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Mashable
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
TRENDING STORIES IN TECH & GADGETS
This Guy Gave Himself Implants for His iPod Nano
Chrome Now Syncs Tabs Across Devices
Lenovo Launches 'World's Lightest' Ultrabook
ALL STORIES IN TECH & GADGETS

Thousands of Butts Were Analyzed to Create This Lightweight Chair [VIDEO]
12:44:03 AMKate Freeman

German designers placed a high-tech, sensor-equipped chair in the middle of a palazzo in Milan last month to record stress points on the backsides of thousands of people. The goal? To determine how to design a lightweight and efficient chair that's sturdy enough to support a wide variety of users.

When someone sat in the chair, monitors recorded data and processed it with an "algorithm that determines the most structurally efficient version of the chair," according to the blog Co.Design.

The engineers worked with Audi's Lightweight Design Centre "using methods borrowed from the future of automotive manufacturing," according to the chair's website.

This expertly designed chair will have a hi-tech sounding name, too: The R18 Ultra. The chair consists of three parts, notes its website: "a carbon composite seat, a carbon-rubber composite back rest and aluminium alloy legs which can be compacted and transported in a lightweight flat-pack box."

The project took place at furniture and design exhibition Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan from April 17-22, 2012.

The same technology used to design the efficient chair was also used for an Audi race car.

The final version of this chair will be unveiled at Design Miami later this year.



In-Flight Calling: Coming Soon to an Airplane Near You [VIDEO]
12:29:37 AMEmily Price

Hitting the friendly skies doesn't necessarily mean you can't make a mobile phone call -- at least if you're flying on one of Virgin's new Airbus A330 planes. The airline plans to make in-flight calling available first on its flight from London to New York. By the end of the year, in-flight calling will be available on 17 planes and at least 10 routes.

Calls will be restricted to the time the plane is actually in the air - so you'll still have to power off when the plane takes off or lands - and American laws require the service to be turned off when the plane gets within 250 miles of U.S. airspace.

"Many people will have experienced that moment when you're about to take off on a 10-hour flight and you need to send an important message to the office, or even reminding a family member to feed the cat," Steve Griffiths, Virgin Atlantic's chief operation officer, explains in a press release. "It's also quite fun to call home and say 'Guess where I am' - not many people would think you're traveling at 35,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean."

Mobile access will be provided by a company called AeroMobile, and only six passengers will be able to take advantage of the calling function at once. Calls will have to be placed from phones on European carriers O2 and Vodafone, or the U.S. carrier T-Mobile. Customers will also be able to send text messages and access email on mobile devices.

Chatterers will be charged around what they might pay for traditional roaming charges. Keep in mind, when you're taking about roaming into different countries "traditional roaming charges" can add up to a huge chunk of change pretty quickly. Depending on how loud and long the in-flight conversation is, callers may also pay for using the service in dirty looks from their fellow passengers who are trying to read or snooze during their transatlantic journey.

What do you think about Virgin offering in-flight calling? Is it a service you'd like to use, or do you wish was left out of airplanes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.



Google's New Research Pane Allows You to Access Search from Docs
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:07 PMEmily Price

Google Docs just got a little smarter with the introduction of a research pane Tuesday. The pane allows you to tap into a Google Search directly from Google documents to find additional information about a particular topic or idea.

Searches can be for things such as a map to a particular destination, quotes for a research paper, or even images. When you find something you like, you can add it to the document you're working on by clicking the insert button. Images can be dragged and dropped from the pane into your piece.

So, if you're working on a research paper about George Washington you can quickly find the perfect quote to add in, or if you're working on a term paper on different types of flowers, you can drag and drop in photos to go along with your text.

For items you add to a research paper, a footnote citation will also be automatically added to the bottom of your paper as a record of where you found the info.

You can access the research pane now from the Tools menu by right clicking on a selected word that you want to learn more about, or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+R on Windows or Cmd+Alt+R on Mac.

What do you think about the new research pane? Do you see yourself using the new functionality? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.



Smart Collar Transmits Doggie Health Reports to the Cloud [VIDEO]
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:23 PMJoann Pan

Ever wonder how your dog is feeling during a run in the park or how your pet is doing while home alone? A smart collar that transmits data to the cloud directly from your pup's body can now tell you.

