A Twitter-enabled Christmas tree in the lobby of Boston City Hall lets anybody around the world change its colors just by tweeting at it.
The Wicked Cool Tree, a project of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics and the city IT department, involves 720 LED lights wrapped around your basic tree, connected to three WiFI-enabled Arduino boards that control the lights based on commands... Read more
MIT reports some of its researchers have developed a method to produce cheap NFC-based sensors that could tell if a box contains spoiled food - or explosives.
These inexpensive sensors could be widely deployed, making it easier to monitor public spaces or detect food spoilage in warehouses. Using this system, the researchers have demonstrated that they can detect gaseous ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and cyclohexanone,... Read more
The Harvard Gazette reports on an effort to scan in old ornithology journals using crowdsourcing to convert the hand-written journals into text and then gaming software to verify the accuracy of that transcription - critical when you're talking about possibly obscure scientific names:
First versions of the video games should be ready by early next year, Flanagan said. One is aimed at the more... Read more
ZipCar founder and current MassDOT board member Robin Chase has started a new company that aims to equip vehicles - such as buses and garbage trucks - with WiFi gear. Business Insider reports on her new company's ideas for "a network of moving things," which in addition to providing roving WiFi service would also allow creation of citywide sensor networks to, well, sense... Read more
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Traffic Hackers has gone live with both live data and predictions for when you should head out - if your plans include the turnpike, I-93 north of the city or Rte. 3 south of it.
The site uses real-time data from MassDOT and historical data to try to show you how the roads are doing - without a single... Read more
The Massachusetts Appeals Court today tossed a lawsuit by Skyhook Wireless of South Boston against Google, saying the company failed to prove Google maliciously tried to keep its location services off Android phones in 2009 and 2010.
If anything, the court ruled, the fault was entirely Skyhook's, for failing to ensure its software would work properly with the application programming interfaces Google wrote for... Read more
Acquia, which currently provides content-management applications and services plans to move from Burlington to 53 State St. next year, BostInno reports, adding the company will be doubling its space with the move.
Acquia's core offerings focus on an enterprise version of Drupal, a system originally written by Acquia founder Dries Buytaert. The software powers a number of large corporate Web sites, and... Read more
Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan says his detectives got the case on Friday. In a statement, he says:
We will use all tools and assets at our disposal to identify those responsible and bring... Read more
Alex Howell asks:
Anyone know of any places where I can donate a nice iMac to? Donâ€™t really want to deal with the wilds of Craigslist.
Avid Technology of Burlington, which makes tools for managing movies, audio tracks and other media files, says a California file-sharing company not only poached some of its employees, it's illegally using its proprietary software.
Boston and a local startup called Mapdwell have released a mapping system that lets residents look up their home's roof size and then figure out how much installation of solar panels would cost them.
The city hopes the map will help it reach a goal of having 25 MW of solar energy capacity by 2020 - it's currently at about 12 MW.... Read more
In a victory for the manufacturer of electric cars, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today dealers of other types of cars have no grounds to block the company's efforts to sell vehicles directly to consumers.
Massachusetts car dealers had sued Tesla Motors under a state law designed to protect dealers from predatory actions by manufacturers.
But the state's highest court said the law only... Read more
Street Fight reports that Everyblock, which used to be a handy place to look up building permits and the like, is coming back to Boston and will add a Medford version (Medford? Yes, Medford).
The City Council today voted to ban a phone app that lets users notify other users of impending open parking spaces in Boston - and to back it up with fines of up to $250 per instance.
City Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester), who proposed the ordinance, admitted that he doesn't understand "all apps," but he understands this one just fine. "They were trying to buy... Read more
This is this month's cover of Cell, which covers advances in microbiology:
The cover depicts an adaptation the Boston subway system map in which subway lines represent pathways of differentiation from pluripotent stem cells. Bus routes, shown as dashed lines, are the various ways that cells can be experimentally interconverted via directed differentiation, direct conversion, and reprogramming. Cover image by Samantha Morris.
Maryr ... Read more
The team started with a flat sheet, to which it added two motors, two batteries, and a microcontroller, which acts like the robotâ€™s brain, Felton said. The sheet was a composite of paper and Shrinky Dinks,... Read more
AsymmetRx Medical, an Acton company that holds a patent on an antibody used to diagnose prostate cancer, is suing Santa Cruz Biotechnology of Dallas on charges the Texas company offers a product that uses the same basic idea.
In its lawsuit, filed this week in US District Court in Boston, AsymmetRx, founded on the work of a Harvard researcher, says Santa Cruz started selling... Read more
Alexander Yershov says he never gave the newspaper permission to divulge any of his personal information, yet its Android app forwards all sorts of data about him to Adobe Systems.
So, of course, he is suing.
In a lawsuit filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Yershov wants to be name lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against USA Today - and is... Read more