Autism meets geeks

Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen thinks scientists and engineers could be more likely to have a child with autism. Some researchers say the proof isn’t there. Lizzie Buchen In the opening scene of The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg portrays a cold Mark Zuckerberg getting dumped by his girlfriend, who is exasperated by the future Facebook founder’s socially … Continue reading

Why Foxconn’s iPad Deal is Wrong for Brazil

Brasilia’s Unhealthy Obsession With High-End Technology Ronaldo Lemos On October 13, after months of erratic negotiations, Brasilia finally reached an agreement with Foxconn, the largest global manufacturer of electronic components, to build iPads in Brazil. Production is now set to begin in December, backed by a $12 billion investment drawn in part from Brazil’s national … Continue reading

Memory Trick Could Speed Up the Web

Storing information on volatile memory instead of hard disks could vastly speed up computing, researchers say. Neil Savage Computer researchers at Stanford want to throw away the hard disk and store information in data centers in random access memory, the more expensive temporary storage that makes programs run faster. Today’s hard disks can hold roughly … Continue reading

Get Ready for a New Human Species

Now that we can rewrite the code of life, Darwinian evolution can’t stop us, says investor Juan Enriquez. Emily Singer The ability to engineer life is going to spark a revolution that will dwarf the industrial and digital revolutions, says Juan Enriquez, a writer, investor, and managing director of Excel Venture Management. Thanks to new … Continue reading

Cell phones and cancer

John Timmer Despite numerous studies indicating that cell phones pose no health risk to their users, a few studies have been released that suggest prolonged use might contribute to brain cancer. For the World Health Organization, that was enough to declare the phones "possibly carcinogenic" and to call for further studies on the link. At … Continue reading

Camera lets you focus after you take a picture

Chris Foresman Imaging scientist Ren Ng’s years of research into capturing "light fields" using increasingly high-resolution digital imaging sensors have finally come to fruition. Ng’s company, Lytro, unveiled its first consumer product on Wednesday—a digital camera capable of capturing "living images" that can be infinitely refocused after capture. While the new camera is designed to … Continue reading

You Are What You Meme

What Maru the cat says about us. Sam Leith Videos of Maru the cat have been viewed more than 1 million times Have you met Maru? No? Maru is a cat. A cute cat. Is there anything special about Maru, apart from the cuteness, which, if we’re honest, he has in common with quite a … Continue reading

Salting hard drives to max capacities to 18TB

Sean Gallagher Running out of disk space for your movies and music? There’s good news from Singapore. Researchers at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering have found a way to increase the density of hard disk storage by six times over current drives, all thanks to salt. While he was a graduate student at … Continue reading

A Tablet for the Blind?

An undergraduate in a Stanford course helped develop a Braille writer for a touchscreen. What does tablet computing offer the visually impaired? David Zax An innovative app developed at Stanford University over the summer shows how tablet computing has the potential to transform the ways the blind interact with the world. During a two-month summer … Continue reading

Look, But Don’t Touch

Michael Calore For the legions of fans still devoted to the e-ink reading experience — easier on the eyes, the batteries and the biceps — the big news to come out of Amazon’s recent high-profile product launch wasn’t its fancy new Android tablet with a backlit 7-inch screen. It was the line of new e-ink … Continue reading

“Secrets of the Little Blue Box”

The 1971 article about phone hacking that inspired Steve Jobs. Ron Rosenbaum In 1971, Slate columnist Ron Rosenbaum wrote an article for Esquire about a loose confederation of proto-hackers who built devices—little blue boxes—that could crack phone networks. According the New York Times obituary of Apple founder Steve Jobs, after reading Rosenbaum’s article, Jobs and … Continue reading

Steve Jobs and Me

He said my 1971 article inspired him. His iBook obsessed me. Ron Rosenbaum You may have read about this in the Times obit for Steve Jobs. I’m talking about this passage which dealt with the origin of the Apple partnership between Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and my role in it: The spark that ignited their … Continue reading

Improve your vision with an app

A system that trains your brain to overcome degrading vision as you age will soon be available as an iPhone app Peter Aldhous WE HAVE gotten used to the idea that smartphone apps can substitute for devices like GPS navigation systems or portable music players. But the latest item on the list may come as … Continue reading

