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Are apps making us too lazy?

A San Francisco startup called Shyp is expanding to New York this week. For a small fee, the company will pick up your item, box it, and ship it. The app-based Shyp uses custom-made boxes and QR trackers, and its couriers currently have their own transportation, including bikes. Shyp is another example of an application that conveniently outsources tasks and chores for users. Uber, for example, finds cars on demand, and startups like Instacart and Munchery provide quick and easy dinner and grocery delivery. Fans  of the apps say convenient technologies like Shyp support efficiency and free people up to be more productive, while others suggest that the app-based systems encourage laziness. What do you think? Are apps making us too lazy?

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Are rechargeable battery modules viable?

Our lead story in today's INSIDER revealed engineers' attempts to power an electric car with removable, rechargeable battery modules. The potentially game-changing technology, however, faces challenges. The modules weigh 20 to 30 pounds, and no infrastructure currently exists for users to lease or purchase the rechargeable devices, for example. The engineers, however, say that they expect the battery technology to mature and shrink in size, and that exchange stations could easily be gradually deployed. What do you think? Are rechargeable battery modules viable?

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Will smart watches replace traditional timepieces and computerized wristwatches?

At a fall media event in Cupertino, CA last week, Apple unveiled its smart watch technology alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. The Apple Watch comes in three styles and two sizes, with multiple options for colors and wristbands. The device also plays music, tracks fitness, sends/receives messages, and features compatibility with Apple's new Apple Pay app. The smartwatch industry is relatively new. Other wearable smart watches from competitors, such as Samsung, Sony, LG and Pebble, have come to market over the past two years. What do you think? Will smart watches replace traditional timepieces and computerized wristwatches?

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Electronic Noses Detect Chemical Warfare Gases

Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia have developed a prototype electronic "nose" for the detection of chemical warfare gases, mainly nerve gas, such as Sarin, Soman, and Tabun.

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Are you excited about smartphone virtual reality options?

Virtual reality will reach mobile devices, thanks to two commercially available headsets: the Samsung Gear VR and LG VRTX One. Both use a smartphone to deliver 360-degree gaming and videos. With the immersive Samsung and LG devices, users must place their phones into the front of the headset and over their eyes. They can then move their head to see different parts of the artificial environment. The efforts could potentially introduce virtual reality to a mass audience. What do you think? Are you excited about smartphone virtual reality options?

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Would You Use A Biometric System to Make Your Purchases?

Many consumers are making transactions today with contactless cards and mobile payments. Quixter, a biometric system developed in Sweden, allows consumers to make purchases quickly by reading vein patterns in their palm. The shopper holds his or her hand over the device after entering the last four digits of a phone number.

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Would You Use a Wearable Baby Monitor?

A new technology from Sproutling, a startup founded by former Apple and Google engineers, is a wearable baby monitor. By strapping the device around an infant's ankle, parents can determine their child's heart rate, movement, and mood. The environmental sensor also measures the humidity, noise levels, and temperature of the baby's room. There are concerns, however, that the device introduces another gadget into the parenting process and keeps caregivers from making first-hand observations.

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Are You Encouraged by Robots' Increasing Role in the Workplace?

A recent Pew Research Center and Elon University report of nearly 1,900 technology experts suggests that the rise of robots in the workplace could bring both disruptions and benefits. As artificial intelligence replace jobs in factories and shop floors, some pros say that the technology will still not advance enough in the next decade to substantially impact the job market. Other optimists say that society will adapt by inventing new types of work, especially jobs that take advantage of uniquely human capabilities. Skeptics, however, imagine a more unfavorable future, one in which robots and "digital agents" displace many jobs, create income inequality, and lead to unemployment and breakdowns in the social order.

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Will Apps Like Timeful Improve Your Time Management Skills?

Timeful, a new iPhone app, syncs traditional time management tools, such as calendars and to-do lists. The app also reveals progress on tasks and illuminates how users are spending their hours at work and at home. The technology calculates how much time one needs to perform specific tasks and can recommend the best times to do them, based on its determination of when the Timeful customer is most productive.

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Will Adaptable Furniture Achieve Mainstream Acceptance?

Roombots self-configurable robotics which can merge with materials to create adaptable furniture for the home and office. The lab will initially use the intelligent furniture to assist the elderly and those with reduced mobility. The team then plans to improve the human-robot interactions by embedding cameras or voice recognition technology, allowing tracking of users and the ability to "instruct" the assembling of one's own furniture.

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