Right now in Los Angeles, curiously late in the evening, Microsoft is showing off its very first modern (read: post-iPad) tablet. The family will be called the Surface, the same as its conceptually-cool-but-practically-impractical tabletop touch computer. It's actually a very interesting product--the capabilities of a full PC, but thanks to Microsoft's dual-natured, touch-focused Windows 8, it works like a regular tablet as well. Here's what we know. [UPDATING]
Users normally get all the articles in an RSS feed, whether they want them or not. Trap!t, though, lets you rate your interest in every story. The more ratings, the more finely honed the feed becomes, until it takes only a single cup of coffee to finish off a well-curated selection of articles.
By Lawrence Ulrich
Posted 05.29.2012 at 10:08 am 18 Comments
Detroit automakers have recently been locked in a competition straight out of the 1960s: a race to create the fastest and most powerful muscle car. This summer, Ford takes the lead with the 650-horsepower Mustang Shelby GT 500. To break the 200mph mark, engineers departed from the muscle-car tradition of throwing a truck engine under the hood and calling it a day. Instead they redesigned the engine with lightweight materials, refined the car’s aerodynamics, and installed driver-assistance systems that allow anyone to drive the Shelby as it’s designed to be driven—aggressively.
Here's the the question: you can charge an iPhone with any AC-to-USB adapter. So how does Apple get off charging $29 for theirs? Ken Shirriff took one completely apart to figure it out, and it turns out, Apple's charger goes above and beyond what's needed--it's legitimately more complex and sturdier and more capable than other chargers. Upgrades include "super-strong AC prongs, and the complex over-temperature / over-voltage shutdown circuit," as well as a bunch of hardware designed to keep electromagnetic interference to a minimum. Of course, the added hardware probably costs a dollar, and Apple sells it for $20 more than competitors, but still! Teardowns: so useful! [via @mattbuchanan]
By Stewart Wolpin
Posted 05.14.2012 at 5:47 pm 1 Comment
More cellphones meet their demise from exposure to moisture than from any other cause--so we've all got a vestedinterest in waterproof phones. In the past, a user who wanted to protect his phone had to buy a watertight case, and thus double the size of the device.
Remote-control jets have never performed particularly well. Their engines are less efficient than exposed propellers at an R/C plane’s speed, which makes the toys sluggish and difficult to steer, leading to crashes. To compensate for the lack of power, engineers at toy manufacturer Great Planes reduced the weight of their F-86 craft to 2.35 ounces—30 percent lighter than any comparably sized R/C jet. With less mass to maneuver, the F-86 flies faster, turns quicker, and allows pilots to do loops and rolls.
By Max Fischer, Corinne Iozzio, and Susannah F. Locke
Posted 04.16.2012 at 9:50 am 0 Comments
This month's roundup of The Goods includes hiking boots with sliding plates in the heels, a lightbulb with a speaker in it (or a speaker with a lightbulb in it? We're still not sure), a blast-chilling fridge that cools a beer in five minutes, and much more.
By Andrew Rosenblum
Posted 04.02.2012 at 10:16 am 2 Comments
Clint Fishburne, a regional-airline pilot based in Atlanta, wanted to help his children develop the body movement and muscle memory necessary to fly and land a plane. With the cost of commercial flight simulators starting at $2,800, though, Fishburne, a longtime PopSci reader, decided to make one from scratch.
This is extremely impressive. It can multiply, divide, trigonometrize, figure roots, graph quadratic functions, and everything else you always need to do when you're playing a video game. All the calculations are done by blocks.
Despite the landslide of smart devices in recent years, headphones have remained decidedly dumb, lacking the multitude of sensors found in everything from phones to watches. The ZIK Parrot--which was one of our favorite gadgets at this year's CES--is the first pair of headphones with the intelligence of a smartphone.
Every month we search far and wide to bring you a dozen of the best new ideas in gear. These gadgets are the first, the best and the latest. Check out the gallery below to get the first look at what consumer technology has brought us this month.
To win our Innovation of the Year award, the Lytro had to captivate us enough for us to pass over significant medical diagnostic breakthroughs and a complete reinvention of the internal combustion engine--and it did. So we're naturally excited about the opportunity to spend a little QT with the Light-Field camera. The Lytro, which is culmination of over a decade of work by CEO Ren Ng in the world of light-field photography, is the first camera that allows its user to refocus an image after it’s taken. It sounds unbelievable, but after taking our own pics with the Lytro (below), we’re happy to report that it’s reality.
Click to launch a gallery of Lytro-taken shots, as well as a tour of the camera's hardware.
Apple just sent out invites to what, with our Holmesian deduction skills, we can safely say will be an event announcing the next iPad. It'll be held on March 7th in Apple's favorite announcement spot, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and of course we will be breathlessly reporting the details of the gadget that will inspire us to throw our current iPads out of the 9th-floor windows of our office in disgust.
A team from Wake Forest University's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials has created a new thermoelectric fabric they call Power Felt. It's constructed of "tiny carbon nanotubes locked up in flexible plastic fibers," though the final product looks and feels like fabric, and creates and electrical charge from changes in temperature--like, say, touching it with your hot finger, or sitting on it with your hot butt (hot in this case referring to temperature and thus wholly inoffensive science).
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.