Recon 2: The Google map of the human body

What if you could "street view" the human body, navigating its interactive components all the way down to a metabolic level? An international group of scientists is working on that right now with a map of the human metabolism, which they call Recon 2.

Metabolism plays a key role in many diseases, and while scientists have already managed to reconstruct several models of it, each "represents only a subset of our knowledge" with "only partially overlapping content," the team writes in the journal Nature Biology.

"It's like having the coordinates of all the cars in town, but no street map," Bernhard Palsson, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and one of the authors of the paper, said in a statement. "Without this tool, we don't know why people are moving the way they are."… Read more

The 404 1,206: Where we pick our own product placement (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Bridget checks out the tech side of Toy Fair NY.

- "Disney Infinity" receives new "Monsters University" images.

- Ubooly is soft, squishy and smart thanks to the iPhone.

- Barbie gets a digital makeover at Toy Fair.

- Buy Griff's "Back to the Future II" hoverboard for $13,000.

- Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studio working on interactive TV.… Read more

Voice-controlled home assistant is like a nicer HAL 9000

LAS VEGAS--Home automation is all over CES 2013. Tucked away in a small booth is Ivee, a company known for its voice-controlled alarm clocks. The newest Ivee creation is the Sleek, a voice-controlled home automation gateway.

You can tell Sleek to turn down the temperature, report stock prices, and share the weather. A pleasant woman's voice communicates with you in turn. This really is like having a HAL for your home, only this particular device hasn't reached sentience yet. She doesn't seem to have Siri's snarky streak, but if you ask her, "Who is Siri?" Sleek will reply, "She is not important."

Sleek is already compatible with Belkin's smart plugs. Ivee also mentioned working with the Nest thermostat, but Nest says it hasn't opened up compatibilty with anyone. Sleek could potentially hook up with all sorts of home automation devices. Ivee is looking at a summer release at a price of $199. … Read more

Google motivates users with New Year's resolutions map

Google is aiming to harness people's motivation to carry out their New Year's resolutions and then use that to help others achieve their goals. Be it lose weight, make more money, learn a new language, or travel more, users can see what people around the world are striving for on Google's new interactive resolution map.

"Research shows that you're more likely to achieve your resolutions if you write them down and have support," Google's Associate Product Marketing Manager Liz Wessel wrote in a blog post yesterday. "Try sharing your goals with communities … Read more

Manage all startup operations with EasyBCD

A freeware package for noncommercial use, EasyBCD is designed to help manage and control startup operations. It works with the later Windows operating systems, including Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, both 32-bit and 64-bit. It also works with Linux and Mac systems.

During installation, you can choose to put an EasyBCD quick-start icon on the desktop. Once the program has started, a window appears with pull-down menus for File, Tools, and Help. Buttons on the left side of the window are for tasks such as system backup, editing the boot menu, and general settings. In addition to its main … Read more

Carl Icahn ups stake in Take-Two, now owns nearly 10 percent

Carl Icahn's interest in Netflix hasn't stopped him from making strategic investments elsewhere.

Just yesterday, a host of Icahn organizations, including Icahn Partners and Icahn Master, bought up about 500,000 shares in Take-Two Interactive to increase his ownership to 9.57 percent. Icahn, who previously owned about 8.7 percent of Take-Two, has invested an aggregate total of $79.9 million in the company.

Icahn has been, at times, a thorn in Take-Two's side. In 2010, he had a spat with Take-Two's board of directors and eventually had three members ousted. In their place, Icahn … Read more

Citizen scientists map 1,400 defibrillators in Philly contest

After researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine called on the general public to find as many of Philadelphia's estimated 5,000 automated external defibrillators as possible, more than 300 "citizen scientists" stepped up and located 1,429 of them in more than 525 buildings across the city.

The eight-week crowdsourcing contest, called MyHeartMap Challenge, is part of what the researchers hope will be a national effort to catalog as many AEDs as possible and develop an interactive app of the registry so that laypeople can act quickly in the event someone nearby … Read more

Angry Birds tangible slingshot controller lets you get hands-on

It's the app game that won't go away. Angry Birds Space is still sitting pretty on the App Store's top paid apps chart, but how many times can you pull back a virtual slingshot before you start pining for something more?

Students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design have given Angry Birds a whole new dimension with the creation of a physical slingshot controller for the desktop version of the game. … Read more

Angry Birds to land on Samsung TVs

After soaring into the PC and mobile world, Angry Birds is flapping into its next arena -- smart TVs.

Samsung today announced the launch of a new Angry Birds app (English translation) designed for certain of its smart TVs.

Tapping into Samsung's Smart Interaction gesture recognition, game players will be able to use gestures and voice commands to target the angry birds in their battle against the pigs.

Due out sometime this month, the Angry Birds app will be compatible with Samsung's smart TVs ES7000, ES8000, and ES9000. Taking advantage of Samsung's newly-updated Smart TV SDK, the … Read more

Keep a calendar on your desktop with Interactive Calendar

Not that very long ago a desktop calendar was a big paper thing that sat on top of your desk (sometimes under your typewriter). Now it's typically a piece of software like Interactive Calendar. This attractive program makes it easy to view a calendar on your computer desktop and keep detailed records of upcoming events. We think it's a nice option if you want something more comprehensive than the built-in Windows calendar but don't want to use the calendar that's integrated into your e-mail client.

Interactive Calendar has a sleek, customizable interface. The calendar is meant … Read more