News:TechAways – The week best bits in 4 bites

Highlights and blackouts at CES

Every year, thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of punters gather at the world’s biggest tech conference to marvel at the shape of things to come.

Highlights of this year’s CES, which ended last week, included Sony’s new Aibo robodog, a flying phone case for aerial selfies, and a robotic exoskeleton that can turn you into the 8,000-pound gorilla in the room.

There were robots that played (and won at) Scrabble and ping-pong, yet more self-driving cars, and VR helmets galore. Plus a device that charges your phone on the other side of the room.

But the real star of the show – according to Twitter – was the brief power outage when everything stopped working. Was that a glimpse of the future, too?

A robot playing Scrabble, self-driving cars, flying phone case for aerial selfies and a power outage. Guess what is the hottest news about this year’s CES.

New bank card with a cell phone chip

Sprint and Dynamics Inc. have unveiled a single super-smart card to replace your current deck of credit, debit, and loyalty cards.

Although as thin as a conventional bank card, the Wallet Card has an e-ink display and buttons to scroll between functions. And unlike Venmo and Apple Pay, you can pop it into an ATM to grab cash, too.

But the real innovation is that this card has a cell phone antenna that allows it to update data so you can look at your latest balance, lock an account,or perform transactions.

That’s all great – as long as you’re okay with your bank tracking your location.

One card to rule them all. Sprint and Dynamics unveils a super-smart card to replace all your current ones. Although once you use it, you won’t disappear but rather get tracked.

Swallow this to track your farts

Scientists and medics are increasingly using sensors and probes you swallow to find out more about what goes on – and goes wrong – under the hood.

Pressure readings, acidity, and medication activity can already be monitored, so it was only a matter of time before a gadget was invented that monitors your thunder down under.

Yes, swallow this vitamin pill-sized gizmo and it will travel down the Hersey Highway to record your gut gas. (Or, in adult terms, the capsule gathers readings on oxygen, hydrogen and carbon dioxide in your alimentary canal.)

The idea is to see how different diets can affect your level of internal windiness – and its health implications. But we’re just glad it gives us the opportunity to write about bottom burps.

Whereas some gases are polluting the planet, scientists have come up with a vitamin pill-sized gizmo to monitor ours. Curious to see what’s going on down under?

Exposed ice could lead to life on Mars

We’ve known that Mars has water for a while now, but it was all thought to be underground. Now it looks like there is water near the surface, too, making the red planet a little more hospitable.

In fact, scientists who spotted the near-surface ice sheets from pictures taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter say it’s a “game-changer” for both exploration and colonization. In theory, you could go out with a bucket and spade and take what you needed – rather than blasting water-bearing rocks.

So far, eight sites have been discovered – and even better, they’re mostly in the warmer parts of the planet. Now all we have to do is get there and figure out what to eat.

It looks like Mars is turning into a (little bit) more hospitable planet. Not only there is water, but we could take what we need just by spading the surface.