Cadenza: You play, and a full orchestra plays with you

You're at home playing your violin and imagining the day when you'll grace the stage of the world's greatest orchestras. Wouldn't it be nice to have symphonic accompaniment as you nurture those Itzhak Perlman dreams? A number of apps provide musical backup, but Cadenza out of Harvard goes a step further, automatically synching a recording of a full live orchestra to your style and tempo in real time.

"As you begin playing your instrument, the app listens to each note you play and the rhythm and speed in which you play them, calculating and recalibrating a prediction model for when you will play the next note," the Cadenza site explains. "These meticulous adjustments happen every millisecond." … Read more

Sparkling Drink Systems bids to take the fizz out of Keurig Cold

Earlier this year Coca-Cola and Keurig announced a partnership for Keurig Cold, a CO2 cartridge-free carbonated drink maker expected in stores later this year. Around the same time, a company called Sparkling Drinks Systems - Innovation Center (SDS-IC) said it has been developing its own at-home carbonated beverage tech since November 2007, one that also doesn't require CO2 cartridges. With backing from Paris-based company Initiative & Finance SDS-IC plans to unveil six products related to DIY carbonated drinks in the second half of 2014.

SDS-IC's home page is emblazoned with the words, "Sorry Coke and Keurig, we … Read more

A drone Hollywood cinematographers can love

LAS VEGAS -- Drones carrying cameras is no longer something worth getting worked up about. But a drone that can carry a heavy-duty digital SLR capable of shooting Hollywood movies? Now that's exciting.

At CES on Sunday, China's DJI Innovations showed off its forthcoming S1000, an 8-rotor drone that was built specifically to carry Canon's 5D Mark II or Mark III. For those not familiar with camera gear, that's a setup capable of shooting feature films or documentaries.

DJI knows that it has plenty of competition in the drone space. Companies like Parrot have already sold … Read more

Behind Samsung's push to rule the world

Editors' note: Be sure to catch the other stories in this package: on the many pieces of Samsung Group's empire, on road-testing Samsung's S Translate app, on TVs and appliances in a Q&A with co-CEO Boo-keun Yoon, and on how Samsung torture-tests its products.

SEOUL, South Korea -- "It sounded like a toilet."

Samsung Electronics sound designer Myoung-woo Nam is describing the not-quite-right noise his team created for the Galaxy S3, at least initially. Here, in a dimly lit room on the eighth floor of a Samsung skyscraper, in the heart of Seoul's … Read more

House passes bill aimed at curbing patent troll lawsuits

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation Thursday intended to discourage frivolous patent lawsuits brought by patent holders with hopes of large settlements.

The Innovation Act, which passed by a 325-91 vote, has enjoyed the support of tech companies such as Google. The legislation aims to quash frivolous lawsuits by creating new requirements plaintiffs must meet to file patent infringement lawsuits.

The bill, H.R. 3309, would require plaintiffs to disclose more information about each patent allegedly violated, as well as information about the patent holder's identity. It would also limit discovery to core documents, shifting the financial … Read more

Samsung wants Android apps that stand apart, starting now

SAN FRANCISCO -- Samsung on Monday rolled out five software development kits to make it easier for developers to create apps for its various devices.

The new SDKs include one for multiscreen capabilities and another for multiscreen gaming. Samsung also streamlined its mobile SDK, released a new version of its smart TV SDK, and updated its enterprise SDK.

The SDK releases highlight Samsung's push to offer something different from all the other Android device makers. It's also part of Samsung's effort to work more closely with startups and boost its software and service offerings. The two areas … Read more

Dyson design finalists: Engineering tomorrow

Imagine being able to cancel out specific street noises -- your neighbor's car alarm, for example, or those 6 a.m. garbage trucks -- while letting in the dulcet doggie sounds you still like to hear.

Austrian designer Rudolf Stefanich not only imagined such a scenario, but created one in Sono, a concept device that clips onto a window and lets you select which sounds to tune out using noise vibrations and digital sound-processing technology.

It's among the 20 products recently selected as finalists for the prestigious James Dyson Award, an international design prize that encourages the next generation of design engineers to conceive of problem-solving products. … Read more

9 projects I'd like to see Samsung take on

Last month, after Samsung rolled out the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and then followed the introduction of the gold iPhone 5S with its own gold Galaxy S4, I started drafting a list of projects that I'd like to see the gargantuan Korean conglomerate take a stab at. The idea was that since Samsung seems to quickly follow other companies under its own moniker, perhaps I should point them in the direction of a few totally original products that I'd actually like to see made. … Read more

Samsung opens doors to New York accelerator

NEW YORK -- Samsung on Monday opened the doors to its New York City accelerator, marking its latest effort to work with startups and to uncover hot innovations.

The company hosted an event for reporters, startups, and other partners in its new seventh-floor office in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. The area houses various other startups, including recent Samsung acquisition Boxee. David Eun, the executive vice president who heads Samsung's Open Innovation Center, kicked off the event, while Boo-Keun Yoon, the Samsung co-CEO who also oversees the company's electronics business, also made some remarks about Samsung's focus on … Read more

Hammerhead bike navigator simplifies adventurous rides

Nothing puts a speed bump in a thrilling bike ride quite like stopping to consult a map on your smartphone. Sure, you can mount your GPS to your handlebars, but that's a lot of information to take in when you're rocketing down the street and trying to stay safe from cars. The Hammerhead bike navigator ditches all the extraneous information and simplifies your two-wheeled travels.

The $75 Hammerhead is a hammerhead-shaped device that fits on your handlebars. It works with an iOS app that sends directional information to the gadget. As you follow a route, it indicates with bright LEDs where and when to turn, and when you've reached your destination. It works for both urban environments and off-road trails.… Read more