Information technology product manufacturer Fujitsu has developed a special device that can be attached to a dog's collar or harness. From there, the device monitors the number of steps the dog takes, signs of shivering and external temperature. Changes in these numbers, which could point to obesity or diabetes, would also be easier to detect, says Fujitsu.

On-the-go pet owners can access the cloud service to see how Scruffy or Sparky is doing. The health monitoring device sends data to an specialized Android app or web service. It's accessible on iOS devices with a web browser.

SEE ALSO: 10 Animals With More Social Media Fans Than Major Media Outlets

The contraption is compact enough for your pet to wear at all times, says the company.

The service will be available in the latter half of 2012. It will be showcased at the Fujitsu Forum and Tokyo International Forum this week in Japan.

What factors about your pet would you like to track? Tell us in the comments.



Chrome Now Syncs Tabs Across Devices
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 7:15 PMPete Pachal

If you're like me, you use Google Chrome as your primary browser, and at any one time you have dozens of tabs open. While it's nice that Chrome remembers your tabs if you ever quit the app, you've probably at some point wished you could fire up the same tabs on another machine quickly and easily.

Now you can. With the new version of Chrome (version 19, for those scoring at home), Chrome now syncs all your open tabs across devices, be they PCs, Macs and yes, even phones. Right now the only version of Chrome for phones is a beta version on Android, although an iPhone version is rumored to be in the works.

The feature will even remember your browsing history on the other machine, so the back and forward buttons should work just where you left off.

Keeping tabs on your tabs is just the latest in Chrome's syncing functionality. Chrome has had the ability to sync your bookmarks and sign-in information between devices for a while, and Firefox has a similar feature that includes the ability to sync tabs. In the upcoming Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 will sync all your browsing information via a Windows Live ID.

To sync your tabs -- indeed, anything -- via Chrome, you'll have to sign in with your Google account. We had trouble using the feature between a MacBook Pro and a Dell laptop, but Google says you should be able to see the option to open your tabs from the other machine when you open a blank tab.

Is this the Chrome feature you've been waiting for? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, andrearoad



This Guy Gave Himself Implants for His iPod Nano
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 5:37 PMEmily Price

Some say fashion is pain, and in the case of Dave Hurban, it actually is. Hurban recently implanted magnets in his wrist himself -- all for the ability to wear his trusty iPod Nano like a watch without having to sport a wristband.

What motivated him to do it? "I just thought it would be cool," Hurban said in an interview with Digital Trends.

To turn himself into a human iPod dock, Hurban had to make four incisions on his wrist, where he inserted small magnets. After a little bit of blood and some healing, the magnets, for all intents and purposes, are now a permanent part of his wrist. Hurban calls this creation iDermal.

The magnets are placed specifically to hold on to the four corners of the Nano. When he wants to wear his iPod Nano as a watch, all he has to do is hold the player close to his wrist and the magnets grab hold of the player and attach it to his body.

While designed specifically to be used with an iPod Nano, we can't help but think that the magnets might also grab hold of other unwanted metal items like pocket change, kitchen utensils or car keys.

Check out the video below for a look at how Hurban inserted the magnets under his skin and the finished product.

What do you think of iDermal? Would you consider an implant like magnets in the name of one of your gadgets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.



15 Rad Robot Accessories for Your Office
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 2:06 PMAmy-Mae Elliott

If your workload is on the heavy side, how about help from your very own army of robots? We've found 15 fabulous office accessories that feature some rad robotic designs.

From USB hubs to thumbtacks to solutions to help you get organized, we're sure there's a robo buddy perfect for you. Best of all, you can buy with complete confidence, as we've checked to make sure they are all "three laws" safe.

SEE ALSO: 15 Accessories That Celebrate the Iconic Power Symbol

Take a look through our gallery of awesome automatons above. Let us know in the comments below which of them you'd consider giving desk space to.



Lenovo Launches 'World's Lightest' Ultrabook
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:45 PMPete Pachal

Lenovo wants in on the Ultrabook game, and it's got something special to start playing: the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

Aimed at notebook users who want something lightweight and durable that can perform, the X1 has a carbon-fiber exterior and packs Intel's latest processor tech, the so-called "Ivy Bridge" chips.

