ZTE's modular phone concept lets you swap out phone hardware

LAS VEGAS -- The idea of customizing your handset beyond just its looks has been often toyed with, but rarely realized. At CES this year, ZTE displayed its concept Eco-Mobius modular phone at its booth, which maps out how someone could customize and change his or her smartphone, hardware piece by hardware piece.

Developed by the company's R&D department in China, the Eco-Mobius would make it possible to switch out and upgrade individual hardware components. For instance, say you are going to a wedding and would like to shoot sharper, higher-resolution photos. You could then replace your … Read more

Ford brainier concept a step toward self-driving cars

Ford Motor, trying to show off its electronics credentials, on Friday unveiled a new concept vehicle with technologies that Chief Executive Alan Mulally said will eventually lead to self-driving cars.

The concept car, a modified version of the compact S-Max that Ford revealed at the IFA electronics show in Berlin, has a variety of digital-era advancements:

• Vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology, a variation of Wi-Fi networking, that lets cars communicate directly to discover risks like a stopped vehicle around a blind curve.

• A system that uses radar and cameras to watch for pedestrians and apply the brakes if a collision is imminent. … Read more

Glenn Beck threatens to fire staff who buy eco-friendly lightbulbs

We've known for some time that there is a war for our minds.

But there's also a vast battle for our sense of illumination.

We are not being enlightened. We are being kept in the dark by weaselly eco-soldiers of fortune.

Famed sense-talker and entertainer Glenn Beck has decided to thrust a stake in the ground and a sword in the air to declare that -- at least in his media conglomerate -- he will not have any of this global warming talk.

He will not have some leftie-leaning, lily-livered administrator buying eco-friendly lightbulbs.

Speaking on his pulsating … Read more

ZeitEco: A boxy scooter you can toss in the back of your car

There's no denying that the ZeitEco scooter looks weird, like the love child of a Yamaha and a Klondike bar. If you want to blend into a crowd, this isn't the vehicle for you. The name stands for "zero-emission individual transport." The result is an electric scooter that can fit in the back of many vehicles.

The ZeitEco handlebars and foot rests fold away so you can pack it into small spaces. It's also ready to handle your gadgets with a built-in sound system and the ability to charge them up. It's kind of like a boom box on wheels.… Read more

Ford promises fuel-saving 1-liter engine next year

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford will unveil its 2013 Fiesta model, currently its smallest car. And along with its standard 1.6-liter engine, Ford will also be showing its smallest engine, the 1-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost, a new option for the Fiesta model.

Three-cylinder engines are rare in the U.S., only used in the current Smart car or the odd past Asian import. In those applications, they have not garnered a really good reputation. But Ford's little mill may change all that.

Taking advantage of efficiency and power technologies, the 1-liter Ford engine produces 123 horsepower and … Read more

Sustainable fishing 'SafetyNet' catches big prize

Imagine yourself as a little fish swimming far below the surface of the sea, just trying to make it in a big blue world. Suddenly, a horizon-encompassing net grabs you and takes you away from everything you once knew. Things go from bad to worse as the commercial fishing net rises and the pressure change kills you.

This fate, which often befalls millions of smaller non-target fish around the world every year, could change with the invention of the sustainable SafetyNet, which today was named winner of the prestigious 2012 James Dyson Award for design. … Read more

EnergySail promises wind-solar combo for cleaner shipping

Many shipping companies are experimenting with adding sails to cargo vessels. Here's a design in which the sails are also solar panels.

EnergySail is a concept by Japan's Eco Marine Power that harnesses and stores wind and solar power to reduce fuel costs and pollution. It would work as an additional source of power to a ship's main engines.

The devices would be fitted on anything from large bulk ore carriers to cable-laying ships, ferries, and coast guard patrol vessels, according to the company. An automatic control system would orient the sails and panels to catch the … Read more

EcoATM phone recycling kiosks proliferate (video)

A few years back, we introduced you to EcoATM, a San Diego-based start-up that had just hit the scene with an innovative kiosk that lets consumers trade in old phones for cash on the spot.

A "CBS This Morning" report this week checks back in with EcoATM, a maturing company that now boasts 181 kiosks set up in malls and retailers around the country. … Read more

The Oree keyboard is a wireless wooden wonder

The aesthetics of the modern keyboard reminds me of the U.S. car industry several years ago: uninspired.

Enter the Orée wooden keyboard, nearly made in full out of Mother Nature's greatest asset. French entrepreneur Julien Salanave came up with Orée and works in collaboration with a small design team in southern France to produce the wooden Bluetooth 3.0 wireless keyboard. … Read more

Top 5 lowest-power-consuming IPS monitors

So, how difficult is it to make a low-power-consumption monitor? Well, if this list is any indication, not very. However, among the lowest of low-power-consumption monitors, there's usually one common factor: Twisted Nematic (TN) panels.

Any company can make a low-power-consumption TN-based monitor, though, so a list consisting of only TN monitors would be pretty boring. What would be slightly less boring is a list consisting of In-Plane Switching (IPS) monitors that draw relatively small amounts of power to function. That is a list to get somewhat more excited about. So, I've decided to make that list.

To be clear, the difference you'd pay per year running these things -- using our formula -- is small in the grand scheme of things.

Still, I thought it would be interesting to see just how low IPS monitors can go.… Read more