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A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego announced Tuesday that they had developed a proof-of-concept wireless transmission system that is both more efficient and more secure than Bluetooth. It works by sending data signals through your body's natural magnetic field instead of over the air and could lead to a new class of ultra-low power wearables.

Rebels defending their Hoth base in 'Star Wars Battlefront'

You won't have to wait until November to find out whether Star Wars Battlefront's large-scale online conflicts are all they're cracked up to be. EA and DICE have announced that Battlefront's multiplayer beta will launch in early October for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PCs. This test run will include an epic 40-player Hoth battle, a two-versus-many fight on Tatooine and an as-yet-unexplained Drop Zone mode. At the same time, you should get a Companion Experience mobile app that includes both a card game as well as helper tools for Battlefront itself. It sounds like exciting stuff, although here's hoping that EA has learned its lessons from past betas -- you don't want to have your childhood dreams crushed by server connection problems.

A couple of years ago, Instagram launched Instagram Direct, a built-in messaging system that lets users share photos or videos with each other -- either one-on-one or in groups of up to 15 people. Now, with over 85 million monthly users, it's time for Instagram Direct to get an update. That's finally happening today with a few new features, which include threaded messaging and a way to share Instagram content as Direct messages.

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  • GoPro wants you to make short videos on your action camera

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  • Nintendo's smaller New 3DS comes to the US on September 25th

    When Nintendo decided to release only the New 3DS XL in the US this winter rather than its smaller New 3DS sibling, it left many scratching their heads. Why would Nintendo deprive American gamers of a smaller, more travel-friendly handheld? Well, it's making amends for that mistake very shortly. Nintendo...

An upgraded LG webOS TV

If you're still rocking a first-generation webOS TV and regret that you didn't hold out for a webOS 2.0 set, don't worry -- you'll soon catch up in some respects. LG is promising a Value Pack Upgrade that gives your webOS 1.0 TV four core features from 2.0, including favorite channels in the launcher, improved search, instant input detection and quick settings. You should also see overall boosts to ease of use and performance. The pack isn't the same as a full-on webOS 2.0 upgrade, but it might alleviate your early adopter's remorse when it starts rolling out on September 21st.

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer's guide to the best technology. Read the full article here.

A road trip can be a memorable adventure, but all adventures require a little planning. At The Wirecutter, we spend dozens of hours on each of our reviews to find the best gear for every part of your life. This year we drove 1,500 miles through four states to bring you our essential recommendations for your next road trip. Here are eight of our favorites.


The Meerkat team isn't done envisioning features that might give its live streaming app an edge over Twitter's Periscope -- not by a long shot. It's rolling out updates for Android and iOS that let you both poll your viewers and share pictures, making it easy to ask a question (we can imagine a lot of "what should I do next?" streams) or recount some of your earlier adventures. You'll also see live hashtags that help you both widen your audience and keep tabs on what's trending. These additions probably won't have you ditching Periscope if you're a committed user, but they might just tip the balance if you're not sure what to use for your broadcasts.

[Image credit: Matthias Hiekel/AFP/Getty Images]

More than two years ago, Mars One began its search to find those it will send on a one-way trip to the Red Planet. In the time since, plenty of questions have been asked about the organization and its plans to colonize a world 140 million miles away. Will we have the technology and scientific know-how to deliver four humans safely to the Martian surface by 2027? Can those people build a sustainable settlement so far from Earthly aid? What are the psychological and physical tolls of both the six-month trip and the ensuing mission? Can a reality TV show actually pay for it all?

Despite those and other questions, people from around the world pledged their time and money to Mars One for the opportunity to go on its mission. Earlier this year, the pool of applicants seeking to live and die on Mars (starting in 2027) was whittled down to a group of 100. Citizen Mars is a five-part series about a group of those would-be astronauts.

Google has a new logo. A few weeks after the company announced a huge restructuring effort that will split the search, advertising and internet giant into several different organizations, the new Google is showing off a new identity. The iconic four colors and "Google" over a white background remains unchanged, but the font is significantly different, removing the serifs that have been part of the letters for years. All in all, it's a flatter, slightly more modern design -- one that also evokes the company's new Alphabet logo -- but it'll certainly take some getting used to.

three scoops of ice cream  good ...

In the future, you might not have to rush to eat your ice cream cone on a hot summer's day. Scottish researchers have discovered a naturally occurring protein that binds the air, fat and water in ice cream, which slows melting. The move would prevent your dessert from becoming a puddle, and spare companies from deep freezing their treats for as long as they do today. You could see higher-quality ice cream, too -- the protein promises a smoother texture without as many ice crystals or saturated fats.

Sign up for the Interactive Coding Bootcamp, now 92 percent off

Sometimes a "good enough" career demands re-evaluation. Whether you're looking to seriously upgrade your abilities as a professional developer or are just getting started in the field, a portfolio of current, real-world apps is essential to make a strong impression. Make it happen with this 12-week comprehensive online Interactive Coding Bootcamp for only $39 -- a 92 percent discount from its usual price.

