Flipboard Finally Ditches Its iPad Roots With a Smarter Phone App

The new Flipboard start screen (left) and topics picker (right).

The new Flipboard home screen (left) and topics picker (right). Flipboard

Flipboard is the archetype for digital media consumption, packaging stories from thousands of sources into a personalized magazine you flip through with a finger. And though it may have been the original iPad magazine, these days 70 percent of its users are flipping through its smartphone app. That, and the company’s recent acquisition of Zite, meant it was long past time for an upgrade to Flipboard’s mobile experience.

Flipboard 3.0 has expanded beyond iOS to Android and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets. It’s also changed from a passive consumption experience to one that lets you curate your own personal collections. Today’s update makes the smartphone app more navigation friendly, adding a daily digest, and opening straight into the content you’re interested in reading. The result is an app that provides more opportunity for exploring topics you love, is easier to navigate, and still packages articles in a beautiful way.

Previously, the app opened with a tiled interface of your Cover Stories and broad categories of interest, with things like search, discovery, and account settings hidden behind a button in the upper right. Now, on iOS, the app home screen features the familiar five buttons across the bottom like we see in, say, Instagram. The Android version positions them across the top of the screen. This makes it easier to navigate to your personal feed, a list of subjects to explore, search, notifications, and your profile. And by ditching the tiled interface, you’re one click closer to reading a story upon opening the app.

As for content, Flipboard previously relied on a mix of pieces shared on your social media channels and items curated by Flipboard. Now the app adds Zite’s machine learning and topic extraction engine so readers can explore new content based on niche subject areas. Rather than a high-level topic like cycling, for example, you can get updated articles on narrower topics like road racing or cyclocross. The content in these topics is fueled by a blend of algorithmic and human curation.

Flipboard’s mobile experience also includes a new element called Daily Edition, a curated summary of the day’s biggest headlines that arrives at 7 am local time. Flipboard’s not the first to do this (Yahoo has an attractive option called Yahoo News Digest), but it makes the app a more complete singular source for both important news you should read about, and the stuff you actually want to read about.

Flipboard also will begin suggesting magazines, topics, and people to follow based on your reading and discovery habits. As the app’s changes thus far have been both tasteful and useful in my opinion, I’m not worried that this suggestion feature will get too annoying or invasive.

The updates roll out in the US and Canada today. The Daily Edition will be available in six regions including the UK, Brazil, India, and Latin America.

Why So Many American Retailers Are Fighting to Freeze Out Apple Pay



MCX—the coalition of retailers at the heart of recent decisions to block Apple Pay—says it could eventually embrace that technology that drives Apple’s brand new payments service. But it seems that coalition will continue to freeze out Apple Pay—and all other payments services that compete with its own app, known as CurrentC.

During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, a representative of the organization said that MCX is “technology agnostic” and that CurrentC could “pivot” to NFC, the Near Field Communication tech that lets Apple Pay users send money from their iPhones to payment terminals in stores.

Basically, the organization is in damage-control mode. Over the weekend, according to reports, drugstore chains Rite Aid and CVS blocked the use of Apple Pay in their stores—basically by shutting down NFC readers—and it later emerged that these chains, as part of MCX, did so in anticipation of the arrival of CurrentC. CurrentC is built around QR code technology, not NFC.

But it’s still unlikely that MCX members—which also include WalMart, Best Buy, and the Gap—will let both Apple Pay and CurrentC coexist on their mobile payment systems. According to the New York Times , MCX members signed exclusivity CurrentC contracts years ago, back when no one knew about Apple Pay. If retailers break those contracts, the Times reports, they would have to pay steep fines.

MCX denied this claims in a statement released on Wednesday morning, and repeated that position during its conference call. “It’s simply not true. There are no fines,” a MCX representative said. But it still seems that members are contractually obligated to use CurrentC exclusively.

The final version of CurrentC is still months away—it’s set to launch in 2015—while Apple Pay is already here. And if Apple Pay is a success at other stores, MCX members could miss out on an incalculable number of mobile transactions, and risk turning customers off.

The only reason retailers might still choose CurrentC over Apple Pay are the benefits of tracking their customers’ shopping habits across all MCX stores—a database that has thus far been the sole domain of credit card companies. And if retailers had access to that data, they could potentially wield it to offer deals and loyalty rewards, increasing their bottom lines. Meanwhile, Apple Pay, essentially a contact-less form of paying by credit or debit, still leaves the retailer out of the loop and does nothing to change that dynamic.

