From Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now: Grand Award Winner: Nest Learning Thermostat

HAL For Your House Sam Kaplan
An intelligent thermostat.

A thermostat has tremendous power: It controls heating and cooling, the most expensive, energy-guzzling system in a house. Until the Nest, thermostats wielded that power blindly. The Nest learns a household’s schedule and preferences after just one week and programs itself (and if those preferences change, the Nest adapts accordingly). It uses activity, humidity, and temperature sensors to monitor the indoor climate and adjust it for maximum efficiency.

The Nest can also shut down the air conditioner’s compressor a few minutes early to make the most of the cool air still available after it cycles off. The homeowner can always adjust the device from home or the road, but will rarely need to-which makes this the first thermostat truly compatible with people’s lives.

Power: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Compatibility: 95% of 24-volt systems
Price: $249

from Popular Science – New Technology, Science News, The Future Now

From New on MIT Technology Review: Bionic Eye Lets A Blind Person “See” Braille

Wearers of the eye prosthetic would visualize Braille lettering instead of alphabets.

The makers of the Argus II retinal prosthetic have devised a way to help blind people read Braille. Their first reported tests with a person wearing an Argus II indicate that this method could help blind people with the implant read signs and short sections of text.

from New on MIT Technology Review