Ever wish you could transport those pen doodles and hand written notes to the digital world? The Neo smartpen N2 lets users write on paper with ink while the same data is sent via Bluetooth to the Neo Notes app or saved in the pen to sync later. The app lets you transcribe written text, record audio alongside the progress of a drawing and share content as .png, .jpg or .svg vectors. So far you've needed one of the company's NCode notebooks, but later this month you'll be able to print your own properly coded pages using the free N Toaster app for Mac and PC. Want to give your notes a makeover for 2015? Three lucky Engadget readers will each get a Neo smartpen N2 and a pack of eight notebooks to get you started. All you need to do is head down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning.

CyanogenMod Cid

If you've been sitting on pins and needles waiting for the community-focused CyanogenMod firmware to both make the leap to Android 5.1 and fix that nasty Stagefright MMS exploit, you can relax. Hot on the heels of Cyanogen OS 12.1 (for devices like the OnePlus One), CyanogenMod 12.1 is arriving with both the perks from Android 5.1.1 as well as a Stagefright patch that theoretically keeps you safe. There are also Stagefright fixes for CyanogenMod 11 and 12.0, in case you can't run the new operating system right away. There are a lot of devices to cover with this rollout, so don't be alarmed if you don't see a download right away -- if your phone or tablet is already running CyanogenMod's decidedly non-standard code, there's probably an update waiting in the wings.

For a while, it felt like Whatsapp and Line were bitter rivals in the mobile messaging war. The former had the user base (and later Facebook's clout), but Line offered a family of apps and features like stickers, games and more recently music streaming. Line continues to follow it's own path, by releasing an Android launcher. Now you can have Cony and Brown (you know who those are, right?) present in almost every corner of your phone's interface.

"Nothing excited me in mobile in the past few years," Tom Moss says, leaning back in an office chair. Far as he's concerned, smartphone makers -- especially those working with Android — have spent way too much time crafting hardware and not nearly enough effort on innovating software. That's why, when the bug to build something new bit again, Moss gathered an Android dream team to build a "cloud-first" smartphone called Robin.

When we first took a look at GE's Neuro VR project -- which sends you on a journey into a musician's mind -- it wasn't available to the public. Now, all Oculus owners can enjoy the experience that blends data visualization from a real MRI (of Ladytron musician Reuben Wu, no less) with immersive entertainment. Virtual reality is easy to pitch as a tool for nobel causes like education and rehabilitation, but it's also just pretty darn cool to experience -- and it's fusion projects like Neuro VR that will increase the format's broad appeal. If our early report whetted your appetite for the slick 90fps experience, you'll likely appreciate the video trailer too, which we've kindly snuck in for you below. Neuro VR is also available via Gear VR and MilkVR.

For years, Netflix subscribers have asked for the ability to download movies and TV shows offline. The company says it's "never going to happen" -- so Amazon has taken the initiative and added exactly that to its rival streaming service. If you're signed up to Prime Video, or have an Amazon Prime account, you can now store titles covered by your subscription on almost any mobile device. It's supported in both the iOS and Android app -- although the latter will require you to download the app through the Amazon Appstore. The regular Amazon app in Google Play, which also supports Prime Video, doesn't seem to have the feature just yet, however. The feature first debuted on Fire tablets in 2013, but this expansion is significant -- if you're a frequent flyer, for instance, you no longer have to break your Transparent binge-session or purchase the full series if you're on an iPad.

The stylus available for tablets and smartphones usually fall into two camps. The more precise pens with Bluetooth connectivity that only work with certain apps or the rubber-tipped pens that work with anything but can result in smudgy lines. Adonit thinks it's found a happy medium with its new Jot Dash pen. The powered pen offers up precision tracking without having to pair via Bluetooth or being reliant on an app. The pen works with iOS and Android devices (Sorry no Windows support) and is powered up via a click button at the top of the pen. The 1.9 mm point uses Adonit's PixelPoint technology to detect touch-screen signals and rebroadcasts those signals as a larger point so the device recognizes it as a touch without having to resort to a larger pen tip. Yeah, it's kind of confusing, but it works. The pen ships with a charging dock and is available today for $49.99.

Health o Meter announced on Tuesday the launch of its new Nuyu line of health tracking devices and an associated mobile app. The system relies equally on the Nuyu Activity Monitor, which tracks steps, calories, distance and sleep; and connects with its counterpart Nuyu app via Bluetooth. The $48 Monitor can be worn on the wrist (with one of 8 available strap colors) or belt -- even tied to shoelaces. It displays your constantly-updated stats on a large OLED screen which is depth rated to 30 meters and runs for up to four months on a single battery. The app itself is free and available for both Android and iOS, though the data is only compatible with Apple's Health Kit.

After updating its smoke detector and camera, Nest has finally decided to update the device that made the company famous; its Thermostat. The new smart controller has a slightly thinner profile, larger and higher-resolution display and will now alert users when their furnace is acting wonky. To make figuring out what's going on without walking across the room easier, the third-generation device will now display the target or current temperature or an analog or digital watch face on a larger display that's activated whenever someone walks into the room. The Thermostat now has a 480 x 480 (229 ppi) display. While the display got larger, the profile got smaller. The width of the device is now 1.21 inches instead of 1.26 inches. Not exactly a huge difference, but slimmer is slimmer. For furnace owners, the Furnace Heads-Up feature tracks shutoff patterns to see if there's a potential problem with the heater. This feature will be released for the first- and second-generation Thermostats later this year. The new third-generation Nest Thermostat is available now for $249.