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Will Privacy Concerns Keep You from Using Google Glass?

As many users anticipate the arrival of Google Glass, augmented reality technology shaped like a pair of glasses, some technologists are questioning the privacy issues associated with the use of these wearable computers. Many express concern about users' ability to secretly capture audio and video. Google Glass, some fear, is another way of trading privacy and personal information for convenience. Others, however, say that the use of a smartphone's email, maps, and cameras are already a part of our everyday lives, and putting that functionality in wearable technology is inevitable.

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Will Telepresence Robots Become Commonplace over the Next Decade?

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared iRobot's RP-VITA telepresence robot for operation in hospitals. Controlled by an iPad interface, the RP-VITA allows doctors to virtually "visit" patients and staff remotely. Similarly, it was reported this month that a boy with severe allergies was able to attend class via a robot with a wireless video hookup. Other telepresence applications are possible in the business world; workers, for example, can use the technology to virtually pop into the office, even while travelling.

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As the Fitness Technology Market Expands, Will You Use New Personal Fitness/Health Devices?

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas had 25 percent more booths related to digital health and fitness technology compared to the previous year's event. Showcased products included headsets that provide health readings, apps that track calories and medical histories, and emergency alert systems that can be worn like a pendant. Over 215 health- and fitness-related exhibitors were on the CES floor, and according to the CEA, the fit tech industry expects to see over 300 million body sensors in use by 2016.

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Will Wearable Computing Replace the Smartphone over the Next Decade?

The New York Times reported last week that Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass. Although these kinds of "smartwatches" do not yet have the market that tablets and smartphones do, consumers have shown some interest in buying them.

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Is 3D Printing a Promising Technology for Future Space Missions?

Industrial partners have joined with the European Space Agency (ESA) to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil. The ESA is assessing whether it is possible to build a lunar base from materials found on the moon.

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Do the Benefits of Automation Outweigh the Drawbacks?

The Automate 2013 trade show kicked off last week in Chicago, and some have used the occasion to debate the benefits of automation, as robotic technology is increasingly being used in new industries like food processing and consumer electronics. Many express concern that a growing reliance on robotics will have worrying implications for workers, while others have said that factory automation will, in fact, strengthen the workforce. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) said that factory automation will create up to 3.5 million jobs around the world by 2020, adding that automation is a way for the US to compete with industries around the globe.

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Would You Wear a Pair of "Smart Glasses?"

At this year's Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Vuzix Smart Glasses won top honors in the Wireless Handset Accessories category. The technology, worn like ordinary glasses, features a built-in electronic display, allowing users to check email, watch movies, record video in real time, and load apps that communicate with smartphones or tablets. Google also has recently begun Project Glass, an initiative to develop an augmented reality head-mounted display (HMD).

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