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Can Personalized Cognitive Technology Improve Education?

In December of 2013, IBM predicted that cloud-based cognitive technology would personalize education for students within five years. IBM is already testing out the idea in a Georgia public school district serving 170,000 students. Known as Personalized Education Through Analytics on Learning Systems (PETALS), the project will use machine learning, predictive modeling, deep content analytics, and advanced case management to analyze students’ strengths and weaknesses, and come up with a personal plan for each. The Big Data project will track students' activities — including attendance, test scores, how they interact with electronic content, and what they are being taught in the classroom — and suggest improvements to tailor their educations.

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Will Amazon's Drone Delivery Service Really Fly?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced that Amazon's R&D department is working on "Amazon Prime Air," a service that enables drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes. The earliest the technology could be in service, however, is 2015, because the FAA will need to update its laws.

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Would You Use an All-In-One 'Coin?'

A San Francisco startup introduced an all-in-one card, called Coin, meant to store financial information from every other card carried in a wallet. The device, available for preorder, includes a magnetic strip that can change depending on what card one wants to use. What do you think? Would you use an all-in-one 'Coin?'

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Will You Talk and Text in the Air?

An in-flight service from Gogo allows travelers to text and talk as if they are on the ground. By using the company's air-to-ground connectivity, calls and texts are routed through the aircraft's wireless network rather than in-flight cell towers, or "picocells."

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If You Had the Opportunity, Would You Take a Ride to near Space?

World View Enterprises will offer $75,000 helium balloon rides into “near space," allowing people to ride higher than 98,000 feet above Earth’s atmosphere.

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Would You Use Headphones That Play Music Based on Your Mood?

Microsoft is researching earbuds that play music based on your mood. The "Septimu" headphones contain internal measurement units (IMUs), a thermometer, and a heart rate monitor. The headphones will also detect posture, keep a health diary, and monitor exercise patterns. A University of Virginia graduate used the headphones for an app, Musical Heart, which monitors heart rate and then selects music for the listener.

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Do the Benefits of Car Connectivity Outweigh the Drawbacks?

Car-to car and car-to-infrastructure communication, which uses Wi-Fi and cellular technologies to inform drivers of any obstacles in the road, is advancing. Technologies like V2X can be used to deliver warnings to other drivers if, for example, a car has crashed or broken down in the road. Some are concerned that the same tool, however, could be used by authorities to monitor the location and speed of a vehicle

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Should Electronic Devices Be Used During Takeoffs and Landings?

A government advisory panel urged the Federal Aviation Administration to ease the long-standing ban on using the devices during takeoffs and landings. Since the curbs were put in place, airliners have been made more resistant to electronic interference, and many have their own Wi-Fi systems on board, but some say more study is needed.

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Will 3D Printing Be a Feasible Way to Build Beyond Earth?

In an attempt to build dwellings on Mars, Russian architects, ZA, have proposed a series of robots that would identify weak areas in the Martian soil, carve them out, and then, using a process similar to that of structural 3D printing, create interior structures using the leftover soil on Mars. Similarly, the European Space Agency has studied the feasibility of bringing 3D printers to the Moon, where they could be used to print shelters for the first semi-permanent inhabitants.

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Will 'Bodies on a Chip' Improve Drug Testing in the near Future?

A new bioprinting project, backed by $24 million from the U.S. Department of Defense, will attempt to 3D-print miniature human organs. The 2-inch "body on a chip" will test how the human body reacts to diseases, chemical warfare agents, and new drugs intended to defend against biological or chemical attacks. Such technology could speed up drug development by replacing animal testing or the simpler testing done on human cells in petri dishes.

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