beach in the state’s southernmost tip, two of five residents live in poverty. — businessweek.com
It's that time of year again. The Institution of Structural Engineers revealed the 2014 shortlist for their annual Structural Awards today. The awards recognize achievement, innovation, and excellence in the field of structural engineering in addition to promoting its significant role in the creation of inventive design solutions. — bustler.net
With so many crossovers in private operations, public data, and private uses, our future transit agency would blur the line between public and private sectors in a way we haven’t yet pioneered. The challenge is one of governance, bureaucratic turf, organizational development, planning, and public policy, not simply one of technology. Technology is just a tool, and our human institutions can either make use of it or try to ignore it. — urbanomnibus.net
Enter the UltraRope, a new kind of lift cable developed by Finnish elevator company Kone. Eschewing woven steel cable in favour of carbon fibre, the UltraRope is described as “lift-hoisting technology” [...]. Strong and lightweight, the UltraRope will supposedly allow lifts to travel up to 1km in a single run, double what’s currently possible with a steel cable. The UltraRope is 90% lighter than the equivalent steel cable, thereby reducing the load and enabling far taller continuous runs. — theguardian.com
Quantitative Analysis of NYC Open Data: Every data set that the city releases tells a story. This blog is all about telling those stories, one data set at a time. — iquantny.tumblr.com
Ben Wellington's "I Quant NY" blog is a gem in data-driven journalism's crown. Featuring visualizations of data sets from New York City's remarkable Open Data Portal, the blog covers a wide-variety of civic topics, everything from mapping fire hydrant usage to rate of taxi complaints by...
Amelia Taylor-Hochberg Editorial Manager for Archinect, penned another essay in the "non-conclusive series" AfterShock. Titled Brains and the City, in it she explores a new world of EEG urbanism, GSAPP’s Cloud Lab, brain computer interfaces and human architect-slash-neuroscientist...
A Motor City Mapping app will make it possible for users to snap photos of properties and text them to the public database. (They are trying to brand a new word to describe this process — the awful-sounding “blexting.”) These will be quality-checked before going onto the database, and the hope is that users will participate in training sessions before pointing, clicking and sending. Several “blexting bootcamps,” will be held in coming weeks. — nextcity.org
Until present, we knew of similar patterns created from saline solutions and isolated proteins, but this is the first report that demonstrates how whole bacterial cells can manage the crystallisation of sodium chloride (NaCl) and generate self-organised biosaline structures of a fractal or dendritic appearance. — AlphaGalileo
Recent work by researchers from the Laboratory of BioMineralogy and Astrobiological Research at the University of Valladolid-CSIC, Spain, has discovered that bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate. h/t @Geoff ManaughAlso, previously and related..?
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