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MIT project aims to bring household robots to all

Imagine going to a local store, picking out a design for a robot to help with some household chores, and having the device built within a matter of hours. That is the vision of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where a five-year, $10 million project to bring the…

Open University signs up 1 million subscribers on iTunes U

52 courses have now notched up more than 50m downloads since launching in January 2011. By Stuart Dredge Open University has attracted more than 1m active subscribers to its courses available on Apple’s iTunes U app for iPad in less than three months since its launch. OU says its 52…

Xbox 720 rumors: Blu-ray drive and always-on internet?

Reports say Microsoft is to adopt the Sony-backed Blu-ray tech in its next games machine, currently codenamed Durango Just in case you missed this on Monday, news site VG247 has learned from “multiple sources” that the next Xbox console, apparently codenamed Durango, will feature a Blu-ray drive and is set…

Google found guilty of false advertising in Australia

Internet giant Google was Tuesday found guilty of false and misleading advertising in Australia after a court upheld an appeal by the country’s competition regulator. Google had won a case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in September over claims that sponsored links at the top of its search results were…

How to hide emails from government snooping

Despite coalition proposals to monitor public email, there remain numerous free or low-cost methods to keep messages private You already know how to keep messages private: you just encrypt the contents using a password. But although this kind of technology has been freely available to PC users since Phil Zimmermann…

Cyber-defence slow due to generation gap: U.S. official

TALLINN — Sluggish moves to counter the rising threat of cyber-attacks can be blamed on a generation of policymakers out of touch with rapid technological change, a senior US official said Monday. “The truth is there are a lot of senior officials in many countries who barely even know how…

Nuclear-powered drones on the drawing board for U.S. military contractors

American scientists have drawn up plans for a new generation of nuclear-powered drones capable of flying over remote regions of the world for months on end without refuelling. The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories – the US government’s principal nuclear research and…

Britain’s Cameron faces backlash over mass electronic surveillance plans

British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing a growing backlash from within his own party over plans to extend the government’s powers to monitor people’s email exchanges and website visits. The measures would see Internet firms being instructed to install hardware enabling GCHQ — the government’s electronic “listening” agency —…

Dutch company hopes to change the world with first commercial ‘flying car’

A Dutch company said this weekend that it had conducted its first successful test of their “flying car” prototype that they hope to make available for consumers by sometime in 2014. The Personal Air and Land Vehicle — PAL-V, for short — is not a new concept: its European creators…

French film, music industries shrink despite harsh anti-piracy law

A report published by the French High Authority for the Dissemination of Creative Works and Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) is being touted by file sharing opponents the world over as proof that so-called “graduated response” policies are very effective at stopping copyright infringement. Problem is, it neglects…

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