Flight of the drones

Unmanned aerial warfare Why the future of air power belongs to unmanned systems ON SEPTEMBER 30th Anwar al-Awlaki and several of his al-Qaeda colleagues stopped their pickup truck on a remote, dusty road deep inside Yemen’s interior. He can have had only a split second to realise what was about to happen. But the missile … Continue reading

Why Jobs Is No Edison

Vaclav Smil It takes nothing away from Steve Jobs to say he is no Thomas Edison. You only need to understand what Edison accomplished. Superlatives about Steven Jobs’s tenure as the head of Apple reached new heights once he announced his retirement in August 2011. Those smitten by the sleek Apple products that Jobs liked … Continue reading

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

Jacqui Cheng Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, father of the Macintosh and the brains behind the wild success of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, has passed away, Apple has confirmed on its website. He was 56. Jobs was the adopted son of a Mountain View, CA couple and grew up in Cupertino, the city where … Continue reading

Apple’s Rumored Virtual Assistant Could Outshine the New iPhone

Christina Bonnington Buzz surrounding Apple’s Tuesday event has never been higher, as consumers eagerly await the announcement of the next generation iPhone. But the new hardware could take a back seat to a bigger announcement: a potential voice control software feature that could be released with the latest version of iOS 5. The voice control … Continue reading

It knows

Daniel Soar This spring, the billionaire Eric Schmidt announced that there were only four really significant technology companies: Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, the company he had until recently been running. People believed him. What distinguished his new ‘gang of four’ from the generation it had superseded – companies like Intel, Microsoft, Dell and Cisco, … Continue reading

Amazon’s Android Tablet May Be the Best

Christina Bonnington Amazon Kindle Director Jay Marine uses the Amazon Fire in New York. Photo: Victor J. Blue/ The Kindle Fire could be the first truly successful Android tablet. It touts a very reasonable $200 price tag, a well-curated app store, easy access to Amazon’s cloud-based services, brand trust and recognition. It’s Amazon’s most … Continue reading

Robots Stealing Your Job?

You’re highly educated. You make a lot of money. You should still be afraid. Farhad Manjoo If you’re taking a break from work to read this article, I’ve got one question for you: Are you crazy? I know you think no one will notice, and I know that everyone else does it. Perhaps your boss … Continue reading

Apple’s Mousetrap

Why did Apple reverse the way we scroll up and down? Michael Agger Mac OS X Lion has changed scrolling In July, Apple released its new operating system, Mac OS X Lion, and pulled a Frank Lloyd Wright. The architect would return to the homes he had designed and rearrange the furniture as he saw … Continue reading

Expressing Technology With Sir James Dyson

Tim Carmody On Wednesday, Sept. 14, Wired hosted a roundtable with Sir James Dyson at our New York offices. Dyson and his staff began by showing off their new vacuum cleaner (the DC 41) and Dyson Hot, a new fan/space heater, which was being introduced later that day. We asked Sir James questions about every … Continue reading

Heat-Blasting Fan

Christina Bonnington Finally, a cold weather companion to Dyson Air Multiplier fans, the Dyson Hot. Image: Gizmodo The Dyson Air Multiplier, the magical, ridiculously pricy, blade-less fan that’s wowed us for years has a wintertime version: the Dyson Hot. Its blade-free oblong ring looks almost exactly like Dyson’s cool breeze-blowing Tower Fan model, yet it’s … Continue reading

Fujifilm’s Retro-Styled Camera

Reviewed by Grayson Schaffer Underneath the sweet ’70s styling and “analog” controls, the Fujifilm FinePix X100 is possibly the most advanced rangefinder-style camera ever (yes, we know about the Leica M9), though not the most rugged. Look through the eyepiece and you’ll see the best of old and new: a digital heads-up display superimposed over … Continue reading

Vintage Typing Machines

A gallery of old typewriters that look more like sewing machines, phonographs, and torture devices. Elizabeth Weingarten Carl P. Dietz, a beloved stage juggler and one-time alderman in Milwaukee, began collecting typewriters in 1934. He bought his first machine because it was the same model he had used as a boy, and it gave him … Continue reading

The Manichean World of Tim Wu

Paul Starr For the past dozen years, several distinguished thinkers about law and technology have warned that a golden age of Internet freedom may be about to close. The most influential alarm-ringer has been Lawrence Lessig, who argued in his 1999 book, Code, that under corporate and governmental pressures, the Net could be flipped to … Continue reading

Hack Your Notes!

