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Learning

If you’re into electronics as a hobbyist, technician, or professional engineer, you know that you can spend many hours designing circuits, sourcing components, and breadboarding or soldering a project all together before you find out if your creation actually works. Wouldn’t it make life simpler if you could just start with a basic, multi-function controller and a few plug and play peripherals to get something – anything – up and running straight away and then which you could tweak and add to as you go? The makers of a new electronic design tool thought that this would be a good idea too and have created Cubit, a make anything platform that allows drag and drop software control over snap together hardware. Join Gizmag as we try a few builds to test out it out.

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If robots are going to become part of our everyday lives, they'll need to learn to work with everyday things. That means being able to read instruction manuals and figuring out how to use new machines. That's the plan of researchers at Cornell University, who have programmed a robot barista that can not only make a latte, but figure out how to use an unfamiliar espresso maker. Read More
If you're in the market for a big family tablet, the nabi Big Tab more than delivers with your choice of a whopping 20-in or 24-in touchscreen, supported by a child-friendly selection of educational and entertaining games and apps. Read on, for Gizmag's review of Fuhu's nabi Big Tab. Read More
There are many iOS apps that offer onscreen versions of musical instruments and, though a convenient way to practice chord positions or to quickly jot down a song idea, they can be a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. In 2013, Zivix launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to bring a backpack-friendly MIDI guitar designed for the mobile musician called the JamStik to production. Now the company is back with an improved mini guitar that boasts better picking detection and processing speed, and uses Bluetooth LE instead of Wi-Fi to keep surfing channels open while playing. Read More
It had to happen sooner or later; robots have replaced infants... at least, as subjects in psychological research being conducted by a team at the Indiana University (IU) Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences. The robots are being used to study how infants learn and have revealed that posture and body position are important factors in early learning. Read More
There's something pretty fulfilling about nailing those floating, colorful notes in Guitar Hero, a feeling that a company named Incident adapted to a more lifelike guitar in 2012 to pretty good effect. The firm has rebranded itself as Opho and is now singing a slightly different tune, launching a LED-lit keyboard based on the same, super-addictive learning principle. 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
In an old school gaming party to end all parties, Google's new deep Q-network (DQN) algorithm is likely to mop the floor with you at Breakout or Space Invaders, but maybe take a licking at Centipede. Provided with only the same inputs as a human player and no previous real-world knowledge, DQN uses reinforcement learning to learn new games, and in some cases, develop new strategies. Its designers argue that this kind of general learning algorithm can crossover into discovery making in other fields. Read More
As students of music will doubtless agree, music theory can be a bit, well, dry. It's certainly not as memorable or interesting as getting to grips with an actual instrument, but it is rewarding. The education wing of instrument amplification titan Orange Amps has announced what's billed as the first truly interactive music theory teaching tool in the world. The Orange Musicboard has been designed to engage students both visually and aurally, and is set to make music theory class rock. Read More
Building and playing with robots can be a whole lot of fun for kids of all ages, but making the robot do your bidding by creating lines and lines of code can be a bit, well, dull. Wigl takes a different approach. Rather than generate commands using a smartphone or computer, young programmers just need to pick up an instrument and hit the right note. The little bot then responds with bustin' moves, flashing lights or special dances. Read More
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