Human hair as a computer interface

UC Berkeley researcher and artist Eric Paulos and his students continue their explorations of "cosmetic computing" with a new prototype and paper about "Human Hair as Interactive Material." If you'd like to coif your own computational locks, they've posted a how-to guide on Instructables. Read the rest

Cops use backdoored WhatsApp photo to extract fingerprints and convict user

South Wales Police announced they were able to access a WhatsApp user's photos through a backdoor, then extract fingerprint data from a picture of a weed dealer's hand to help convict 11 involved people. Read the rest

The end of Windows closes in

Five years ago, Steve Ballmer said "we can make Windows devices once again the devices to own." Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows will no longer be a standalone unit at Microsoft, ending a division dedicated to personal OS that started in 1980. Read the rest

Scientists design fire alarm wallpaper made from the same mineral as bone and teeth

Researchers demonstrated a prototype "fire alarm wallpaper" that's meant to be flame-resistant while also integrating a nanotechnology-based sensor that triggers a siren and warning lights. Ying-Jie Zhu at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues published their work in the journal ACS Nano. Read the rest

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In Google's new logo, serifs a no-go

It's all about looking better on increasingly smaller devices.

Review: Pimping my Char-Broil TRU-Infrared grill

Boing Boing's barbecue gadget reviewer found a good, cheap grill on Amazon. But which add-ons, like an automated rotisserie, are worth buying? He investigates and tells all, right after this bite of chicken.

Norman Bel Geddes, creator of the 1939 New York World's Fair Futurama

Writing in The Believer, B. Alexandra Szerlip offers a fascinating profile of Norman Bel Geddes, the man who built the Futurama at the 1939 New York Worlds' Fair. Read the rest

NYT to SCOTUS: Cops should get warrant before searching your cellphone after arrest

From an editorial by the New York Times editorial board:

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether law enforcement officers during an arrest may search the contents of a person’s mobile phone without a warrant.

Read the rest

Electric car maker Tesla said to be planning new factory in California

Tesla Motors reps won't tell the Los Angeles Times, but city officials in the small California town of Lathrop told a reporter that "work is underway converting a 431,000-square-foot facility that once housed a Chrysler-Daimler distribution center into a Tesla factory." More: Is Tesla planning another electric car factory in California? Read the rest

Early Polaroid SX-70 photos from LIFE

In 1972, Polaroid introduced its iconic SX-70 camera. It was an evolutionary leap from the groundbreaking "Land Camera" invented in 1947 by Polaroid co-founder Edwin H. Read the rest

This is the system Apple used to test iPhone software in 2006

The Wall Street Journal has a story about the birth of the iPhone (which I am still a little startled to realize is only seven years old ... Read the rest

Holy crap Facebook is paying $2 billion for virtual reality headset firm Oculus Rift

Update: Don't miss Dean Putney's opinion piece, "Oculus was the future of gaming. Now it’s the future of Facebook."

Facebook today announced that it has "reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of approximately $2 billion." The deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, and provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on "the achievement of certain milestones." Read the rest

In a world of text, humans experiment with different ways of conveying emotion

Texting has changed the English language! We now use more exclamation points than we did 15 years ago! But that's okay, because language is always changing! Read the rest

Quakebot allows journalists to break news in their sleep

Three minutes after last week's earthquake, a Quakebot created by the The Los Angeles Times had already written a story breaking the news. It took humans another five minutes to copyedit and publish. Read the rest

Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam, out in the USA today

Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam, the 40th Discworld novel, comes out in the US today. I reviewed it back in November for the UK release; here's what I had to say then: it's a tremendous synthesis of everything that makes Pratchett one of the world's most delightful writers. Read the rest

Robot fish and the dawn of "soft robots"

MIT engineers are developing "soft robots" with bodies made of silicone that is actuated by fluid flowing through veins in the material. They've just demonstrated a soft robotic fish. Read the rest

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