Get amped for Sunday’s Patriot Act vote with the weirdest political ad of 2015

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If you have never seen a Super PAC ad promoting civil liberties in the tone of a monster truck rally, this is your chance.

First, some context. The Patriot Act is set to expire on Monday, and while the House has passed a bill that would extend some portions of the law in exchange for certain surveillance reforms, the Senate has failed to pass much of anything, and Rand Paul has emerged as one of the main figures blocking any extension of the law. There’s going to be one last chance when the Senate reconvenes on Sunday afternoon, and the stakes for US surveillance couldn’t be higher.

The result is a lot of hype around Sunday’s vote, some of which is apparently coming in the form of bizarre demolition derby-style PAC ads. This one s…

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Meet An Origami Robot That Can Build Itself, Run Around, And Then Dissolve

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KzwV83-1 Robots are supposed to be huge and hulking like Big Dog, but what happens when they are as light as a feather? MIT researchers recently demonstrated a tiny robot that can fold itself from a sheet of thin material, walk around and carry loads, and then dunk itself in acetone to completely dissolve. The robot, which is controlled by electromagnets, can build itself in a few seconds and then… Read More

Google’s ATAP Debuts Its First Live-Action Spotlight Story In Partnership With Fast & Furious Director Justin Lin

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google-io-2015-atap0089 Google’s ATAP unit now has a history of producing short movies and interactive experiences to showcase how storytellers can use mobile technology to create new experiences for their audiences. Today, at the company’s I/O developer conference in San Francisco, ATAP debuted its latest spotlight project. The team worked with director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 4, 5, 6; Star Trek 3)… Read More

Tiggly Words Teaches Kids To Read Using Real-World Toys That Work With An iPad

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Tiggly_Words_Lifestyle.png Tiggly, a company that makes a line of “iPad toys” that combine real-world objects with virtual play in mobile applications, has now rolled out its latest product: a new game and real-world toy combination it’s calling “Tiggly Words.” The idea is that young children can place the provided letters on the screen as part of gameplay in order to build words, unlock… Read More

Google’s latest Cardboard app is a how-to guide for good VR design

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There’s one very simple rule in virtual reality development: don’t make people sick. But when it comes to making suggestions instead of prohibitions, we’re still formulating the guidelines for everything — sound, motion, interaction, even text. It’s a problem that Google Cardboard designers Jon Wiley and Alex Faaborg are all too conscious of. Since unveiling the cheap Cardboard headset a year ago, Google estimates that over a million of them have made it into the hands of VR enthusiasts. At this year’s I/O, Google is betting that it can turn a side project into a real platform for developers… and it’s making a little tool that will show them (or anyone else) how to do it right.

“Over the last several months, we’ve been, as designers,…

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Google’s Frankenstein phone just came to life

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During the ATAP keynote at Google I/O, Google engineer Rafa Camargo demoed a functioning Project Ara smartphone. Project Ara, which was announced last year, is a modular smartphone system that lets you swap out components such as a processor, camera, battery, and more without having to purchase an entirely new phone. Camargo built a phone by sliding modules into a frame, turned it on, then added a camera module and took a picture of the audience.

Project Ara’s components have been shown off before, but this was the first time Google built the phone as part of a live demonstration. Camargo did not provide much more info about the status of Ara beyond the demo, but the project is expected to begin a pilot test in Puerto Rico later this…

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Google’s incredible, immersive Spotlight Stories are coming to YouTube

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Google is expanding its Spotlight Stories program in a big way at I/O this year, taking the short films beyond Motorola phones and toward the Android ecosystem at large — and during today’s ATAP presentation Google confirmed they would be coming to YouTube as well. The news came during a presentation about the way Spotlight Stories have expanded from the earlier animated shorts, put together by classic animators like Glen Keane, and into the world of live-action — most specifically with Help, a short from Fast & Furious director Justin Lin about an alien invasion descending upon Los Angeles. Variety broke the YouTube news earlier this week.

Rather than going for the full field-of-view immersion that something like Oculus (or Google…

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Dodge teases a concept car that looks crazier than a Viper

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Well over a year after Gran Turismo 6 first came out, we’re still getting some sweet new concept cars through the Vision Gran Turismo project. The latest comes from Dodge, and while we’re not quite sure exactly what it will look like, it seems clear that it will definitely look cool. Called the SRT Tomahawk, the car is described as a “single-seat hybrid powertrain concept vehicle.” Based off of the first few teaser images, it has a pretty sleek design, with some definite Dodge Viper influences. The full unveiling is expected to happen “soon.” Past Vision Gran Turismo cars have included everything from Chevrolet’s spaceship inspired supercar to Renault’s crazy vision of a futuristic racecar. All of the cars are available as free…

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Google’s Ara Modular Phone Takes A Real Photo From A Snap-In Camera

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IMG_0435 Google’s ATAP team showed a working version of its Project Ara modular smartphone on stage at I/O today, with engineer Rafa Camargo snapping in a camera module and taking a quick photo on a device running the latest version of Android. It was a brief show of where the project’s at, and amazing when you consider the engineering involved in making it work. ATAP has shown off a… Read More

BIY Science: Welcome to Adventureland!

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BIYNote: These excerpts are adapted with permission from Evil Mad Scientist Lab co-founder Windell Oskay’s new Make: book, The Annotated Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory, originally published by Raymond E. Barrett in 1963 and just given an update by Windell for the 21st century. We’re increasingly surprised and gratified to discover how the […]

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