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Education

LEGO Architecture Studio kit targets budding builders

Ever fancied yourself a budding Frank Lloyd Wright, but don't much relish the prospect of undertaking years of hard study learning the trade? Of course you have, and of course you don't. LEGO knows this, so has produced the Architecture Studio Kit to save you the trouble. Read More

Children

Walmart debut for OLPC XO Tablet

For the last few years, non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has been steadily producing rugged, low-cost, low-power connected laptops for children in the developing world. 2.5 million units and 60 countries later, and its latest learning package is headed for decidedly First World hands courtesy of Walmart. Made by Vivitar, the 7-inch XO Tablet features a unique Dreams interface that organizes content by aspirational topics rather than by apps. Everything has been checked for age-appropriateness by Common Sense Media, and parents get to control what their offspring are able get up to on the Android device, as well as keep tabs on learning progress.Read More

Environment

Crowdfunded solar-powered classroom leaves the grid

Aaron Sebens and his class of fourth-graders from the Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina hit Kickstarter back in March to try and raise enough money for their classroom to go off-grid. A rather modest target of US$800 was smashed within a day by the kindness of the international community and, at campaign end, the kids found themselves with the handsome sum of $5,817 to spend on the purchase and installation of a roof-mounted solar energy harvesting system. A wind turbine was added to the shopping list, and just two months later, the 208ers threw a huge "Flip the Switch" party to celebrate leaving the grid. Sebens reports that the classroom has been running on renewables ever since.Read More

Wearables

AR glasses let profs know if students are understanding their lectures

It must be hard for university professors ... they tell their students to shout out if they don’t understand what’s being said in a lecture, yet few students are likely to feel comfortable raising their hand in front of the class and saying “I don’t get it.” Scientists at Spain’s la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid are hoping to address that situation, with a set of augmented reality glasses that let profs see who’s “not getting it,” without those students having to say so verbally. Read More

Automotive

Minddrive electric Karmann Ghia powered by social media ... sort of

Working with Minddrive mentors, a group of at-risk teenagers has restored a beat up 1967 VW Karmann Ghia and converted it to battery-electric power. The newly-painted and freshly-buffed vehicle will shortly begin a rather interesting journey from Kansas City to Washington. The car has been fitted with a device that monitors social network traffic relating to the project and for every tweet, like or share registered, battery juice points are generated. If there's no social buzz, the car doesn't go anywhere.Read More

Music Review

Review: Riffstation jam software for guitar

Not too long after its launch in 2005, you'd be hard-pushed to visit any friends without being challenged to a round or two of Guitar Hero. Interest in learning to play a real guitar also blossomed, but many found the transition from guitar-shaped controller to actual instrument a difficult one, and perfectly good axes have been gathering dust ever since. Irish company Sonic Ladder has now released some interesting software called Riffstation that gives you the opportunity to break out your much-neglected guitar and play along with your favorite bands to onscreen prompts. Gizmag takes a look at what this software has to offer.Read More

Robotics

Linkbot modular robot platform grows with your knowledge

Though somewhat time consuming and a bit of a brain drain, robot building can also be rewarding and fun. For those just starting out, however, the prospect of simultaneously playing the roles of designer, tinkerer, programmer and troubleshooter in order to breathe life into a pile of wires, motors, plastic and metal might be just a little overwhelming. Linkbots offer a gentler learning curve with a modular platform that starts with a single working unit, and grows into more complex robots by attaching accessories and connecting other units.Read More

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