<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Tech News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usFri, 30 Sep 2016 15:06:58 -0400Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:06:58 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Baby Monitor? There's an App for That]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:36:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/BabyMonitor0930_MP4-147523889415700001.jpg Tech companies are trying to help parents breathe easier knowing that their newborns are doing just fine. Devices like the "Owlet Bootie" can track your child's breathing, making sure you know if anything happens. "So, if a baby stops breathing in the middle of the night, an alarm will go off," says Ben Fox Rubin of CNET. Rubin admits that he was skeptical before trying some of the devices on his own children, but soon found that every parent can use a little help on the side.]]> <![CDATA[3D-Printed Artificial Bones Could Help Heal Injuries]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:49:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/3d-skull-H.jpg

A new type of artificial bone shaped with a 3-D printer can repair deformed bones and help heal some spine, skull and jaw injuries, researchers say in a new report printed in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

When the bone material was tested in a monkey, the bone fused to the animal’s skull and new blood vessels grew into it, NBC News reports.

“Within four weeks, the implant had fully integrated, fully vascularized with the monkey’s own skull,” researcher Adam Jakus said. “And there is actually evidence of new bone formation.”

The hyper-elastic bone can be shaped with a 3-D printer to customize individual implants. Scientists hope to be able to test the implants in humans within the next five years.



Photo Credit: Adam E. Jakus, PhD]]>
<![CDATA[Aetna to Subsidize Apple Watch]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 15:46:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16229419820877.jpg

Aetna announced that it will be making Apple Watches available for large employers and individual customers during open enrollment season.

The health care services company said the new initiative will revolutionize the customer's experience by, "combining the power of iOS apps and the unmatched user experience of Apple products including Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad with Aetna’s analytics-based wellness and care management programs."

Aetna said it will be the first major health care company to subsidize the cost of Apple Watches for customers by offering monthly payroll deductions. The Hartford-based company serves an estimated 45.3 million and will provide free Apple Watches to 50,000 of its employees. 

Apple will work with Aeton to create "deeply intergrated" health apps that will allow customers to manager their health, Aetna said.

“This is only the beginning - we look forward to using these tools to improve health outcomes and help more people achieve more healthy days,” said Mark Bertolini, Aetna Chairman and CEO.

Aetna's new health apps will offer features, such as:

  • Care management and wellness, to help guide consumers through health events like a new diagnosis or prescription medication with user-driven support from nurses and people with similar conditions.
  • Medication adherence, to help consumers remember to take their medications, easily order refills and connect with their doctor if they need a different treatment through their Apple Watch or iPhone.
  • Integration with Apple Wallet, allowing consumers to check their deductible and pay a bill.
  • Personalized health plan on-boarding, information, messaging and decision support to help Aetna members understand and make the most of their benefits.
The solutions will be available early 2017.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Elon Musk's Plans for Mars]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 06:44:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16271781854596-elon-musk-mars-spacex.jpg

It was a press conference with a little bit of everything — space travel, science, technology and the offer of a kiss.

Welcome to the world of Elon Musk.

Musk spoke at the International Astronautical Congress about SpaceX's plan to take us to Mars.

Spoiler alert: It's going to take some time, and there's no guarantee of a return trip.

Musk was honest about the speculative nature of it all; it will be very expensive (at least at first), and very time consuming.

Also, he was fairly honest about the fact that it's just not yet possible.

He showed a "timeline," admitting (a nod to Tesla deliveries) that "I'm not very good at these."

He also addressed whether or not he himself would travel to space, saying that "I may die, so I'd want a succession plan in place."

A crewed mission to the Red Planet could come in 10 years "if things go super well," Musk said, as CNBC noted. The spaceship would have to fit around 100 people and come with everything needed to build a colony: "iron foundries, pizza joints, you name it."

During a surreal Q&A session, Musk was asked if Mars was like Burning Man (he's not sure), and if someone could come up to the stage and give him a "good luck kiss."

He demurred.

