Author Archives: Chris Davies

Writing for R3 Media since 2006, Chris Davies is currently executive editor for SlashGear and Android Community. Based in San Francisco, he's responsible for SlashGear's editorial decisions and covers all forms of consumer technology. You can follow him on Twitter.

Netatmo Welcome Review – Nest Cam’s face-recognizing rival

Netatmo Welcome Review – Nest Cam’s face-recognizing rival

If a smart home is truly smart, it should know who’s inside it. That’s the argument Netatmo makes with its new Welcome camera, promising Dropcam-style streaming video but combined with facial-recognition. At $199 it matches Nest Cam’s sticker, but without the need to cough up for the cloud if you want to look back through captured footage, and Netatmo says its person-spotting skills should cut the number of false-alarms down, too. I put on my most welcoming expression to see if the learning camera would find me memorable.

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2016 Scion iM first-drive – Goodbye xB, hello maturity

2016 Scion iM first-drive – Goodbye xB, hello maturity

Scion made its name with a bizarre hatchback, the xB, and is hoping to revive its fortunes with the 2016 iM. Targeting fun-seeking but cash-poor Millennials with a sub-$20k sticker price and lashings of standard kit, the iM not only courts those who might covet a Golf or a Mazda 3, but drivers that might otherwise be looking to a four-year-old used car instead of something new off the forecourt. Times are tough, though, and so rather than cook up a new car from scratch, Scion has followed the same approach that netted the perky FR-S roadster for its range and based the iM on an existing design.

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3D printed seahorse tails inspire tougher robots

3D printed seahorse tails inspire tougher robots

Seahorses might not seem the ideal animal to inspire tough new robots, but torture-testing of 3D tail models suggests the whimsical creatures may be hardier than we think. Unlike most animal tails, which are circular in cross-section, seahorse tails are formed from square prisms, each surrounded by bony plates and interconnected by joints. Turns out, that unusual structure has some big advantages, which could lead to sturdy yet flexible search-and-rescue robots, or even new types of body-armor.

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Popular Reddit forums go private as civil war simmers [Update]

Popular Reddit forums go private as civil war simmers [Update]

All is not well in Reddit land, with the surprise ousting of a moderator prompting some of the most popular forums to disappear themselves from public view. The furore - which has seen subreddits including "funny", "science", "gaming", and "jokes" all set themselves to private and, therefore, be effectively invisible to anybody but moderators and pre-approved members - began as mods hit back at Reddit's administrators, angry at how the person in charge of "Ask Me Anything" (aka AMAs) had been let go from the site.

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2016 Scion iA first-drive – Slack-jawed sedan with Mazda zoom

2016 Scion iA first-drive – Slack-jawed sedan with Mazda zoom

Scion has decided the 18-35 demographic it’s desperate to attract to is in need of an aspirational sports sedan, and the 2016 Scion iA is the result. Mouth of a guppy, mechanics of a Mazda, and price tag of something several years old and with at least one other owners’ name on the title, the iA isn’t lacking in ambition, certainly, and neither has it spared the spec-sheet. All the same, the controversial looks and dinky engine could spoil the show, though Scion has reached high for things like safety tech.

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Toyota’s crazy tilting EV underlines what’s wrong with US cities

Toyota’s crazy tilting EV underlines what’s wrong with US cities

"You're not going to topple over," I overhear a patient Toyota rep explaining to a nervous i-ROAD test-driver, "just have fun." Two minutes later, that same anxious pilot is throwing the tilting trike around a fiercely twisting course of cones with gleeful abandon, the electric motor whirring eagerly while the front wheels hinge up and down like the claws of a praying mantis. A bright pink praying mantis, at that. Smiles-per-mile, then, the i-ROAD is ahead of the pack even given its minimal 30 mile range. Problem is, it's not individual drivers that Toyota has to convince.

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Jaunt Neo VR camera promises pro-quality 360 video

Jaunt Neo VR camera promises pro-quality 360 video

360-degree video may be the future of immersive entertainment but first you need the camera to record it on, and that's what Jaunt is promising with Neo. The fifth-generation of the virtual reality studio's multi-camera rig, and the culmination of two and a half years of development and testing, Neo resembles a flying saucer studded with lenses, and is intended to capture not only what's going on around the scene, but above and below it, too.

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Facebook couldn’t buy Snapchat, so it’s “borrowing” its features

Facebook couldn’t buy Snapchat, so it’s “borrowing” its features

If at first you don't acquire, emulate. Having been spurned by Snapchat, Facebook has instead borrowed the photo editing features from the short-lived picture messaging service. The new photo uploader, complete with various text overlays, stickers, and filters, was revealed earlier today and spawned instant comparisons with how Snapchat offers simple graphical tweaks to its self-destructing pictures. If Facebook's track record tells us anything, however, it's that a positive reception to its changes is anything but guaranteed.

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Top Gun 2 to pit drones against Cruise’s Maverick

Top Gun 2 to pit drones against Cruise’s Maverick

When you green-light a sequel to a classic like Top Gun you need more than just topless sweaty men playing volleyball, so Tom Cruise is set to battle drones. Cruise will reprise his role as Maverick, movie producer David Ellison confirmed at a Terminator: Genisys press conference this week but, just as air warfare has evolved in the almost three decades since Top Gun was released, so the challenges of human pilots facing replacement by remotely-controlled or even autonomous craft will be explored in the new film.

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SpaceX explosion leaves NASA reliant on Russian resupply

SpaceX explosion leaves NASA reliant on Russian resupply

With SpaceX's CRS-7 rocket in pieces and future launches grounded until the cause of Sunday's explosion is identified, the ISS is again dependent on Russia for supplies. Although the astronauts currently on the International Space Station have food, water, and other essentials in their orbiting stock cupboard to last them through October 2015, NASA says, it's still vital that the ISS Progress 60 rocket makes it up in one piece when it lifts off this coming Friday.

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