The Week: Most Recent Tech Posts recent posts.en-usFri, 24 Oct 2014 11:50:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Tech Posts from THE WEEKFri, 24 Oct 2014 11:50:00 -0400Innovation of the week: A more resilient umbrella<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Design studio Nooka has developed an umbrella called Sa, which uses an origami-inspired design to eliminate the traditional umbrella's canopy wires and replaces them with "a dual canopy that utilizes planar tension," said </span>Liz Stinson at <em>Wired</em>. The result is a "stronger, more resilient" umbrella, with an inner and outer canopy that "expand and contract in unison." The Sa is still in the planning stage; there's a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for manufacturing, and the company hopes to have umbrellas to sell next spring for $69.</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 24 Oct 2014 11:50:00 -0400The women who shaped the computer age<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>One key element of <em>The Innovators</em>, Walter Isaacson's new book on technological history and culture &mdash; and the focus of an upcoming <em>World Science Festival</em> event &mdash; is the unsung contributions that women have been making since the earliest days of computers. The book opens and closes with Ada Lovelace, who channeled her imagination and gift for numbers into a love for "poetical science" (apropos, given that she was the daughter of Lord Byron) and is often recognized as the author of the first computer program.</p><p>The history of women and computers is hard to compile, because many key contributions...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Roxanne PalmerTue, 21 Oct 2014 15:02:00 -0400What big data can tell us about the things we eat<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>GrubHub "is the nation's leading online and mobile food ordering company dedicated to connecting hungry diners with local takeout restaurants," according to itself. In the information age, this means a lot more than making life more convenient for millions of peckish Americans. It means data. Big data.</p><p>Open 24/7, accessing over 30,000 take-out establishments in over 700 cities, and accessible through a quick tap on an app, GrubHub is a company that offers rare insight into the American stomach. While its collection of data will obviously be a boon to any restaurant with a take-out option, its...</p> <a href="">More</a>By James McWilliamsTue, 21 Oct 2014 08:34:00 -0400Rise of the machines<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><strong> How smart are today's computers?<br /></strong>They can tackle increasingly complex tasks with an almost human-like intelligence. Microsoft has developed an Xbox game console that can assess a player's mood by analyzing his or her facial expressions, and in 2011, IBM's Watson supercomputer won <em>Jeopardy</em> &mdash; a quiz show that often requires contestants to interpret humorous plays on words. These developments have brought us closer to the holy grail of computer science: artificial intelligence, or a machine that's capable of thinking for itself, rather than just respond to commands. But what happens if computers...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 18 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0400Innovation of the week: The air conditioner bracelet<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Wristify, a prototype bracelet that delivers thermal pulses to the wrist to raise or lower body temp, "basically puts a personal air conditioner and heater" on your body, said Anthony Domanico at <em>CNET</em>. The wrist is an area of high blood flow, so rapid changes in temperature there "can make you feel several degrees" cooler or warmer. Wristify won't replace ordinary heating and cooling, but if it encourages people to use their ACs a bit less or turn the thermostat one degree lower in winter, the environmental benefits might be big.</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 17 Oct 2014 13:10:00 -0400Innovation of the week: The tire that can't go flat<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Flat tires may soon be a thing of the past, said Stephen Shankland at <em>CNET</em>. At the Paris Motor Show last week, Bridgestone unveiled a prototype of its Air Free tire, which replaces conventional tires' cushion of air with "an array of shock-absorbing resin bands that resemble thick, angled spokes." The outside of the tire, which is completely recyclable, is lined with a replaceable tread made of a thin band of solid rubber. Bridgestone says the current prototype is still "too stiff," which is bad for steering, but it hopes to resolve that issue in testing.</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 10 Oct 2014 12:30:00 -0400Ello isn't the Facebook alternative you were promised<img src="" /></P><p>The remedy for Facebook and Twitter's relentless surveillance is pretty clear: Go elsewhere. But while many sites have tried to become viable contenders for the social media crown, the most <em>alternative </em>of the alternatives have faced one insurmountable challenge: Attracting enough people. If no one's there to hear you tweet, do you make a sound?</p><p>So it should be good news for anti-surveillance advocates that we've at least seen an alternative get a lot of attention. Over the past two weeks, the Vermont-based social networking site Ello has gained thousands of new users daily and has been profiled...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Robert W. GehlWed, 08 Oct 2014 06:11:00 -04009 bizarre and endearing inventions (from 100 years ago)<img src="" /></P><p><strong>1. Electric kitchen table, 1917</strong></p><p ><br /><em >(Popular Mechanics)</em></p><p>Even in the early 20th century, there was still a frightening amount of housework needed to keep the average home running. The "Electrified Kitchen Cabinet" was intended to help the modern housewife solve that problem... in very specific ways. The Kitchen Cabinet could knead bread, chop food, and make ice cream by means of attachable hardware connected to belts and motors. It also had an automatic dishwasher and "a clock to break the circuit and the required moment, so that constant attention to the work in hand is not required."</p><p><br /><br /></p><p><strong>2. The great...</strong></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/therese-oneill" ><span class="byline">Therese Oneill</span></a>Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:40:00 -0400Could earthquake prevention technology save California from the 'Big One'?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p dir="ltr">Over the summer, San Francisco was hit by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, leveling buildings and injuring 172 Bay Area residents. <span id="docs-internal-guid-040cb676-17f0-fa04-1060-cc065dfcd6c6">While most of the internet yukked it up over </span>images of wine stocks spilled on Napa floors, much of the Bay Area breathed a sigh of relief: They'd been spared the big one, again. Unbeknownst to many Bay Area residents, however, researchers at locales like the University of California, Berkeley are experimenting with technology that would provide an early warning system for the next major earthquake. In this case, the technology worked, sounding an alarm just seconds before...</p> <a href="">More</a>By S.E. SmithSat, 04 Oct 2014 11:00:00 -0400Innovation of the week: The perfect light for cyclists<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">A new set of clever bike lights could finally quell the conflict between cyclists and drivers, said Chris Mills at <em>Gizmodo</em>. More illumination often translates into </span><span class="s2">a safer ride for cyclists, since it means they have "a higher chance of being seen &mdash; but it also means a higher chance of a driver with scorched retinas running you down for revenge." Double O bike lights solve this problem by using lower-powered LEDs arranged in a circle. The result is "a comparable amount of light (85 lumens) to most bike lights, but it's diffuse, and therefore non-blinding."</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 03 Oct 2014 10:15:00 -0400