Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Programming

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

The Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS is compatible with standard Meccano parts

Meccano is one of those toys with a very strong nostalgia element, involving memories of hours spent bolting together a toy wheelbarrow or a coffee table-size Forth Bridge. But 21st century kids relate more to smartphones than traveling cranes, so Meccano has come up with its Meccanoid G15 KS – a kit robot that can be programmed using motion capture.  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

Dish announced Sling TV at CES 2015

In the United States, more and more television programming has become available for streaming online thanks to names like Hulu, Amazon and many of the TV networks themselves, but being able to watch live television and events like sports and live news online has remained elusive for cord cutters. Dish took a big move towards changing that here at CES 2015, announcing the launch of Sling TV to deliver live channels to connected devices like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox and others.  Read More

A new, MIT-developed language named Ur/Web has the potential to significantly streamline w...

Ur/Web is a new approach to coding for the Web set out in a white paper being presented by MIT researcher Adam Chlipala. Built on the foundations of the existing Haskell and ML code family, Ur/Web extends the Ur language to include a library of rules useful in a web development context. It has the potential to significantly streamline web development, taking the stack of technologies which make up a website and putting them all inside a single application that compiles all the required XML, JavaScript, SQL and CSS.  Read More

Chisel allows small computational errors to be made, in the name of saving power (Image: S...

You may have heard the expression, "Work smarter, not harder." When applied to humans, it means (partially) that we should do our best work on the tasks that are the most important, instead of wasting time and effort by going all out on every task. Well, that principle is now also being applied to computers. Using MIT's new Chisel system, computers are saving power by delegating less-critical tasks to less-dependable lower-energy hardware. This means mistakes may be made on those tasks, but that's OK.  Read More

Green Bean connects to GE appliances

What if your dryer could send a notification that would buzz your phone or smartwatch to let you know your laundry is done? Well, it may be easier to tap into the brains of your appliances than you might think, with the US$20 open-source Green Bean module announced today by GE at MakerCon in New York.  Read More

The Verve 2, along with some of its sensors and other peripherals

For tinkerers and people who love programming complicated projects, devices like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino are amazing, but for those without technical knowledge, they can be a terrifying proposition. A new device called Verve 2 aims to bring the functionality of these devices to the masses without the need for programming skills.  Read More

Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon are developing a programming language that seamless...

The web would be a much more secure place if not for the vulnerability built right into a common coding practice: pasted-together strings of database commands (usually for either SQL queries or JavaScript-enabled user interactions), which could be exploited for malicious purposes. But computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon are developing a programming language specifically intended to protect computers and websites from such threats.  Read More

Easy-to-program Edison is a palm-sized bot, compatible with Lego bricks and packing a suit...

With robots set to play a more prominent role in society in the coming years, it makes sense to find fun ways to educate youngsters on the technology. To that end, Thomas Alva has developed Edison, a palm-sized, bright orange, programmable robot compatible with Lego bricks that is intended as an affordable introduction to programming and robotics.  Read More

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