Detroit, Michigan - The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid electric car on display at North American International Auto Show.

In order to combat slowing automotive sales in China, Ford has announced today that it's investing $1.8 billion (that's 11.4 billion yuan) to bring a new generation of smart cars into the country. The money will go toward developing technologies such as smartphone connectivity, self-driving vehicles and enhancing in-car mobile chat functions, which should prove especially useful in China's notoriously congested traffic. Ford has already been investing heavily in the car tech space stateside, so it's looking to transfer some of that knowhow to its Chinese market in order to stand out in the crowded automotive space.

Today - Season 62

In 1977, California banned the use of powered skateboards on state streets; largely because the only reliable source of power back then was noisy two stroke gas engines. However with the development of larger-capacity and quieter lithium-based battery power, skateboards have become about as noisy and polluting as bicycles. That's why, last Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 604, which once again makes riding powered skateboards in the bike lane legal.

Asteroids is the quintessential vector arcade game, featuring a stark black background and simple, geometric images representing spaceships, bullets and floating bits of space rock. Now, that visual genre gets a modern upgrade in VEC9, a 3D vector arcade game about a cryogenically frozen USSR pilot who awakens 30 years after the fall of the Soviet Union and assumes the American military violently overthrew his country's reign. The pilot's mission is to attack major American cities in a spaceship outfitted with a giant laser and a chain gun, as Motherboard describes. VEC9 creators and tech tinkerers Andrew Reitano, Michael Dooley and Todd Bailey created a big, blinking cabinet for VEC9, complete with a massive controller that Motherboard says was originally designed for an M1 Abrams tank. The whole VEC9 shebang -- including retro-styled full-motion video cutscenes -- will be on display at Chicago's Logan Arcade starting November 7th.

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Tesla Powerpack

Tesla is about to prove that its energy storage batteries aren't just meant for saving money (and possibly, the environment) at home. The Irvine Company plans to outfit office buildings across California with Tesla battery farms that, in an initial phase, will both reduce electricity demand at peak hours and give Southern California Edison up to 10 megawatts of reserve power. That's enough to light up 10,000 homes, folks. Up to 24 buildings in Irvine will get the upgrade in this first wave, and there are hints of more in the long run.

MTV VMA Kick Off Concert In Miami

In today's edition of baffling corporate branding decisions, Pepsi has confirmed plans to launch smartphones and a line of accessories in China in the coming months, Reuters reports. The company made it clear that it won't be manufacturing the phones, instead it'll be licensing its brand to a partner (there's really no shortage of phone makers in China). While Pepsi isn't divulging more details yet, Mobipicker reports that one of the phones is called the Pepsi P1 according to Chinese blogs. For the most part, it looks like an unremarkable mid-range Android phablet with a 5.5-inch screen, 1.7 Ghz CPU and 16GB of storage. But hey, at least it sports some nifty Pepsi logo bling. The P1 will reportedly retail for around $200 in China, and we'll likely hear official details on October 20. I wouldn't expect this to hit the US or Europe, but don't be surprised if Coca-Cola follows suit. (As Engadget's Chris Velazco points out, this phone isn't that crazy, as it's coming from the company that gave us Pepsi-Man.)

Police officers breaking down doors

Tech companies are more than a little happy that the US won't require backdoor data access, but you might not want to join the celebrations just yet. Firms talking to Bloomberg say it's a "big win" that could help privacy, but it might not stop a cycle where tech firms like Apple and Google push for tougher data safeguards in response to stronger calls for access. Remember, the US was making similar requests with the short-lived Clipper chip 20 years ago -- it may be just a matter of time before another administration decides that its security concerns override personal privacy.

