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Learning

— Computers

Google's deep Q-network proves a quick study in classic Atari 2600 games

By - February 26, 2015 1 Picture
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
— Music

Orange makes music theory learning more engaging with Musicboard

By - January 21, 2015 2 Pictures
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
— Children

Wigl bot moves to music, teaches kids to program

By - January 15, 2015 10 Pictures
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
— Children Review

Innotab 3S Plus kids' tablet review

By - January 1, 2015 20 Pictures
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
— Science

Computer-based "deep neural network" as good as primates at visual object recognition

By - December 19, 2014 1 Picture
Computers aren't best suited to visual object recognition. Our brains are hardwired to quickly see and match patterns in everything, with great leaps of intuition, while the processing center of a computer is more akin to a very powerful calculator. But that hasn't stopped neuroscientists and computer scientists from trying over the past 40 years to design computer networks that mimic our visual skills. Recent advances in computing power and deep learning algorithms have accelerated that process to the point where a group of MIT neuroscientists has found a network design that compares favorably to the brain of our primate cousins. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Learn Immersive teaches languages in virtual reality

By - December 9, 2014 6 Pictures
The trouble with learning a foreign language is that to become fluent – or even just to be passably coherent in a reasonable timeframe – you need to be immersed in it. You need to live in a country where that language predominates. But cost or opportunity often make that infeasible. San Francisco startup Learn Immersive wants to create the next best thing. Its two-man team has built a virtual reality platform that transports you to real-world environments and helps you understand them in their native language. Read More
— Music

The Magnet holds your smartphone while it records your finger-pickin' prowess

By - December 2, 2014 9 Pictures
Playing back recorded video of energetic string picking or frantic fretboard gymnastics in super slow motion can be of great help when trying to nail minor technique problems, but mounting a weighty camcorder to a guitar is not really very practical. Even a minicam can be a somewhat awkward affair. Happily, advances in smartphone technology have come to the rescue of the study guitarist, but that still leaves the problem of mounting. This is a problem for which the Magnet was developed. Read More
— Music

Scottish company invites Skoogists to get their grooves on

By - November 21, 2014 9 Pictures
Initially developed for kids with disabilities, Edinburgh-based Skoogmusic has spent the last four years delivering its colorful and tactile Skoog digital music-making instrument to almost 2,000 schools around the world. Now the company is eyeing the consumer space with the development of version 2.0, which benefits from a much-reduced cost of entry, new mobile companion apps, wireless capabilities and battery-powered portability. Read More
— Children

DynePod taps into the Internet of Toys

By - November 19, 2014 4 Pictures
American startup Dynepic understands something every small child does: toys can, and do, talk to each other. And you can talk to them, too. Dynepic is aiming to develop an "Internet of Toys" architecture where toys and their controlling devices – the DynePods – are connected and controllable via an open source cloud system which can be programmed from an iPad. Read More

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