The rumors of Google buying a stake in SpaceX started percolating a few days ago, and now it's official. Google and Fidelity have invested a total of $1 billion in the private space firm, which gives them about 10% share. SpaceX says the new funding will go toward the development of reusable rocket technology and satellite manufacturing.
HTC's Power to Give app, the philanthropic software created by HTC to devote idle processing power to scientific research, has been updated with a refreshed interface and a single sign-on feature to help streamline the process of signing into various projects.
Technology in general and mobile tech in particular is on a rapid march forward, but there's a bottleneck that's holding it back: batteries. For years lithium-ion batteries have been the best option for storing energy pound-for-pound, but they've hit a wall - now we can only get bigger batteries or make our gadgets more efficient. A team of researchers at Stanford University have created what they call the "holy grail" of battery technology, a battery with a stable lithium anode.
Kyocera isn't exactly a big name in modern Android smartphones, but it does make a lot of rugged devices that don't get much press. It's also big in materials science, which is where sapphire comes in. See, it seems like a safe bet that the next iPhone will have a sapphire glass display, and Kyocera happens to know a lot about manufacturing synthetic sapphire for watches and electrical components. So, they're making sapphire screens for smartphones.
What's the average temperature in Mysore, India in December? That's a rather specific question, and while I don't know why you would need to know this information at a moment's notice (unless you're cheating at trivia), Microsoft's latest Android app is prepared to help with that. The answer, it says, is 22 degrees Celsius. In American, that's a comfortable 72. Need to check out another location? Microsoft's Climatology app can handle that too.
Graphene is an amazing material. How amazing? Graphene is composed of a single layer of carbon atoms joined in a hexagonal lattice – it's incredibly strong, light, highly conductive, and nearly transparent. It has been put forward as the key to advancing everything from flexible displays to semiconductors that can save Moore's Law. For all that promise, graphene is still rare in consumer applications due to the difficulty in producing it.
It has been more than 30 years since the late, great Carl Sagan took to the airwaves to talk about how our future as a species depends powerfully on our understanding of the cosmos, which we float in like a mote of dust. The original Cosmos debuted in 1980 and inspired a generation of scientists and science nerds alike. Now the series is back with Neil deGrasse Tyson at the helm, and Fox has released a new companion app for Android that can help you explore the majesty and unbelievable scale of the cosmos while watching the show.
Most games are just about entertainment, but sometimes you can do a little good too. Play to Cure: Genes In Space is a mobile game developed for Cancer Research UK as a way to get people all over the world involved in sorting through real genetic data and help scientists get a handle on the causes of cancer. Also, there are space ships.
In the game, you are collecting Element Alpha, which is a made up thing.
It was a close call for the PIP biosensor, which passed its $100,000 Kickstarter goal a few days ago. It finished the last day with just $103,916, but that's good enough to get funded. Backers will get a small sensor with Bluetooth technology that connects to smartphones and purports to read stress levels. The creators hope to create a gamified stress management system with the PIP that runs on Android and iOS.
There's been a fundamental problem holding back the development of gadgets for the last decade or so. While processing power, storage capacity, wireless speed, and even display quality are growing at a phenomenal and steady rate, lithium ion batteries really haven't changed at all. The best that manufacturers can do is either create smaller components to make more space for the battery bay or make those components more efficient. LG Chem has created one of the first truly exciting innovations in battery tech in a long time: a Li-ion battery that's flexible enough to twist into almost any shape necessary.