2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Learning

The Lernstift digital pen

Use digital technology long enough and you start to become dependent upon it for such mundane tasks as spell checking. That means when you pick up a garden variety ballpoint pen you’re back in dictionary and “I before E except after C” territory. Like LiveScribe, the creators of the Lernstift digital pen hope to bring handwriting into the 21st century by having the pen vibrate to indicate when the writer makes spelling and grammatical errors or exhibits poor penmanship.  Read More

GuitarBots is an online guitar learning game from Ovelin that allows players to use a real...

One of my most painful (but at the same time wickedly amusing) memories relating to the Guitar Hero and Rock Band gaming boom a few years ago was when a high-scoring king of the button/paddle guitar controller tried to show me how easy it was to play a real guitar. He soon learned that playing a real instrument can be very tough at the beginning, so much so that many would-be axe gods give up before the calluses have even had a chance to form. GuitarBots from Ovelin is a new online learning system that combines challenge and reward computer-based gaming and a real instrument to take string pickers from the tentative first steps right through to more advanced soloing and rhythm play ... and it looks like a whole lot of fun, too.  Read More

Students using the SynergyNet project's NumberNet desks

Mathematics has always been one of those subjects that poses a lot of difficulties for some young students. In the 3-year SynergyNet project conducted by Britain’s Durham University, however, it was found that something might help – multi-user multi-touch networked desks.  Read More

Delft University's planar running robot Phides can reach speeds of 2.2 mph with a flight p...

Leo and Phides – two planar biped robots built at the Delft University of Technology – are walking and running, respectively. Leo improved its walking gait through reinforcement learning, which shapes behavior by rewarding success and punishing failure. Phides, the running robot, has achieved an impressive flight phase (the period in a running stride in which both feet are off the ground). Watch the robots in action after the break.  Read More

A new take on HOPSCOTCH is designed to motivate the user to move more but in a playful way

For people of a certain generation, "Hopscotch" will always be a game where you jump between chalk-drawn numbered rectangles. Now Fraunhofer researchers have developed an interactive version of the playground game that's designed to motivate users to learn in a fun and playful way while also helping them keep fit.  Read More

The sketch-identifying program at work

Currently, using Google’s “Search by Image” function, it’s possible to search the internet for information on something if you already have an image of that thing. Also, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing a system that allows computers to match up users’ drawings of objects with photographs of those same items – the drawings have to be reasonably good, though. Now, however, a team from Rhode Island’s Brown University and the Technical University of Berlin have created software that analyzes users’ crude, cartoony sketches, and figures out what it is that they’re trying to draw.  Read More

Ghost is a prototype vibrating armband, designed to help athletes with muscle memory

“Muscle memory” is the process in which a certain motor task is repeated to such an extent that it can eventually be performed without conscious effort. It comes in handy for all sorts of activities, but is particularly important to athletes – a tennis player can hardly concentrate on the game, for instance, if they’re constantly thinking about how to move their arm every time they return the ball. Now, engineers from Imperial College London have created an armband device known as Ghost, designed to assist athletes in forming optimum muscle memories.  Read More

The Sifteo Cubes Intelligent Play system has been updated so that up to 12 blocks can be u...

About this time last year we announced the release of Sifteo Cubes Intelligent Play - a system where age-old building blocks are given a thoroughly modern reworking, with cubes sporting a touch-sensitive color LCD display, onboard sensing technology, an embedded computer and games and puzzles sent wirelessly from a nearby PC or laptop. Now the educational gameplay system has been treated to an update. The addition of a new Sifteo Base to the system allows players of the next generation system to venture beyond the radio range of the previous version. The maximum number of cubes available for gameplay has also been doubled for more complex puzzles, to unlock new levels or just to get more family members involved in the action.  Read More

The Gyrobike is a 3-in-1 training system that takes the user from the first experiments wi...

Training wheels attached to back of a learner's bike frame may well keep the rider upright and in the seat for much of the long journey toward two-wheeled independence, but they can also lead to bad habits and poor form. While re-inventing the wheel often carries negative connotations, the arrival of the Gyrowheel in 2009 put a new positive spin on learning to ride. The gyroscopic balance and stability aid is now about to enter the next stage in its evolution with the release of the 3-in-1 Gyrobike in Europe.  Read More

The iTikes toys include a keyboard, map, microscope, and an art canvas

Any parent knows that irrespective of what engaging and exciting toys you buy for your children, they will always be more interested in your mobile phone or tablet computer. It's an inescapable fact of modern day parenting. With this in mind, toy firm Little Tikes has revealed a range of iPhone-friendly toys which can connect with your iOS devices.  Read More

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