The problem with the backseat--really with the whole rear of the car--is that it's in your way when you're trying to reverse. So researchers at Keio University in Japan have applied optical camouflage technology to automobiles, making the back seat appear transparent so the driver can see straight through it when backing up.
When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City a few weeks ago, seven of the 14 under-river subway tunnels flooded as a result of the storm surge, halting operation of some subway lines for more than a week. One possible future safeguard for this kind of disaster: huge, inflatable tunnel plugs.
The threat of autonomous killer robots is very real and we have to stop them before it's too late. Such is the theme of many a sci-fi film, but it's now also the official position of Human Rights Watch, which today published a 50-page report titled "Losing Humanity" that calls for an international treaty banning fully autonomous weapons technology from the battlefield. That makes perfect sense, though HRW is taking a rather straightforward stance toward technology and terminology that is anything but.