The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Monday, April 6

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Monday, April 6

Chip could make smartphones into 3D scanners...US, IBM surge in mobile patents...Roku gets voice upgrade

This 3D scan of a U.S. penny was created with a tiny camera chip developed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

This 3D scan of a U.S. penny was created with a tiny camera chip developed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Camera chip could turn phones into 3D scanners

Caltech researchers have developed a camera chip that could let you use your smartphone to take 3D scans of an object, then send the results to a 3D printer to duplicate the thing. The device works by shining perfectly aligned beams of light on a targeted object. It detects subtle differences in the light that is reflected back from that object and uses those differences to build a digital 3D image.

U.S. -- and IBM -- are surging in mobile patents race

The days are gone when the U.S. was the notable laggard behind Europe in mobile technology: a new report on mobile patents won last year show a sizable increase in the U.S. but a decrease in Europe. And while Samsung still has the biggest mobile patent portfolio, IBM is gaining on it with the most new mobile patent

Roku 3 gets a major upgrade with voice search

Roku is updating its popular media streamers, adding a new remote control to the top-of-the-line Roku 3 that has an integrated microphone for voice searches. Users will also be able to "follow" new movies and get a notification when they are available on one of Roku's channels, PC World reports.

Look, Ma -- no hands! Hyundai semiautonomous car set to roll

Later this year, owners of Hyundai Motor's upcoming Equus will be able to take their hands off the steering wheel and feet off the brakes as they're traveling down the highway. The South Korean carmaker plans to integrate a host of self-driving features into its premium sedan, transforming it into a semiautonomous vehicle. The problem is, what does the law say?

Students object to remote proctoring "nanny-cams"

Many university students are adding at least a few online courses to their load, but at some schools these offerings come with an onerous requirement: pay for, download and use surveillance software that is supposed to ensure you don't cheat on tests. A particularly intrusive program at Rutgers is drawing some unhappy reactions, the New York Times reports.

Bigger financial players might prop up bitcoin

Bitcoin hasn't fared so well in the last year. With several exchanges going bust due to hacking or fraud, those on the sidelines who might have worried that they had missed out on the next big thing, may instead think they dodged a bullet. But now the Wall Street Journal reports that some big U.S. traders and investors are considering a move into the cryptocurrency, which would lend it some much-needed legitimacy and stability.

Big changes at Microsoft put open-source Windows into realm of the possible

Maybe it was just an off-hand remark by a Microsoft engineer speaking at a conference, but the idea that the software giant could one day make the Windows OS open-source isn't as crazy as it sounds. Now that Microsoft has abandoned its hostile stance to the open-source movement, analysts agree that a more complete shift in attitude from Redmond could have advantages.

Watch now

Hyundai shows us the latest addition to its Blue Link communication and navigation platform: a smartwatch app for Android Wear.

One last thing

Meet the man who might be the most unpopular guy in Silicon Valley, according to the New York Times.

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