Lowe's expands Iris home automation kit

LAS VEGAS -- Breadth can be appealing, and that's apparently what Lowe's is counting on with today's announcement of a handful of updates to its Iris home automation system at CES 2014. Starting in the first quarter of 2014, Lowe's will begin offering, among other things, leak-detecting smart shut-off valves, smart lawn sprinkler control, and a voice-command interface for Iris.

The company hasn't offered any pricing information, but those add-ons as well as upcoming smart energy grid compatibility and a garage door opener accessory will make Iris one of the most feature-rich smart home kits … Read more

Eyelock ID unlocks PCs with a glance at CES 2014

LAS VEGAS -- All but perhaps the ultra-paranoid probably find complicated passwords to be a giant hassle. The Eyelock ID security system wants to help you push the typical security drudgery aside and rely on your eyes as keys instead.

Essentially, the Eyelock ID system consists of a high-resolution digital camera working in unison with a pair of IR emitters. Here at CES 2014, I got a chance to check out Eyelock ID in person to see for myself if punching in painful alphanumeric passwords will soon be a quaint and antiquated activity. … Read more

Control every corner of your home, at a cost

Most of today's home automation options come in the form of old-guard systems like Insteon or crowdfunded Internet startups like SmartThings. The Iris Home Management System, a descendant of the UK-based AlertMe, is a little bit different, as it has the full backing of US retail giant Lowe's. You can order Iris online, or pick it up from one of the hundreds of Lowe's across the country that showcase the system, along with the multitude of compatible Z-Wave switches and sensors you can add to it.

As a system capable of working with such a wide range … Read more

Samsung ready to one-up iPhone with iris scanner

You know what's cooler than unlocking your phone by scanning your fingerprint? Unlocking your phone by scanning your eye. And that's what Samsung has planned for next year's Galaxy S5, according to a new report out of Korea.

Our sister site ZDNet Korea quotes industry sources who say the company's next flagship mobile will pack an iris scanner -- a first for any phone -- and a massively high-resolution display. These are just rumors for now, but it sounds like we could find out more soon.

According to the sources, the unnamed phone -- most likely … Read more

Dissecting Intel's top graphics in Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro

For the first time, Apple is offering a 15.4-inch Retina MacBook Pro model with Intel-only graphics silicon. So what is Intel's best graphics chip yet, and how good is it?

That $1,999 MacBook Pro is powered by a quad-core Haswell Core i7 processor with Intel's Iris Pro 5200 graphics. (The high-end $2,599 MacBook Pro adds a standalone Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics processing unit to the 5200.)

Apple describes the 15.4-inch Retina MacBook Pro's Iris Pro as "128MB of embedded memory to accelerate processor- and graphics-intensive tasks by acting as an ultrafast … Read more

MacBook Pro Retina 2013 teardown: Tough fix, good parts

It should come as no surprise that the 0.7-inch-thick 15.4-inch and 13.3-inch MacBook Pro Retina models aren't easy to repair. iFixit said this week their repairability is still rock bottom.

Thin laptops, especially those from Apple, aren't known for easy accessibility or repair as their cases are often completely sealed.

That hasn't changed with the 2013 MacBook Pro Retina.

Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MBP got a repairability score of 1 out of 10 (10 being the easiest to repair) from iFixit, matching the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina 2012 models.

You can … Read more

School iris-scanned students without telling parents

There's a quaint concept that seemingly every technology company dismisses as outdated.

It's called opting in.

Should you not be familiar with it, it's the notion that you ought to choose before, say, all the people in your address book are contacted by a company they've never heard of.

And wouldn't it be lovely to have a choice over whether your kids should have their irises scanned, as they get on their school bus?

The parents of around 750 kids in several Florida schools never got that choice -- because of what might be politely … Read more

NASA to blastoff solar satellite to gather images of the sun

Despite Earthlings depending on the sun for survival, there's a lot that scientists still don't know about our solar system's star. NASA is looking to change this.

The U.S. space agency is launching a solar satellite called the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) on June 26 to get a closer look at the sun's lower atmosphere. This part of the atmosphere is important because it is where most of the sun's ultraviolet emissions are generated, which are known to impact Earth's climate and the near-Earth space environment, according to NASA.

"IRIS data … Read more

Intel describes next-gen 'Iris' graphics chips

Intel has released details on the next-generation graphics chips that will appear in upcoming laptops, hybrids, and desktops.

Iris graphics will be integrated into the 4th Gen Intel Core, aka, Haswell processors, the chip giant announced Wednesday.

"Iris graphics brings [an] eye-popping visual experience -- no extra graphics card required," Intel said in a statement.

There will be a 2X (two-fold) 3D performance increase over the 3rd Gen Intel Core "Ivy Bridge" chips for both the U- and Mobile H-series processors designed for ultrabooks and higher-performance laptops, respectively, Intel said.

For desktop R series processors, there … Read more

Step into the world of 3D-printed tech couture

Before too long, techy women may just print out that little black dress instead of buying it at a store.

Don't believe me? Take a look at some of the 3D-printed gems strolling down the catwalk at the Paris Fashion Show this week. Dutch designer Iris van Herpen's haute couture show Voltage tapped the prowess of 3D-printing companies Stratasys and Materialise to create two pieces that look out of this world.… Read more