With NASA, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and others talking about space travel, Musk laid out more detail than we've heard before. You can see his whole talk here:

Scott scans the skies on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Labor Dept. Sues Tech Firm ]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 07:23:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/karp.jpg

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit accusing a high-flying Silicon Valley software company of systematically discriminating against Asian job applicants over the last five years.

Palantir Technologies was co-founded by prominent tech financier Peter Thiel, with backing from an investment arm of the CIA. The Palo Alto, California, company makes data analytics software used by the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, along with banks, insurance companies and other private clients.

The lawsuit claims Palantir routinely eliminated Asian job candidates during the resume-screening and telephone-interview stages of the company's hiring process. The claims are based on a statistical analysis conducted by federal officials responsible for making sure government contractors comply with anti-discrimination rules.

Palantir denied the allegations, saying the government's analysis is flawed.

Palantir's chief executive is Alex Karp, who also co-founded the company.



Photo Credit: Getty Images file]]>
<![CDATA[Snapchat Introduces Camera-Equipped Spectacles]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:45:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Snap+Inc+Spectacles.jpg

A newly christened Snapchat debuted its first hardware product on Friday — Spectacles.

Snap, Inc.'s $130 glasses will able to record 10-second videos from the wearer's vantage point, according to the Wall Street Journal. Spectacles' 115-degree camera lens closely mirrors people's line of sight. 

"When I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes — it was unbelievable," co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel told the Journal. 

The company says its wireless video camera, touted as one of the smallest in the world, is capable of taking a day's worth of Snaps on a single charge. The camera is intergrated into sunglasses that will be available in three colors. 

Spectacles will connect directly to a user's Snapchat account via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections to "transfer your Memories directly into the app in our brand new circular video format," Snap Inc. said.

The glasses are expected to be available sometime this fall.



Photo Credit: Snap Inc.]]>
<![CDATA[How to Protect Yourself From Hackers ]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:38:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_onlinetuneup0923_1920x1080.jpg Thursday's news that Yahoo suffered a hack of 500 million of its user accounts may have many people taking a new look at how to keep their own email accounts and personal information secure. One easy way to protect yourself from hackers is by regularly updating your software. "Hackers are always finding new vulnerabilities to exploit," said Consumer Reports Editor Jerry Beilinson.]]> <![CDATA[500K Replacement Samsung Phones to Hit Stores Wed.]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 17:43:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-585210900-3.jpg

Half a million replacement Galaxy Note 7 cell phones are arriving in stores around the United States and will be available for exchange Wednesday, the company has announced. 

That represents roughly half the phones recalled due to a fire hazard that were sold in the U.S. Two-and-a-half million of the phones were recalled worldwide.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued the recall last week, following a voluntary recall from Samsung. The department's chairman urged consumers to replace the phones — labeled a flight hazard by the FAA — as soon as possible due to the "serious fire hazard" presented by the product.

Dozens of people in the U.S. reported their batteries overheating, and 26 reported burns, according to the commission's website.

Consumers can either replace the phone or get a refund, and Samsung also released a stopgap software update that limits the phone's battery to 60 percent capacity, in a bid to prevent them from overheating. 

"New devices will be in stores no later than tomorrow and we will continue to take the necessary actions to ensure users are powering down and immediately exchanging recalled devices," said Samsung Electronics America President Tim Baxter in a statement.

Read more about the recall at Samsung's recall web page.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Waze App's 'Where to Park' Feature]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 05:09:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/waze2.jpg

The trusty tool that some commuters use to dodge unwanted traffic now has a tool to help drivers catch a parking spot.

Waze, Google's real-time traffic app that compiles live updates from drivers on the roadways, partnered with another traffic-based company, INRIX, to make the challenge of public parking a little bit easier, according to INRIX

The new "where to park" feature lets drivers know, either before they hit the road or during the journey, where the closest available parking lot is near their desired destination, and offers them the option to be routed to that piece of pavement, INRIX said in a release.