Sleek apps that turn your iPhone or iPad into great note-taking devices. Annie Lowrey Sloppy note takers now have more optionsMany a student, journalist, and businesswoman has suffered for her flawed note taking. You accidentally get a name or a year wrong. You botch the transcription of a quote because you can’t type fast enough. … Continue reading

Whistle-blowing doctor: My fight to speak the truth

David Cohen English libel law was used to threaten me, but I had to speak out, says Peter Wilmshurst, the cardiologist sued for voicing safety concerns Tell me about your libel nightmare with the US medical-device maker NMT Medical. I was a principal cardiologist in a clinical trial to test whether using an artificial device … Continue reading

Technology Will Take on a Life of Its Own

Welcome to the Hybrid Age. BY AYESHA KHANNA, PARAG KHANNA It was the double date we had looked forward to more than any other. Just before sunset on a hot August day in Los Angeles, we sat in a nearly empty hotel restaurant awaiting the arrival of one of the most influential husband-and-wife intellectual teams … Continue reading

Red, Delicious, and Rotten

How Apple conquered China and learned to think like the Communist Party. BY CHRISTINA LARSON A friend in Beijing recently told me a story about the time a China Telecom technician came over to install the Internet connection for her Apple laptop. The man, an experienced worker, puzzled over the slim, silver device. He picked … Continue reading

Intel integrated graphics: finally good enough for the MacBook Air?

Chris Foresman At long last, Apple released Intel’s highly anticipated Sandy Bridge updates on both the MacBook Air and Mac mini earlier this month. However, many of these machines—along with the 13" MacBook Pro introduced earlier this year—rely solely on Intel’s integrated graphics, a move that raised eyebrows among users allergic to the reduced performance … Continue reading

Fingerprint scanner for the living dead

Paul Marks IF AN invading zombie army is staggering towards your front door, don’t worry: a fingerprint-activated door lock could save your bacon. That’s because one group of researchers has worked out how a biometric scanner can keep the undead at bay. OK, so they weren’t specifically trying to stop zombies, but there is genuine … Continue reading

The future of lighting

walls of light, LEDs, and glowing trees James Holloway The London Eye upgraded to color-changing LEDs in 2006 Light bulbs haven’t been sexy tech since Thomas Edison’s day, but innovation has come to an industry that has seen relatively little of it for a century. Today, the lighting industry is in a remarkable state of … Continue reading

A cheaper, easier much smaller cellphone antenna

Casey Johnston An unusual method of creating antennas has allowed a group of researchers to make tiny versions only 1.8 times the theoretical size limit of an antenna. Scientists from the University of Michigan use a process that grafts a gold antenna onto a coin-sized, dome-like substrate that can operate in mobile phone frequencies. The … Continue reading

Google Unveils New E-Reader

The Story HD to go head-to-head with Amazon’s Kindle. Peter Fulham Google is jumping into the e-reader game with two feet. The online giant announced on Monday that it has teamed up with consumer electronics company iriver, and the two will soon begin offering an e-reader that is fully integrated with Google’s eBooks store. The … Continue reading

Man receives world’s first synthetic windpipe

Andy Coghlan A 36-year-old man returned home this week after receiving the world’s first "synthetic" trachea in an operation at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. Made of a bendy polymeric nanocomposite material, the trachea could be the first of many "off-the-shelf" organs for transplant. Performed by Paolo Macchiarini of the Karolinska Institute, the … Continue reading

Building a better quantum computer with lasers and (impure) diamonds

Chris Lee 1mm yellow diamond cubes If the development of a quantum computer were like motor racing, then we would currently be in the twisty-turny bit that comes before we barrel over the mountain and hit the long, fast straightaway. We know the requirements for quantum computing; we even know systems that kinda-sorta meet these … Continue reading

Turning radio waves into power (with circuits printed on paper)

Casey Johnston Researchers at Georgia Tech have found a way to harvest energy from electromagnetic waves in the air. The harvesting devices are produced using an inkjet printer and can collect small amounts of power from a wide band of frequencies–everything from FM radio up to radar. The technology isn’t new—researchers have floated concepts (and … Continue reading