The so-called "future day" -- the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel forward in time to in Back to the Future Part II -- is fast approaching. As such, the movie and music memorabilia masters at Mondo have put together a truly fitting record collection: The score for all three Back to the Future films will be available in full on vinyl for the first time. You can either pick up each movie individually as a two-record set for $35 each, or you can get all six records in an amazingly creative and beautiful box set. The full box set will run you $105. The individual album versions feature new artwork by Matt Taylor, who previously created screen-print Back to the Future posters for Mondo, while the box set artwork and design was done by DKNG Studios.

Inside Tokyo Game Show 2015

Google announced today that its Cardboard VR app is now available in 100 countries for both iOS and Android. The company also stated that the app's software development kit has been improved. According to the Google Developer's Blog, the new SDK now features better drift control thanks to "a major overhaul of the sensor fusion algorithms that integrate the signals from the gyroscope and accelerometer." This should diminish the amount of "drift" wherein the displayed images continue to move even after your head has stopped turning.

Finding your way around in 'Firewatch'

Campo Santo's Firewatch has racked up its fair share of hype: its creators hail from venerable studios like Telltale and Double Fine, and it's based on the unusual premise of serving as a lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. If that sounds intriguing, you'll be glad to hear that it won't be much longer before you can try it yourself. The team has revealed that Firewatch will be available on Linux, Mac, Windows and PlayStation 4 on February 9th, 2016. There's still a lot to show about the game in the months ahead, but early reports are promising. It thrives on strong characterization (you play a middle-aged man retreating from a failing marriage), and it blends first-person exploration with the challenges of a classic adventure game. Hopefully, the finished title lives up to the early promise.

The Blackphone isn't the only smartphone out there that has security as its number one feature. A partnership between Archos and secure software specialists Sikur has yielded the GranitePhone, a device that runs Sikur's fully encrypted GraniteOS on top of Android. As its site claims, the GranitePhone encrypts every bit of communication data on the device, including calls, messages, contacts and more. While the device has Android at its core, it doesn't look like it includes Google's service, including the Play Store -- so it's not likely to appeal to anyone except those who really put security at the forefront.

If fingerprints can identify individual people, imagine what a brain-print could reveal -- namely, how you think and how intelligent you are. Neuroscientists studied fMRI scans of 126 patients in the Human Connectome Project, a consortium helping to map the human brain, and found consistent connections that accurately predicted "fluid intelligence," or abstract reasoning. Their findings were published today in the journal Nature. Researchers found that the more certain regions of the brain spoke to each other, the more likely a person was to quickly process information and make inferences, Yale grad student and study co-author Emily Finn told Wired. For example, a strong connection between the frontal and parietal lobes, two areas involved in high-level functions, accurately predicted a high fluid-intelligence score.

NASA released 4K video of astronauts aboard the International Space Station experimenting with water, antacid and food coloring to create incredible, fizzing aqueous spheres in the zero-G environment. The ISS crew captured the footage with a Red Epic Dragon camera, which NASA is evaluating for use in monitoring scientific experiments, celestial phenomena and and vehicle operations. According to the space agency, this is among the first such footage of its kind. We can only hope it won't be the last.

Ubisoft unboxing the disc portion of 'Might and Magic Heroes VII'

It's no longer surprising to find a boxed game that ditches discs in favor of a download code. However, it's another matter when a publisher promises those discs and then doesn't follow through -- and unfortunately, some gamers are learning this first-hand. Might & Magic Heroes VII Collector's Edition buyers are complaining that Ubisoft advertised the title shipping with DVDs (including in its official unboxing), but is only giving buyers a download code. They aren't getting the CD soundtrack and digital bonus cards, either. Ubisoft is shooting down at least some refund requests under the claim that its online order page only advertises a download, but this isn't really true. The store explicitly distinguishes between online "PC Download" games and the Collector Edition's "PC" release (in other words, a physical copy).

