EU plans to make all phone chargers the same are (probably) happening
The European Parliament wants to standardise chargers for phones, tablets, satnavs and other portable devices in the hopes of cutting down on electronic waste. Today the European Commission passed a vote to go ahead with the plan, which has been in the works since its proposal in 2012. Many recent devices already use a micro USB connection for charging purposes, but companies like Apple that feature proprietary charging connectors will be asked by the European Commission to change their ways. Expect appeals and legal wrangling in the not-too-distant future.
Image credit: Brad Wilmot
New Alien: Isolation trailer will have you stocking up on underwear
The Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation is shaping up to be one of the most exciting – and downright frightening – games of the near future, and this new trailer goes into exactly how the developers are going to make you cry out for your mummy. The game’s xenomorph foe (and there’s only one) is totally unpredictable and totally deadly, and the atmosphere is constantly one of pant-soiling tension – if you can’t see the alien, does that mean he’s just round the corner?
Alien: Isolation is due for release in the fourth quarter of 2014 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and Windows.
Google smartwatch: are these the specs?
Everybody and his uncle is beavering away on a smartwatch, it seems – and Google is no different. The usually trustworthy @evleaks Twitter account claims to have the scoop on the watch’s specs: apparently it will be manufactured by LG and have a 1.65in IPS LCD screen with a 280 x 280 resolution, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. The processor is, as yet, to be determined. Take all this with a pinch of salt, of course – but nothing in there seems implausible to us.
Your next fridge might use magnets to chill your cans
Currently, refrigerators use compressors and chemical coolants to create cold (or rather, to remove heat) – but that could be changing in the next few years. General Electric has come up with a way to replace the compressors with an alloy and magnets. The alloy can be heated or cooled through the use of magnetic fields, and this in turn cools a special liquid (presumably like the coolant in your current fridge) that keeps your beer, cheese and ice cream cold. The same method could possibly come to good use in air conditioners.
The big deal here is energy efficiency: G.E. claims that magnets use something like 20 percent less electricity than compressors. The aim now is to miniaturise the technology seen in the video above in order to squeeze it into fridges within the next five years.