Compounding its already poor image problem, MCX has also confirmed news of a data breach involving its system. Within the last 36 hours, according to the group, unauthorized third parties stole the email addresses of some CurrentC pilot program participants, as well as the emails of others who had expressed interest in the app.

No payment data or personal information had leaked, the organization says, and the CurrentC app itself was not affected. During the conference call, an MCX representative said the company was continuing to investigate the situation and it was “premature to comment” on why it was just CurrentC tester email addresses that were stolen. “In the digital age, some people think it’s cool to hack,” the representative said. Yes, and sometimes they hack organizations they’re unhappy with.

Personal: Check. Next Up: The Workplace — Contextual Communications Change the Game

Is your company maximizing communications? If not, how can contextual communications be your game-changer?

Is your company maximizing communications? If not, how can contextual communications be your game-changer? dotbenjamin/Flickr

Personal communications are becoming more user friendly every day. However workplace communications seem to be getting more complex. Every time employees log-in, there are more applications that they are required to use and more streams to keep up with. Despite communications advances, the inevitable truth is that employees spend too much time messaging and not enough time communicating. This is harming many organizations’ ability to be productive and responsive to customers as workers manage more communications streams across disparate portals, applications and devices.

They say that the typical person only uses 20 percent of their brain capacity. Well… what about companies? With the pace that business moves today, are we maximizing the opportunity to improve processes, drive efficiencies and profitability? The short answer: Probably not.

I believe we need to reimagine the entire communications process. We no longer require stand-alone or vertical unified communications (UC), customer relationship management (CRM) or social solutions. We as innovators need to help companies build communications that are more integrated and immediate — built right into the way their customers and employees are working. Just like we do on our mobile devices in our personal lives.

This is contextual communications. And companies are starting to transform the way they do business by deploying these cutting edge technologies. For example, SAP is in the process of integrating click-to-call, click-to-video chat, and instant messaging directly into its CRM and field service offerings. Under this model, an employee using SAP CRM software could quickly solve a customer’s problem by creating a video conference in real time between the warehouse, supply chain manager and customer.

What if at the end of the quarter a sales executive wants to know why someone on his team did not make quota? Under this model he could quickly establish a multiparty video conference with the sales manager and sales person and review customer call history, contact logs, notes, etc. via a screen share where they were all collaborating in real time from the same tool to provide the sales executive with the answers he needs.

Toy Genius, a high-end retail toy store in New Jersey, used contextual communications to build its unique customer service culture from its brick and mortar location directly into its new website — allowing an online shopper who has questions on popular toys by age group, or questions on specific products, to click to video chat with a toy specialist.

Data has truly become the voice of the customer. Are we listening? What channels do you use to communicate?

Successful companies will create processes that match what we know about our customers online with the information we know about them offline. Extracting information from CRM, services data, data warehouses, third party data and most importantly real time data. In this scenario data and communications services are not simply combined, they are seamlessly integrated into the user’s workflow. The key here is not making this about the business process workflow, but about the user’s workflow — giving an agent all of the data he or she needs to help the customer on their journey.

The real time enterprise is not only about technology. To become the real time enterprise, companies must break down silos, come together and take action on the voice of the customer. And enterprises are in luck as new innovations come to market that eliminate stove-piped work flows and allow real time communications to be embedded directly into business applications for both employees and customers.

Mobile-first — or mobile-only? Digital Natives or Digital Immigrants? In this digital era success won’t come from the latest trend, such as personalization, mobile, cloud, ideation, engagement, viral etc. Success will come for those who are focused on creating a singular, unique experience for their customers. If something is limiting us, if something is not as great as we know it can be, it can’t be passed over. It must be fixed.

With an emphasis on listening, user empathy, whole-brain thinking, collaboration, and experimentation, the design-thinking process that creates the real time enterprise will enable us to acquire greater skill sets in problem-finding, in analytical decision making, and in being creative, and innovative — in a whole new and exciting way. The real time enterprise of the future will be able to communicate with its employees and customers in context — at the right time, with the right people, in the right application. This is the future of enterprise communications.

Is your company maximizing communications? If not, how can contextual communications be your game-changer?

Paul Pluschkell is EVP for Strategy and Cloud Services for Genband, and founder of Kandy.

