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Learning


— Games

Headshot: Action video games found to improve brain's capacity to learn

You're moving ever so cautiously through the abandoned village, with one eye on the radar and the other trained on the vacant window ahead. Then in an instant the enemy appears, causing you to spray your weapon in the general vicinity, guided partly by your action hero instincts but mostly by pure hope. Thinking through these video game situations may take less than a second, but new research shows it can also enhance real-world learning capabilities, enabling the brain to better anticipate sequences of events. Read More
— 3D Printing

Maker Club is hoping to start a 3D-printed home robot revolution

As confirmed by a strong robot presence in our round-up of the best tech toys for kids this year, there's something captivating and fascinating about interacting with robots. But rather than just play with a factory-assembled robot like the mesmerizing MiP we got to control at IFA back in the September, many folks want to build and customize their own. The Brighton, UK-based Maker Club has launched a project developed for the home and educational market that combines a custom control chip, a mobile app, an online learning package and 3D printing. Read More
— Robotics

Algorithm lets disaster response robots discern between humans and rubble

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
— Music

du-touch combines controller, synth, sequencer and music learning system

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
— Good Thinking

Global Learning XPrize offers $15 million to tackle illiteracy in the developing world

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
— Robotics

JIBO family robot wants to join the household

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
— Robotics

Crowdsourcing could help robots learn new tasks faster

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 aims to ease the process of learning skateboard tricks

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
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