Star Apps: Retro Futura Tour 2014

In the early '80s -- when the US charts were still dominated by '70s rock like Steve Miller Band, Chicago, and Foreigner -- a fresh crop of artists rose up with a revolutionary, synth-based sound that borrowed from Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder and would influence future electronic music. This second British Invasion included Howard Jones, Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey, Ultravox's Midge Ure, Katrina and the Waves' Katrina, and China Crisis. If you missed them the first time around, catch them on this summer's Retro Futura Tour. I chatted with these artists about the tour, the stories behind their … Read more

See physicist surprised by news his Big Bang theory was right

Physicists on Monday revealed a major discovery in our understanding of how everything got started by spotting gravitational waves that can be traced back to the exponential expansion that occurred in the fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

These ripples in space-time back up a theory of cosmic inflation developed by physicists Alan Guth and Andrei Linde in the early 1980s. Linde is now a professor at Stanford and could not hide his excitement when he first learned of the discovery from his colleagues.… Read more

Evidence of the Big Bang found in a cosmic 'double rainbow'

While you were thinking about where you'll be spending St. Patrick's Day on Monday night, the hard-working folks at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics were sharing the first direct evidence of a concept first put forward by Albert Einstein almost a century ago that helps explain where we -- and everything else in the universe -- come from.

If your list of to-dos and projects doesn't suddenly seem a little less impressive by comparsion, then congratulations! You're a narcissist.

If you want to cut right to it, scientists have spotted the remnants of the until-now-theorized massive, mind-melting exponential expansion of the universe that occurred in the one trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. This evidence comes in the form of gravitational waves that Einstein predicted back in 1916 as part of his theory of general relativity.… Read more

Artemis Networks taps PureWave for pWave base stations

Last week Artemis Networks unveiled a technology that company founder Steve Perlman said would revolutionize the wireless industry. So far the world has seen a brief demonstration of the technology, called pCell, which promises to overcome the dropped calls, congestion and slow data rates of traditional wireless networks. It creates a "personal cell" around the antenna of mobile devices that support LTE and delivers the full spectrum concurrently to each device.

pCell's promise that thousands of people in a stadium could be watching HD video simultaneously on their mobile devices without any degradation sounds too good to … Read more

Can Staples Connect bring order to the smart-home universe?

There's little doubt that the popularity of "smart home" products is surging. Connected devices both large and small were everywhere at CES this year, and with Google buying Nest recently, it's clear that the titans of tech are paying attention.

But with all of these new devices comes a Babel-esque smattering of networking protocols -- the "languages" they use to receive and transmit data. Some speak to your router over Wi-Fi, others speak to your tablet over Bluetooth. Kwikset, Yale and Schlage make smart deadbolts that relay information using Z-Wave, while Philips Hue bulbsRead more

NSA reportedly using radio waves to tap offline computers

The National Security Agency is using secret wireless technology that allows it to access and alter data on computers, even when they are not connected to the Internet, according to a New York Times report.

Since 2008, the agency has been increasingly using a "covert channel of radio waves" that can transmit from hardware installed in the computers, according to NSA documents and experts interviewed by the Times. Signals can then be sent to briefcase-size relay stations miles away, according to the report.

The NSA has also installed surveillance software on nearly 100,000 computers around the world, … Read more

Water-resistant Cobra AirWave Bluetooth speakers get tough (hands-on)

LAS VEGAS -- If you want some thick skin around your portable audio gear, Cobra Electronics' new line of Bluetooth speakers can definitely take a tumble. Making their debut at CES 2014, the AirWave Box and the pint-size AirWave Mini combine hands-free Bluetooth audio connection with a durable construction.

Design Available in several colors, the AirWave Box will come in black, white, and orange at launch, with more colors to follow. Upon first glance, I wasn't able to tell that the device was rugged (compared to the Mini's hefty and obvious rubber exterior). However, it is encased in … Read more

Watch sound waves levitate objects in three dimensions

Even without delving into the science behind it, a recently released video of small objects levitating and moving about in the air is mesmerizing. Scientists from the University of Tokyo and the Nagoya Institute of Technology are behind a series of experiments using sound to control the movement of tiny foam balls and even small screws. This is Harry Potter-worthy science.

The power of sound waves to lift lightweight objects into the air is well-known, but new work with aiming ultrasonic phased arrays at a focal point gives researchers the seemingly magical power to move things around in the air in three dimensions in space. Look, ma, no hands.… Read more

Cobra announces CES lineup of mobile Bluetooth speakers and portable chargers

Mobile and navigation accessories manufacturer Cobra Electronics announced a bevy of new products today, which it plans to demo next week during CES 2014 in Las Vegas.

Two of the devices include the Cobra AirWave Mini and AirWave Box (pictured above). Unlike the original AirWave, which we saw at CTIA 2013, these gadgets not only receive audio via a Bluetooth connection, but play it as well.

The Mini will be available in February for $39.99 and features a rugged, weatherproof design. The Box also has a durable construction with a soft-touch rubber exterior, but it can be fully dunked … Read more

A new smart lock from Danish firm Poly-Control

Add Danish company Poly-Control to the list of smart lock vendors. The company's new lock, the Danalock, officially goes on sale today.

Like competing smart locks from traditional manufacturers and crowd-funded upstarts, the Danalock promises smart phone-based control of your deadbolt. This one is unique thanks to its various design and control scheme options.

On a cosmetic level, the Danalock is available in what the company calls Circle and Square models. The Circle version measures 79mm across and sits 49mm out from the door, and the entire lock itself acts as a thumb turn. The Square model includes a … Read more