The World’s Greatest Light Bulb

Dump your fluorescents and incandescents for this amazing new LED bulb. By Farhad Manjoo The Switch light bulb When I drove to the offices of a start-up called Switch Lighting last week, I wasn’t expecting much. A company representative had promised to show me something amazing—an alternative light bulb that uses a fraction of the … Continue reading

Battery-Powered Surfboard Makes Cheating More Fun Than Ever

WaveJet Sports and Outdoors · $4,800 Reviewed by Mark Anders Photo: Spencer Higgins Motors may not have much to do with traditional surfing, but then neither does the arm-flailing that beginners do right before they miss another set. WaveJet boards have a pair of battery-powered water jets that can propel surfers at up to 12 … Continue reading

Hand-hacking plucks strings like a musical pro

Jacob Aron WANT to learn a musical instrument, but can’t find the time to practise? A device now under development can take control of your hand and teach you how to play a tune. No spirits of dead musicians are involved. PossessedHand, being developed jointly by the University of Tokyo, Japan, and Sony Computer Science … Continue reading

Shoot Now, Focus Later

Christina Bonnington Ren Ng, the founder of Lytro, is passionate about light field photography and making the technology available to consumers. Photo: Christina Bonnington/ After buying his first digital camera, Ren Ng tried to snap a shot of a family friend’s vivacious 5-year-old daughter. Like many young, active children, it was incredibly difficult to focus … Continue reading

Pentax Q shrinks interchangeable lens digicams to pocketable proportions

Chris Foresman The Pentax Q is so small it could be mistaken for a replica camera key fob. Pentax announced on Thursday that it plans to release an entirely new compact interchangeable lens digital camera even smaller than the current crop of mirrorless Micro Four Thirds system cameras from the likes of Olympus and Panasonic. … Continue reading

Cartier Automatic Watch Is Some Classy, Drool-Worthy Bling

Cartier Calibre Sports and Outdoors · $7,000 Reviewed by Michael S. Lasky A $20 drug store watch will do if all you want is the time, but luxury watches are about more than just counting hours and minutes. To be honest, many people buy luxury watches — generally, any watch priced at over $1,000 — … Continue reading

Better Batteries Will Save the World

Too bad they’re impossible to make. By Farhad Manjoo Will batteries ever be able to compete with the stored power of gasoline?In the early 1970s, the research arm of Exxon hired a promising young engineer named Michael Stanley Whittingham and asked him to invent something—anything—that could reduce the company’s dependence on crude oil. Whittingham and … Continue reading

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

HENRY PETROSKI In Goethe’s 1797 poem "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice"—and in countless later versions of the story, including the famous sequence in Disney’s "Fantasia" in 1940—disaster results when a young man, taking advantage of his wizardly master’s absence, uses sorcery to lighten his chores. The poem ends with the admonition that magic should be used solely … Continue reading

Good at Wine, Bad at Computers

Why does Europe suck at technological innovation? By Brian Palmer The French government has banned broadcasters from using the words Facebook and TwitterThe French government has banned television reporters from using the words Twitter and Facebook on air, because all that free advertising gives the companies an unfair advantage. European competitors have a long way … Continue reading

The MIT factor

celebrating 150 years of maverick genius The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has led the world into the future for 150 years with scientific innovations. Its brainwaves keep the US a superpower. But what makes the university such a fertile ground for brilliant ideas? Ed Pilkington MIT students at a physics class take measurements in 1957. … Continue reading

Reaching the end of the camera megapixel race

By Chris Foresman Akira Watanabe, manager of Olympus Imaging’s SLR planning department, has officially thrown down the gauntlet and drawn a line in the megapixel sand. "Twelve megapixels is, I think, enough for covering most applications most customers need," he told ZDNet this week at the annual Photo Marketing Association convention. But is he right? … Continue reading

Black Hawk Down

Why do helicopters seem to crash all the time? By Katy Waldman A Black Hawk helicopter No American soldiers were killed in Sunday’s raid on Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, but a helicopter sustained damage after a hard landing and the SEALs blew it up to keep the technology secret. This high-profile chopper failure is … Continue reading