Tech 21 shows Impact Shield screen protector

LAS VEGAS -- A press event the first night of CTIA gave me the opportunity to see a new screen protector from Tech21. If you haven't heard of the UK-based company, it makes some pretty durable cases for popular smartphones like the Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 4/4S.

The Impact Shield strips device protection down to the bare minimum with just a thin clear film to lay over your handset's display. It's composed of three materials, including a polymer that's also used in bulletproof glass. Also, since it uses a silica material to affix to … Read more

Shoot retro fighters in Space Impact Free

Retro gaming is big right now. The App Store is filled with games that hearken back to the days of brightly colored pixels, indistinguishable faces and simple but ultimately addictive gameplay. Few games channel this as well or as thoroughly as Space Impact Free. If you were to glance at Space Impact Free in passing, you would immediately think it to be an actual retro game, straight from the Atari 2600 that once sat in every American basement. But the game is an original design and, while it uses many of the same basic elements of its forebears, it has … Read more

Europe's space agency kicks off asteroid collision mission

Doomsday isn't far from many people's imaginations, whether it's the end of the Mayan calendar, the rapture, or a massive asteroid smashing into the Earth. Now, one of these far-flung scenarios may become even less likely.

The European Space Agency announced this week that it's in the beginning phases of an "Asteroid Impact and Deflection Mission" with its U.S. partner Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The eventual goal of the mission is to verify whether scientists can collide with an asteroid that's hurtling through space -- so as to avoid any possible … Read more

Apple bows out of program for environment-minded products

Apple has decided to stop participating in a major program devoted to the production of environmentally friendly products, reportedly saying that its design direction is no longer in line with the program's requirements.

Late last month, Apple told the nonprofit EPEAT group that the company would no longer submit its products for green certification from EPEAT and that it was pulling its currently certified products from the group's registry.

According to The Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal site, 39 of Apple's products had received EPEAT's green stamp of approval, including laptops such as the MacBook … Read more

Google: We drove $80B in U.S. economic activity last year

Google is driving serious economic activity in the U.S. -- at least, that is, according to Google.

The search giant today unveiled its 2011 Economic Impact report, and said that its search and advertising tools, including AdWords and AdSense, drove $80 billion in economic activity across the U.S. last year. The company said it reached that figure with help from "1.8 million businesses, Web site publishers, and non-profits across the U.S."

In order to arrive at that figure, Google used some fancy math. The company estimates that businesses that use AdWords make $2 in … Read more

Windows 8 Release Preview puts gadgets in the backseat

Nothing is as fascinating as the thing you can't have yet. Between Windows 8 Release Preview and a deafening cavalcade of iPhone 5 rumors, the current gadget crop didn't stand a chance this week.

This week's roundup of top-rated gear includes everything we've awarded three-and-a-half stars or above in our rating scale, and you can browse all of them in our slideshow. But first, read through our unrated Windows 8 Release Preview, written by Seth Rosenblatt. Seth has spent a lot of time with the new Windows preview, and he's played with the two-screen, app-centric … Read more

Notre Dame football tests smart mouthguards

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football program was the first to win 11 national championships and the first to win seven Heisman Trophies. Now, it'll be among the first to try out a new protective mouthguard that records and reports impact data to help battle concussions.

Pro and college football are much more concerned with head injuries than they were even five years ago, with more data supporting the theory that multiple concussions--even in youth--can lead to long-term depression, permanent memory problems, and dementia later in life.

The "intelligent mouthguard" by Seattle's X2IMPACT records the g-force … Read more

How big is your footprint?

A carbon footprint measures the amount of greenhouse gases that we put out into the atmosphere via transportation, electricity use, and other daily activities. Carbon Footprint Calculator is a Google Desktop Gadget that lets users easily tabulate their carbon footprints, as well as the number of trees that would need to be planted in order to offset it.

The program appears as an attractive rectangle within Google Desktop. The gadget's text invites users to calculate their carbon footprint by clicking on the word Start, and it then walks users through a series of questions about their energy consumption. Users … Read more

IBM helping Europe scan historical documents

IBM and the European Union are teaming up to offer a better way to scan the massive collection of Europe's treasured historical documents.

Expanding on an existing collaboration project, Big Blue and the EU will now be working with more than two dozen libraries, research institutes, universities, and companies across Europe to help them digitize their rare books and documents.

The project known as Impact (Improving Access to Text), is using new tools and tapping into crowd sourcing to speed up the mass digitization process and ensure that the scanned documents are as accurate as possible. Impact will also … Read more