Last-Minute Tech Tips for Making Your Halloween Nice and Creepy

Got your candy in hand and your jack-o-lantern carved? Now all you need is a costume!

Got your candy in hand and your jack-o-lantern carved? Now all you need is a costume! William Warby / Flickr

Halloween is almost here. And if your ambitions go beyond throwing a sheet over your head and calling it a day, we have some good news. With a couple bucks, a smartphone, and maybe a circuit board or two, you can easily ratchet up the creepy quotient of any costume or decoration.

We’ve rounded up seven ideas that generally don’t require more than one trip to the craft, hardware, or Halloween store and an hour or two of labor. Some are family friendly, like silhouetted Halloween character cutouts. Others verge on the grotesque, like using a smartphone to animate a portion of a zombie mask.

So if you’re still scrambling for a costume idea, or just looking at some ways to further spookify your haunted house, here are some Gadget Lab-worthy options to consider.

Smartphone-Animated Halloween Costumes

With a strategically placed pocket, you can use your iPhone as a creepy animated eye, muscle, or even writhing maggots.

Make your smartphone part of your costume with an option from Digital Dudz. You can slip your phone into a slot in its selection of shirts and masks so your costume includes an incredible (and incredibly creepy) animated eye, animated heart, or other options. If you’re short on time or money, you could definitely DIY by securing your phone in a mask or existing costume.


Surprise unsuspecting trick or treaters with a motion-sensitive, LED-illuminated Hack-O-Lantern.

Littlebits has another project it calls the Hack-O-Lantern. It’s an interactive jack-o-lantern that lights up when it detects sound. The company recommends using a medium sized pumpkin (so the kit’s LEDs won’t get lost inside a cavernous gourd) and spraying the inside with bleach to prevent mold growth. A 9-volt battery should keep this guy going for 10 to 12 hours.

Bendgate Bent iPhone 6 Plus

If you’re more into overblown tech scandals than LEDs, we suggest taking inspiration from this fall’s biggest iPhone drama: Bendgate.

If you’re more about the laughs, you can sport a Bendgate costume. Halloweencostumes.com created a sample of the look, but it’s not actually for sale. You could easily create your own version, though, either with hand-painted homescreen details or individual app icons. Tip: If you have access to a large format printer, you can actually print out the entire front of your iPhone from Apple’s stock photos or a Photoshop rendering. Fold it around where the volume buttons would be. Don all black (if you’re brave, a black unitard) and hang it from your neck, or cut out a hole for your face and strap it to your body. Alternatively, you could style your bent iPhone so it’s sitting in a fake pants pocket.

Glow in the Dark Stick Figure

With black apparel and electroluminescent wire, you can light up the night as a two dimensional stick figure.

Littlebits has the tools and instructions for you to turn yourself into a glow-in-the-dark stick figure. It’s pretty simple, just bend the EL wire into the shape you want, sew it to what you want to wear (black or camo, if you want to blend into the night), and hook up the basic circuit. Now you can dance around in the night as a mysteriously illuminated two-dimensional humanoid.

Smoking Pumpkin

Take your jack-o-lantern to the next level with a hack that sets it smoking using an e-cigarette.

Using an e-cigarette filled with standard fog juice, you can make a different kind of hack-o-lantern: a smoking pumpkin. To pump air into the e-cig attach it to an aquarium pump. Popsci has the details on how to create this creepy, smoky gourd.

Silhouette Monsters

Silhouette monsters are a quick, unique, and family-friendly way to festively light up your home, inside or out.

Appropriate as both an indoor and outdoor decoration, you can use jointed paper cutouts, wood strips, and Christmas lights to make silhouette monsters. By stapling the lights to the back of the cutout (available at craft and Halloween stores), the shape is illuminated, creating a unique lighting element around your home.

Magnetically Moving Table Props

Shock hungry party guests with a table prop that moves of its own accord thanks to stealthy, embedded magnets.

Creep out party guests by setting up table props that seemingly move of their own accord (in actuality, they use magnets). Slip a strong, preferably neodymium magnet inside a prop like a severed hand, then attach magnets to a linear motor you’ll affix to the underside of a table. Hook this up to motion sensors and a microcontroller so the hand starts moving when someone gets nearby to creep out friends who just wanted to grab a snack from the table.

