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How an insurance company is trying to craft eyewear of the future

I had just driven 85 miles north of San Francisco when I finally reached my destination: a bright red building with large floor-to-ceiling windows in downtown Sacramento. The structure's high ceilings and spacious interior gave a subtle reminder that it used to be a former Chevrolet dealership. But instead of Camaros and Corvettes, the space was filled with desks, project boards adorned with Post-it notes and temporary work spaces separated by flexible cardboard walls. A hanging pirate flag and a Rubik's Cube sculpture lent the office a startup vibe.

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article here.

After testing 20 Bluetooth keyboards with a four-person panel, and using our favorites for months of daily work, we found the Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch Keyboard K810/K811 (Mac/Windows) is the best Bluetooth keyboard for most. The Easy-Switch has a rechargeable battery that lasts a few weeks to several months, and is able to instantly switch between three devices, a feature the competition universally lacked. At $100 it's expensive for a keyboard, but no other Bluetooth option comes close to matching the Easy Switch's versatility, comfort, and features.

By his second semester on the job in 2009, Eric Nelson, a civics and history teacher at North Lakes Academy in the Minneapolis suburbs, was at a loss. No matter what tool he used -- gripping news articles, an interactive map of YouTube trending videos, a failed-state index -- he couldn't manage to keep his students interested in world events for any extended period of time. "They were just zombies," he recalls.

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In an unusual side project, Facebook has built an app that helps teachers create tailor-made student learning plans, and it may come a US school near you for free. The social network got involved in the project after it learned about an institution called Summit Public Schools, which is consistently ranked among California's best. The school gets those results by creating programs customized for each student, then tracking their progress with a software tool called the "Personalized Learning Plan." However, it told Facebook that the technology behind it wasn't up to snuff, so the Zuckerberg and Co. donated a small team to help revamp it.

4K devices (that aren't TVs) are everywhere at IFA 2015. If it's not a Sony smartphone packing a ridiculous high-resolution display, then it's Samsung's Ultra HD Blu-ray player -- the first of its kind. Toshiba's getting involved too, with a convertible 4K 12.5-inch laptop. As is the case with most of the PCs and laptops spotted this year at Europe's biggest tech show, the Satellite Radius 12 has Intel's latest sixth-generation Core processors to power it, but still only measures 0.6 inch thick and weighs 2.9 pounds -- quite a feat for a convertible with a 4K display. (Especially since we can still remember Panasonic's hulking 4K tablet from a few years ago.)

2015 U.S. Open - Day 4

In a Grand Slam like the US Open, top tennis players have to be able to block out unwanted distractions. A crowd that's starting to side with your opponent is one problem, but a drone? That's something most competitors aren't prepared for. As the Guardian reports, a 26-year-old teacher has now been arrested after a quadcopter crash-landed into an empty section of the stands. Flavia Pennetta and Monica Niculesu were facing off on Thursday night when the 3DR Solo swooped in unannounced. Videos have emerged documenting the crash -- although no-one was hurt, it clearly broke the flow of the match and worried the players, their families and fans. Curiously, the intruding drone didn't appear to have a camera on board -- it's possible that it snapped off during the landing, but otherwise it's unclear exactly why the pilot was flying there in the first place. As we've seen in the past, usually drones sneak into sporting events to capture all of the action.

If you can't get enough gridiron minutiae and analysis, Comcast has just unveiled Football Extras for its X1 sports app. It'll work in a similar way to Comcast's Baseball Extras, which was delivered to baseball stat fans earlier this summer. Armchair quarterbacks (and hardcore gamblers) will get info like injury reports, pre-game comparisons, fantasy league stats, win/loss probabilities and post-game analysis. Relevant stats will pop up during a telecast, or can be selected from a menu. You can even keep the app running while you watch other programs, in case you need to appease other family members. If you've got a Comcast X1 set-top box, you should see the app shortly.

OSVR headset

The Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) headset will get a significant upgrade soon. Gaming peripheral company Razer announced the OSVR program back in January, but the first prototype headset was an underwhelming affair with uncomfortable ergonomics and a so-so display. That wasn't really the point, though. Rather than a single company aiming to dominate the VR market, OSVR is a loose band of hardware and software companies hoping to do for virtual reality "what Android did for mobile." Since then, OSVR has continued to work on improving the system, adding features like positional tracking and, aptly, Android support. The idea is to perfect the basics, open-source the hardware and software, and let anyone build on and improve it.

Today on In Case You Missed It: We are seriously in awe of the scientific discovery that came from studying squid. Researchers developed a plastic that can reform, no weaker, after getting cut in half-- just so long as water is applied to it. And if you have a couple hundred dollars to blow, you can use it to buy an alarm clock that syncs with Spotify to gently ease you in and out of sleep with a matching glowing light. Also check out the new smart stethoscope product for medical professionals, allowing them to record the heartbeats they hear, then analyze the sounds in an app.

Batman: Arkham Knight was supposed to be the perfect swansong for Rocksteady's Dark Knight trilogy. While the game was received positively on PS4 and Xbox One, the PC version was a mess -- so bad, in fact, that Warner Bros. eventually pulled it completely. That was in June and only now, 10 weeks later, are PC players getting a patch that should fix the most glaring issues. The new update claims to solve the game's fluctuating frame rate, while also improving its overall performance on all GPUs. Warner Bros. says it'll also remedy any low resolution textures and add a deeper set of in-game settings for you to play with. If you were hoping to buy the game now that's in a better state, bad news -- Arkham Knight is still unavailable to purchase on Steam. Perhaps that's an indication of where the game now stands -- better than before, but still a little way from what PC players deserve.