INRIX, the data-driven company that is helping with the feature, aggregates traffic information and provides companies with parking capacity numbers along with the price tags for available spots, according to the company.

A statement from a Waze official indicated the company's planning to roll out more features related to parking.

"Driving around looking for spots impacts arrival times and adds unneeded frustration and stress to the entire driving experience," said Flavia Sasaki Siqueira, Waze's chief of Business Development, in a statement on INRIX's website. "Waze has begun to rollout the first of its parking suite features to solve this issue for drivers. Combining INRIX parking information with our own parking database expands reach and accuracy of the 'where to park' feature."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Tips to Keep Your Data Plan From Draining Your Wallet]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 16:55:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TechTalker0915_MP4-147405796682500001.jpg Data is what drives our devices, and Americans are paying a premium. Posting pics, snaps and even live feeds can devour smartphone data plans.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Wal-Mart's Robot Shopping Carts Are Coming for Us All]]> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:21:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/4416Walmart.jpg

Wal-Mart customers will be able to use a handheld device to summon an empty cart and have it whisked their way via "motorized transport unit," according to Wal-Mart's patent, granted last week. The customer's location is determined by optical sensors in the device which will receive information from smart LEDs in the store, NBC News reported.

The system's "central control circuit" will also track shopping cart idle times to see which ones are not being used and implement image sensors to make sure they're empty.

And the carts will even be able to return themselves.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FAA Issues Warning About Samsung Phones]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 20:59:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16246359982059-samsung.jpg

The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday strongly urged travelers not to turn on or charge Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones while on planes, after a series of incidents involving exploding batteries.

In a statement, the FAA also advised travelers not to stow the devices in any checked baggage.

Samsung Electronics issued a recall on Sept. 2 for the roughly 2.5 million devices after reports that batteries exploded during charging.

Three Australian airlines have already barred passengers from using or charging the smartphones during flights.

The recall resulted in a nearly $7 billion loss for Samsung's share value this week.



Photo Credit: Ahn Young-joon, AP]]>
<![CDATA[‘I Already Lost Them’: The World Reacts to Apple’s AirPods]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 19:35:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16251682398866-iphone-7-earbud.gif

At Apple’s product launch event Wednesday, the company confirmed what many had been speculating for months: The new iPhone 7 does not have a headphone jack. iPhone users who want to communicate and listen to things through their devices will have to purchase the company’s new wireless earbuds, the $159-per-pair AirPods.

The ‘Pods will be available in October, and they’ll come with a small charging case, so users can juice up once their earphones' five hours of power run out.

Aside from balking at the cost of the AirPods, people joked around, and expressed genuine concern, about their size, NBC News reported.

The earphones are essentially the size of Apple’s current earbud product, but without the cord that has in the past kept users’ earphones physically attached to their larger devices. Humorous observations about how easy it will be to lose track of the tiny wireless earphones quickly sprung up around social media. One common joke was about already having lost the AirPods, even though they’re not yet available for purchase. 

"I didn’t even get the AirPods yet, but I already lost them," journalist Joanna Stern tweeted.

But it’s not just the cost and size that inspired the slew of jokes and memes.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Live Blog: Apple Event in SF]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 02:36:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/APPLE+ANNOUNCEMENT+PART+2+-+10574622.jpg

Today's the day.

Apple debuted a series of new updates and enhancements for its trademark line of technology products at a packed Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco Wednesday.

But the tech giant also took something away: The familiar 3.5 mm headphone jack. Adding features to keep up with the competition, Apple took a risk Wednesday, hoping people are ready to get rid of their wired headphones. 

With Sia reminding guests how important music is to our lives, Apple introduced a new way to listen to tunes. The wireless headphones, which will be available for $159 starting in October, are called Air Pods.

"Up to now, no one has taken on the challenge to really define the audio experience wirelessly between your mobile device and your headphone, in a way to take advantage of a way to do something new and great," said Apple's Phil Schiller. 

Michael Combs, of San Francisco, a current earphones user, was wowed.

