This week marked the return of the Consumer Electronics Show, the world's biggest electronics and technology trade show. Spanning some two million square feet of exhibit space across Las Vegas, CES 2015 brought together thousands of exhibitors and dozens of giants in the tech, automotive, phone, computer, 3D printing, home entertainment, and virtual reality industries.
With so much innovation and just plain fun on display, it can be hard to narrow things down to a top 10 list. But we'll give it a shot with our Top 10 Tech Trends at CES 2015.
With the Orion spacecraft having a successful test flight Friday, when can we expect to see manned trips to Mars?
And if you thought watching a harrowing space survival journey (a la Sandra Bullock in Gravity) was intense, try playing one.
It's only been 9 days since the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed teaser trailer exploded onto the internet, but dedicated fans have already built one of the new, controversial "crossguard lightsabers" using a 3D printer. Check it out below:
Check out Sony's latest marketing stunt showing off their waterproof devices - the Xperia Aquatech Store in Dubai. It's an underwater concept store that requires scuba gear and an invitation to reach.
Awareness or alarmism? Stephen Hawking's recent comment on artificial intelligence potentially leading to the "end of the human race" has stirred debate among AI experts.
In related news, if you have 20 minutes to spare be sure and check out this new TEDx Talk on the wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn.
Work has begun on the European Extremely Large Telescope, an enormous telescope with a 128 ft main mirror that will be able to obtain high-resolution imagery of planetary formation and potentially even detect water and other organic molecules on far off planets.
A fascinating look at how ultrafast cameras that capture 100 billion frames per second will enable us to watch how light moves and may even help us study invisibility cloaks.
And if your mind (and ears) are still swarming with all things Interstellar, be sure and check out this behind the scenes video for the sound of the film.
On Thursday and Friday, Silicon Valley's Singularity University was in Amsterdam for Summit Europe. The two day event centered around the concepts and consequences of exponential technologies. Check out SingularityHub's coverage of the event, including the summit's discussions on robots, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars.
The second phase of Expedition 42 blasted off to the ISS today, carrying commander Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, flight engineer Terry Virts of NASA, and Italian flight engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency. They will be joining their other three crew members already on the ISS. The crew has also put together a humorous poster mimicking The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Check out the first image of Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the iconic role of a T-800 robot for next year's Terminator: Genisys.
Speaking of Terminator, Space X CEO Elon Musk recently said that he's legitimately worried dangerous artificial intelligence (a la Skynet) is only five years away.
A video on the future of sex, courtesy of The Verge.
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A Kickstarter campaign by MegaBots Inc. is hoping to raise $1.8 million towards the creation of a manned robot combat sport. It sounds like science fiction, but as this video shows, these guys are dead serious about their plans to have giant mechs duke it out arena-style.
Responding to Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo test flight crash on Friday that claimed the life of one pilot, Sir Richard Branson wrote "Space is hard - but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together."
NASA has finished construction on the first Orion spacecraft - the spaceship that may one day take us to the Moon, Mars, and asteroids in deep space.
HP is launching the Sprout - a new PC that blends touchscreens, scanners, and a camera in a way you've likely never seen before in a desktop. See the unique computer in action below:
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a new report imploring the world community to phase out fossil fuels by 2100 or risk "severe, pervasive and irreversible" damage to the environment and our civilization. Said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side"
Disney has patented an upcoming search engine that ranks sites on legitimacy rather than on popularity (i.e. illegal streaming sites will no longer be at the top of your search results should you happen to want to watch Star Wars online).
Entertainment Weeklydives into the upcoming Terminator: Genesys film with shocking plot details and a cover featuring Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor and Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese.
The New York Times looks at how slow and expensive America's internet is when compared to other countries. "Downloading a high-definition movie takes about seven seconds in Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Bucharest and Paris, and people pay as little as $30 a month for that connection. In Los Angeles, New York and Washington, downloading the same movie takes 1.4 minutes for people with the fastest Internet available, and they pay $300 a month for the privilege..."
A little late for Halloween, but check out this video below showing the terrifying possibilities of virtual reality horror games:
Google announced ambitious new plans for magnetic, nanoparticle-covered pills that could help detect signs of cancer or an impending heart attack by coursing through a patient's bloodstream. However, significant hurdles remain that must be addressed before such technology becomes medical reality. MIT Technology Review reports: In addition to challenges in delivering the nanoparticles and reading a signal from them, another key question is whether the system will be safe, says MIT professor Robert Langer. Indeed, says John McDonald, a professor at Georgia Tech, “one of the big hurdles we had with magnetic nanoparticles was their toxicity.” McDonald says that “Although anything is possible, I think there may be more effective ways to detect cancer and other diseases at an early stage than the approach envisioned by Google.”
A new study finds dark matter - the mysterious "stuff" estimated to constitute 23% of all the mass and energy in the universe (regular matter makes up only 4%) - is being swallowed up by dark energy (the other 73%). Said researcher David Wands, Director of Portsmouth's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, “This study is about the fundamental properties of space-time. On a cosmic scale, this is about our Universe and its fate. If the dark energy is growing and dark matter is evaporating we will end up with a big, empty, boring Universe with almost nothing in it. Dark matter provides a framework for structures to grow in the Universe. The galaxies we see are built on that scaffolding and what we are seeing here, in these findings, suggests that dark matter is evaporating, slowing that growth of structure.”
