Published January 15, 2014
There’s big news on the tech business front: Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion -- and no, I didn't stutter.
Why would Google spend billions for a thermostat maker? The Nest gizmo is actually cutting edge: It tracks and learns your behavior, and adjusts the heat for you. The company is cornering the market on connected home gadgets, and with Google's money, they could be unstoppable.
Speaking of gadgets, here’s one you didn’t know you needed. A cannon that shoots marshmallows. A couple of engineering students at Olin College created the appropriately named Confectionery Cannon that uses face-tracking tech to locate a mouth … and then ready, aim, fire! Pow, a perfectly propelled decadent treat.
Only college kids would think of this.
Taxi-hailing service Uber is facing a lot of haters: Taxi drivers in Paris are protesting the car service's existence, and countless blogs are wishing for the company to go away. Well, one Gawker.com writer has a common sense resolution to the car conflict: don't use it!
"Uber—like housecleaning services and laundry pickup—is a luxury good for people with too much disposable income. Hollering at Uber because you are mad that you paid them an absurd amount of money to take you home does not qualify as useful activism," wrote Hamilton Nolan.
I say, amen to that!
Finally, this robotic muscle is 1,000 times stronger than yours -- and it doesn’t even have a gym membership. What it does have is the groundbreaking material of the moment: Vanadium dioxide.
Like a shape shifter, this cool chemical can change shape and size. And now it has brawn. A physicist with the U.S. Department of Energy and a team of researchers demonstrated a micro-sized robotic muscle created from this stuff.
It can catapult objects 50 times heavier than itself over distances five times its length — all within 60 milliseconds. Impressive.