"Wires keep us constrained sometimes, so it's nice to be able to not worry about them," he said.

Others didn't give a nod to the air pods.

"It's still going to be kind of awkward," said Dylan Mahoney, of San Francisco. "It's going to be odd with the pieces that come with it. I think I'll hold off until it's one piece entirely in the year."

The Cupertino-based company also rolled out a new Apple Watch, titled Series Two. Aimed at the runner, this device represents a partnership with Nike. 

"When you go out for a run, you don't want to be distracted," said Nike President Trevor Edwards. So the Apple Watch offers "just what you need at a glance."

To that, Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Campbell's Creative Strategies Inc., added: "It's focusing on what is really selling right now -- fitness" while also featuring a GPS capability.

Trying to boost sales of several gadgets at once, Pokemon Go is also headed for the Apple Watch.

The iPhone 7 starts at $649 dollars. Its larger counterpart will begin at $769, while the Apple Watch is priced from $369. 

Here is NBC Bay Area tech reporter Scott Budman's live blog from the widely-watched Apple Event:

11:56 a.m.

And, we wrap with Sia. Cool. Thanks for tuning in. I'm off to test some devices....

11:50 a.m.

iPhone 7: $649 for 32GB

iPhone 7 Plus: $769 for 32GB      

Pre-order 9/9.

Shipping 9/16.

11:42 a.m.

And, on cue, a demo of view games - all about improved graphics and sound.

This further solidifies mobile devices as solid gaming platforms. A big challenge to Xbox and PlayStation, because you already have a smartphone...

11:38 a.m.

And, now onto iPhone performance.

New chip called "A10 Fusion."

Claiming 50% faster than previous chip - that will make gamers (and Millenials) happy.

11:34 a.m.

More headphones - a line of 'phones from Beats.

Some are wireless - Apple offering alternatives.

I expected Beats to be more integrated into the Apple world, to be honest.

They paid Dre a lot of money.

11:30 a.m.

Apple is officially wireless - the "Air Pods" let you listen to music from phone or watch.

They also let you tap, and ask Siri a question.

Will people walk around with these?

11:08 a.m.

Now talking about iPhone 7 camera.

Clearly, cell phones are getting better - lots of good picture-taking options for Apple to Android smartphones.

11:05 a.m.

iPhone 7 features: Water resistant, better camera, new seal.

10:55 a.m.

Apple Watch "Series 2" will start at $369. Also a Nike option. Original Apple Watch now $269.

10:48 a.m.

One Final Nintendo note: The stock shot up again, Now up 25% on news of Apple partnership.

10:47 a.m.

Apple Watch also comes with a "Nike" feature for runners.

Remember when Nike got rid of its band?

Rumor had it that Apple snatched up some of those engineers and designers.

The President of Nike now speaking...

10:40 a.m.

New watch - "Series 2," built in GPS, more water-resistant. Looks like new set of bands, too.

10:32 a.m.

Apple just announced that PokemonGo is coming to the Apple Watch. People are actually looking for Pokemon here.

Did I mention that it's been a heck of a summer for Nintendo?

10:27 a.m.

Tim Cook now talking about Apple Watch.

Says it's the top-selling smartwatch. OK, but its not the top-selling wearable - that's Fitbit.

10:23 a.m.

Apple now talking about iWork. Audience attention distracted by the fact that Apple tweeted out un-announced details of its iPhone 7. Seems it'll be waterproof after all. 

Meanwhile, Nintendo shares up 7%. Call that the iPhone effect.

10:17 a.m.

Tim Cook talking about donation made to "ConnectEd" - a way to help low income kids. An initiative called "Everyone Can Code" teaches coding, granted with Apple products. Will they create apps and make money? Now, that would be cool.

10:12 a.m.

As a Gen-X er, I'm touched by how crazy the crowd here cheers when Apple announces that Mario will come to the App Store. Been a big year for Nintendo.

10:06 a.m.