After IBM Deal With Twitter, Watson Supercomputer Can Mine Mountains of Tweets

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King of Free Online Courses May Soon Add Videochats With Professors

Rick Levin

Rick Levin Launch Squad

LAGUNA BEACH, California — Coursera is one of the driving forces behind the MOOC, the massive open online course, a way for enormous numbers of people to experience university courses over the internet. But the company may soon delve into something not so massive.

Rick Levin, the former president of Yale University who now serves as CEO of Coursera, says the Silicon Valley startup is exploring the possibility of offering intimate online discussions with university professors who teach its MOOCs. “Down the road, we’ll probably go to a premium layer that you could pay for that would give you live interaction with a professor by video or something like that—a seminar within a MOOC,” Levin told WIRED at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJD conference here in Southern California. He compares this to a Google Hangout with a professor, and he indicated that such a thing could arrive in the coming year.

Other outfits, such as 2U, offer more contained and intimate university classes over the net. But Coursera could expand the scope and reach of this kind of thing. The company is now running over 400,000 MOOCs through 128 universities, from Yale to the University of New Mexico, and the aim is to augment these massive courses with more direct discussions.

For Coursera, this is also a way of expanding its ability to make money. Today, all Coursera courses are free, and the company makes its money by charging users for certifications that show they’ve taken courses—certifications that it hopes will eventually be recognized by the world’s businesses as they hire workers. But Levin says that company will directly charge people to participate in its online video seminars with professors.

With its online certifications, Coursera can make money off of young students, and by charging for online seminars, Levin says, the company can also pull in dollars from an older portion of the worldwide population. “We think higher-touch interaction will appeal to some people,” Levin says. “It’s a way to get some money out of the lifelong-learner population, as opposed to the career builder.”

Former Head of Google Wallet Debuts a Universal Payments Terminal

Osama Bedier.

Osama Bedier. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Osama Bedier is intimately familiar with failure in the world of mobile payments.

In 2011, he left a long career at PayPal to oversee the launch of Google Wallet, a service that let people pay for stuff in stores with their smartphones. By 2012, he publicly admitted that, like other mobile services tying to reinvent point-of-sale purchases, Google Wallet wasn’t really going anywhere. “Nobody today is delivering any solution that will get scale, including me,” he said at the time. Within another year, he had left the company.

A big part of the problem, he says, is the payment terminal, the thing that sits beside a cash register and reads info from credit cards or phones. The mobile revolution has made our phones smarter than ever, but the payment terminal is still in the Dark Ages, as Bedier describes it. They’re too limited. No one payment terminal works with all payment services.

It’s that disparity, Bedier explains, that has led to the failure of every promising effort to revamp the way payments work, including Google Wallet. “We have a ton of innovation going on, but nothing getting mass adoption. It’s all experiments and small examples in different stores around the country,” he says.



But Bedier believes he can change this with the flagship terminal of his new startup, called Poynt. On Wednesday, the company is unveiling its first “smart” payment terminal intended for small and medium-sized merchants. Based on the Android mobile operating system, this gadget includes two screens—a main one facing the merchant, and a second, smaller screen for the consumer. It comes with built-in sales-analysis apps. It lets you build and install your own apps. But most importantly, it includes ways to accept a vast range of payment types, from traditional credit cards to the newer chip-and-pin variety, along with several digital options, including NFC (which powers Apple Pay), QR code, and Bluetooth technologies.

The aim is to give more small merchants the ability to accept mobile payments—and help bootstrap the entire market in the process.

This month, Apple reinvigorated the prospect of pay-by-smartphone with the introduction of Apple Pay. But even Apple faces significant obstacles as it seeks widespread adoption—drug stores chains CVS and Rite Aid, for instance, have blocked the service. Bedier believes the new Poynt terminal can help smooth the way for Apple Pay and plenty of other payments services. His single terminal is meant to work with all of them—at least in theory. It will work with Google Wallet and Apple Pay out of the box, for instance, and it should work with CurrentC, the technology apparently favored by CVS and Rite Aid.



At the same time, the $299 terminal will work with chip-and-pin cards. By October of next year, credit card companies are demanding that US merchants accept more fraud-proof chip-and-pin cards. It’s a huge transition that will require a huge turnover in hardware. Poynt plans to begin shipping well before that deadline to take advantage of that transition. With a guaranteed market, it seems like a great time to get into the payment terminal game. And for Bedier, it gives Bedier a kind of second chance to make mobile payments a reality on checkout counters everywhere.

