News

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.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

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.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

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.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

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.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

Are Driverless Car Concerns Overblown?

According to a newly released FBI report, the driverless cars of the future could aid criminals by introducing the potential for “multitasking.” The report also said that the cars themselves could be turned into “lethal weapons” by evildoers. The report, however, also stated that the autonomous cars could allow authorities to respond more effectively to incidents.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

Will The Popularity Of Drones Carry Major Risks?

New York City police have reported a growing number of incidents involving wayward drones. A crew member of an NYPD helicopter, for example, recently had to change its course after spotting a flying object headed in its direction. Some police are concerned that the increasing popularity of drones in such a tightly packed city could carry significant risks, even becoming a potential tool for terrorists to conduct surveillance or carry out attacks. Drone buffs, however, say the doomsday scenarios are far-fetched, and that most pilots use the drones to take aerial photos.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

Will "Sentiment Mapping" Improve Transportation Systems?

A new UK transportation project uses a digital platform to map trouble spots — traffic jams, late buses, stationary trains — by tracking passengers' emotions on social media. This type of "sentiment mapping" plan will combine information collected from various social media channels, like a geo-located tweet or Facebook status, to build an intelligent tool that offers live feedback about all kinds of journeys in different locations. The collected data could help users plan efficient routes to their destinations. The project could also provide transport operators with a better understanding about the needs of their passengers and enable them to respond better in emergencies.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

Will We Drive On Solar Roadways?

An Idaho couple, Scott and Julie Brusaw, recently started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for their project, Solar Roadways, which wants to replace asphalt roads with high-strength glass-encased solar panels and LEDs. The panels could potentially light up, generate electricity, melt snow, or charge electronic vehicles. The government, however, would still need to test the roads, and cost estimates are unclear. The project currently has about 47,000 funders.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

Can Robots Be Emotional Companions?

Pepper, a new android from the Paris-based SoftBank Group, was unveiled last week in Tokyo. The 4-foot-tall robot has 20 movement-powering motors, a 10.1-inch touch display, and a synchronized, cloud-based database. Pepper also comes equipped with voice-recognition, as well functions that recognize human feelings and emotions. "I've believed that the most important role of robots will be as kind and emotional companions to enhance our daily lives, to bring happiness, constantly surprise us, and make people grow,” Bruno Maisonnier, founder and CEO of Aldebaran, said in a news release. “The emotional robot will create a new dimension in our lives and new ways of interacting with technology.”

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

Would You Be Satisfied with a "Smart Home?"

Technology companies, including Google and Apple, are investing in "smart home" technologies that connect household devices — lighting, security systems, garage-door openers, climate controllers or kitchen appliances — with mobile devices. Research indicates that the global "smart home" industry will grow. Some have concerns, however, that the technology could be hacked, lead to a clutter of multiple apps, and make the smartphone a single point of failure.

Posted in: Question of the Week
Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.