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Apple aims at reimagining vehicle owner's manuals

Apple might be taking a stab at a new way to access vehicle owners manuals.

The US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published a patent application from Apple called "Identifying and Presenting Information Based on Unique Vehicle Identifier." According to the patent application, the technology would would identify all parts and part numbers in a car and beam that to a person's iPhone or iPad. With GPS technology included, it would also inform the car owner of the nearest dealership or car parts retailer to get the needed part.

To add a bit more flavor to … Read more

In the age of wearable technology, don't forget who wears the trousers

From smartwatches to smart shoes, in the age of wearable technology computers are getting bigger and getting smaller at the same time -- but according to Intel future-gazer Steve Brown, the most important thing about a wearable device is the person doing the wearing.

"Anything can become a computer," says futurist Steve Brown speaking at the Wearable Technology Show in London. Gazing into his crystal ball, he sees three things happening in technology: "Computing is becoming smaller, computing is becoming bigger, and computing is becoming more natural."

How can computers get smaller and bigger at the … Read more

Crave Ep. 151: Neil Young's Pono dreams soon to come true

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Neil Young's PonoMusic service blew past its Kickstarter fundraising goal in one day. Are FLAC files the next wave in music? We also hear some jams from a cyborg drummer on Earth, and wake up to the sweet smells and sounds of the Bacon Alarm. Read more

Robotic arm gives amputee drummer better beats

When drummer Jason Barnes lost his lower right arm to electrocution two years ago, his future as a musician didn't look too promising. But thanks to a new robotic arm invented by Professor Gil Weinberg, founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, he may soon be the envy of the drumming world.

That's because the new mechanical arm effectively gives Barnes the ability to use three different drumsticks while playing his kit. He holds the first in his left hand, as always. The other two are held by the robotic arm attached to Barnes' right bicep. One of those sticks is controlled by the up-and-down motion of Barnes' arm, as well as electrical impulses from his body measured by electromyography muscle sensors.

The other stick however, analyzes the rhythm being played and uses a built-in motor to improvise on its own, adding a dimension to drumming that's heretofore not seen on any stage we know of. … Read more

Imagination, Apple graphics tech supplier, talks future

John Metcalfe, executive vice president and COO at Imagination Technologies, graphics chip supplier to Apple, chatted with CNET for a few minutes about the future.

Imagination's graphics chip technology -- which must manage, among other things, the millions of pixels on the display -- has been used consistently by Apple in its mobile products, and Imagination's technology appears prominently in the iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, and iPhone 5S.

I asked Metcalfe in a recent interview about the future of its graphics chips and, by extension, technologies that could appear in future Apple products -- though the latter … Read more

IBM laying off up to 25 percent of 'hardware' division

IBM has confirmed that it's laying off a portion of its workforce in order to focus on new priority areas, like the cloud, analytics, and cognitive computing. This means certain divisions of the company must see cuts.

"As reported in our recent earnings briefing, IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients, and to pioneer new, high value segments of the IT industry," IBM spokesman Doug Shelton told CNET in a statement. "To that end, IBM is positioning itself to lead in areas such as cloud, analytics and cognitive computing, … Read more

Internet now used by 87% of American adults, says poll

Almost 90 percent of American adults surveyed use the Internet, and almost all say that the Internet has been a good thing for them personally.

Among the 1,000 American adults surveyed by Pew Research in January, 87 percent now use the Internet. That number is even higher for certain groups. Internet use was claimed by 99 percent of people in households that earn $75,000 or more, 97 percent of adults ages 18-29, and 97 percent of those with college degrees.

A full 68 percent of those polled connect to the Internet via mobile devices. On a related note, … Read more

More signs that Apple A8 chip production is approaching

Apple may be getting closer to production of its A8 processor as news from Asia points to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) as the main supplier.

Taiwan-based TechNews (via MacRumors) reported that TSMC has already started production of Apple's next-generation A8 processor.

That report jibes with a source who CNET spoke to December. That person, who is familiar with TSMC's plans, said that Taiwanese contract chip manufacturer had already begun making Apple's A series processors. To date, Samsung has been the sole manufacturer of Apple's processors.

But TechNews takes this a step further, claiming that TSMC … Read more

Mathematicians find 177,147 ways to tie a necktie

The Windsor or the Half Windsor are the two most-used necktie knots, pretty much the standard for day-to-day school and business attire. Chances are, you are taught how to do it once, then forever continue to use the exact same method for the remainder of your life -- even though prior knowledge suggests you could mix it up a bit of you wanted.

In 1999, two mathematicians, Thomas Yink and Yong Mao, examined the actions involved in tying a necktie and calculated there were 85 different ways to do so. However, a new team of mathematicians has trumped their research. Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, along with a small team of mathematicians, found that Fink and Mao had left out some possibilities. … Read more

Smartphones, smart TVs, and now... smart diapers?

Imagine this: You're sitting in your living room watching the season premiere of "Game of Thrones" when suddenly you get a text message from your 2-month-old daughter saying her diaper needs to be changed. No, she's not a super-smart infant who learned how to text at birth -- but her diaper is pretty smart and it knows when it's wet and needs your help -- even if winter is finally coming right this second.

That future that might be possible, thanks to a new invention from Takao Someya and a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo. This team, in July 2013, announced in the journal Nature that they'd come up with flexible circuits, thinner than a piece of plastic wrap, that could be implanted in the body to monitor body temperature or blood pressure or implanted on the roof of the mouth to be used as a touch pad for quadriplegics.

Now, they've applied their research to a truly worthwhile problem -- knowing when a diaper is soiled without having to undress the wearer first. … Read more