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Education

Good Thinking

Students adapt Kinect into a life-saving device

Whether it’s through parents’ forgetfulness, ignorance or just plain not caring, it does sometimes happen ... small children die from heatstroke after being left unattended in a hot parked car. According to a 2012 study conducted by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 38 such deaths occur in the United States alone each year. While various systems have been developed to help keep this from happening, three engineering undergrads from Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University have taken a unique approach. They’ve converted a Microsoft Kinect into a child-in-the-hot-car detector. Read More

Mobile Technology

Sony unveils 13.3-inch e-reader destined for students

Most popular e-readers available today tend to be based around a 6-inch screen. Though you can read technical manuals, textbooks (with graphics and tables), comic strips or electronic magazines on these devices, the roughly paperback-sized display does tend to feel just a little cramped. The Kno double-screened digital textbook offered hope of bigger display real estate a few years back, but dedicated hardware was abandoned in favor of a multi-device app. Together with E Ink Holdings, Sony has developed a new flexible electronic paper display technology called Mobius, that will make its debut in a new 13.3-inch Reader prototype at EDIX 2013 in Tokyo between May 15 and 17. Read More

Good Thinking

NeoLucida brings 19th Century sketching tech into the present

As long ago as 1807 – and possibly up to 200 years earlier – many artists used an optical device known as a camera lucida to help them in sketching subjects. A controversial theory even suggests that some of the famous Old Masters created their masterpieces not by sketching freehand, but by using such gadgets. Now, two art professors are trying to bring the camera lucida back, in the form of the low-cost portable NeoLucida. Read More

Space

Humans hack space in the International Space Apps Challenge

Given a set of problems related to space exploration and a 48-hour deadline, 9,000 people in 80 locations around the world created over 600 solutions. The International Space Apps Challenge, sponsored by NASA and other international space agencies, offered up massive amounts of data and other resources to teams of hackers who responded with creative solutions. The public now has the chance to view these solutions online and vote for their favorites on each project's official page. Gizmag set out to find the best projects related to data visualization and education, space exploration and satellite inventiveness, green technology, and remotely-operated vehicles. Read More

Good Thinking

Puerto Rico dominates the 2013 NASA Great Moonbuggy Race

It was Puerto Rico's day at the 20th NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. Teams from that country won first place in both the high school and college division races. More than 90 teams competed in the race, in which lightweight human-powered buggies race over a simulated lunar surface built at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The winning times for this grueling three-quarter mile course were 3:24 for the high school division and 3:32 for the college division.Read More

Good Thinking

App allows art viewers to virtually peel back layers of a painting

People have come to expect “making-of” documentaries to be included when they watch a movie on DVD or Blu-ray. Thanks to research being conducted in the UK, similar expectations may soon be coming to the viewing of paintings. The experimental Repentir app is currently allowing users to digitally remove layers of British artist Nathan Walsh’s “Transamerica” painting, to see how he put it together. Read More

Children Review

Review: Volta Racer solar-powered toy car

While there are already a number of solar-powered model cars on the market, Toylabs’ new Volta Racer is unique in a couple of ways – you put it together yourself, and it incorporates a flexible polycrystalline silicon solar panel. Although my days of playing with toy cars are behind me (sort of), my days of tinkering with things aren’t, so I decided to check out one of the sun-powered autos for myself. Read More

Good Thinking

Voice game helps introduce the illiterate to phone-based services

For people without internet access, telephone-based services can still be an invaluable tool for things like finding jobs. Unfortunately, many poor and illiterate citizens of Pakistan simply don’t know how to use such services. In an effort to introduce them to the concepts involved, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Pakistan's Lahore University have launched a “silly phone game” known as Polly. Read More

Environment

"Pass IT On For Good" USB card helps repurpose old computers

What should you do with your old computer? Chances are that no one will want to buy it, but you don’t want to just throw it away – especially with e-waste being such a huge environmental concern. Recycling or donating are possibilities, but how do you know that all of your personal information is really deleted from its hard drive? Well, that’s where the Pass IT On For Good project comes in. It supplies you with a USB card that deletes all the personal content on your computer, installs educational software, and then instructs you on how to donate it for use in schools in developing nations. Read More

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