Friday tech news roundup for January 31

Another major Google acquisition—this time, an artificial intelligence company
Google has purchased a London-based company called DeepMind for $500 million. What’s interesting about this deal is that DeepMind is an artificial intelligence company, but the details about what exactly they do is a little fuzzy. Recode, who broke the news, said that the company was founded by games prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, along with two others, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. Speculation is that DeepMind’s AI tech may be applied to such home products such as Nest – which, of course, Google just bought last week.

strat3D printer produces multi-color, flexible objects
Sure the ability to print a REAL object is amazing, but up until how we’ve only seen printers that make things in a single color. Now that’s all changing. Stratasys’ announced this week a new printer that makes multi-color flexible objects. It does this by using a rubber as the “ink” and colors are applied in a way not unlike your inkjet at home, by using cyan, yellow, and magenta. According to the reports, it can even print things of different opacity, as well as flexibility. Clearly this isn’t a consumer machine, but it’s also clear that 3D-printing technology is advancing quickly. In a few years, just imagine what we’ll be able to do!

swiftkey for iOSSwiftkey android keyboard now available on an iPhone near you
An image hit the web this week showing the very popular Swiftkey keyboard app on an iPhone. Many rejoiced…until they were a little let down they could only get this keyboard on a new (but free) Swiftkey note-taking app. Why only in the app? As Mashable says, “Apple still doesn’t allow third-party developers to change the native keyboard on iOS so, unlike Android versions, any iOS iterations of SwiftKey will be limited to individual apps.” And,while this keyboard is super popular on andoid devices, it has lost many of the likeable features in its move to iOS. Missing is the ability to connect it to Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and other sources so it can learn more about your writing style for greater accuracy. And, the iOS version doesn’t include SwiftKey Flow, which lets you glide your fingertip around the keyboard rather than tapping. Swiftkey is saying that they will allow iOS developers to use their keyboard in apps though, so there’s hope this keyboard could be more widely adopted.Time has a lot more details about this story.

Drone alert tells you if you’re about to get buzzed
With all the talk of drones and delivery by drone, it seems only natural that someone has developed a Drone Shield system (does anyone else have an urge to say, “It’s a trap!”?). No, it won’t shoot down drones that wander into your yard, but the black box “hears” if a drone is coming and will alert the homeowner. According to ubergizmo.com, the Drone Shield is smart enough to ignore noise from lawn mowers and weed whackers. My neighbor has a quadrocopter, I wonder if a Drone Shield would detect that? (he’s the one who sent me this link—should I be suspicious? 😉 ).

Google Glass offers new frames and prescription lenses
If the only thing holding you back from considering Google Glass is the unfashionable look, you’re in luck. Google announced this week a new Titanium Collection, with four new frames and two new styles of twist-on shades. Plus, if that weren’t enough, Google Glass will be covered by vision care insurer VSP.

Amazon to enter the set-top box games market…maybe
This rumor, completely unconfirmed at this point, hit the tech blogs this week. There have been hints in the past that Amazon was building their own gaming console, but VG 24/7 now says that one is still in the works and will retail for below $300. Time will tell!

Get in a real lightsaber battle
Here’s a fun Kickstarter project that gives aspiring duelists the chance to hold a lightsaber battle…with special, light-up, foam swords. More, they have electronics embedded inside to detect blows and an LED scoreboard above the grip. Engadget has a video. It could be a fun gift for the StarWars fan!

Nerdy home accessories
If your man cave is looking a bit bare, you need to check out this list of nerdy home accessories. The At-At bookends are pretty awesome ($219 at Amazon, just in case you really need them), but the card catalog DVD case is what really made me happy. I love card catalogs (I even own a small one, which is why my friend Miriam sent me that link), and maybe with this my basement would more closely resemble Leonard and Sheldon’s from Big Bang Theory 😉 (by the way, if you want the retro artwork featured in that show, you can get it here on Think Geek).

Sherlock The NetworkAnd in other geek news…
If you’re a Shelock fan, did you hear about the new app? It’s called “The Network” that lets you become part of Holmes’ gang of helpers (called “The Baker Street Irregulars, in the original stories). According to the website,”using your mobile phone, you must navigate the streets of London discovering clues, solving puzzles and piecing together the case.” I’m dying to know whether it’s worth $4.99—tell me if you have it and love it!

Quizzes trending on Facebook
Find out what Game of Thrones character you are, or perhaps you prefer the magical world of Tolkien? And if you’re an Arrested Development fan, find out which member of the Bluth family you are.

Plus, if you’ve ever felt like you’re in the wrong profession, maybe you should take this Buzzfeed quiz and find out what career you should have had.

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.
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