Buzz Aldrin returns to Reddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) discussion on colonizing Mars, life on other planets, and collaborating with Snoop Dogg.
A look at some of the therapeutic, educational, cinematic and scientific applications of the virtual reality boom.
James Cameron, meanwhile, isn't all that impressed with virtual reality's potential. "There seems to be a lot of excitement around something that, to me, is a yawn, frankly. The question that always occurred to me is, when is it going to be mature, when is it going to be accepted by the public at large, when are people going to start authoring in VR and what will that be? What will the level of interactivity with the user be other than just ‘I can stand and look around,'" he elaborated, adding: "If you want to move through a virtual reality it’s called a video game, it’s been around forever."
U.S. currency re-imagined to celebrate ideas and accomplishments rather than "codifying myth or legend"
In one of the coolest interactive ads to come around in a long time, Honda's new Civic Type R commercial enables viewers to press the "R" button on the keyboard and switch between two parallel stories - one showing a father picking up his kids from school and the other revealing this dad's night job as a getaway driver. Do yourself a favor and check out the video here.
Robert Downy Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man appearances in other Marvel superhero films could reach "double digits" according to the actor.
The FCC is considering a net neutrality "hybrid" proposal that would allow the agency to control the flow of Internet traffic. The New York Times has more: "But unlike policies previously considered, which treated the entire Internet ecosystem as a single universe, the hybrid proposal would establish a divide between “wholesale” and “retail” transactions. It would apply utilitylike regulation to the wholesale portion, the exchange of data from the content provider to the Internet service provider for passage through to the end consumer. The retail portion, the transaction that sends data through the Internet service provider to the consumer and which allows the consumer to access any legal content on the Internet, would receive a lighter regulatory touch."
Scientists are hoping to extend your dog's life (and one day even your own life) with the anti-aging drug rapamycin.
Hands on with Microsoft's new fitness tracker Band.
Meet the woman who teaches robots the art of learning for a living.
Google has introduced a new email service called Inbox that hopes to ease the clutter and confusion from your regular Gmail account. Facebook also rolled out a new app called "Rooms" which allows users to create mobile forums about any topic you want.
Google's senior vice president Alan Eustace beat Felix Baumgartner's free fall record on Friday, plummeting from the edge of space nearly 26 miles in the air in a custom space suit. Check out a cool video on the jump below:
CVS is the latest company to join the growing list of retailers who will not be accepting the Apple Pay mobile payment system over competing investments in a separate mobile wallet company.
Director Joel Schumacher is reportedly working on a 12-issue comic that will complete the Batman trilogy he began with the camp-tastic Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.
At a MIT talk on Friday, Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk reiterated his warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence, calling it our "biggest existential threat." Said Musk: "I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out."
Banshee Chapter, a 2013 horror film produced by Zachary Quinto, has now been adapted for Oculus Rift - opening the door to a world of frightening possibilities in the future of immersive, virtual reality experiences. Check out a video of the cast and crew talk about the new edition below:
China has launched the first privately funded mission to the moon.
Tech company Dexta Robotics has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new Dexmo glove that uses force feedback to enable users to touch objects in virtual reality.
Former NFL-er, LGBT ally, and creative wordsmith Chris Kluwe takes the "slackjawed pickletits" who support #Gamergate to task for their role defending misogyny and the harassment of women in the video game industry.
Apple will reportedly be relaunching it's newly acquired Beats Music streaming platform as part of iTunes sometime next year.
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Google is planning a massive push into the augmented reality field with a $500 million investment into Magic Leap - a company specializing in "cinematic reality" that claims it can deliver a more realistic 3D experience than Oculus Rift. "On Oculus Rift and pretty much every other virtual and augmented reality experience, what the viewer sees is flat and floating in space at a set distance. What Magic Leap purports to do is make you think you’re seeing a real 3-D object on top of the real world."
The U.S. Air Force's unmanned X-37B space plane returned to earth this week after spending 674 days in orbit. No details on its mission have been released by the military, but conspiracy theories have bounced around ideas ranging from "space bombing" to spying on the Chinese space station. Check out a CNN video on the mysterious craft below:
On Wednesday, Will.i.am unveiled the Puls, a smart 'cuff' that makes phone calls, plays music, and monitors fitness - just don't call it a smartwatch (he said so repeatedly). Microsoft, meanwhile, is also planning on launching a fitness band of its own in the coming weeks.
Tom Hardy is reportedly in the running for the title role in Bryan Singer's upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.
The Telegraph dives into the current age of the cyborg. “This is the frontline of the Human Enhancement Revolution,” wrote the technology author and philosopher Patrick Lin last year. “We now know enough about biology, neuroscience, computing, robotics, and materials to hack the human body.”
Terminator director James Cameron on why he's a proud owner of a 10-year-old flip phone: "Apple has enough people with their devices being tracked by the government. Every place you go with that thing they know exactly where you are. So you want to talk Skynet...Skynet has already won. Everyone is already wired to their computers."
Check out this faux-trailer for WALL-E, if the Pixar classic was a Christopher Nolan film instead (a la Insterstellar):
A mountain-sized comet known as Siding Spring charged past Mars earlier today at 125,000mph, and missed it by a little more than one-third the distance of the Earth to the Moon. Martian rovers were able to capture dramatic photos [such as the one to the right] of the passing comet.