Question of the Week

Question of the Week
Will virtual reality help astronauts?

This week's Question: Former astronaut and current Dartmouth University physician Jay Buckey and his team have sent Oculus Rift headsets to Canadian Force Station Alert, a military station in Canada located 500 miles from the North Pole. The researchers will ultimately test whether exposure to nature through...

Question of the Week
Will the growing number of drones cause too many headaches for aviation officials?

This week's Question: Hundreds of thousands of the unmanned aircraft are expected to be sold between Black Friday and the end of the year, providing both a boon for the emerging industry and a potential headache for aviation safety officials. Parrot's Bebop...

Question of the Week
Will Li-Fi catch on?

This week's Question: A technology called ìLi-Fiî uses light waves from ordinary LED light bulbs to deliver internet connectivity that, according to its creators, is cheaper, more secure, and 100 times faster that broadband internet. Velmini ó a tech company in Tallinn, Estonia ó is the first to test visible light...

Question of the Week
Is it possible to empathize with robots as we do with humans?

This week's Question: According to a recent study by researchers in Japan, our brain's empathetic reaction toward humanoid robots in perceived pain is similar to that toward humans in the same situation. The researchers hooked up 15 healthy adults to electroencephalography (EEG)...

Question of the Week
Will jetpacks ever become a viable means of transport?

This week's Question: Dubai's civil defence force has agreed to a deal with Martin Aircraft, the New Zealand-based creator of a single-person jetpacks. Dubai has announced an initial order for up to 20 Martin jetpacks, plus simulators and a training package, for delivery next year. Lt Col...

Question of the Week
Will Robot Taxis Take the Streets by 2020?

This week's Question: Japan’s cabinet office and the Tokyo-based Robot Taxi Inc. said they will start experimenting with an unmanned taxi service beginning in 2016. The transportation will be offered for approximately 50 people in Southern Tokyo, with the autonomous car bringing users from their homes...

Question of the Week
Will virtual air-traffic control replace traditional towers?

This week’s Question: On Oct. 1, Colorado’s Fort Collins-Loveland airport was approved as the first testing ground for the Federal Aviation Administration’s own virtual air-traffic control tower system. Through a system of computers, cameras, and recording devices, human...

Question of the Week
Do the benefits of drone registration outweigh the drawbacks?

This week's Question: Last week, the U.S. Transportation Department and Federal Aviation Administration announced that drone hobbyists will have to register their aircraft or face unspecified penalties. The move is an attempt to prevent the unmanned aircraft from compromising air...

Question of the Week
Is robo-journalism valuable?

This week's Question: Lars Eidnes, a Norwegian developer, recently created software that uses Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN)—a form of “deep learning”—to write new "clickbait” headlines. After training the software with several million articles from BuzzFeed, Gawker, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, and...

Question of the Week
Is "neuromarketing" valuable for consumers?

This week’s Question: Last week, Japanese retailer Uniqlo debuted UMood, a brain-wave analysis system designed to match the right T-shirt to a specific customer. After the shopper puts on an electroencephalography (EEG) headset, the technology's algorithm employs five metrics — interest, like,...

Question of the Week
Are video games good for the brain?

This week’s Question: A new study published from the Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences found action video games—which require players to navigate complex 3D settings, account for quick-moving targets, and switch between focused and distributed attention—are most beneficial to...

Question of the Week
Will telemedicine improve health care delivery?

This week's Question: Telemedicine Services like American Well, a Boston, MA-based service, allow smartphone or Web users to have a video consultation with a physician. According to a July report by investment bank RBC Capital markets, telemedicine technology has the potential to save more than $40...

Question of the Week
Is AI good for management?

This week's Question: The Japanese electronics maker Hitachi Ltd. said it has developed a new artificial intelligence program that will enable robots to deliver instructions to employees based on analyses of big data and the workers’ routines. According to a Hitachi spokesperson, the AI program improved a warehouse...

Question of the Week
Will virtual reality apps catch on?

This week's Question: After its acquisition of Oculus VR, the social network Facebook is working on a stand-alone video app that would support 360-degree, or "spherical" videos. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has called virtual reality the next "computing platform" after mobile devices, imagines that the Oculus...