Tim Cook kicks off the event talking about Apple Music. Claims 17 million subscribers. 

10:01 a.m.

First, a video. 

Carpool Karaoke, with Tim Cook.

Crowd eats it up - now they're singing "One Republic."

9:56 a.m.

So, suddenly all the buzz is about this easy to find ad on Amazon for the iPhone 7 - wireless headphones included...

9:53 a.m.

The #iPhone7 is already on Amazon, wireless headphones and all.

9:41 a.m.

In place at Bill Graham Civic.

About as crowded and chaotic as a concert here, and I've been to many.

Cool venue. Maybe as much speculation as to what act will play music as to whether or not we'll have headphone to plug in in the future.

NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Apple
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<![CDATA[Tim Cook Kicks Off Apple Event With 'Carpool Karaoke']]> Wed, 07 Sep 2016 13:43:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/neon-shades.jpg

Tim Cook kicked off Apple's product event Wednesday with some "Carpool Karaoke." 

The Apple CEO joined James Corden in a recorded video to belt out a New Republic song.

Later Pharrell Williams joined the pair and all donned neon shades for a version of "Sweet Home Alabama." 

Corden also did a bit with Siri, asking what the Apple voice assistant thought about Cook.

"He's wonderful but scheduling his appointments is crazy," Siri said. 

After "exiting" the car, Cook told throngs of reporters in San Francisco that new episodes of "Carpool Karaoke" will appear on Apple Music next year.

]]>
<![CDATA[High-Tech Prosthetics Provide Options for Amputees]]> Mon, 05 Sep 2016 15:38:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/186*120/titan+arm.JPG

Prosthetics are becoming more than just limb replacements. Patients are seeking devices that enhance their lifestyle, show off their artistic side, or are put together in new ways to make their lives better.

Doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, are partnering with engineering students to help female soldiers not only get better limbs but also help them do things the women thought they would never be able to do again. Inspired by what could be, these new prosthetics are improving the quality of life for those patients and helping them feel better, show off and sometimes do things they never could do before.

Despite improvements in prosthetics design, the engineering students at Johns Hopkins University found most are built for men’s feet, and the options for women are few even though almost half of all amputation procedures in 2013 were performed on women, according to the Virginia-Based Amputation Coalition.

The students made a prosthetic that allows women amputees to wear high heels, once a staple in their wardrobes but lost after losing a leg.

More than 1,800 female veterans with amputations have received care and services from the Veterans Administration since 2000.

"Basically, our prosthetics department is constantly looking to improve the function of all prosthetics in order to improve the quality of life for those service members, veterans and their families with amputations," said Dave Laufer, director of orthotic and prosthetic services at Walter Reed.

It is part of a leading edge among prosthetics makers to do more than just replace a limb or restore a sense. Companies are partnering to make devices that are stylish, sturdy and highly functional, even if they do look like something from the future.

At the Human X Design Conference in New York City Aug. 3, panelists and guests talked about and showcased what prosthetics could become and some of the amazing advancements they have made.

One company, Open Bionics, has received awards for creating affordable bionic hands for amputees. Wanting to continue pushing the limits, they partnered with Eidos-Montreal, a video game developer of the "Deus Ex" franchise that features human augmentation in a near future setting. Open Bionics had the technical knowledge of how prosthetics need to work, and Eidos-Montreal provided the artistic flair that so many amputees now want for their artificial limbs.

The result was something wonderful for prosthetic patients. The artificial limbs could be more than just functional. They could be expressions of individuality.

"Traditionally, doctors were making hands, cosmetic hands, that would pretend to be human, have fake skin, fake coloring and fake painting," said Samantha Payne, co-founder of Open Biotics. "Whereas now, there has been a huge change in attitudes. We all want to have different colored hair, tattoos. We want some expression. We really value that in our culture."

Internally, the new arms, called Titan arms, are designed to work better and more efficiently than other, older prosthetic arms. However, externally, they allow the user to showcase their sense of expression with an arm that looks like Adam Jensen’s arm from the video game, providing a better sense of self for the amputee.

