London's Underground network can feel like a maze for even the most seasoned traveller, especially at rush hour when you're packed in with hordes of disgruntled commuters. The problem is only amplified for blind and partially sighted people, but a combination of Bluetooth beacons and smartphone app could make the experience less stressful. Wayfindr has been developed by Ustwo (yep, the folks behind the video game Monument Valley) and the Royal London Society for Blind People's (RLSB) Youth Forum to offer travellers audio-based directions and advice. A month-long trial at Pimlico station is now underway with 16 beacons tracking users' smartphones and activating descriptive notes. The information is basic, but could offer valuable guidance and, hopefully, confidence to blind and partially sighted people navigating the Underground independently.
A total of 379 companies, including tech's biggest names, are trying to convince the Supreme Court to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality. These corporations, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have filed an amici curiae or a friend-of-the-court brief prior to the high court's April hearing that will decide the future of same-sex marriage in the US. The court is slated to discuss whether same-sex couples have the constitutional right to get married anywhere in the country. In case that doesn't pan out, the court will also discuss whether same-sex marriages performed in states where it's legal must be recognized even in states where it's not. If you read the filing, you'll see the companies emphasize repeatedly how marriage equality benefits American businesses.
Since megayachts aren't going to buy themselves, Larry Ellison's Oracle has been picking up extra cash for years by slipping adware to Windows users via its ubiquitous Java software. If you felt smug because you were on a Mac, guess what! Installing Java on your OSX-equipped MacBook could now lead to an unexpected encounter with the dreaded "Ask.com" toolbar, too. Though not as dangerous as SuperFish, the program will hijack your browser's search functions and delivery iffy, ad-laden results while being tricky for neophytes to remove. If you don't pay attention during installation, you can easily end up with it, as you need to purposefully opt out to avoid it.
Apple doesn't want you to spend a lot of time with Watch apps. Specifically, if you're looking at your Cupertino-device adorned wrist for more than 10 seconds, that isn't ideal according to Bloomberg's sources. In addition to quick bursts of info, Watch apps also use location services, among other features, to keep the amount of distractions to a minimum so your wrist won't constantly buzz. For instance, saving specific personal email alerts until you're home from work. From the sounds of it, that should serve a few different purposes: conserving battery life and keeping annoyance levels down. The former of course is a common complaint lobbed at most smartwatches thus far.
Yet another VR headset? We wouldn't be surprised if that's what you're thinking after all the VR headset news these past few days. This one is the latest device out of Vuzix's headquarters called the IWear 720, which can do more than just block the world and immerse you into pure virtual reality. The headset covers more of your head, because it comes equipped with its own headphones -- even better, it supports almost any device that has an HDMI-out port. And yes, that means you can use it to watch both 2D and 3D videos, as well as play games from computers, consoles, Blu-ray players and even smartphones.
PornHub thinks it has a sexier solution for the age old problem of a gadget running out of juice prematurely, and the secret is in the (hairy) palm of your hand. Say hello to the Wankband: a wearable that straps on to your forearm, capturing the energy from a spot of self-love and using it to charge basically anything via USB. You see, inside the band resides a weighted ball that travels up and down in a tube with a flick of the wrist, and from there the kinetic energy's stored until your gizmo -- or sex toy -- of choice needs a charge.
Rinspeed did a fantastic visual recreation of the Tesla Model S as a moving living room last year, and now it has given the BMW i3 EV a similar treatment. The Swiss car restorer and conjurer of futuristic concepts has reimagined the i3 as a self-driving car with rather far-out features in a new concept called "Buddi." For instance, it's equipped with a robotic arm that can move the steering wheel in front of either front-seat passenger or to the middle if nobody wants to drive. That robotic arm can curiously wind the in-car watch, as well, if the camera monitoring it determines that its battery is almost depleted.
Mobile World Congress wrapped up today and we share our picks for the best smartphones we found in Barcelona. In other news, Harmonix is getting the band back together with Rock Band 4 and a spinning chair might make virtual reality feel more real. All this and more can be found in today's Daily Roundup.
Actor Harrison Ford (Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, Star Wars -- seriously, it's Harrison Ford) reportedly suffered "moderate injuries" after the PT-22 he was flying (presumably with special modifications) crash-landed at a Los Angeles golf course this afternoon. According to the Associated Press, Ford was breathing and conscious when he was taken to the hospital where he is listed in fair to moderate condition. Naturally TMZ is all over the story, with a witness account of seeing a plane "nose dive" into a tee box at the 8th hole, and audio of his contact with the Santa Monica Airport control tower reporting engine failure. According to a tweet by his son, the actor is "battered, but OK."
[Image credit: Associated Press]
MakerBot has just launched a new initiative called Starter Lab, which makes 3D printing more accessible to more people, particularly students and employees. It's a bundle of MakerBot products, inclu...
Buried in a lot of stuff we may not believe about a 12.9-inch iPad, the Wall Street Journal believes that a new MacBook Air is on the way. According to the paper's gang of people familiar with the m...