Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, Toshiba Selling Chip Unit

Nuclear power leader Westinghouse Electric Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York yesterday. “The filing comes as the company’s corporate parent, Toshiba of Japan, scrambles to stanch huge losses stemming from Westinghouse’s troubled nuclear construction projects in the American South,” reports The New York Times. Westinghouse has recently been impacted by a slowdown in electricity demand, lower natural gas prices, growth in alternative energy sources, and concerns regarding nuclear safety. Toshiba, which is expecting a net loss of $9.9 billion for the fiscal year, “is also divesting its profitable semiconductor business and plans to sell a stake to an outside investor to raise capital.” Continue reading Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy, Toshiba Selling Chip Unit

Global Tech Firms Wary of China’s Broad Cybersecurity Law

China has adopted a broad and controversial cybersecurity law that places new requirements on tech companies, which foreign businesses fear may be used to negatively affect competition. The law, designed to tighten state control over technology and information while ramping up online security, addresses areas such as data storage, technical support, censorship and government certification of hardware. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The law drew criticism from foreign business groups due to the expansive list of sectors that are defined as part of China’s ‘critical information infrastructure,’ making sectors including telecommunications, energy, transportation, information services and finance subject to security checks.” Continue reading Global Tech Firms Wary of China’s Broad Cybersecurity Law

IEEE Picks Most Interesting Emerging Technologies at CES

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), with more than 430,000 members in over 160 countries, has a pedigree in publishing technical literature and developing international standards. At CES 2016, its members are actively involved in the development and advancement of some of the hottest trends on the show floor. At an end-of-conference session, a group of IEEE members revealed what they found to be the most interesting technologies on display and how they’re working to improve them. Continue reading IEEE Picks Most Interesting Emerging Technologies at CES

Elon Musk Wants to Power the World with New Battery System

Tesla recently unveiled its Tesla Energy system that will initially feature two products: the Powerwall, designed to power homes, and the Powerpack, for businesses and possibly public utilities. The Powerwall rechargeable lithium-ion battery will be available in 7 kWh and 10 kWh models, while the Powerpack will come in 100 kWh battery blocks with a reach of 10 Mwh and higher. Powerwalls have already been available to select customers, and Powerpacks will become available once Tesla’s Gigafactory goes online. Continue reading Elon Musk Wants to Power the World with New Battery System

Breakthrough in AI Technology Mimics Synapses in the Brain

Researchers from Nanyang Technical University in Singapore have developed a microfiber technology that enables them to build brain-like computers. “Photonic synapses” are collections of microfibers that pass electronic signals. The optical fibers can send signals at the speed of light, much faster than the neurons in real brains. This breakthrough could provide a boost to both robotics and AI technology. Improved vehicle control, speech, and search are just some of the possible applications. Continue reading Breakthrough in AI Technology Mimics Synapses in the Brain

ARM’s New Chip for Smartphones Increases Processing Power

ARM Holdings has unveiled a new chip that is expected to drastically improve graphics, finally making smartphones fit for high-definition games and videos. The company says that its Cortex-A72 will boost memory performance by 30 percent and graphics speed by 80 percent. With a more powerful chip, ARM is hoping to continue fostering growth in the smartphone industry. The company is also working on technology for the Internet of Things, including smart home devices and smart street lights. Continue reading ARM’s New Chip for Smartphones Increases Processing Power

OpenSensors.io Lets Anyone Share Data from Smart Devices

As the Internet of Things grows, the creators of OpenSensors.io believe that the public could benefit from sharing data from the many sensors that collect information around the world. OpenSensors is like a social network, where people can publish their data and subscribe to other people’s data. The software brings all of the info together, making it easier to route it to the appropriate locations. The open source nature of the data means anyone could use it for their own research or app. Continue reading OpenSensors.io Lets Anyone Share Data from Smart Devices

