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Disney, channeling Silicon Valley, launches startup accelerator

Disney on Wednesday launched its first-ever startup accelerator, a three-month program pairing 10 teams of entrepreneurs with mentors like CEO Bob Iger and giving them access to the media giant's IP.

The accelerator, which is accepting applications now through April 16, will be hosted in Los Angeles, Calif. It will be managed by Techstars, which has run similar programs for companies like Sprint, Barclays, and Nike. A team of judges from Techstars, Disney, and the venture capital community will pick the 10 startups, all of which will be given $120,000 each to try to get their companies off … Read more

New chip lets scientists listen in on bacteria

Ah, bacteria. Most of us probably prefer not to think about its omnipresence if we don't have to, and to limit our visions of it to the stale microscopic ones we captured in chemistry class.

Now, scientists are turning that optics-based imaging approach on its head, instead developing a chip based on integrated circuit technology that lets them not only electrochemically image bacteria, but listen in on them as well.

The chip "is an 'active' glass slide, a slide that not only forms a solid-support for the bacterial colony but also 'listens' to the bacteria as they talk … Read more

Sochi: A streaming event of Olympic proportions

For the Sochi Olympics, NBC will plow head first into streaming nearly every moment of the games over the Internet, but still stops short of giving everything to everyone.

The broadcast network NBC and its partners -- distributors like cable and satellite providers and tech companies like Adobe and iStreamPlanet -- have embraced the concept of bringing as much as they can online. What we're getting this year: nearly every moment of competition and more curated video on the Web; easier sign-on and more pay-TV providers on board to let their customers watch online; and more supported devices and … Read more

In Sochi, the Olympics-size job of running Olympics IT infrastructure

As the Winter Olympics get under way today, one of the main narratives emerging from Sochi, Russia so far is that of gross incompetence, unfinished construction projects, widespread computer hacking, and a general sense that corruption has been the biggest winner.

Yet, with thousands of Olympic athletes and tens of thousands of spectators arriving in Sochi, the show must still go on. The opening ceremonies are tonight, and soon, skiers, skaters, lugers, and so many others will be competing for precious gold as millions of people around the world watch. Behind it all is a massive technology infrastructure, years in … Read more

CNET on Cars: Three things that make the 2015 Ford Mustang (CNET On Cars, Episode 34)

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In this episode:

The three things that make the new 2015 Mustang new Dealing with red-light cameras and stop-and-go traffic lights with new car tech Top 5 new car technologies Cooley wants to see in 2014 Explaining how Chrysler HEMI engines are -- and are not -- hemi engines!

As always, e-mail me your thoughts, suggestions, and comments.

E-whiskers put sensitive catlike sensors on robots

Cats, rats, other mammals, and even some insects are well-known for using their hairlike tactile sensors -- whiskers -- to sense obstacles in their path and changes in the air. Now researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created "electronic whiskers" that could help robots navigate with similar sensitivity.

Their research, detailed in a paper titled "Highly sensitive electronic whiskers based on patterned carbon nanotube and silver nanoparticle composite films," appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and explains how these e-whiskers can be made and used to map airflow in real time.

The e-whiskers respond to the slightest changes in pressure -- in fact, "in tests, these whiskers were 10 times more sensitive to pressure than all previously reported capacitive or resistive pressure sensors," lead researcher Ali Javey said in a statement.Read more

Voyce: Don't call it 'Fitbit for dogs'

LAS VEGAS -- A colleague leaned over to me in the CNET double-wide at CES and asked if I had seen the Voyce, a gadget for dogs. There was something about heart rate and data collection. Ah, I said, like a Fitbit for dogs? So I went to check it out. Jeff Noce is the man behind Voyce and I can tell he's tired of hearing that Fitbit-for-dogs comparison, and he's right. It's not.

Voyce is a smart collar stuffed with sensors that monitor activity and rest levels, calories, heart rate, and respiratory rate. That data is collected over Wi-Fi, with the device needing to be charged once a week for four hours at a time. You can track trends over time and share the information with your vet. For example, heart rate can be a clue that your dog is in pain. It can be like an early warning system for getting your pup to the doc.… Read more

For Pleo the robot dinosaur, a second act in an American life

LAS VEGAS -- It was an unforgettable scene: A crowd of smiling people gathered around a table on the show floor watching a charming, animated, and lifelike green robot dinosaur called Pleo for the first time.

Was this CES 2014? No, it was Maker Faire Austin 2007, and Pleo was finally having its public coming out party after first being unveiled at the Demo conference in early 2006.

Wait, though. It was CES 2014. Indeed, if you walk the floor of the Robotics section of the giant consumer electronics trade show here this week, you'll see Pleo, as charming … Read more

Solar Cooler chills beverages, makes ice with sun power

Back in 2004, Ryan McGann, an engineer by training, was sitting on the beach. He was getting hot and his beer was getting warm. He thought to himself that there must be some way to harness the power of the sun to get the beer part of the equation right. That's when he built his first Solar Cooler prototype for his own use.

Years later, he's on the verge of launching the Solar Cooler as a consumer product by way of crowdfunding. The project should be live soon, likely on Indiegogo, to capitalize on the interest he's garnered from showing off a prototype at CES. The 50-pound cooler has solar panels on top, two big wheels to navigate beach sand, charging ports for your gadgets, and a battery that can last up to 10 hours.… Read more

At CES, a hunt for hidden treasure

LAS VEGAS -- I've done my good deed for the day.

To get CES attendees to visit the massive consumer electronics show's less-popular areas, CES put on a scavenger hunt this week. To play, participants run the show's official mobile app and head out on a trip around Vegas looking for nine hidden wireless iBeacons.

The app offers general information about their locations, essentially the name of a specific industry area, like 3D printing, or digital health, and the building it's located. Once there, the app alerts players that an iBeacon (which wirelessly transmits its location to mobile devices, as well as the distance to those devices) is nearby and gives them an approximate distance to the treasure. … Read more