Tech Sightings, May 1, 2014

Posted May 1st, 2014 at 2:00 pm (UTC+0)
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Google Moves to Kill off URL in New Version of Chrome

The URL field is missing from the address bar in the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser. In its place is Google’s search box. The company is currently testing the change with the next incarnation of its browser, Chrome 36.

Wonder-Material Graphene Could Be Dangerous to Humans, Environment

Despite graphene’s incredibly light, strong, flexible and highly conductive heat and electricity properties, two recent studies from Brown University found that the jagged edges of graphene nanoparticles easily pierced cell membranes in human lung, skin and immune cells.

Can Silicon Valley Teach Nonprofits How to Save the World?

Vineet Singal’s startup, CareMessage, is part of a new breed of Silicon Valley tech companies. Their goal is to do good while doing well. At the heart of the movement are companies focused on helping direct resources to public health, microlending and education projects.

 NASA’s Tron-like Z-2 Spacesuit Wins Public Vote, Will Be Built This Year

NASA says a prototype of the Z-2 suit – a Tron-like “Technology” design that won the Internet’s popular vote – will be built for testing by November 2014.  The newest generation of spacesuits put to the vote aims to create suits that will be used for future space walks, deep space missions, and planetary excursions.

Workplace Wearables: Your Boss Knows When You’ve Had a Good Night’s Sleep?

The Human Cloud at Work is an experimental research collaboration to assess the impact of wearable technologies on workplace productivity and performance. Initial study results show that productivity of those using wearable devices increased by 8.5 percent and job satisfaction by 3.5 percent.

High-Tech Headband Reads Your Mind

Toronto-based Interaxon says it developed the Muse headband, which goes on the forehead, to help people focus to improve productivity and decrease stress. The headband is equipped with sensors that pick up brainwave data and send it to your phone to help track if the brain is calm or agitated.

How to Regulate Brain Enhancement Devices

Cognitive enhancement devices already exist and might well become as common in the future as other electronic devices. A team of interdisciplinary researchers put together by the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford aims to come up with a regulatory framework for cognitive enhancement devices to help determine how they should be used by the public.

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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