Panasonic Will Market First Li-Ion Storage Battery for Home Use in 2011

The battery could power zero-emissions homes

Bringing power storage to the people, Panasonic will bring a home-use lithium-ion storage cell to market in fiscal 2011, making it possible for homes to store a week's worth of electricity for later use. Panasonic -- along with the recently acquired Sanyo -- have already test-manufactured such a battery, which could allow for more widespread deployment of eco-friendly but inconsistent modes of power generation.

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President Obama Hopes to Jumpstart Science and Technology Education With New Initiative

Through Educate to Innovate, the White House hopes to return American science and technology learning to prominence

Educate to Innovate:
Elmo and Big Bird may represent old school learning compared to video games, but both Sesame Street and video game programmers have joined forces as part of a new White House initiative aimed at promoting science, engineering and math both in and out of the classroom.

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New Neurological Evidence That the Internet Makes People Smarter

Your grandma might think that the Internet is rotting your brain, but it's possible if she did a little face-time with Google that she could stay sharper in the noggin herself. In a new study, Internet novices who were instructed to search the web showed increased activity in areas of the brain associated with making decisions and memory in just two weeks, according to a poster presented today at the annual Society for Neuroscience conference.

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Our Favorite Top-of-the-Food-Chain Tech

Almost every day, we see so-called "upgrades" to technologies that really don't need the extra attention. Plenty of everyday gadgets haven't changed much since they were introduced or invented, because, well, they work just fine the way they are. And trying to improve on something that's already at the top of the food chain is a) a waste of time and b) likely to just make it worse for the wear. Companies need to face facts: there are technologies (like these five) that are practically perfect just as they are.

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Ever Wonder What Every Space Mission From the Last 50 Years Looks Like on One Map?

A Visual History of Space Exploration:  National Geographic
Well, here it is. National Geographic has plotted the route of every space mission carried out over the last 50 years onto a map of the solar system, giving a nice visual look at the history of space travel.

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Tiny Fire Spy Recon Bot Lets Firefighters See Inside The Blaze

If knowing is half the battle, then firefighters waging war on a blaze start at a serious disadvantage. A lack of information concerning what’s going on inside a fire means firefighting personnel often must speculate which way the fire is moving, where the hottest spots are, and most importantly, where people might be trapped by the flames. The Fire Spy Robot hopes to tip the scales back in firefighters’ favor by providing valuable intel from inside infernos even while helping to extinguish them.

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In The Future, All Our Pop Idols Will Be Machines

Performing live at CEATEC, everyone's favorite catwalk model bot has been loaded with Vocaloid software (Rin), enabling her to croon sweet pop songs.

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IBM Creates DNA-Sequencing Microchips In Race To The $1000 Genome

Like many other aspects of health care, the implementation of personal genetic medicine has run aground against the costs of producing an entire genome. Even now, a decade after the completion of the Human Genome Project, commercial whole genome sequencing can cost as much as $100,000. And at that price, the sequencing just isn't worth the benefits.

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Genetically Engineered Bacteria To Mine For Gold

While the term "gold prospector" still evokes the image of a weathered frontiersman biting into a rock, advances in biology have now created a prospector that more closely resembles E. coli than a grizzled Forty-Niner. By modifying a bacterium that finds gold toxic, Frank Reith, a geologist at the University of Adelaide, Australia, has created a microbe with an eye for gold that would put Deadwood's George Hearst to shame.

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Intel's New Light Peak Cable Transfers 10 Gb/S, Puts USB To Shame

Despite the fact that optical cables transmit data far faster than copper wire, wire is still the primary medium for communication on computer chips, and between computers and devices through USB cables. But Intel hopes to change all that soon with their new Light Peak connection system.

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Polaris Phone Rolls Self to Charger, Keeps an Eye on Users' Behavior

Sure, your iPhone may play games, tell you where to eat, and surf the Internet, but can it tell you what you did the other day and how to do it better? Enter the Polaris phone, a new system designed by the giant mobile phone company KDDI and Japan's Flower Robotics.

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Hands-On Preview: Canon 7D Blends Pro-Level Photo Features With More HD Video Options

Canon EOS 7D:  John Mahoney
Although Nikon was the first to market with HD capture for its DSLRs, Canon has arguably pushed things further forward with the full-frame, 1080p-capable 5D Mark II and sub-$1,000 Rebel T1i. The brand new 7D is the next step--enhancing the movie mode with video geeks' most wanted features, while at the same time integrating features from their top-end 1Ds Mark III family, giving would-be photo pros plenty to covet.

Is this the camera that finally puts the semi-pro digital camcorder firmly in its grave?

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Smart Glove Turns Hand-Waving Into Text

Is that person gesticulating on the street corner insane? Or just an early adopter of the latest interface tech?

Neuroscientists have developed a fingerless glove that automatically translates hand motions into text by way of electrode sensors. Michael Linderman and his colleagues published the results of the first phase of their research project in last Wednesday's PLoS ONE. In this phase, six volunteers, using a digital pen, wrote the numerals 0 to 9 fifty times while wearing the prototype glove, which recorded the electrical activity of eight muscles in their hand and forearms.

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Ant-Sized Microbots Travel in Swarms

I-SWARM Microbot:  Edqvist, et al. via PhysOrg
While Hollywood focuses on robots several times taller than humans, some researchers are building tiny robots that could fit on your fingernail. These microbots would work in swarms to collect data for a variety of applications, such as surveillance, micromanufacturing, and medicine.

The researchers, from institutes in Sweden, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, use a novel approach to allow robots to be built cheaply and in large quantities. Working on a limited budget, they built an entire robot on a single circuit board.

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How About Cash for Tech Clunkers?

This week, Uncle Sam's gas-guzzler gold rush was officially put to sleep. With some 800,000 fuel-efficient cars sold in the months of July and August, you'd be hard pressed not to call it a success. I don't own a car myself, and so the hysteria surrounding Cash for Clunkers was lost on me. But it did get me thinking about all the clunkers I do have in my life: my aging, decrepit tech.

I've got an old 12-inch Powerbook that can barely play online video and is incapable of running Snow Leopard. I've got an almost two-year old LG Voyager phone that only half works. I've got a functioning digital camera going unused, a dead iPod, and drawers full of old chargers and cables. Why can't I score some government cheese for this old crap?

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