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The robot features HD cameras to scan the surrounding area for people

With their ability to navigate through tight spaces and unstable environments without putting people at risk, disaster response is one of the most promising applications for robots. Researchers from Mexico's University of Guadalajara (UDG) have developed an algorithm that could come in handy in such situations by allowing robots to differentiate between people and debris.  Read More

Tiggly Counts uses physical toys and the iPad to teach basic math

Last year Tiggly Shapes introduced young iPad users to different shapes with its interactive tactile toys and accompanying apps. Now the firm behind it is hoping to teach three to six-year-olds basic math skills in the same way. Tiggly Counts combines a set of Cuisenaire rod-inspired math toys, with apps which respond when the toys are placed on the screen.  Read More

The du-touch from Dualo

A few years back, mathematician and musician Jules Hotrique combined two passions to develop a new arrangement of musical notes called the dualo principle. After creating a number of keyboard instrument prototypes based on this patented geometric model, he joined forces with his computer engineer and musician friend Bruno Verbrugghe to form the Dualo Company in 2011. Last year, the startup sold 40 pre-production twin keyboard prototypes, and now the first market-ready du-touch controller (for computer-based or MIDI instruments), synthesizer, multitrack looper/sequencer and follow me song learning devices have started shipping.  Read More

With US$15 million up for grabs, XPrize is hoping to inspire a revolutionary set of educat...

Having tasked technologists with challenges as diverse as Ted Talkin' artificial intelligence and bringing Star Trek's iconic tricorder to life, XPrize has now turned its attention to an equally ambitious task. Millions of children around the globe don't have basic literacy skills, presenting a problem that cannot be solved without some big picture thinking. Launching today, the Global Learning XPrize offers US$15 million in prize money for the development of software that teaches children these vital skills in the space of 18 months, without the presence of a teacher.  Read More

Jibo is claimed to be the world’s first 'family robot'

Looking like a cross between Pixar’s Luxo Jr lamp and Apple’s iMac G4, Jibo is an interactive electronic buddy that is touted as the "world’s first family robot." Designed to engage with people in a human-like way, Jibo takes on various roles around the house including mail deliverer, environment controller, storyteller, telepresence device, event reminder, and cameraman.  Read More

Crowdsourcing could help robots more quickly learn the best way to accomplish complicated ...

If robots are going to work alongside humans, the machines are going to need to swallow their pride and learn to ask for help. At least, that’s the thinking of computer scientists at the University of Washington (UW), who are working on ways for robots to crowdsource their problems when learning new tasks. If successful, this approach points the way toward future robots that are capable of asking for assistance to speed up their learning when it comes to figuring out how to carry out household tasks.  Read More

SkaterTrainer is designed to let skateboarders practice tricks without the board rolling a...

If you've ever tried learning to skateboard, you've probably tried putting the board in grass or on some other surface on which it won't move in order to practice new tricks. After all, learning a new trick on a board that constantly wants to roll away from you is way harder. A new product called SkateTrainer aims to make that easier by preventing the wheels of the board from spinning, thus allowing stationary practice on any surface.  Read More

LEVAN learns by associating words with images

Word-picture association is one of the basic mechanisms of human memory. As children, it helps us to learn language by verbalizing what we see, as adults it is an invaluable aid to visualizing broader concepts or perhaps helping those with an LBLD (Language-Based Learning Disability). Now researchers from the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence have created the first fully automated computer program named LEVAN that teaches itself everything there is to know about a visual concept by associating words with images.  Read More

The Jyrobike is claimed to be able to teach a child to ride a two-wheeler within one after...

Conventional training wheels might be useful in preventing cuts, breaks and bruises, but they can also lead to bad habits and lengthen the process of learning to ride a bike on your own. The team behind the Jyrobike are looking to give budding cyclists a quicker path to two-wheeled success, with a self-balancing bike that uses a gyroscope to keep kids on the straight and narrow.  Read More

Don Bacon's Finger Friendly Guitar Company Keyboard

Like many would-be six-string slingers, Don Bacon of Denver, Colorado, found getting started tougher than it looked. The discomfort experienced when pushing soft finger ends onto hard metal strings can certainly be off-putting, but there's also the issue of chunky digits accidentally muting nearby strings, or causing them to buzz, when trying to form chord patterns or sound individual strings. Bacon designed a soft-touch overlay called the Finger Friendly Guitar Company Keyboard – let's call it the FFK – to help make learning to play as painless and as easy as possible, with the added bonus of sounding good while you're doing it.  Read More

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