This morning, Mattel announced a partnership with Google to upgrade the classic toy View-Master, which was first introduced at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. The new and improved View-Master viewer will run on the Google Cardboard platform, with special virtual reality and augmented reality content created for kids and families. The team says it will work with any phone and on any operating system. The device was made to accommodate the larger devices currently on the market (like iPhone 6+ and Nexus 7), and adjustments will center and fit smaller smartphones.
We're surrounded by eavesdroppers these days--and I don't mean the NSA tapping phones. Our electronic gadgets and gizmos increasingly try to cater to our every whim, including those expressed by voice. It makes sense: Talking is a natural way for people to communicate. A big downside is that electronics have far more indelible memories than people do--and those memories can easily be, and often are, shared far beyond their intended targets.
“He clicks with his tongue as a way of understanding where he is in space. This is basically what bats do.” That's how the science podcast Invisibilia recently described Daniel Kish, a blind man who taught himself how to navigate by echolocation. But their description slightly misses the mark. While both humans and bats can paint visual landscapes from echoes, the pointy-eared flyers possess a stark advantage: ultrasonic sound.
What if you could replenish your phone's battery while you were nowhere near the electrical grid? Sure, there are plenty of external power packs that will do this kind of thing, but what if you also didn't need to recharge those from the grid? Then you'd have the crowdfunded Kraftwerk, a clever charging device that draws its power from gas instead.
To hear biohacker Hannes Sjoblad talk about it, getting a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip installed under your skin is like an inoculation against obsolescence. As seen in a short video from the BBC, workers in a Swedish office complex called Epicenter get around using the small chips embedded within their hands. The tradeoff is very direct: ease of use at the expense of personal information.
The Internet's already inextricably intertwined with our everyday lives, and it's only going to become more and more prevalent as the so-called "Internet of Things" takes off. Everything from wearables to home appliances to medical devices are going to be connected to the net, and the U.S.'s Federal Trade Commission wants manufacturers to make sure that the security and privacy of consumers is paramount.