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The Cornell robot barista can learn how to use coffee machines it's never used before

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

The nabi Big Tab is a huge kids' tablet that's great for multiplayer family fun

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

The new jamstik+ MIDI guitar by Zivix

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

A robot being taught to distinguish between two objects (Photo: University of Plymouth)

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

Opho's Keys keyboard takes the Guitar Hero approach to learning a musical instrument

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

Kids can control the behavior of the Hackaball through a companion iPad app

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

Google's new machine learning algorithm was put to the test in 49 classic Atari 2600 games...

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

The Musicboard from Orange Music Education

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

When Wigl's built-in microphone registers a recognized note in auto mode, the bot responds...

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

The Innotab 3S Plus makes it easy and fun for children to stay connected with their parent...

The latest kids' tablet to join Vtech's Innotab line has some notable additions that make it an interesting starter tablet. The Innotab 3S Plus boasts exclusive software designed to appeal to youngsters and help them learn in a fun way as well as get in touch with their creative side. We got to spend a bit of time with the tablet so read on to see if the tablet holds its own in the increasingly crowded kids' tablet arena.  Read More

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