Upcoming CyanogenMod will open up Chromecast streaming to more Android apps

Elizabeth Fish Contributor, TechHive

Elizabeth Fish is a freelance writer who happens to run a hyperlocal news website in Lincoln, UK. She also covers all things geeky for TechHive.
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If the announcement of Google's Chomecast  streaming adapter whet your appetite for new gadgets and you have penchant for tinkering with your Android phone, then next CyanogenMod update may just give you a reason to hand over the $35.

The latest update to the CyanogenMod firmware for Android phones lets you stream media directly to Chromecast from almost any app using the the default Android media player, which many Android apps rely on to play video. CyanogenMod developer Koushik Dutta recently showed the update in action in a recent video published to YouTube.

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DIY biohackers play with bacteria at Genspace, a community science lab

Kevin Lee Contributor, TechHive

Kevin is a small-time tech hound, amateur photographer, and a general know-at-least-something of all things geeky hailing from New York.
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You don't need a professional-grade lab or a science degree to mess around with microorganisms. A small group of New York-based biotechnology enthusiasts have created their own community biology lab called Genspace, and it's a place where anyone who's even remotely interested in life sciences can go and get their feet wet with biotechnology.

DIY biologists mainly work from home on their own little cultured experiments. For the most part, this underground biohacking scene regularly communicates through the Web on the DIYbio forums to ask for advice and equipment, as well as  to set up in-person meetups. But a growing number of biohacking spaces, such as Genspace and Biocurious in the San Francisco Bay Area, give biohackers proper laboratories to work on their projects.

It’s not impossible to assemble your own lab.
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'Listen to Wikipedia' turns heated edit wars into soothing music

Kevin Lee Contributor, TechHive

Kevin is a small-time tech hound, amateur photographer, and a general know-at-least-something of all things geeky hailing from New York.
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When you go to Wikipedia, you’re probably going to do one of two things; fall down a rabbit's hole of trivia and information or edit the crap out of said information. Listen to Wikipedia, on the other hand, offers a completely different —and calming— experience from the bustle of information bits and inappropriately cited information.

Developed by Hatnote, Listen to Wikipedia takes data from Wikipedia's recent changes feed and converts that data to sounds. Bells signal additions, while strings denominate subtractions. The pitch of each note also depending on the size of the edits—the larger the edit, the lower the pitch.

A color-coded visualizer consisting of overlapping multicolored circles shows you which article’s has been changed and the editor's user status: Green circles represent anonymous additions, white is for registered users, and purple indicates a bot is hard at work.

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Robots fill new roles at work

When Christian Johnson began his summer 2012 internship at the information management branch of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, he little suspected that he'd soon be virtually tooling around the center via a vaguely humanoid robot on wheels.

Once classes began in the fall, the 18-year-old had to finish up his senior year of high school in Buffalo, New York and needed to telecommute to continue his work as data analytics specialist at the research center. One of his co-workers had heard about a company called VGo Communications that makes a wheeled personal avatar, or what it calls a "productivity improvement solution," that lets people see and hear—and be seen and be heard—from far away.

Vgo-robot
Christian Johnson's VGo commuter bot.

Using robots to stay relevant

Think Logistics, a Vaughan, Ontario-based third-party provider of supply chain services, has been thinking about its future. Its parent company, Duplium Corp., is a successful optical disk manufacturer that has produced CDs, DVDs and packaged disks for 15 to 20 years. But the handwriting is on the wall for Duplium: The software and entertainment industries have become heavily focused on digital downloads, making it hard to predict how long optical media will remain relevant, says Stuart Pearson, vice president of contract logistics at Think Logistics.

Think Logistics decided to concentrate on logistics—shipping a wide variety of products to consumers on behalf of its clients, which include retail stores and distribution centers, he says, since that is a growth area and a natural fit for the company, which already has experience in shipping and logistics.

Taking jobs away?

Although K'NEX and Think Logistics report that they have had no layoffs tied to their adoption of robotics, some skeptics say the increasing use of robots will ultimately eliminate jobs. But fans of the technology answer that dull, repetitive tasks are ideal for robotics and that it's better to take these boring jobs out of the hands of humans who are prone to error and inefficiency.

Indeed, some robotics aficionados insist that, although technology will inevitably lead to the elimination of some jobs now done by humans, robots will ideally free people up to focus on creative tasks, while helping companies save money and reducing the need for offshore labor.

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This guy wants to build a TARDIS for a good cause, and you can help

Elizabeth Fish Contributor, TechHive

Elizabeth Fish is a freelance writer who happens to run a hyperlocal news website in Lincoln, UK. She also covers all things geeky for TechHive.
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Doctor Who, as popular as it is, inspires plenty of events and fan-made projects based on the series. With the show's 50th anniversary coming up, a lot more projects are in planning, too.

Alan Hoyle's TARDIS replica project is a particularly inspiring one though. According to his Kickstarter, he's looking for £900 (about $1400 US) from backers to help him and youths he works with through his sport charity, Aspire 2 Achieve, to build a TARDIS, complete with lights and sounds. An infrared sensor located in the top of the replica, connected to a Sonic Screwdriver-shaped remote, will control the whole thing.

Once built, it will stop at various events throughout the UK, plus visit children's hospitals, schools, parties, and conventions. Everyone at a replica TARDIS event will get a Doctor Who-themed goodie bag, too, filled with cakes and cookies and things. Mmmm. Good luck Alan!

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Robotic needles bust cranial blood clots, could make brain surgery less invasive

Rachel Martin Contributor, TechHive

Rachel is a recent MIT graduate with a bachelor's in materials science and engineering. She likes 3D printing, solar cells, and maybe 3D printing solar cells, as well as videos of cats being confused by Roombas.
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As a two-time laparoscopic surgery patient, let me tell you: It’s not the best thing in the world, but it’s a lot better than old open-torso surgery, and improving all the time as imaging techniques, robotics, and doctors get used to the practice. Now, a breakthrough from Vanderbilt University may carry the principles of laparoscopy to a previously intractable part of the body: the brain.

Cranial blood clots, or intracerebral hemorrhages, typically have a 40 percent mortality rate, often due to how hard it is to get to them and the delicacy of their location. Survivors can often suffer brain damage due to the buildup of pressure inside the skull, which can only be alleviated by “debulking” the clots that prevent blood from draining from the brain.

That procedure has historically been ferociously difficult, but the Vanderbilt University team of engineers and physicians, headed by Professor Robert Webster III and Dr. Kyle Weaver, has a solution in the form of a steerable robotic needle guided by CT scanning technology.

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This is real: A Kickstarter project for a pi-shaped pie pan

Nick Mediati Associate Editor, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Nick covers gadgets, DIY, geek culture, and future tech for TechHive. He likes puns and the color yellow.
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Back in 2012, our James Mulroy showed how you could make a pi-shaped pie for your Pi Day festivities. Making the pie may have been the easy part; making the pi-shaped baking pan required manually cutting and reshaping foil loaf pans is tedious stuff. Kickstarter user Pinojo wants to save you some time with his Pi Pans.

The Pi Pan, as you probably guessed, is a pi-shaped pie pan. Yes. It's the product of three years' worth of design and prototyping work, and you could soon own one for yourself. Pinojo has already met his $2000 pledge goal on Kickstarter, but with 27 days to go and plenty of perks left, you can still get behind this project. Pledging at the $15 level gets you one of the first Pi Pans when they ship this December, ensuring that you'll have the best Pi Day celebration around come 2014.

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