Best of TechRadar 2013: our favourite features and wisest words of the year

10 mindblowing uses for the world-changing substance that never was

10 mindblowing uses for the world changing substance that never was

Starlite has baffled scientific minds for 23 years

Starlite could be the most valuable man-made substance ever created. It has the potential to revolutionise industries, save lives and change the course of human history. The applications for it are near infinite, no scientific mind has ever been able to work out how it works – and yet it has never actually been used for anything. So what does it do, and why have you never heard of it? Starlite was invented during the 1980s by the unlikely Maurice Ward, a ladies' hairdresser from Yorkshire. It's a plastic that's able to withstand heat to an almost unimaginable degree. Ward never revealed how it was made, saying merely that it contained 'up to 21 organic polymers and copolymers, and small quantities of ceramics'. Continue reading...

Exposed: The invisible conflict being waged by the world's superpowers

Exposed the invisible conflict being waged by the world s superpowers

The next world war will be online, and the consequences will be very real

In the long Cold War between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, espionage was rife. Security services placed secret agents in sensitive positions, spy planes photographed strategic locations and information was smuggled through borders. The reasons were simple: each side believed that they would eventually end up at war with the other - and when conflict began, knowing your enemy's secrets could make a crucial difference to the outcome. There was only one rule: don't get caught. Getting caught could spark an international incident and bring the world one step closer to war. Is something similar happening online?

Apple rumours: How to tell fact from fiction

Apple rumours How to tell fact from fiction

Separate the iWheat from the iChaff with our handy iHelper

The Apple rumour mill never sleeps!

While we were oohing and aahing at the iPhone 5S and 5C, rumourmongers had already turned their attention to the next event in the middle of October. iPad 5s! Apple TVs! Fuel-cell powered sexbots! Maybe even an iWatch! Many and perhaps even most of the predictions will turn out to be bobbins, but how can you tell which bits of smoke have fire? Allow us to help...

How Nvidia Grid is set to revolutionise cloud gaming

How Nvidia Grid is set to revolutionise cloud gaming

Providing the backend technology for the cloud

Like music and movies, gaming is also on an irreversible move into the cloud. Thanks to OnLive, the concept of cloud gaming isn't alien, but widespread cloud gaming has bumped up against technology problems – latency, plus the need to make games available across a plethora of devices. Nvidia thinks it has the answer with Nvidia Grid, cloud gaming technology that works behind the scenes of subscription-based games services. Continue reading...

Dyson: 'We spend a lot of money fighting to protect our ideas'

We quiz Dyson's Airblade chief over product design, IP theft and more

Chris Osborn is clearly very proud of what his team has achieved. Based at Dyson's HQ in Malmesbury, UK, he talks candidly about the experimental nature of the company's product development as well as its no-nonsense attitude to theft of the company's intellectual property. Continue reading...

6 global catastrophes that could kill your gadgets forever

6 catastrophes that would kill your gadgets forever

Since the Sony Walkman crashed onto the shelves worldwide in 1980, consumer technology has slowly been taking over our lives. From washing machines to digital watches and from electronic word processors to modern tablet computers, the march of technology has been unstoppable. It now sits at the heart of everything we do, as we manage our schedules with Google Calendar, keep in touch via Facebook and mobile phones and entertain ourselves with games consoles and Netflix. But it could all change in an instant. The (atrocious) NBC drama series Revolution explores what the world would be like if all technology were to suddenly stop working. An appalling prospect, but could it actually happen? Here are six scenarios for the death of tech. Continue reading...

Before iWatch: the timely history of the smartwatch

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The long and winding road to the iWatch and Galaxy Gear

Smart watches have been the next big thing since 1982. But this year was different: Samsung's Galaxy Gear dropped on the 4th of September and started a whole new wave of wearable tech. We've got smart watches to look forward to from pretty much everyone. So what's different this time, and why haven't smart watches taken off before now? Let's look at some of the major milestones - and mistakes. Continue reading...