Unlike Sony, Samsung, Huawei and others, Microsoft isn't putting on a flashy press conference at this year's IFA. That said, Nick Parker, Corporate VP of the company's OEM division, will be taking to the stage to deliver a keynote speech entitled "Windows 10 lights up new devices" roughly 30 minutes from now. Given Parker's position and the brief keynote summary, we imagine he'll be touching on the broad range of devices powered by Microsoft's latest OS -- including some of those announced over the last few days from the likes of Acer, ASUS, Lenovo and others. While we don't expect any surprise announcements from Microsoft itself, never say never. We'll be there, of course, and if you'd like to join us, jump on the livestream and settle in.

IFA 2015 is turning out to be a trade show where the only company announcing anything of interest is Samsung. That's why our wrap-up of day two covers the company's new SmartThings Home Hub, its SleepSense monitor and the Ultra HD Blu-ray player that's coming in 2016. We'd tell you more down here, but if we're honest — that'd spoil the clip. So, waste no more time in hitting that play button and watching all the fun unfold.

Check out all the news from Berlin at our IFA 2015 hub!

Runtastic may have started as a training log app, but it soon progressed to putting its badge on running watches and accessories. The Orbit was possibly the company's most confident step into the world of wearables, and today it's making another with the "proper watch" Moment activity tracker. The Moment logs all the basics you'd expect from a fitness tracker: steps, distance, time active, calories burned and sleep patterns, along with a dial on the watch face showing progress towards your goal. Like Withings' Activité and Pop devices, the Moment's analog styling extends to running on a regular watch battery, so it won't need daily/weekly charging. This means no annoying ports, too, which helps keep things nice and sealed -- waterproof to 300 feet by Runtastic's reckoning.

Two different groups of MIT researchers found a way to print out objects with glass instead of plastic and to make a printer spew out 10 different materials at once earlier this year. This particular team along with researchers from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, however, have chosen to focus on creating a system that makes it possible for even novices to customize the objects they want to print. Designers typically have to adjust a CAD file to tweak the object's looks by typing in numerical values, and then wait for minutes to hours for a simulation software to make sure the final product is viable. The system this group developed dramatically speeds up the process.

Spotify privacy policy

Spotify has released a new privacy policy after the internet whipped itself into a furor over the last one. The streaming company got itself into trouble last month with an update that some onlookers labeled "eerie" and "atrocious." Of course, it wasn't really anything worth worrying about, as those that took the time to look through it properly quickly deduced. Nonetheless, Spotify pledged to update the policy to better clarify what it is and isn't collecting from users, and now it's done just that. The new version is virtually identical to the last, but includes a section at the beginning in plain language explaining things.

​Parrot's high-tech headphone series just got another notable upgrade. The Zik 3 brings the same noise cancellation and touch panel controls of the last model, but adds wireless charging to the already-wireless headphones. There's also a completely different look, that Parrot's calling "a touch of couture" (the company is French so we're giving them a pass), which includes four options in croc texture, "overstitch" detailed cans in black and ivory, and a black leather grain option. The redesigned cans are more slender than the Zik 2, and while there's even more tech inside the sequel, the Zik 3s weigh exactly the same.


Nextbit wanted to celebrate the launch of its debut smartphone today at a party in San Francisco, but it turned out to be a celebration of success as well. In just under 12 hours, the startup reached its $500,000 Kickstarter goal to fund the Robin, an Android phone that isn't only "cloud first," but also surprisingly design forward as well. We had a chance to get an early look at what the final product might actually look like (though bear in mind these are all still prototypes) and asked Scott Croyle, Nextbit's Chief Product and Design Officer -- who's also a former design lead for HTC -- a few questions about the phone as well.

LG is launching a phone called the V10 with a small auxiliary "ticker" display above the main screen, according to Evan Blass (@evleaks) and photos from Chinese regulator Tenaa. That might sound bizarre, but it was actually used before on Samsung's Continuum, a 2010 Galaxy S Verizon variant. Still, it's a unusual idea for a modern phone that otherwise looks rather decent. According to Blass, it'll have a 5.7-inch 2,560 x 1,440 screen, Snapdragon 808 CPU, 3GB memory, 16-megapixel rear/5-megapixel front cameras, expandable memory and a back fingerprint scanner.

Even if you spent $399 on the ultra-crazy edition of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection there was a pretty gaping hole in it. No, I'm not talking about what that purchase did to your bank account, I mean the anthology's distinct lack of the series' first game. Well, for Xbox One owners that's changing because the Vault Hunters' first trip to Pandora was recently added to the list of Xbox 360 games playable on Microsoft's newest console -- something that was teased back at E3 this year. Folks in the Dashboard Preview Program can start playing right now, of course, but everyone else who got stuck on Dr. Ned's zombie island (Microsoft says all save files, add-on content and achievements will transfer over) have to wait until the feature launches to the public this November. You still had a few lunar side-quests left to finish for Handsome Jack in the meantime anyhow, right?

Mark Zuckerberg on stage at Facebook's F8 Developers Conference 2015

WhatsApp has grown tremendously from the time Facebook acquired it in 2014 for $19 billion. The messaging app's founder, Jan Koum, has just announced on Facebook that the service has reached 900 million monthly active users (MAU). That means it has gained 100 million new ones in less than five months since Koum celebrated reaching 800 million subscribers in April. That number isn't too far off from its parent company's either, which announced 1.49 billion MAUs as of June this year. In comparison, Facebook's own Messenger app reached 700 million MAUs in June, mostly due to its split from the social network's main application. Considering the app has been installed at least a billion times on Android, the new user count isn't that surprising. We just hope its continued success doesn't lead to even more divorces in Italy.