A Day With Project Ara, Google’s Crazy Modular Phone

Seth Newburg has a phone. It’s a new phone, just a prototype. Almost no one here at Google has seen it yet. Not even Sundar (as in Sundar Pichai, Google’s new head of nearly everything). Which is just bonkers, because Sundar sees it all—especially important phones like this one. But Sundar’s meeting got delayed, and so now Newburg is sitting in a corner conference room in Google’s Mountain View headquarters, fresh off an airplane, with me at his side, and a photographer standing over his shoulder firing through pictures of this brand new phone: a prototype that’s unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. This is a future-of-Google phone. Hell, it’s a future of all phones phone. If things go well.

But so far they haven’t gone that well, at least not publicly. Newburg is trying to boot up a Project Ara prototype. Project Ara is Google’s dramatically boxy modular cell phone, and this is the final version of its Spiral 1 prototype. It’s a revolutionary concept: Phones should be made entirely of components that their owners can swap out. Not only will that give them a much longer life—you’ll be able to upgrade just your camera, say, or only the processor—but it also will accelerate development. You’ll get cheaper phones, better phones, more environmentally friendly phones. It’s a trifecta. So Ara has generated intense interest.

But it’s also fallen on its face a couple of times. The last two times Newburg, the project’s principle engineer, tried to boot up the phone in public were, well, bummers. In the first outing it had a broken display (which led people to make the obvious joke that one makes about a modular phone designed around swappable components but that can’t boot because the display is broken). The second time, at Google IO, it sort of kind of booted, and then it froze up. It got to the screen where you see the word Android, at least. But it didn’t actually come alive. Thankfully, that demo was followed by the latest Spotlight Story, a heartwarming animation by Glen Keane called Duet that made pretty much everyone cry and forget about the phone not booting. (Well, not everyone, but at least people left talking about Duet.)

Today, I’m at Google to see it try again. If it works, it will be the first time an outsider has seen the phone actually boot. Which puts a lot of pressure on these guys. It sucks to fail in front of the press. Again.

In fairness, this is really hard stuff. You can think of Ara a little bit like a Lego phone. Distinct modules, each with its own purpose, jack into an endoskeleton frame and snap into place with electro-permanent magnets. One for the battery. Another for the display. Yet another for the camera, and the antenna, and the LED light. Maybe even one for your blood glucose monitor. A blood glucose monitor? Well, sure. Why not. Project Ara is like old-fashioned 1980s-era Southern California punk rock music; it is whatever you make it to be.

Paul Eremenko, who formerly ran a modular satellite program at Darpa, now runs Google's modular phone project, Project Ara.

Paul Eremenko, who formerly ran a modular satellite program at Darpa, now runs Google’s modular phone project, Project Ara. Talia Herman/WIRED

“This isn’t rocket science,” says Paul Eremenko, who, before coming to Google, was a rocket scientist. Now, he runs Project Ara for Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division. ATAP is like a Google within Google. It’s modeled on Darpa, and specializes in taking extremely challenging, almost impossible projects, and cranking them out within two years. Fittingly, Eremenko used to work at Darpa, where he ran the Tactical Technology Office. Among other things, he oversaw something called System F6, a “fractionalized spacecraft” program. System F6 took the functions that are today performed by one large satellite, and split them up between a series of smaller, modular satellites that traveled together in tight formation. Sounds familiar, right? It was very much like an outer space version of Ara.

Maybe it isn’t on par with satellites, but the modular phone may prove more difficult. Project Ara relies on lots of manufacturers in lots of different places to make its components in parallel without being able to test the things they’re making against other those things. It sound crazy! So Google had to develop a way to test not just every module, but how every module interacts with every other kind of module.

The only thing Google will make is the endoskeleton frame—the bones that you can snap all the other modules on to. It’s got frames for three sizes, mini medium and jumbo. Because the modules are interchangeable, you could conceivably have a few different size phones in your pocket. The mini looks sort of like an old iPod nano. It’s long and thin and just over two inches wide.

“I don’t understand why phones are getting bigger,” Eremenko says, flipping a mini frame around in his fingers. “Everything else is getting smaller. I’m going to buck the trend, I want to bring the mini to market.”

I argue that the big phones are very popular, and even better, are awesome. But Eremenko replies by noting that that’s the magic of this thing: you don’t have to decide. “As a consumer you could own multiple frames. You can have a mini to put in your skinny jeans and go clubbing, and a big one to take into the office and do email.”

