Google's Project Wing effort is tasked with developing drones that can be used to deliver goods and relief aid in case of a national emergency. The drone has four propellers that are electrically driven, with a wing span up to five feet, and weighs under 19 pounds. There have been at least 30 test flights conducted in August alone, as the research team begins analyzing test flight data.
The appeal of delivery drones has piqued the interest of Amazon, and it looks like Project Wing from Google will have the same type of overview. It will still take years of development before Project Wing is able to realistically develop goods, with the potential of receiving products in a short amount of time.
"We're now back in California reviewing what we've learned from the tests and preparing our next set of adventures," Google said in a press statement.
The NASA next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) is a multi-billion-dollar rocket project that is expected to officially debut during a November 2018 space launch. NASA expects to invest an additional $7 billion from February 2014 until the late 2018 test launch, in which the SLS will shuttle an Orion crew vehicle past the moon and back to Earth.
"If we don't do anything, we basically have a 70 percent chance of getting to that date," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA space operations associate administrator, in a statement to the media. "Our intent is to go look at those (expected) problems and see what we can do to mitigate (them)."
Total cost could surpass $12 billion to develop three variations of the SLS, with billions more needed to fly heavier next-generation boosters into orbit. As NASA and other space nations look beyond the International Space Station (ISS) - mainly to Mars - the SLS could help NASA push research of the Red Planet to a new level.
Internet piracy is helping boost gangs, drug dealers and terrorists, according to a major media conglomerate and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Police officers in Los Angeles County say piracy is a priority and want to clamp down on Internet pirates in neighborhoods they oversee.
"[Piracy is] supporting their ability to buy drugs and guns and engage in violence," said Todd Rogers, Los Angeles County Assistant Sheriff, in a statement to the media. "And then, the support of global terrorism, which is a threat to everybody. To identify bad guys that we need to take out of the community so the rest of the folks can enjoy their neighborhood and their families."
If in doubt, saying there is a link to terrorism and street violence - whether or not accurate - is a good way to gain headlines and try to intimidate casual users away from copyright infringement. However, without offering hard evidence of this reported link, most people will just shrug it off and keep downloading and sharing files.
Online merchants are embracing bitcoin payments from customers, even though the cryptocurrency has been described as volatile by some financial investors. However, retailers admit that bitcoins still don't amount for much of overall transactions, but expect it to slowly grow as more consumers become familiar with owning and using bitcoins.
Overstock.com estimates that it will see $6 million to $8 million in bitcoin-related sales in 2014, and will continue to support its use. Using online bitcoin wallets from services such as Coinbase or Blockchain allow consumers to have easy access to their bitcoins while shopping. Companies using bitcoins allow a bitcoin payment processor to holding the bitcoins, removing a difficult roadblock that has kept some retailers on the sidelines.
"We don't have to deal with the actual holding of the bitcoin: it's the payment processor that takes the currency risk for us," said Bernie Han, Dish Network COO. "That's what makes it appealing for us and I guess for other merchants as well."
The Apple iWatch will reportedly be introduced during a special event on September 9, with the rumor mill and hype machine continually driving interest for the expected announcement. Apple has been under pressure to announce a new product category, with CEO Tim Cook previously stating the wrist could be an ideal place for a new Apple product.
Details regarding the iWatch remain unknown, but previous reports indicated the screen size could range from 1.3" up to 2.5" - and Apple could release multiple screen sizes to consumers. Similar to other smartwatches already available, health and fitness should be major selling points for Apple's announcement next month. However, hardware specifications and pricing details won't be known until September 9, as Apple prefers to remain secretive leading up to its events.
Most smartwatches are designed for Google Android-powered devices, and while the iWatch hype has ramped up in recent months, Apple will have to compete against Samsung, LG, and scores of other competitors in the suddenly crowded market.
T-Mobile has announced plans to release the HTC One M8 for Windows smartphone to its customers in time for Christmas, as Windows Phone supporters will have something to cheer about. The Windows Phone 8.1 device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (2.3 GHz) CPU, with 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage space, along with a 5" full 1080p HD display.
