Tech Sightings, December 10, 2013

Posted December 10th, 2013 at 4:19 pm (UTC+0)
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Three Reasons Bitcoins Aren’t in Your Wallet Yet

Security and flexibility of the virtual currency are among several big challenges, experts say.

Google Cancels Plans for a $300 Million Data Center in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong site – which was estimated to cost $300 million – would have complimented data centers that are being built in Taiwan and Singapore. Together they are (were) expected to provide a speed boost of up to 30 percent for Google services in Asia, where the company is seeing a surge in usage, particularly from smartphones.

Souped-Up Camp Stove Serves Up Device Power on the Side

Get in on the ground floor as we look at the most exciting crowdfunded tech projects out there right now. This week: the PowerPot X, a portable thermoelectric generator for outdoors enthusiasts that turns camp cooking heat into device-charging electricity. Cook your dinner, in other words, and you can charge your phone or tablet too.

University of Pennsylvania Students Create Robotic Arm to Make You Stronger

A robotic device invented by University of Pennsylvania engineering students can help its wearer carry an additional 40 pounds.The Titan Arm looks and sounds like part of a superhero’s costume. But its creators say it’s designed for ordinary people — those who need either physical rehabilitation or a little extra muscle for their job

Inside Look: The Startup Using Peas and Algae to Make Super Eggs

San Francisco-based startup Hampton Creek’s mission is to find plant proteins that can replace eggs in spreads, sauces, baked goods, and breakfast favorites. With the help of a few million in venture funding, and an investment from Bill Gates, the company’s scientists have spent the last year scouring the world’s flora with start-up scrappiness. So far, they’ve been surprisingly successful.

Crowdsourced Companies Could Be the Next Big Thing

One Silicon Valley guru thinks the emerging “sharing economy” is changing current business models. The “I sell you stuff, you buy it” premise of the consumer economy is being undermined, he says, and big companies that want to survive need to learn to share. Not because it’s the nice thing to do but because, like the internet itself, it’s becoming an unavoidable part of doing business.

Mobile Browsers Top 20% for Web Use Around the World

The mobile wave continues to build with no signs of cresting. According to StatCounter’s data, mobile devices accounted for 21.6 percent of global web browsing as of last month. PCs still have their place but it’s diminishing quickly for some activities

All-Seeing Eye: The Throwable Camera that Could Save Victims’ Lives

One young entrepreneur was so affected by the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 sat down at his desk to try to lend his professional skills to future relief efforts. Having watched the disaster unfold on TV, Francisco Aguilar, a graduate from MIT Sloan and the Harvard Kennedy School, began working on a tool that could be used to help in emergency response situations around the world.

Android Game Categories to Triple; Move Hints at Future Gaming Ambitions

As rumors of a Nexus set top box swirl, Google shows love to game developers.

2011 Japanese Tsunami Can Be Blamed on Weak Clay

Core samples from the fault show it was quite slippery.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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Whether you are in a big city or a small village – technology is in your hands, your pocket, your car, your home. It is everywhere. And everywhere, it is becoming us.

Techtonics looks at how technology intersects people’s lives, how it empowers them or traps them in a world increasingly obsessed with technological wonders even as privacy slips through its fingers. It aims to inform, discuss, and hopefully inspire.

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