Cathrine Disney, who was born without an arm, was given the opportunity to wear the Titan arm. She said she thought it would be weird to have two arms and hands, having made the choice at a young age to forgo any prosthetic device. But once she wore the device, she said it almost felt natural.

"I thought I would find it in the way, something I’ve got more of. I thought it would be weird, but it’s not," Disney said. "To begin with, it is an emotional thing. But I could hold something (with the Titan arm) and eat something with the other hand, and I’ve never been able to do that before."

The Titan arm doesn’t imbue Disney with any special powers, other than the ability to look cooler and feel better about her self-image. There are devices, however, that allow people to be stronger, jump higher, run faster, and, perhaps, control technology with our minds.

When Oscar Pistorius became the first double-leg amputee to participate in the Olympics, it not only opened the door for other amputees to see what they could do with new devices but inspired normal humans to augment themselves.

Neil Harbisson is the first human to be officially recognized as a cyborg by a government body, the United Kingdom, when they allowed his passport photo to include his enhancement. Harbisson has an antenna attached inside his skull to allow him to hear the light frequencies of color, including infrared and ultraviolet rays.

Since 2004, Harbisson, who is also gray-scale colorblind, said the antenna gives him an additional sense to process. He said he receives a sensation inside his skull that corresponds to a particular color, allowing him to hear colors in a new way. When he set out on this project, his idea was rejected, because it wasn’t a therapeutic enhancement but a selective one.

"They see a difference between regenerating existing body parts or regenerating pre-existing senses," Harbisson said. "In my case, this is a new body part. It is an antenna. And also, it is the creation of a new sense, which goes beyond the visual spectrum."

Haribisson considers himself to be transhuman, someone who resembles a human in most respects but who has power and abilities beyond those of typical humans. It would appear he’s not alone.

There is a 2016 presidential candidate of the Transhumanist Party. A transhumanist was elected to Parliament in Italy.

Theoretical discussion about advanced prosthetics and augmentation and their place in the world and human evolution has been going on for decades, but the advancements in prosthetic technology are drawing people ever closer to a day when many people may choose to become and experience more than they currently do.

However, today’s amputees are enjoying the fruits of those advancements, allowing them to resume activities, express themselves and improve their emotional states of mind. 



Photo Credit: Courageous]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Satellites Part of Plan for Internet in Space]]> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 16:57:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/spacex-explostion-smoke.jpg

On Thursday, a SpaceX rocket, along with a satellite leased in part by Facebook, were destroyed in a launch pad explosion at Cape Canaveral. The explosion, in which no people were harmed, occurred during preparation for a launch that had been scheduled for Saturday. 

A Facebook spokesperson said the company was “disappointed by the loss” of the Israeli-built Amos 6 satellite. The portion of the satellite that Facebook had leased would have served to bring internet access to parts of sub-Saharan Africa, NBC News reported, as a part of Facebook's mission to connect people around the world through the Internet.

Both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk have discussed plans to use low-orbit satellites to bring high-speed internet access to the many regions of the planet that don't have it. While building a space-based internet is not a new idea, it's one that has taken off once again largely due to new technology and lower launch costs.

"Now with even faster computers and cheaper satellites, there is a whole lot of interest in creating a bunch of new systems to do this," James Muncy, co-founder of the Space Frontier Foundation, told NBC News.



