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Education

Google I/O was light on new consumer products this year (and by "light," we mean there were none at all), but the company made up for the lack of marquee sizzle with some important under-the-radar innovations. While Google Cardboard is still, well, made of cardboard, the company's VR strategy is anything but paper-thin.

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Unless you work for a medical school or a research lab, you probably haven't priced out cadavers lately. If you were to do so, however, you'd find that they generally cost anywhere from nothing up to around US$10,000. On top of that, however, there are transport and disposal fees, the need for specialized storage facilities and staff, and the fact that they're not reusable. That's why SynDaver Labs has been creating ultra-realistic synthetic human bodies and body parts for several years now. Instead of filling in for a dead body, its latest product plays the part of a live patient.

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Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was recently awarded Living Building certification for its Center for Sustainable Landscapes facility. Now, the organization is hoping to follow suit with a new on-site classroom. The SEEDclassroom is only one of two of its kind in the US. Read More
In an effort to increase awareness of nutritional requirements, and to bring simple tech into complex customs, a medical foundation in India has joined forces with a Singaporean ad agency. The plan is to combat iodine deficiencies using bindis, the decorative forehead dots worn by most Indian women and girls. Read More
Though you can work with your kids on all sorts of crazy electronics projects by adding numerous shields, break-out boards and attachments to existing development platforms or going wild with Lego Technic building blocks, such solutions just weren't cute enough for Kevin King and his kids Halley and Parker. Their digital pet is called Ringo and thanks to a successful crowdfunding effort, the teeny Arduino-based robotics and programming learning tool could be swarming toward backers in the coming months. Read More
By today's standards, early 1980s home computing was a very BASIC affair (excuse the pun). But for those who lived through it, it was an enlightening period of simple wonder and creative experimentation. In the UK, the odds are pretty good that students of code performed their programming magic using a big beige box connected to a chunky monitor known as the BBC Microcomputer. Many of those early digital tinkerers went on to careers in computing and it's this pioneering spirit that the BBC is hoping to recapture with the launch of a new education initiative named Make it Digital. At its center is a new micro computing platform called, for the moment, the Micro Bit. Read More
Frank Gehry's brilliantly bizarre paper bag is sure to be the wackiest education building we'll see this year. But Britain's Heatherwick Studio might deserve second place with its recently-completed Learning Hub, which serves 33,000 students at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Read More
Armed with the knowledge that children tend to learn better when they teach their new-found skills to others, Swiss researchers have enlisted the help of a humanoid robot that improves along with them. This CoWriter system has been well received in tests with school children aged six to eight, where students "teach" the robot to improve its penmanship and see the robot's improved performance reflected in their own handwriting. Read More
We've seen a number of clever learning tools aimed at future generations of roboticists and programmers recently. The latest educational plaything to join the likes of DynePods, the Kibo and the Wigl bot is Hackaball. It's a computer in a ball that kids can program using an iPad, and then throw it around, bounce it off walls and kick it about in completely made up games. Read More
Hot on the heals of a few leaked concept images and the best guess commentary that followed, Australia's One Education has now officially released some details on an upcoming modular laptop project. Claimed so simple that a 4 year-old child could put it together with ease, the XO-infinity will act as both laptop and tablet while allowing owners to swap out component modules over the course of their primary schooling. Read More
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