technology

For days, the tech media was mesmerized: Rumors were running amok about the mysterious third party that helped the FBI unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone and one particular Israeli security company landed in the spotlight.

As weeks go by, the expectations that the third-party helper or its mysterious technique would be revealed are quickly declining. The theories, however, continue to ripple out.

A solar-powered plane called the Solar Impulse 2 is preparing to resume its flight around the world after nine months on the ground for repairs.

The team's goal: to be the first plane to circumnavigate the globe using only solar power.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel tells our Newscast unit that the plane is getting ready for liftoff in Hawaii. Here's more from Geoff:

Saying its customers "have a right to know when the government obtains a warrant to read their emails" — and that Microsoft has a right to tell them about gag orders — the tech giant has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department.

Microsoft is asking a judge to declare part of a federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b), unconstitutional under both the First and Fourth Amendments.

As NPR's Aarti Shahani reports for our Newscast unit:

OfferUp website shows goods being offered near the user.
Screen grab 4/14/2016

A Bellevue startup wants to move in on the buy-and-sell market created by Craigslist. Private investors seem to think OfferUp could do it: They have estimated the company's value at more than $800 million.

Ian Burkhart, now 24, was paralyzed in 2010 after diving into a wave in shallow water. The accident left him with some arm movement but no use of his hands.

Mark Zuckerberg has laid out a 10-year master plan for Facebook. It's bold. It's savvy. And it glosses over a key detail: the dark side of making the world more connected.

Emojis were supposed to be the great equalizer: a language all its own capable of transcending borders and cultural differences.

Not so fast, say a group of researchers who found that different people had vastly different interpretations of some popular emojis. The researchers published their findings for GroupLens, a research lab based out of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET with a response from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Inventors and entrepreneurs have logged years of complaining about the patent system, and there are some good reasons. In 2015, patent litigation rose 13 percent from the previous year according to a study by Unified Patents, and two-thirds of those suits were brought by nonpracticing entities, or so-called "patent trolls."

  Bill Radke speaks with local filmmaker Delaney Ruston about her documentary "Screenagers."

Artificial limbs have come a long way since the days of peg legs and hooks for hands. But one thing most of these prosthetics lack is a sense of touch.

Zhenan Bao intends to change that.

The KQED podcast Love in the Digital Age explores "how technology changes the way we experience love, friendship, intimacy and connection." The most recent episode focuses on two people — a Los Angeles radio host and his wife — who have drawn great strength from their online communities and social media as they face his diagnosis of terminal cancer. You can listen to the podcast here.

A new era for living in space may be about to start.

A prototype habitat is headed to the International Space Station for a two-year trial. What makes the module unique is it's launched folded up, and it's inflated to its full size once in orbit.

A new Rembrandt painting unveiled in Amsterdam Tuesday has the tech world buzzing more than the art world.

That's because the painting is the creation of a 3-D printer — and not the Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn himself, who has been dead for almost 450 years.

Renewable energy like solar and wind is booming across the country as the costs of production have come down. But the sun doesn't always shine, and the wind doesn't blow when we need it to.

This challenge has sparked a technology race to store energy — one that goes beyond your typical battery.

Heat Storage: Molten Salt And A Giant Solar Farm

Batteries are often used to store solar power, but it can be a costly endeavor.

Bill Radke speaks with Lisa Stiffler, author of a GeekWire series following eight women who joined the tech workforce twenty years ago. Stiffler was interested to learn how the women made their way in an industry dominated by men.

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