A previous NASA study proved that space can impair an astronaut's vision, which is a huge problem if we want to start sending humans to Mars. That's why the agency has launched a new study that aims to pinpoint the exact cause of "space vision" and to find a way to prevent or fix the issue. Under the leadership of principal investigator Christian Otto, NASA will "collect evidence to characterize the risk and define the [visual, vascular and central nervous system (CNS) changes]" in microgravity. In other words, the researchers will examine astronauts before they fly for the ISS, while they're living aboard the space station and when they land after their expedition ends to determine the changes in their bodies.

There are still no nanobots plying our bloodstreams, seeking and destroying cancer and other diseases. However, scientists at Rice University have just built a molecule-scale "submarine," so that's a pretty positive step towards "Fantastic Voyage." Mades at the same lab that developed "nanocars," the devices are a mere 244 atoms in size, with motors powered by ultraviolet light that turn at over a million RPM. That propels them along at a solid one inch per second, which is a "breakneck" pace according to lab director James Tour. "These are the fastest-moving molecules ever seen in solution," he said.

Hacker performing cyber attack on laptop

The UK is boosting its cybersecurity efforts after government officials learned that ISIS is planning to launch cyber attacks on various infrastructures, such as hospitals, banks and air traffic control systems. According to Reuters, the nation plans to build "elite cyber offensive forces" to fight off hackers, and it's pouring a lot of money into the project to make it happen. Chancellor George Osborne has revealed that the UK is doubling its public spending on cybersecurity to £1.9 billion ($2.9 billion) per year until 2020. But that's not all: the British government is building its own DARPA for cybersecurity, as well. It will take £165 million ($250 million) from the total funding to invest in projects and startups with innovative ideas. As Forbes notes, teaming up with and funding private companies is exactly how DARPA works, except the American agency also funds robotics and other types of military technologies.

Must Reads

  • NASA Spacebot, what big eyes you have

    Space isn't exactly the safest of places for squishy meatbags like us, what with the lack of atmosphere and all. But when satellites in orbit break, somebody's got to fix them. That's why NASA is developing a robotic remote viewing system called the VIPIR (Visual Inspection Poseable Invertebrate Robot)....

  • Google's 'Project Wing' commercial drone service to launch in 2017

    We've seen Project Wing, the air-delivery service from Google, tap NASA to help sidestep reams of bureaucratic red tape and get off the ground before, and it looks like the service could soon launch in earnest. The outfit's laying the groundwork right now and says that its goal is having the commercial...

Android Lineup - Beige

To many people around the globe, 99-cent apps might still be too expensive. In an effort to reach more people worldwide, Google has lowered the minimum app price in the Play Store for 17 countries, after a successful pilot in India earlier this year. Prices vary depending on location: Indians enjoy the lowest minimum price of 10 Indian Rupees (15 cents), while folks in Turkey and Ukraine will be able to buy the cheapest apps for 21 cents each. Poland is getting the smallest price cut of them all, but the minimum amount still costs less than half a dollar at 45 cents. You can find the full price list below the fold with their US dollar conversations. If you're a developer willing to sell at a lower price, you can adjust your apps' pricing scheme under "Pricing & Distribution" or "In-app Products" in Google Play's Developer Console.

YouTube Red

Some seven months after launching, YouTube Kids is expanding outside of America. Folks living in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom can access the family friendly section of Google's video wing. What's more, Mountain View says that the apps' been downloaded over 10 million times to date and that apparently more time has been spent watching "Wheels on the Bus" than "Gagnam Style." Mind you, the "Wheels on the Bus" video is almost an hour long versus just over four minutes for PSY's smash hit. Oh, and Google says to keep an eye out for upcoming holiday specials on the app over the next few weeks.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

NASA's Chemical Laptop

Planetary rovers can already find potential signs of life, but they're not really meant to find life itself. NASA may have just the device to find that concrete evidence, though. Its newly tested Chemical Laptop is the first device built to detect amino acids and fatty acids (the telltale signs of life as we know it) on other worlds. The battery-powered device needs liquid samples to work, but it has a coffee machine-like mechanism that uses hot water to get the organic material out.