Question of the Week
Will an aquatic barrier clean up the ocean?

This week's Question: According to recent research from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, there are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the world's oceans. The Ocean Cleanup, an organization seeking to rid waters of plastic waste, has plans to build a massive aquatic...

Question of the Week
Will we colonize Mars by 2039?

This week's Question: Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Technology to develop a "master plan" to colonize Mars within 25 years. Aldrin envisions using Mars’ moons, Phobos and Deimos, as preliminary stepping stones for astronauts. The program would...

Question of the Week
Will elevators take us to the edge of space?

This week's Question: Last month, the Canada-based company Thoth Technology received a US patent for its 12-mile space elevator design. The elevator, enclosed in a tunnel, includes a landing pad on its roof. Spacecraft would refuel and take on passengers and cargo from the pad. Some of the elements of...

Question of the Week
Are Internet-connected cars worth the risk?

This week's Question: Last week, researchers from the University of California - San Diego discovered a vulnerability that allowed a 2013 Corvette to be hacked. The security flaw was found in dashboard hardware commonly used by insurance firms and transportation companies to monitor location, speed,...

Question of the Week
Can an app improve your mood?

This week's Question: Smartwatches allow users to track exercise, heart rate, and other health factors, but what about mood? The design studio Ustwo has a new app that aims for a more approachable model of delivering psychological therapy. The technology, called Moodnotes, acts as a basic journaling app. The user...

Question of the Week
Will Google Glass make a comeback in the workplace?

This week's Question: According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has been distributing a new version of its smart eyewear, Google Glass, to companies, engineered specifically for professionals in workplaces like health care, manufacturing, and energy. The new version will have improved...

Question of the Week
Is long-term Mars living possible?

This week's Question: A recent study created by the Arizona-based Paragon Space Development Corporation says its life support system could help humans survive on Mars. The proposed Environmental Control and Life Support System, the company says, could extract water from Mars’ rocky material and convert some...

Question of the Week
Will robots be suitable emotional companions?

This week's Question: In June, Softbank sold its first 1,000 Pepper robots in less than a minute. Using cameras, touch sensors, an accelerometer, and other sensors in its neural network, Pepper has the ability to read (and develop its own) emotions. According to the company's Web site, the social...

Question of the Week
Will robo-cabs lower gas emissions?

This week's Question: In last week's Nature Climate Change journal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers reported that, by 2030, traveling by driverless electric taxi could lower greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90% compared with the same length ride in a privately owned gas-powered car...

Question of the Week
Will remote-controlled passenger flights take off in the next 5 years?

This week's Question: Last month, the Manassas, VA-based Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. tested its 4100-pound twin-propeller experimental airplane. The Centaur flew without a pilot and within airspace also being used by commercial aircraft. John Langford, the CEO of Aurora, is...

Question of the Week
Will seaplanes take flight?

This week's Question: As global air traffic increases and airports expand, researchers from Imperial College London's Department of Aeronautics have developed a design concept for a medium to long-range seaplane. The proposed design, the Imperial College team says, may reduce the pressure on inland airports, lower...

Question of the Week
Would you implant a technology under your skin?

This week's Question: During a speech at last week's Sensors Expo in Long Beach, California, keynote speaker and NewDealDesign technology designer Gadi Amit explained a new concept that he believes could be the next step in wearable technology. The idea, Project Underskin, is an implantable device...

Question of the Week
Will robots hurt the job market?

This week's Question: In a cover article in this month's issue of The Harvard Business Review, two researchers suggest strategies for remaining gainfully employed in an age of robotics and smarter machines. Although the authors concede the advance of automation, editor at large Julia Kirby and Babson College...

Question of the Week
Will Hyperloops replace trains?

According to the Navigant Research firm, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has made a deal with central California landowners to build the world's first Hyperloop. The 5-mile test track will be built along California's Interstate 5. The Hyperloop, brought up in 2014 by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, would...

Question of the Week: Lighting
Will iris detection become a mainstream smartphone feature?

This week's Question: The Fujitsu Arrows NX F-04G, a new smartphone set for release in Japan, comes with a built-in retinal scanner that can be used for a variety of different functions, including unlocking the device, accessing apps, and making mobile payments. A front-facing infrared...


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