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MIT’s new wearable trackpad is all thumbs

MIT researchers have found a way to turn the thumbnail into a trackpad. Photo: MIT Media Lab

MIT researchers have found a way to turn the thumbnail into a trackpad. Photo: MIT Media Lab

Stop chewing your fingernails now. You may be biting off a new frontier in wearable technology.

Researchers at MIT have devised a way to turn the thumbnail into a wireless trackpad that will allow users to control their devices when their hands are full.

Imagine using the neighboring index finger, moving it across the thumbnail to help answer the phone while cooking, send a text message or toggle between symbol sets while texting.

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Former Apple exec Scott Forstall advises one of tech’s hottest startups

Where in the world is Scott Forstall?

Where in the world is Scott Forstall?

The greatest Apple mystery of the last few years hasn’t been the next iPhone or Apple Watch, but a man named Scott Forstall.

Since getting kicked out of Apple in late 2012, the former head of iOS and friend of Steve Jobs has had absolutely no profile in the tech scene whatsoever. He rarely even gets spotted in public. It’s like he’s fallen off the face of the earth.

Until now.

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ICYMI: Hands-on with the Apple Watch

Get your hands on our impressions of the Apple Watch in this week's Cult of Mac Magazine. Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Get your hands on our impressions of the Apple Watch in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine. Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

This week, Leander takes some time to try on the Apple Watch in-store, finding out whether the hottest smartwatch out there is worth your time or money, David heads into an Apple Store on Magnificent Mile in Chicago for a fitting and to get some customer reactions, plus a ton of news about this latest wearable tech that you’ll want to read from cover to cover. We’ve also got Stephen with some travel tips for you and your trusty MacBook, as well as Luke’s take on why you want to upgrade your iOS to 8.3 right away (hint, it’s not emojis). Rob also walks you through a couple of how-tos, including one way to make sure your iOS gaming sessions aren’t interrupted with a simple tweak to Do Not Disturb.

Make sure to head on out and download Cult of Mac Magazine to get your own “hands” on the great content we dose you with every week.

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LA school district wants multimillion dollar refund for failed iPad program

LAUSD wants back the money it wasted on iPads. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAUSD wants back the money it wasted on iPads. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is demanding a multimillion dollar refund from Apple following a failed iPad program that was set to give more than 640,000 students a tablet for education.

It is thought that the Board of Education is exploring the possibility of litigation against the Cupertino company as it seeks to claim back money that has already been lost on the scheme.

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18 things we learned from the new Star Wars trailer

"Chewie, we're home." Photo: Disney

“Chewie, we’re home.” Photo: Disney

J.J. Abrams whetted our appetite for more lightsaber dueling action with the first Episode VII teaser last year, but today’s release of a new trailer has got us counting down the days until Christmas.

We’re still eight months away from Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ public release, and while plot details for the highly anticipated movie are being kept under wraps, there’s a ton of fresh info to glean from the new trailer. We’ve diced the entire trailer up into GIFs so you can rewatch each scene to look for new clues.

Here are 18 things we learned from the new trailer:

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Smart sport glasses want to be Apple Watch for your head

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Recon Jet is Google Glass for sports like running and cycling. It’s highly functional and works well, but still suffers from the Glasshole effect. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You rarely see Google Glass anymore, but if Recon Instruments has its way, you’ll be seeing plenty more head-mounted displays in the future.

The Recon Jet, launched Thursday, is a pair of smart eyeglasses for sporty activities like running and biking. Bristling with sensors, the device shows all kinds of biometric data and social stats on its tiny heads-up display. Paired with a smartphone, it can take pictures and video, send and receive status updates, find friends and family on the piste and much more.

But sports is just a start. If Recon is successful — and that’s a big if — we may be seeing smart glasses in a lot more places. Recon is betting hard that the face is the place for smart wearables.

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Share in a loved one’s care with GrandmaSays app

GrandmaSays helps families coordinate care with medical alerts, task lists, a visit tracker and a place to share memories. Photo: GrandmaSays

GrandmaSays helps families coordinate care with medical alerts, task lists, a visit tracker and a place to share memories. Photo: GrandmaSays

Anastasia Medrano was anxious about her father’s health and it was an iPhone app that helped deliver peace of mind within seconds of the doctor giving him a good prognosis.

When the doctor said the cancer was in remission, her brother immediately alerted Medrano and another sibling with a new app called GrandmaSays, which allows families of a sick or elderly loved one to communicate medical updates, coordinate visits and share memories with text and photos.

“We’re kind of scattered and it falls on my one brother to take my dad to appointments,” said Medrano, of Irvine, Calif. “Rather than make severals calls, he can share the information in one place. We were hoping for the all clear and it was nice to get that ping on my phone.”

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New Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser brings fans back ‘home’

This is how a Star Wars flick should look. Photo: Lucasfilm

This is how a Star Wars flick should look. Photo: Lucasfilm

“The Force is strong in my family,” says Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker voices over this second teaser trailer for the hotly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie that will hit the big screen this coming December. “My father has it, I have it, my sister has it. You have that power, too.”

That’s how the nerdgasmic second trailer begins, and then slams into some seriously amazing scenes from the upcoming film, including a massive, crashed Star Destroyer, close ups of new stars Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley, and a brilliant moment of fan service with everyone’s favorite smuggler and his humongous furry sidekick.

“Chewie,” says Han Solo, “We’re home.”

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Jony Ive praises Airbnb as ‘soaringly ambitious’ startup

airbnb

As part of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Jony Ive penned a short essay praising Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky for creating a “remarkable startup.”

“The service that Brian and his partners imagined is soaringly ambitious and utterly practical,” said Ive, who didn’t make Time’s list himself this year.

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J.J. Abrams rocks an Apple Watch at Star Wars Celebration

May the Force Touch be with you.

May the Force Touch be with you.

Being pals with Jony Ive definitely has its benefits. Just ask J.J. Abrams, the director of the upcoming Star Wars movie.

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