A heroic set of prosthetic hand designs will soon allow young amputees to transform into their favorite Disney characters. Whether they prefer a red Iron Man gauntlet, one of Queen Elsa's sparkling blue gloves or a hand inspired by Star Wars' iconic lightsabers, they'll be able to take on the world with a prosthetic that finally marries form and function. The three models have been created by Open Bionics, a startup working on cheap, 3D-printed hands for amputees. Joel Gibbard, the company's founder, says they'll cost around $500 and be available in 2016. Another, non-Disneyfied design should be roughly £2,000 ($3,071) -- considerably more, but still a fraction of what many existing prosthetics cost.

St Louis Rams v Green Bay Packers

Back in August, radio-streaming app TuneIn announced its $8/month premium streaming option that included music, audiobooks and live sports. Today, the company revealed that NFL games are now part of its on-field coverage. Thanks to a multi-year deal with the league, TuneIn will offer live broadcasts for all 32 teams, including both home and away play-by-play feeds. What's more, all national and Spanish radio broadcasts will be included as well. There's an NFL on TuneIn station too, serving up football coverage around the clock with news and commentary from NFL Network shows and podcasts. Starting in November, there will be a live "look-in" show streaming through the app that'll offer news, stats and clips of in-progress games on Sundays from 1 PM to 8 PM ET. If you're willing to follow the action the gridiron without the visuals, TuneIn is certainly a cheaper option that the NFL Game Pass which offers video replays in addition to live gameday audio for $99/year. NFL streams join MLB, Barclays Premier League, Bundesliga and more sports coverage that's already available through the TuneIn subscription service.

[Image credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]

When you find yourself needing to post to Facebook quickly, the social network's app leverages tech on Apple's latest handsets to do just that. Thanks to the newfangled 3D Touch tool that arrived with the new iPhones, a press on the app's icon will reveal options for taking a photo/video, uploading a photo/video and composing a status update. With the addition, Facebook joins a collection of apps (like Dropbox) that have already taken advantage of the new iOS feature. If your trusty device hasn't alerted you to the update yet, nab it from iTunes via the source link below.

Julian Assange

For the past three years, London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has maintained a 24/7 presence outside the Ecuadorean embassy in an attempt to arrest Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange for questioning over sexual assault charges. It's been a costly operation: the force admits it's already spent more than £9 million (over £10,500 a day) in the hope that the controversial privacy activist will give himself up. Now, it appears, the Met has had enough -- it's removed police guards from the embassy altogether.

Coldplay iHeartRadio Album Release Party

When it comes to streaming music, it's all about personalization these days -- so it was only a matter of time until iHeartRadio went down that road. With the service's new "My Favorites Radio" station, which is launching today, you'll have a single station built up from all of the tunes you've favorited over the years. Much like Spotify's Discover playlist and Apple Music's Beats-powered personalization, the new iHeartRadio feature should make it easier to just sit back and enjoy music you already like, as well as explore new musical territory. You'll be able to fine-tune what the station plays by removing individual tracks, and you can also share it with your friends pretty easily.

Mini AR glasses

There's a renewed excitement around Augmented Reality (AR), driven largely by Microsoft's HoloLens headset. Not everyone is so enthused, though, most notably Qualcomm, which is selling its AR business to the Internet of Things (IoT) company PTC for an undisclosed sum. The unfortunately named Vuforia is a platform and SDK for developers and partners to build AR experiences from. It's been running for five years and has seen use in projects like a miniaturized TARDIS, a Sesame Street app and, most recently, Mini's weird and wonderful driving goggles.

Just a few weeks after Canon launched its first decent mirrorless camera, the EOS M3, it has revealed a tiny, cheaper sibling, the EOS M10. The camera arrived in Canon's store with no press release or price, but judging by the specs, it's essentially a stripped-down version of the M3. It sports a lightweight, more basic body, and is equipped with an 18-megapixel instead of a 24.2-megapixel sensor. It's pretty darn similar otherwise, however: it has the same 49-point AF, 25,600 max (expanded) ISO, 3-inch, 1.04 million dot touchscreen and shoots 1080/30p video.