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Inside FIRST’s scheme to make Android the heart of STEM robotics

Inside FIRST’s scheme to make Android the heart of STEM robotics

For a platform called Android, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long to see it jump into robotics, but if FIRST and Qualcomm have their way a new generation of young people will make it the de-facto standard. FIRST - the organization set up by Dean Kamen of Segway fame “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” - announced back in March it would drop LEGO for Android for one of its robotics tournaments, and while those games don’t start until 2016, I stopped by this year’s FIRST Championship in St. Louis to get a preview of the system.

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Seriously, Google wants to put remotes on your eyes and teeth

Seriously, Google wants to put remotes on your eyes and teeth

A patent revealed this week suggests that not only is Google still working on smart contact lenses, they've got all kinds of body-mountable devices on the books. While we've not heard from Google about this Google X project since March - and even then just inside another patent - it's clear that there's work being done behind the scenes. This particular patent doesn't concentrate so much on the health-monitoring aspects of the lens, instead focusing on the user interface. Instead of working on your glucose, these devices will change the channel on your television.

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For surprise hit Tangerine, iPhone the movie camera of choice

For surprise hit Tangerine, iPhone the movie camera of choice

Necessity is the mother of invention, but moviegoers were still astonished to hear that unexpected Sundance 2015 hit Tangerine was filmed entirely on iPhone. The high-energy, sharply comic, but also touching film wasn’t the first to rely on Apple’s smartphone, but with a theatrical release this week it’s perhaps the highest-profile. After an early screening in San Francisco, I sat down with Tangerine’s writer/director Sean Baker and co-screenwriter Chris Bergoch to find out how the iPhone helped shape a movie that at times can be as challenging to watch as it is rewarding.

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Quo vadis Tablet? The future of mobile slabs

Quo vadis Tablet? The future of mobile slabs

The once well-defined boundaries between computing devices, delineated by form factors, are blurring. PCs are no longer towering boxes but can also be found in something as small as an HDMI dongle. Laptops are no longer just rigid folding portable computers. There are smartphones that can barely fit in your hand, much less your pockets. And tablets, well, they've become less defined these days. They might also be less needed, threatened by phablets on one end and hybrid laptops on the other. Is there a future for tablets? Perhaps, but not without some major changes, particularly in how consumers see them.

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On July 4th, Declare Tech Independence

On July 4th, Declare Tech Independence

July 4th doesn't have to stop at barbecue food and Will Smith kicking extraterrestrial butt: it's a great opportunity to declare tech independence, too. Whether it's free trials that you signed up for and forgot to cancel before they started charging your credit card, an old cellphone plan that's now looking less than competitive, or your unwatched cable box sucking down cash every month in return for a thousand channels you ignore, there are plenty of ways to make today a more rewarding Independence Day.

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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 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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Olympus Air A01 first-impressions: Modular Micro 4/3

Olympus Air A01 first-impressions: Modular Micro 4/3

You’d be forgiven if, after taking a quick glance at Olympus' new Air A01 doohickey, you dismissed it as a lens of some sort. In fact it’s more, much more. Think of the Air A01 as a Micro Four Thirds or Micro 4/3 camera minus the lens and display: ultra portable, allowing you to place or mount it anywhere your creativity takes you, and paired up wirelessly with an iOS or Android device. While add-on cameras are something we’ve already seen from Sony, Kodak, and others, Olympus’ decision to go for interchangeable lenses sets the Air A01 apart; read on for my first impressions.

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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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Deciding on Apple Music: what you need to know

Deciding on Apple Music: what you need to know

This morning we're having a peek at Apple Music in the wild for the first time. While we've gotten an opportunity to use the service earlier this year at Apple's developer conference WWDC, this is the first we're getting to use the service just like everybody else. Our first question is undoubtedly yours, as well: does it make sense for me to give up the streaming music service I already use to start subscribing to Apple Music instead? Deciding whether or not to use the music service built-in to your device as made by its creator is a decision most high-end smartphone users have to make at some point in their lives - why not now?

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