Running Hot

A Dutch startup wants to heat your house with a server. Nerdalize is seeking investors for a plan that would place high-powered servers in private homes, essentially using the devices as electric furnaces. The servers would be connected to a grid, performing computing tasks for businesses and other customers. A portion of the revenue from those customers would be returned to homeowners to pay for electricity consumed by the servers. Source: The Next Web

No Power? No Problem

University of Washington researchers have found a way to use existing radio waves — from cellular, TV or Wi-Fi networks — to bounce messages from one device to another without requiring a power source. The discovery could be the key to building the Internet of Things, eliminating the need for batteries to power vast sensor webs used in smart infrastructure.

Source: Gigaom

Bitcoins Under a Microscope

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is investigating whether to regulate Bitcoins and other virtual currencies. The currencies aren’t backed by any government and are an online alternative to money. Some say virtual currencies, which can be used anonymously, are widely used for purchasing contraband items. The New York Department of Financial Services recently subpoenaed Bitcoin businesses, asking questions about how they prevent money laundering and protect consumers. Source: USA Today

Virtual Visit to Mars

Using a handful of consumer-oriented devices, NASA scientists have created a virtual reality tour of Mars. Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory used an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset loaded with a stereoscopic 360-degree panorama obtained from the Curiosity Mars rover. Then they added terrain imagery and an Xbox controller to allow users to “walk” the surface of the Red Planet. Later they took the experience up a notch by adding a Virtuix Omni virtual reality treadmill. Source: Engadget

Noelle Knell, Assistant Web Editor Noelle Knell  |  Managing Editor

Government Technology managing editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of marketing and communications experience, writing about public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she graduated from the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and @GovTechNoelle on Twitter.