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A game controller made from paper and Play-Doh

As I discovered when reviewing the Minty Geek Electronics Lab a while back, experimenting with circuit building can be a great deal of fun. There was one particular project in this kit that made use of the human body to complete a circuit, with a simple lie detector test being the end result. With their Makey Makey open source hardware project, Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum have taken such touch interaction to a much more entertaining and inventive degree. Everyday objects like bananas, coins, and even Play-Doh can be transformed into a computer keyboard key or mouse click to control onscreen gaming action, play software-based instruments or type out short messages.  Read More

Both Tabber (shown) and the LED Sleeve propose using lights to show guitar learners where ...

Guitar tablature is a powerful form of musical notation, where learners are shown where to place a finger on the neck of an instrument, and in what order. Such things as timing, note duration and playing force are not given, so unless a student knows or has access to a recorded version of the song being learned, the result may be somewhat different from what the composer intended. Usefully, such missing elements can be included in software like Guitar Pro to show users exactly how a song should be played. Two projects have now appeared on crowd-funding portal Kickstarter that take this idea and put it directly onto the guitar, so that learners won't need to keep switching views from screen to instrument. Tabber and the LED Sleeve guide players to the correct finger positions via LED lights on the neck.  Read More

Chinese researchers have developed a biologically inspired control system for wind turbine...

Wind turbines are exposed to a wide variety of wind conditions, from zephyrs to gales, and ensuring the maximum amount of power is extracted from the turbine across a range of wind speeds is a difficult task. Chinese researchers have now developed a biologically inspired control system that uses “memory” of past experience to learn how to best adapt to changing conditions.  Read More

The AutoTutor computerized tutorial system is able to adjust its teaching style, according...

As proposed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “flow” is an ideal psychological state in which we are engaged enough by a task not to find it boring, and yet not so challenged by it that we get discouraged. When learning new subjects, however, students often end up falling at one end or the other of that scale. Now, a new computerized tutoring system has been developed to keep students in the “flow” zone. It does so by monitoring their emotional state, then adjusting its teaching method to steer them away from boredom or frustration.  Read More

LAVA's relocatable school is a learning space for the future with a sustainable design tha...

Here at Gizmag we are always keeping an eye on innovative solutions for schooling and education. We've covered the solar powered mobile computer classroom project and the AIRchitecture flying classrooms of the future, but now we're excited about these proposals from architects all over the world, who recently submitted their ideas for what schools of the future could look like.  Read More

Inventor Ying-Ling Ann Chen, with the DOES device

According to figures reported by the University of Tennessee, even though 85 percent of a child’s learning is vision-related, about 80 percent of American children have never had their eyes tested before starting kindergarten. Even when tests are performed, they are usually only capable of detecting no more than a couple of conditions. Unfortunately, this means that vision-related learning disabilities such as dyslexia can be missed, and may not be noticed until they are well-established. Now, however, researchers at U Tennessee’s Space Institute have developed a new type of vision-testing system for young children, that could catch a variety of vision problems while they’re still reversible.  Read More

Researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging technology to help test subjec...

How would you like to have the ability to play the piano downloaded into your brain? You might not end up with the same sense of achievement, but it sure would be a lot quicker and easier than years of lessons and practicing. Well, we're not there yet (and perhaps we never should be), but that sort of scenario is now a little closer to reality, thanks to research conducted at Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan.  Read More

The My Note Games app uses simple games and note recognition technology to help kids devel...

A new teaching app has been released for iDevices where Mozart, Scott Joplin and Clara Schumann - and a friendly onboard instrument tuner called Toonr - join forces to make music practice less of a chore. The My Note Games system is said to be the first children's app to make use of note recognition technology and uses a suite of simple games to help kids develop sight reading, timing and tuneful playing skills.  Read More

India finally managed to launch probably world's cheapest 7-inch touchscreen tablet dubbed...

India has already churned out the world's cheapest car and is now launching what's billed as the world's cheapest 7-inch touchscreen tablet. The result of efforts by India's Ministry of Human Resource and Development to develop a low cost computing device that could be used by students across the country, Aakash, or "sky" in Hindi, is set to be sold to students at the government subsidized price of US$35. The regular retail price of the tablet is expected to be around US$60 when the unit hits the shelves as a commercial version called the UbiSlate 7.  Read More

UCLA neuro-physicists have discovered that changes in synaptic strength have an optimal 'r...

Neuroscientists have long pondered the mechanism behind learning and memory formation in the human brain. On the cellular level, it's generally agreed that we learn when stimuli are repeated frequently enough that our synapses - the gap-connections between neurons - respond and become stronger. Now, a team of UCLA neuro-physicists has discovered that this change in synaptic strength actually has an optimal "rhythm," or frequency, a finding that could one day lead to new strategies for treating learning disabilities.  Read More

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