Pricing and availability of the HTC One M8 for Windows wasn't made available by T-Mobile, but it will be released in time for Christmas. The M8 for Windows is currently available on Verizon Wireless for $100 with a two-year contract or $600 without a contract. AT&T hasn't publicly disclosed pricing or availability of the M8 on its network.
Despite Windows Phone-powered devices that look appealing, it has been difficult for Microsoft to compete with Google Android and Apple iOS - a problem that won't go away anytime soon, with Windows Phone capturing less than five percent of the smartphone market. HTC has taken advantage of Microsoft nixing Windows Phone licensing fees, in an attempt to draw more handset makers to its struggling mobile OS.
Korean tech companies Samsung and LG Electronics have unveiled new smartwatches, as Apple continues to wait until an expected event next month. Companies in the smartwatch market are interested in creating fashionable watches that still have excellent connectivity and features to draw consumers in.
The LG G Watch R has a traditional watch design and the Samsung Gear S uses a curved screen. The G Watch R includes a heart rate monitor, with the watch itself using a 1.2GHz Snapdragon CPU, 4GB of storage and 512MB RAM. LG plans to release it in time for Christmas, but pricing details weren't made available.
Meanwhile, the Gear S from Samsung has a 2-inch curved Super AMOLED display, built-in GPS, 3G cellular radio, running the Tizen operating system. It's the sixth smartwatch Samsung has released in 2014 so far, indicating the company plans to remain a major force in the growing smartwatch market.
Lockheed Martin has teamed up with Electro Optic Systems to create a space object tracking site in Western Australia, designed to give researchers a better way to assess the threat of man-made junk floating in orbit. There are more than 200,000 objects to track using lasers and sensitive optical systems that will be used to identify and track threats in space.
"Ground-based space situational awareness is a growing priority for government and commercial organizations around the world that need to protect their investments in space," said Rick Ambrose, Lockheed Martin Space Systems EVP, in a statement.
Space junk remains a major concern for space agencies and private companies launching satellites and other aircraft into space. With more than 2,000 government and commercial satellites in orbit - and more than 200 space junk-related threats each day - it can be an extremely costly problem if debris traveling up to 17,500 miles per hour hits a shuttle or satellite.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reportedly will head to China sometime in September as the Chinese government launches an antitrust investigation targeting Microsoft. The Chinese government said it doesn't believe Microsoft was transparent regarding Windows and Office sales, and Chinese antitrust regulators also want to investigate Internet Explorer and the Windows Media Player.
The timing of the antitrust probe seems rather confusing, with Microsoft settling antitrust issues in the United States and Europe more than 10 years ago. Furthermore, the popularity of Google Android and Apple iOS devices in the smartphone and tablet markets has forced Microsoft to revamp - problems that didn't exist during previous antitrust investigations.
Microsoft and other major corporations have a delicate relationship with China, amid growing antitrust probes that seem to target western companies. As Washington and Beijing continue to blame one another for spying and snooping, it looks like Microsoft, Google, and other companies are getting caught in the crossfire - if Microsoft gave the Chinese government access to data, for example, western lawmakers and journalists will heavily criticize the company.
Microsoft will release a standalone Kinect for the Xbox One on October 7 and it will cost $149 with a free copy of Dance Central Spotlight included. The game title will be released in September and will only cost $10. It seems surprising that Microsoft has decided to release the Kinect as a standalone product with such a high price tag, but there will be wiggle room to see if consumers are willing to spend that much for it.
Some have wondered how important the Kinect is for Microsoft's long-term strategy, as the company released a $400 Xbox One bundle in June that didn't include it. However, Microsoft said it saw "increased demand" for the pricier $500 Xbox One bundle that did include the Kinect.
It's a good idea for Microsoft to introduce the Kinect as a standalone option, as gamers will be able to pick one up if they don't already own one - a standalone PC version of the Kinect was made available in July for $200, popular among PC enthusiasts and researchers.