The Finger Your Phone Can’t Live Without (It’s Not Your Thumb)

The pinky is unquestionably the forgotten finger, often considered a mere accessory in a lineup of more valuable digits. If you had to say goodbye to an appendage, the pinky is an easy sell But there's far more to the pinky besides looking refined while sipping tea. In addition to playing a key character in maintaining balance, it's the most important supporting role of the entire digital age. The pinky is the mobile shelf See also: Virtual Reality Is Ready to Manipulate Your Memories Grab your smartphone and do a simple task, like check your email. Like a trusty steed, carrying the weight of your contacts, apps and messages upon its tiny, boney surface, the pinky is most likely propping up the device. I've asked both men and women to participate in my "where's your pinky?" test; nearly always, the results were the same. (Note: You might see your pinky resting on the smartphone's side until you start to navigate through the user interface.) Read more...More about Mobile, Features, Design, Tech, and...

Android L Is a Game Changer for Developers

In our latest Ask a Dev video, Android engineer Justin Holmes discusses the big changes that have come with Google's Android L announcement at last week's Google I/O. The newest version of Android, codenamed Android L for now, will bring developers 5,000 new APIs, a new application runtime, 64-bit support and Material Design. See also: Google Overhauls Android With L Developer Preview Material Design is an entirely new design language for phones, tablet, and the web. It cements Google’s focus on cross-platform design, which allows for more consistent user experiences. And for times when you need a little extra juice, the Android L release also introduces Project Volta, which improves battery life and adds a battery-saving mode. Read more...More about Tech, Apps Software, Dev Design, Gadgets, and Ask A...

Imagining a New Way to Read, One 3D-Printed Book at a Time

Blind and visually impaired children will now be able to experience classic picture books like Goodnight Moon and Harold and the Purple Crayon with the help of 3D printing technology. Researchers at the University of Colorado have created a new project that can convert standard picture books into 3D-printed pages, letting children with visual impairments follow the raised illustrations by touch as the stories are read aloud. See also: 7 Things You Didn't Know About 3D Printing Tom Yeh, an assistant professor in the university's Department of Computer Science who directed the project, said the goal of The Tactile Picture Books Project is to use computer science to better people's lives. Read more...More about Children S Books, 3d Printing, Tech, Dev Design, and...

20 Years Ago, Apple and Kodak Launched the Digital Camera Revolution

Back in Apple's dark ages — during Steve Jobs' interregnum in the mid-1990s — the company experimented with some strange products. Everyone remembers the ill-fated Newton PDA, for instance, which was considered ahead of its time. Less memorable was the QuickTake 100, the first mass market color consumer digital camera First unveiled at the Tokyo MacWorld Expo on February 17, 1994, the QuickTake 100 went on sale 20 years ago from yesterday — June 20, 1994. It was priced at $749 and initiated the age of consumer digital photography. See also: Why History Is Against Amazon's 3D Phone One reason why the QuickTake 100 is not often mentioned as an Apple breakthrough — other than the fact that Jobs' himself had nothing to do with it — was that it's one of the few non-computer products Apple produced and one Apple itself didn't design. Read more...More about Apple, Steve Jobs, Digital Camera, Small Business, and...

Aston Martin to Equip Race Cars With Solar-Powered Air Conditioning

British sports-car manufacturer Aston Martin will soon be keeping race-car drivers cool with solar-powered air-conditioning systems. The company announced a partnership with Hanergy Global Solar Power and Applications Group to equip cars with ultra-thin solar panels that can power auxiliary features, such as air conditioning, without sucking power from the engine. See also: 13 Tech Products That Stood Out in 2013 The FIA, the governing body for world motor sport, requires World Endurance Championship cars to maintain a cockpit temperature below 32 degrees Celsius (90 degress Fahrenheit) to prevent drivers from overheating, according to car-news site Auto Evolution. Normally, air conditioning is powered by a car's internal combustion engine, draining its power and decreasing fuel efficiency. Read more...More about Cars, Racing, Race, Solar Power, and...