36 Million Smart Homes Coming to U.S. and Europe by 2017

Analyst firm Berg Insights forecasts that the number of smart homes in the U.S. and Europe will reach 36 million by 2017, with sales of $9.4 billion per year. The second edition “Smart Homes and Home Automation” report indicates the U.S. had 3.5 million smart homes at the end of 2012. Berg defines smart homes as those with connected products that work in conjunction with apps or a Web portal. However, most of today’s smart homes simply include products such as a Nest thermostat. Continue reading 36 Million Smart Homes Coming to U.S. and Europe by 2017

Verizon Seeing Tremendous Growth in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things produces significant amounts of data from objects embedded with sensors and machine-to-machine communications. According to Verizon’s VP of Connected Solutions Mark Bartolomeo, the Internet of Things is growing over 100 percent a year. Companies are using this technology to improve the management of supply chains, equipment and customer demands. The energy, transportation and digital cities units are the fastest growing sectors in Verizon’s Connected Solutions. Continue reading Verizon Seeing Tremendous Growth in the Internet of Things

New Wireless Earphones Monitor Fitness Without Smartphone

Performance tracking wireless earphones, The Dash, have become one of the most funded Kickstarter projects in history. The company had a target of $260,000, but has so far raised over $3.1 million. The wireless stereo earphones play music via an embedded music player or Bluetooth and offer fitness monitoring. It will track users’ vital signs including heart rate, oxygen saturation and energy spent, as well as movement such as number of steps, speed and distance. Continue reading New Wireless Earphones Monitor Fitness Without Smartphone

Wireless Power: Experiments in Charging Future Mobile Devices

Scientists and engineers are working towards making wireless power possible by harvesting and transforming existing energy from the world around us. Models they have looked at include nanoscale pillars that turn waste heat into electricity and a spongey smartphone case that generates electricity from sitting on a vibrating surface. One source of energy is thermoelectricity, which works by creating electricity from the current created by electrons moving from hot to cold, an approach that may be ideal for humans. Continue reading Wireless Power: Experiments in Charging Future Mobile Devices

K-Glass: South Korea Developing Alternative to Google Glass

South Korean researchers at public university KAIST have developed an alternative to Google Glass called the K-Glass. Although similar to Google’s electronic eyewear, KAIST’s wearable alternative is equipped with a special AR chip that enables the device to recognize objects without relying on barcodes or other markers. While currently bulkier than Glass, KAIST explains that its processor “duplicates the ability of the human brain to process visual data.” Continue reading K-Glass: South Korea Developing Alternative to Google Glass

GoPro Looks Beyond Action Cam to Establishing Media Brand

GoPro has become a leader in small, rugged, low-cost video cameras especially useful for extreme sports, documentaries and reality TV. User-generated content recorded on GoPro cameras has exploded on YouTube and other sites. Millions of professional and amateur users have posted videos online, often proudly labeling content with the term “GoPro,” which has become synonymous with action footage. Now GoPro has plans to become a media company. Continue reading GoPro Looks Beyond Action Cam to Establishing Media Brand

Holodecks Could Become a Reality Within the Next Ten Years

Hollywood, computer companies and video game makers have often pursued interesting ways to bring entertainment closer to reality, a pursuit that may head to the next level with the introduction of holodeck-related technologies. Some scientists and researchers now believe that holodecks, which would allow the audience to become a part of the story rather than just passively sitting back and watching it, could become available in some form by 2024.  Continue reading Holodecks Could Become a Reality Within the Next Ten Years

Internet of Things: Google to Buy Nest Labs for $3.2 Billion

Google is making a run for the connected home. On Monday, the company announced it is acquiring Nest Labs, a maker of smart smoke alarms and thermostats, for $3.2 billion. This is Google’s second largest acquisition to date, behind the 2012 purchase of phone maker Motorola Mobility. Nest Labs is considered a poster child for the Internet of Things movement, a key focus of last week’s CES in Las Vegas, where companies showcased sensor, communication, and computing tech to make everyday life easier.  Continue reading Internet of Things: Google to Buy Nest Labs for $3.2 Billion

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