Photo Credit: Frank Jakubetz]]>
<![CDATA[People Cope Without Tech at Digital Detox Camp]]> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 10:08:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/digital+detox.jpg Our daily connection with digital devices can be obsessive for many, and even addicting for others."Sixty-six percent of us suffer from nomophobia, which is a fear of losing your phone or not having access to your phone," notes Techlicious' Suzanne Kantra.This has lead to a "digital detox" trend. More people are making time to disconnect.For those without the willpower to do it on their own there are retreats that structure time away from tech.More than 100 people came to a recent "Camp Grounded" in North Carolina for four days of tech free play."Adults get to let go of some of the habitual patterns of their daily lives, like keeping track of time and schedule and being glued to their technology," explains counselor Megan Lipsett. Participants say the digital detox has physical and psychological benefits."We're not saying that technology is bad or evil everything is neutral can be a medicine or a poison," Lipsett says.]]> <![CDATA[US Tax Law Allows for Retaliation in EU Apple Case]]> Thu, 01 Sep 2016 08:33:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/APPLE_AP_201601271641400000.jpg

U.S. tax laws give the Obama administration power to double tax rates for European companies doing business in America should it choose to dramatically escalate a dispute with the European Union over Apple's $14.5 billion tax bill, Reuters reported.

Section 891 of the U.S. tax code, passed in 1934 but never used, allows the president to double tax rates for citizens and corporations of any country the administration considered was discriminating against U.S. companies.

Experts said the administration was unlikely to take such a drastic measure, and even if it did, courts might strike down that action because of treaties.

"This is an option that is viable only in the minds of a handful of analysts who seem willing to put the entire global trade order at risk," said Edward Kleinbard, a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Batteries Reportedly Catch Fire]]> Thu, 01 Sep 2016 06:44:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GALAXY_GettyImages-588328968.jpg

Almost $7 billion was wiped off smartphone giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's market value Thursday after it delayed shipments of its Galaxy Note 7 amid reports of exploding batteries, NBC News reported.

Faults with the new flagship device could be a major blow to the South Korean firm. Samsung was counting on the Galaxy Note 7 to maintain momentum against Apple's new iPhones — which are expected to be unveiled next week.

"This is some major buzz-kill for Samsung, especially given all of the hard-earned excitement that products like the Note 7 have been garnering lately," IDC analyst Bryan Ma said. "The timing of this couldn't have been worse."



Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Changes Trending Topics]]> Wed, 31 Aug 2016 17:33:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/FacebookLike-AP_120112075763.jpg

Facebook's changes to its "Trending Topics" section are being questioned after it featured a false report about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

The story posted Saturday falsely claimed Kelly had been fired by Fox because she secretly supported Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Another topic trending was "#McChicken," which took users to stories about a video of a man using the McDonald's sandwich in a sex act.

Facebook announced Friday that an algorithm would select trending topics in place of humans but that human editors would still screen them.

Menlo Park-based Facebook has apologized for the Kelly story, telling CBS News its editors mistakenly thought it was legitimate before realizing the error.

Facebook hasn't responded to an inquiry on the McChicken topic.



Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Needs More Money to Keep Model 3 On Track]]> Wed, 31 Aug 2016 14:48:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-490597798.jpg

Automaker Tesla will need to raise additional capital in order to continue as planned with development of its new Model 3 sedan and its giant battery “gigafactory” in Reno, the company said Wednesday. 

The company has posted operating losses in the last 14 straight quarters, and it’s reported negative cash flow since early 2014, Reuters reported. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk admitted the company might need a “small equity capital raise” in 2017.

Still, Musk was tweeting Wednesday about an upcoming blog post on the recent developments related to Tesla’s self-driving technology.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mock Mars Crew Returns to Civilization, After Year in Isolation]]> Mon, 29 Aug 2016 07:16:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/160828-hi-seas-mauna-loa-mars-03-243p.jpg

After a year living in isolation, six crew members on a mock mission to Mars emerged on Sunday, Space.com and NBC News reported.

The crew members had been living in an isolated habitation the bare, rocky slopes of Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii, as part of the HI-SEAS program (Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation), based out of the University of Hawaii.

The mission participants had lived together for 12 months, with limited contact with friends, family and the outside world. The crew exited the habitat around 3 p.m. EDT. One crew member could be heard saying, "we were hoping for some sun" after realizing his freedom came on an overcast day.

The HI-SEAS habitat is an almost entirely self-sufficient structure, where participants utilize a limited supply of food and other necessities.



Photo Credit: HI-SEAS
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