Question of the Week

Question of the Week
Is a sleeper ship our best bet to Mars?

At the Center for Research in Advanced Materials (CIMAV), scientists "captured" the energy produced by people walking. The team designed a pill-shaped cylinder adapted to a shoe in order to store the mechanical-vibrational energy that the person generates when walking. Similarly, the London-based company...

Question of the Week
Will we harvest energy with our own footsteps?

At the Center for Research in Advanced Materials (CIMAV), scientists "captured" the energy produced by people walking. The team designed a pill-shaped cylinder adapted to a shoe in order to store the mechanical-vibrational energy that the person generates when walking. Similarly, the London-based...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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,...

Question of the Week
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.

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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,...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
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...

Question of the Week
Will You Use a Smartphone Spectrometer Before You Eat?

SCiO, a handheld molecular sensor, allows users to scan their food to check its nutritional value and alcohol, sugar, or calorie content. The spectroscopy product from the Israeli startup Consumer Physics is paired with a smartphone and shines near-infrared light on the food to stimulate and...

Question of the Week
Will Robots Make Good Caregivers?

An EU-funded program, called the GiraffPlus Project, uses robotics to help elderly people who want to remain at home. The GiraffPlus robot is part of a system that includes environmental and physiological sensors, which feed back information about the inhabitants' movements and health. A recent Pew Research poll...

Question of the Week
Will Self-Driven Cars Improve Road Safety?

Using autonomous technology, Google has also been testing its self-driven robotic cars near the company's Silicon Valley headquarters. The vehicles are equipped with navigation software, like Google Maps, and other sensors to avoid obstacles and unexpected events. The cars' technology also features a...

Question of the Week
Will 'Lab Food' Change The Way We Eat?

In an effort to alleviate food shortages and leave a lighter footprint, some biotechnology startups have begun developing alternative food products. Hampton Creek Foods, for example, has received $30 million in funding to create a plant-based substitute for eggs. Beyond Meat, another biotech food producer,...

Question of the Week
Will ‘Contact-Lens Computing’ Become Mainstream Within Five Years?

A recent report from Skyscanner, a UK-based metasearch site, predicts that ”Wearable technology will evolve from the recently launched Google Glass to a mobile device so small that it will fit onto a contact lens and can provide immediate translations, breaking down...

Question of the Week
Will Jetpacks Take Flight?

The New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company has developed a commercially viable jetpack. The Martin Jetpack contains two cylinders with propulsion fans attached to a carbon-fiber frame. A strapped-in pilot uses two joysticks to control the wingless pack. The company aims to have the jetpack available for commercial...

Question of the Week
Will "Flying Cars" Become a Reality?

A Boston-based aerospace company Terrafugia announced last year that it began work on its TF-6, a four-seat hybrid electric car that can do vertical take-offs and landings. The vehicle has foldable wings, cruises at 100 miles per hour, fits inside a single-car garage, and drives at highway speeds. With the...

Question of the Week
In The Near Future, Will 3D Printers Be Used To Create Human Organs?

3D printers, an emerging technology, use computer-created digital models to produce a variety of objects, including toys, mechanical components, and even food. There is hope now, too, that 3D printers could someday create much-needed organs for transplants. Printing human...

Question of the Week
Will You Use "Transparent Texting?"

US tech giant Apple has filed a patent for new technology that aims to make texting while walking safer by replacing the text background with a live video feed of whatever is in front of the smartphone user.

Question of the Week
Will 'Smell Notes' Catch On?

Set for a beta launch in July, a new "oPhone" app allows users to compose and send notes containing aromas. The free app lets user send the smell note by text or email, based on a set menu of scents contained in 'Ochips.' The message can be received like a typical text from a mobile device, and recipients can then...

Question of the Week
Will Most Doctors Adopt Wearable Computing Like Google Glass?

Emergency room clinicians at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston recently tried out the wearable Google Glass eyeglasses. With Google Glass, the doctors could communicate and examine patients while simultaneously reading their charts. By using Glass to access...

Question of the Week
Will You Use A Speed-Reading App?

Spritz, a Boston-based software developer, claims that users of its technology can read up to 1,000 words per minute (wpm) via its new technology. At that rate, readers could finish a 300-page novel (like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, as the Huffington Post noted) in less than 90 minutes. The app,...

Question of the Week
Would You Cook with ‘Julia?’