Solar-powered computers, lasers on drones and more

Welcome to Freak-Filled Friday, a weekly roundup of odd and interesting innovation news from the week that was:

Solar-powered Apple products

It’s popular to suggest that Apple has fallen behind on the innovations front since Steve Jobs died. The world continues to wait for its next great product, perhaps an iWatch or iTV. Some say its products have peaked. Is Apple working on anything? Well, the company has applied for a patent for a power system that receives traditional and solar power for electronic devices.


(U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

Dodge bumps on your bike with this light

We talked about new and awesome things happening with bikes before. Here’s a worthy addition, a device that projects a grid onto a cyclist’s path. If you’re nearing a pothole or something, the grid will appear irregular.

A GPS anklet bracelet that eavesdrops on you

Here’s a story of ankle bracelets used in Puerto Rico that are capable of acting as phones:

A Corrections Department agent … placed a GPS ankle bracelet on the court podium and made a call from the device to a technician of the SecureAlert company, which provides them at a facility in Sandy, Utah.

The technician, who was addressed through the GPS ankle bracelet—which has a phone feature—testified that, although the device is supposed to vibrate when activated from Utah, the feature could be turned on without warning.

Drone lasers that protect against surface-to-air missiles

Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin will receive a combined $26 million to build lasers to help manned and unmanned aircrafts defend themselves.

Cord cutting: So hot right now.

Time Warner Cable lost 306,000 of its 11.7 million TV subscribers during the third quarter of this year. A la carte viewing and online streaming are huge trends, which is trouble for cable companies such as Time Warner and Comcast.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Matt McFarland · November 1, 2013