Feature

Bytes: What’s new in tech

A new way to play; Vine moves to the Web; NSA researching quantum computer

A new way to playKiss your joystick goodbye, said Jared Newman in Time.com. SteelSeries, a Danish manufacturer of video game peripherals, and Tobii Technology, a Swedish eye-tracking firm, are teaming up to create a gameplay device that would let players control the game based on where they look. While “it’ll be up to game developers to actually support eye tracking,” the new technology could open up vast new gaming possibilities. Imagine “a detective-type game where you’re investigating a crime, and people at the scene will react differently based on how you make eye contact,” or a Superman game that lets players “blast a bad guy with laser vision.” While details, including price and availability, are still unknown, Tobii plans to present the technology to developers in March.

Vine moves to the WebVine isn’t just for smartphones and tablets anymore, said Stephanie Mlot in PCMag.com. The Twitter-owned video service launched its website last week, allowing users to “log in at vine.co to view their friends’ video in the home feed, and like, comment on, and share content just as they would on the mobile apps.” The most impressive new feature might be Vine’s “TV Mode,” which allows users on the social network to play larger versions of their Vine videos. The new Web interface is playing catch-up to rival Instagram, which “rolled out Web profiles in 2012,” although Instagram—which began as mainly a photo-sharing service—just added video recording to its arsenal last year.

NSA researching quantum computerThe National Security Agency is serious about cracking encryption, said Steven Rich and Barton Gellman in The Washington Post. According to new documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the spy agency has been researching the building of a “cryptologically useful quantum computer.” If successful, the project would give the NSA an unprecedented tool that could decode encrypted data in a fraction of the time regular computers need. A powerful quantum computer “could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business, and government records around the world.” But experts say such a breakthrough is not imminent. “I don’t think we’re likely to have the type of quantum computer the NSA wants within at least five years,” said MIT mechanical engineering professor Seth Lloyd.

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