If you work anywhere in or around technology, chances are you've either witnessed or are a member of the standing-desk craze, the natural offshoot of the increasing medical research suggesting sitting in your Herman Miller Aeron chair will actually kill you faster than smoking. But standing's the tip of the iceberg. Treadmill desks, work-walking, whatever you want to call it -- more and more people aren't just standing while they work; they're clocking in 10 slow miles a day on the job. With treadmill desks popping up everywhere from home offices to the cube farms of Google to the open newsrooms of The New York Times, the definition of what it means to be "at work" is changing more than ever before.
Damn the torpedoes (and Teslas)! Two of Japan's biggest automakers are about to make sizable wagers on a different kind of clean fuel tech: hydrogen power. Toyota will launch the $57,500 Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV, above) next year, while hydrogen veteran Honda will out a model in 2016. But wait, aren't EVs the last word in green cars? Fuel cell cars are EVs, in a way, but you can fill one up with hydrogen in five minutes rather than waiting hours for a charge. The only way to do that in an electric vehicle (EV) is by swapping the entire battery. So why is there exactly one production FCV available to buy today, but EVs everywhere? That's a tale of efficiency, fuel, pollution and politics.
In July 2014, Lindsay Lohan sued Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games, claiming that Grand Theft Auto V featured a character who is allegedly based on the Mean Girls actress. According to the suit, filed in the New York Supreme Court, the cover of the game depicts a bikini-clad woman who bears a striking resemblance to LiLo. And the game itself apparently consists of more similarities, including the fact that the character runs from paparazzi, takes cover in the Chateau Marmont and incorporates Lohan's "image, likeness, clothing, outfits, [Lohan's] clothing line products, ensemble in the form of hats, hair style, sunglasses [and] jean shorts."
Also in July, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega filed suit in California Superior Court against Activision Blizzard Inc., the makers of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, for using his likeness without permission. According to the complaint, Activision depicted Noriega as "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state," (the audacity!) and the makers implied that he was "the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use [his] image and likeness."
Lohan's and Noriega's suits were filed in two different states, and because of this, the applicable laws vary a bit. Lohan's battle is ongoing while Noriega's has been dismissed. One involves a celebrity, and the other a political figure. On the face of it, these two suits don't have all that much in common. The thread that connects them both –- and most lawsuits involving the use of a person's likeness in a video game -– is the right of publicity.
There is a rapidly growing subculture of e-cigarette users across the globe who spend countless hours tricking out their hardware. Vape modding, as it's known, blends technical craftsmanship, engineering creativity and artistry into one -- and unbeknownst to most, it originated right here in the UK. Some do it to get better hits, while others do it to give their e-cigs a unique look. The modders are also the staunchest of users, who credit vaping with allowing them to kick the tobacco habit. But as I found out, through the process of modding, these ex-smokers may have just traded one addiction for another.
The Engadget Live tour continued last week, with the latest stop taking place in Boston. Just like at our previous two events, in Austin and Seattle, Beantown didn't disappoint and the reader turnout was incredible. Attendees were treated to a night filled with a myriad of activities, giveaways and social mingling. Want to know what you missed? Check out the picture gallery bellow, where you'll also get a glimpse of what the sponsors brought over to the Royale venue to share with the Engadget aficionados in attendance.
Orbotix, now simply known as Sphero, had the world in awe when it introduced its smartphone-controlled, ball-shaped toy back in 2010. Back then, we were still getting used to the concept of "connected" things. Today, nearly four years after making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show, Sphero is one of the most popular peripherals around, on iOS and Android alike. But while the robotic ball may have started off as a knickknack for kids, or adults, to play with, it has recently started to break into another, more serious field: education. In an effort to boost that, Sphero launched an initiative called SPRK about five months ago, with the goal of letting schools adopt its product into education curriculum. Simply put, kids could not only learn about programming, but also have fun doing so.
What should an astronaut do when he gets dirty? Take a meteor shower [groan]. But, what does an astronaut do when their space suit gets mucky in training? They get it laundered, just like anything else. Pictured above, a staff member from the Russian Space Training Center hangs out the freshly washed space suits of Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA's U.S. flight engineer Kathleen Rubins, and Japanese space agency's flight engineer Takuya Onishi. The trio picked up a few stains after landing on water in training for a mission on the ISS. So, the suits can handle the high radiation of space, but not a spin in a dryer?
[Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP]
We had a chance to test the OnePlus One a couple of months ago and it was one sweet piece of tech. The only downside, really, has been the incredibly limited supply. That's what makes this week's giveaway a bit of a standout. The folks at dbrand happened to have one on hand and they've passed it along so that one lucky Engadget reader can break away from the everyday smartphone crowd. The company has also included 16 of its custom OnePlus One skins to make it even more unique. You can even use the company's interactive preview tools to help personalize a variety of smartphones, tablets and game consoles with dbrand's selection of custom skins. As for the phone, the One boasts a 13-megapixel camera, 64GB of storage and runs CyanogenMod, letting users customize the OS almost as much as the exterior. This is an unlocked global version (supporting LTE, GSM and WCMDA) so users on T-Mobile, AT&T and various other carriers should be good to go. Just head on down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning this OnePlus One and dbrand skins.
Winner: congratulations to Daryl J. of Hudson, OH.
You're master of your domain. There's a chair with your name on it and an impression to match your backside. It overlooks a media center loaded with intelligent gaming consoles and set-top boxes. The rest of the house is also getting smarter, and that chair is still so comfortable. Not to worry, Logitech's Harmony Ultimate remote is getting brainier too, with support for the Nest Learning Thermostat and a variety of devices like Philips Hue smart bulbs. Logitech was nice enough to provide a Harmony Ultimate and Nest thermostat for this week's giveaway so one lucky reader can dominate their domicile in style. The remote offers a color touchscreen and tons of customizable features, for flexible, comprehensive control over your home's devices. There's also a partner app for both Android and iOS in case some fool lets this smart device fall deep into the cushions. Your chance at winning this powerful package is only a few clicks away, so head down to the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility... to get off your butt and exercise or you might not be able to out run the machines -- if it comes to that.
Winner: congratulations to Eric S. from Picayune, MS.
Just north of Akihabara, Tokyo's tech epicenter, our Japanese colleagues took over an art gallery (and cafe and basement...) for its premier Engadget Fes. As well as the chance to play with Microsoft's newest console and Surface Pro 3 (both still not yet on sale in Japan), there was a surfeit of robots, hobbyist gadgets, toys and 3D printers. Oh and a Google X Lunar Prize-winning drone, which heads to the moon next year. Given the price of flights to Tokyo (and despite the weather: torrential rain), we've pulled together the best bits below.
Pepper the robot looks like a robot, thanks to an almost-anime design. What then, of Kodomoroid (above, center) and Otonaroid (right)? Both androids have found employment at Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, as part of its new "Android: What is human?" exhibit. Kodomoroid ("child android") can recite news (and weather) reports from around the world in a variety of voices and languages. Meanwhile, Otonaroid ("adult android") is steered by a human nearby and will work as a guide for the exhibition. Museum visitors will be able to talk with the adult robot (as well as take control themselves), but will they be able to look either android in the eye?
ASUS has certainly been making a name for itself delivering sleek and slim computing devices, and it's not showing signs of stopping. The ASUS MeMO Pad 8 tablet is one of its latest, which packs a quad-core Intel Bay Trail processor into a super-portable 0.7-pound package. The company's so psyched about the slate, it wanted to share the love and give three Engadget readers one of their own to enjoy. The CPU is said to deliver lightning fast speeds, and paired with its 8-inch HD display and stereo sound, it should help pleasantly pass the time on long flights or lazy couch sessions. The tablet's new Zen UI also adds easy-to-use scheduling, file sharing and gallery tools. Plus there's a series of photo features to help eliminate photo-bombers from your snaps and capture the perfect
groufie group selfie. This slim device is also up-to-date on Google's latest sweet treat: Android 4.4 Kit Kat. Don't miss out, there's up to three chances at winning one of these ASUS Pads via the Rafflecopter widget below. It'll only take you seconds, and you won't even have to stay up all night just to get lucky!
Winners: congratulations to Jeff W. of Randolph, MA, Charles H. of Santa Ana, CA and Scott H. of Cordova, TN
Sure, 3D printers that can spit out chocolates, create shoes, handcraft cars and help astronauts sound fun and magical, but a lot of scientists are working to make models that aren't just fun. They're developing 3D printers that can also save and change lives by printing out functional human organs. Think about it: If we can make organs on demand, patients don't have to wait as long for transplanted organs. In the United States alone, 78,837 patients are waiting for organ donations (at the time of publication), but only 3,407 donations have been made since January 2014. Machines capable of creating functional human parts could significantly shorten -- or nullify -- that line. Sadly, we're still at the early stages of the technology. As it turns out, printing working human organs is a lot more complex than printing out plastic toys.