In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from the third week of February. Everything from a flexible phone to the Apple encryption debate — it’s all here.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and other tech leaders have long taken pro-privacy stances and defended the use of encryption on phones. Now they’re being put to the test. The FBI recently demanded Apple’s help cracking an iPhone used by a suspect in a terrorist attack in San Bernadino, and Apple has refused on the grounds that opening a “back door” would endanger the privacy of all its users. Game on.
Tesla has announced plans to launch a car that’s markedly smaller and much more affordable than the Model S. No, not the Model 3. Developed jointly with Radio Flyer, the California-based automaker’s new entry-level model is a one-seater kiddy car. Don’t let its size fool you; the pocket-sized S truly is the Tesla of the kiddy car segment. Developed for kids aged between three and eight, it boasts a lithium-ion battery that allows for quick charging times and a relatively long driving range.
Windows 10 gave the Windows Store a much-needed face-lift. The horizontal interface from Windows 8 is hidden, the top charts are a lot easier to find, and there’s a friendly assortment of featured apps on the main page. But has the change made much of a difference for developers? “It will be years, if ever, before the Windows Store has any meaningful impact in the consumer space,” developer Scott Peterson of Liquid Daffodil told Digital Trends.
One hundred years in the future, we’ll barely have to leave our homes, if the SmartThings Future Living Report is correct. Commissioned by Samsung, the report was authored by space scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock, University of Westminster architects and lecturers Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess, and urban planner and designer Linda Aitken and Els Leclercq. The writers based their predictions on current technology, as well as projections about the world’s population growth and energy needs.
While a Twitter plea to Mark Zuckerberg has so far mysteriously gone unanswered (as far as we know), Kanye’s die-hard fans are coming together to help during this difficult time for the rap megastar. Long-time fan Jeremy Piatt created a GoFundMe page for Kanye, titling the page “Get Kanye Out Of Debt.” “I’m trying to help out the greatest living artist of our time while he’s in need,” he says to Mashable. “I saw that Kanye is 53 million dollars in debt and I knew I had to do anything I could to help…”
Things have been super-busy at Yahoo this year. But not in a good way. The company earlier this month announced it was laying off 15 percent of its 11,000-strong workforce and closing a number of overseas offices as part of measures to cut expenses by $400 million. There’s been plenty of speculation, too, about the future of Yahoo’s core Web business as pressure grows on CEO Marissa Mayer to knock the Internet pioneer into shape.
Flexible phones of the future won’t just be tougher, they could also bring completely new operating features, if this cool prototype flexy smartphone is the shape of things to come. Developed by Queens University in Canada, it shows how bending a phone using two hands could become an input method, evolving beyond simple touches, swipes, and even haptic feedback.
How many wheelchairs have you seen that can climb stairs? Likely not many. The major advances – let’s call them big strides – in assistive technology (like Disney’s prosthetic arms and this exoskeleton) get a lot of press, but the truth is that many of these devices have yet to see widespread use among the estimated 15 percent of the world’s population that’s physically impaired. A new event styled after the Olympics called the Cybathlon aims to change that, bringing together some of the world’s best scientists and disabled pilots.
Do you hear what I hear? Because what I hear is the whizzing sound of medical progress at the hands of some pretty incredible 3D-printing breakthroughs. On Monday, researchers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine detailed how they managed to create a 3D bioprinter that is precise enough to actually manufacture replacement tissue capable of being used in transplant surgery. Body parts printed thus far include a jaw bone, muscle tissue, and cartilage structures, and perhaps most impressive of all, an incredibly accurate human ear.
Game of Thrones is set to outpace the “Song of Fire and Ice” books when the fantasy drama returns this April, but as its premiere draws closer, there’s no time to be disappointed. HBO has just a hefty batch of photos from the new season, and they’re enough to soften the recent blow. Season 5 (spoiler alert) ended with a massive cliffhanger when Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington) was stabbed numerous times and appeared to be mortally wounded.