DJI Phantom 3

DJI is understandably nervous about where you fly its drones given that one owner trespassed on White House grounds, and it's rolling out a new geofencing system to make sure that these kinds of incidents don't happen again -- just hours after rivals 3DR did the same. Its Geospatial Environment Online service gives you updated info on where you're allowed to fly drones, including time-sensitive restrictions. You can't fly over prisons, for instance, and you may face a ban when there's a raging forest fire. However, it also has a unique way of handling exceptions: as long as you're willing to register with a payment card or phone number, you can fly in some restricted areas. In theory, this lets you enjoy your drone in more places while holding you accountable if you screw up.

Krysten Ritter in the Netflix original series

This week two of the biggest releases come from streaming services. Netflix premieres its second Marvel series with Jessica Jones, while Amazon Prime has its adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel, The Man in the High Castle. Both have looked good in early previews, but until they launch Thursday morning, we're focused on the games. Star Wars: Battlefront is here, along with the final episode of Telltale Games' Game of Thrones series. Finally, movie fans may want to check for The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki on Blu-ray. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

United States of America flag flies outside Department of Commerce building in Wall Street, New York City.

Want proof that US officials are taking data seriously? Just look at the Commerce Department. It's following in the White House's footsteps by hiring its first ever Chief Data Scientist, Jeff Chen. He'll make sure that the department is making the most of data across the many, many fields it covers: he could improve predictions for severe weather, for example, or help modernize the US' creaky patent system. Chen certainly has the experience to back it up, having worked with everyone from NASA to the White House's own Office of Science and Technology Policy. There's only so much he can do in the new role, but it won't be surprising if he gets the wheels of government turning considerably faster.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

Tracking IS online

The terrorist group known as ISIS has ramped up its online outreach efforts in a big way over the past year, including establishing a 24-hour help desk that teaches members how to use encryption and other secure communications tactics, NBC News reports. News of the help desk comes from Dr. Aaron Brantly, a cyber fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center with the US Military Academy at West Point. According to Brantly, ISIS has "developed a series of different platforms in which they can train one another on digital security to avoid intelligence and law enforcement agencies for the explicit purpose of recruitment, propaganda and operational planning."

Close-up Of A Hard Drive

Your parents probably told you that revenge solves nothing, but the US might be willing to make an exception to that rule when it comes to hacks. A Congressional commission's report suggests that the government should consider letting companies hack the Chinese hackers that break into their systems. Theoretically, firms could erase or recover any stolen data from the original hack. The study also suggests creating a court that would hear evidence from cyberattack victims and determine whether or not the US should launch counter-hacks on their behalf.

Pushbullet, the mighty app that lets you sync notifications, links, photos and SMS between your phone and computer, has just announced that it will be offering a Pro tier. But here's the kicker: paying $4.99 a month or $39.99 annually doesn't actually buy you anything new (other than supporting its developer's needs for things like food and shelter). A blog post announcing the changes tried to justify the move, but its explanations seem oddly close to threats. "We could have kept Pushbullet completely free, following the path of many free services by showing ads and selling data to make money. We don't want to do that." And we certainly hope they don't have to!

If you've been wishing for an Apple-made dock to go with your Watch, you should start making room for it soon. Based on a couple of leaks, the Cupertino company appears to be ready to introduce a charging station for its wearable. The white circular dock (pictured above) uses a built-in magnetic puck, similar to the one that's included out of the box, to power up the Apple Watch wirelessly. However, the main difference here is that a Lightning port plugs in directly to the dock, rather than being a single USB-powered charging cable. Naturally, right now it is unclear when, or if, Apple will release this purported Watch peripheral, but the spilled packaging images suggest it could cost as much as $100.