It is an amazing vision. Amazing! Can you imagine taking the same phone clubbing, and then into work the next day where you use it to test urine specimens? What an age we live in.

So Google will build the frame, and it will also build a framework to help developers solve those pesky compatibility problems. It has a module development kit, or MDK that will let manufacturers test and prototype their components purely in software, without having to run them against all the possible hardware permutations. The idea is that if you confirm to the MDK, everything will work together, no matter what you throw at it. All you have to do is plug it in. It’s far-fetched, but there’s a precedent for it.

“The plug and play model has been solved in other platforms, just not in mobile,” says Eremenko. And then he points out all kinds of other examples that use a uniform data or power bus across the device that lets people add in parts. You can buy any number of different peripherals that plug into your computer’s USB port and will work just fine. Modern cars run on vehicle bus protocols that make sure all the electronics can talk to each other. Even airplanes use spacewire. But modern phones are different. Just about everything other than the battery and the SIM tends to be hard-wired into the device. “Mobile phones are just about the only thing that doesn’t have a bus,” he argues. “That’s a historical outlier we’re trying to fix.”

And they need to fix it soon, because part of the deal with ATAP projects is that they are time-limited to two years, which puts Ara on a collision course with the marketplace next Spring.

To get it all rolling, Google is hosting a second set of Project Ara developers’ conferences. This time, it’s taking the show on the road. There will be a conference in Mountain View on January 15 2015, followed by another in Singapore on January 21. It’s also got satellite sites in NYC, Buenos Aires, and London, and in Bangalore, Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai where developers can get together in Google’s offices to coincide with the conferences.

The reason they are all over the world this time—instead of just in Silicon Valley like the one in April—is that Google knows it has to get the world onboard. And not just the 6 billion people it has very publicly said it wants to sell one of these phones to, but the developers who will give those 6 billion people some sort of distinct reason to buy. A lot of those developers are international. Google needs the world to pile on its bus.

So here comes the developers’ conference, and with it a new prototype: the long-awaited Spiral 2. Spiral 2 will have custom-made chips instead of ones that are essentially emulators, like in the first device. The electro-permanent magnetic couplings will be smoother, so everything fits together in a more invisible fashion. And it’s got a design and manufacturing partner now, Quanta, out of Taiwan. All the earlier prototypes, like the one I’m here to see today, were cooked up by Newburg and his wife Ara Knaian (the project is named for her) in their Boston lab.

Project Ara engineer Seth Newburg holds a black box containing the most recent Spiral 1 prototype.

Project Ara engineer Seth Newburg holds a black box containing the most recent Spiral 1 prototype. Talia Herman/WIRED

And the hope, the real hope, is that Ara will attract all kinds of new developers, ones who have never been on mobile before. Sure, it needs the big tier-one suppliers who can make, say, a name-brand lens. And it wants to bring in manufacturers that haven’t gotten into mobile because volumes have been too high and margins too low. But the real energy is around the startups.

“One that came to me had a microfluidic sensor” says Eremenko. This sensor could test all sorts of fluids–blood, water, saliva, urine, you name it. Delicious! But while the company that made it is great at fluid-testing sensors, it isn’t very good at that other stuff it needs to go with the sensor—things like the industrial design or the real-time operating system that tells people what they’re looking at. “Ara solves all of that—not the least of which is: what is my retail channel.”

I mean, that’s if it works! Eremenko didn’t forget about the phone not booting. Nor did Newburg. Nor did I, after having previously seen it not boot in April and then, again, not boot in June and wondered if now, today, it actually would.

And without a lot of fanfare, Newburg connects it to and external power supply.

And he hits a button.

And the screen fires to life. Suddenly, there is the very familiar Android homescreen, with very familiar Android icons.

“This is a first in mobile! This is a device running over an internal network, rather than just everything being connected to a CPU,” boasts a now clearly excited Eremenko. And it is exciting!

Newburg taps an icon and a Stephen Colbert video starts playing. Next he dives into an app for controlling the electro permanent magnets. It looks like a traced off version of the device, with an outline of each app. He touches one of the module outlines—it correlates to a pulse oximeter on the device, which is basically an LED light—and the outline goes dark. He removes that piece of the phone, hands it to me, and swaps another in, but the phone stays powered on the entire time. I turn the little light over in my hand, and am, very truly, in awe.