Lenovo claims the X1 Carbon is the world's lightest Ultrabook with a 14-inch screen, weighing in at three pounds and just 0.7 inches deep at its thickest point. The carbon-fiber "roll cage" is said to be very durable, able to withstand the standard scratches and dings that go hand-in-hand with travel.

Adding to the road-warrior feature set, 3G connectivity is built in, although no carrier partners have been announced. Also, the X1 offers optional Rapid Charge, with a battery that can soak up an 80% charge after being plugged in just half an hour.

Besides the specs, the X1 can fold its LCD monitor open almost 180 degrees. While that's not nearly as flexible as the still-unreleased IdeaPad Yoga, which can bend backward a full 360 degrees to become a tablet, it's bendier than your average laptop.

We had a chance to briefly handle a nonworking model of the X1 Carbon, and we were impressed with how light it was. It certainly feels durable in your hands, though it's hard to say how much without subjecting it to a few falls.

SEE ALSO: The Best, Worst and Craziest Ultrabooks From CES 2012/a>

The X1's 14-inch screen has an impressive 1,600 x 900-pixel resolution, which Lenovo says provides a bright picture even at wide viewing angles. The keyboard is backlit, and IT managers will like that the the laptop comes with vPro enterprise-manageability tech.

Lenovo says the X1 Carbon will launch this summer -- no price has been announced yet.

In addition to the X1 Carbon, Lenovo refreshed its entire ThinkPad line, with seven separate brand-new models. From the X230 "ultraportable" laptop to the X230t tablet to the ThinkPad W530 workstation, the new models all feature Ivy Bridge processors as well as Lenovo's Rapid Boot technology, which is said to cut boot time by up to 40%.

Lenovo will also offer 4G LTE connectivity on "select" models -- with no contract necessary.

Is the X1 Carbon -- or one of the other ThinkPads -- what you want in a laptop? Share your thoughts in the comments.



Google Jazzes Up New York Office As It Hunts for Hires [PICS]
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 12:18 PMSamantha Murphy

As Google continues to expand its presence in New York, the company is making employees feel more at home by adding a host of cool amenities to its offices -- from a recently renovated café for meetings to celebrity chef demos and author chats.

Google -- which added 750 employees to its New York office in 2011, bringing its Manhattan count to 2,800 staffers -- is ramping up efforts to make its offices more like its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

"We have been able to grow quickly and continue to do so -- we are still hiring and expanding," Google spokesperson Jordan Newman told Mashable. "As we ramp up, our office in New York is increasingly a microcosm of our headquarters in Mountain View."

SEE ALSO: New York City Now Fastest-Growing Tech Hub/a>

Kim Huskey, food services manager for East Coast, Canada and Australia, said the company recently renovated its Five Borough Bistro cafeteria in April with a lounge area and softer seating for employees to hold meetings and relax during lunch. The café also expanded its hours from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Previously, it was only open for a few hours in the morning and during lunchtime.

"The New York office is full eco-system similar to any company out here, and it's important for us to create the same kind of space and amenities as we would in any Google office," Newman said.

The company also has celebrity chefs such as Mario Batali and Morimoto visit the office, as well New York-area authors.

"We are really trying to build out our culture," Newman added. "There is a lot of New York pride in the office."

Although Silicon Valley may still be the biggest tech hub in the U.S. -- and home to Google's headquarters -- New York City was recently named the fastest growing tech sector in the country. eBay, Facebook and Microsoft are the latest tech companies to expanding in the Big Apple.

What do you think of the latest trend of building up New York City's tech scene? Could New York be the next Silicon Valley? Let us know in the comments.



Google Explains How Your Emails Travel to Their Destination
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:11 AMStan Schroeder

Google has launched Story of Send, a new website that explains how an email travels from your PC, tablet or smartphone to its destination.

The site is an interactive, animated story, showing not only the journey of your emails, but also explaining Google's efforts to keep viruses and spam out of your inbox.

Google also shows how it saves energy and keeps its data centers up to high environmental standards.

"Our data centers are some of the most efficient in the world, using 50% less energy than typical data centers," Google says on the site. "Whenever we can, we buy green power from wind farms near our data centers (...) This, along with efficiency and investing in other projects, helps us eliminate our impact on climate change," Google claims.

Check out the website here. You can see some photos of Google's data centers here, and an additional video about Google's investments in green energy here.



 
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