Not too long from now, on a Twitch stream in the very near future, Sean Buckley and myself will be blasting Rebel scum in Star Wars: Battlefront. The sci-fi shooter's the topic du jour on the latest edition of Playdate and you can tune in starting at 6 PM ET/ 3 PM Pacific to catch two hours of the hot Empire on Rebel action across Sullust, Hoth, and who even knows where else? And since we streamed the game's beta on PlayStation 4 we're giving the full version a go on PC today. As always, you can tune in here on this post, the Engadget Gaming homepage or Twitch.tv/Joystiq if you'd like to join us in chat -- it's your destiny.

Much like the Google logo before it, Google+ is being completely reinvented today. In a blog post, Google says that after pulling in feedback from users it has decided to focus the former do-everything social network around two key features: communities and collections. Collections launched earlier this year as a way to let users gather a bunch of content together around a single idea and share it with other users, while the older communities section encouraged users of similar interests to share "whatever you're into," be it food, sports, photography, the country of New Zealand, or anything else. The new version is rolling out today on the web, iOS and Android -- you'll need to opt-in if you're viewing it from your browser, and the apps don't appear to have gone live just yet.

Todoist's take on the to-do list is handy for keep your daily agenda organized, and now it's available for Windows 10 users. The free productivity app is available for Microsoft's operating system as a preview, syncing those important tasks across mobile and desktop devices. And yes, it will update across operating systems too, in cause you need to tuck your Surface Pro 4 away and check your to-do list on your iPhone or Android handset. Many of the tools are held over from desktop, iOS and Android versions of the app including setting due dates, managing tasks and collaborating with your colleagues. Just like the add-on for Gmail, there's an Outlook extension that allows you to turn emails into tasks with a click or tap. For larger screens like the Surface tablets, Todoist offers a three-pane view to help keep things organized and easy to find. While the app supports Live Tiles now, it'll also play nice with Cortana in the near future. If you're looking to give it a shot, the Todoist preview is available in the Windows Store now.

paris   france   18 january...

In the wake of ISIS' coordinated attacks on Paris Friday night that left 129 civilians dead and scores more injured, the loosely-affiliated hacker collective known as Anonymous announced Sunday the launch of a massive cyber-campaign, dubbed #OPParis, designed to scrub the terrorist organization's influence from the internet while French airstrikes wipe ISIS strongholds off the map. "We can not fight them with guns and rifles," an Anonymous spokesperson told the BBC, "stopping their propaganda is an effective way to weaken their manpower and their presence in the Internet."

Valkyria Chronicles, Sega's strategy RPG that hit the PlayStation 3 in 2008, is getting an HD upgrade for a launch on PS4, Famitsu reports (as translated by Gematsu). The remake is confirmed for a release in Japan on February 10th, with no mention of North American plans just yet. Sega is also working on a new entry in the series, Valkyria: Azure Revolution, slated to hit Japanese PS4s in winter 2016, according to Gematsu. Valkyria Chronicles debuted on PC in November 2014, and while that wasn't an HD remake, it featured dual-language support, Steam Achievements, customization options and all previously released DLC -- not bad for $20.


While typically underpowered, small cars can be a hoot to zip around dense cities. They weave in and out of traffic that trap larger vehicles and more importantly, they're easier to park. The electric Toyota i-Road takes that idea and, like a CSI photo, enhances it until it's hard too believe what's going on is actually real. The three-wheeled electric vehicle does have the same attributes as its tiny brethren, but the first time you turn that wheel, you realize its more fun than a typical urban commuter.

The Lego Movie

If you've been itching to put your Dolby Atmos- and Vision-capable home theater gear to work, you'll be glad to know that you now have one more streaming option besides Microsoft and Netflix. Vudu has started streaming Warner Bros. movies (such as Mad Max: Fury Road and The Lego Movie) with full Atmos and Vision support, so you'll get more immersive audio and a high dynamic visual range if you have the right TV and speakers. There's no mention of Vudu offering similarly upgraded titles from Sony or other studios, but don't be surprised if the catalog expands quickly.