Category Archives: Technology

This Robot Can Comfort Children Through Chemotherapy

For many young children, visiting the doctor for even the most routine medical procedures can be traumatizing. But a new robot — now available for hospitals for purchase — is there to ease the process.
medi
MEDi, short for Medicine and Engineering Designing Intelligence, acts as a children’s companion in doctors offices. Equipped with facial recognition, multiple cameras, and the ability to speak 20 languages, MEDi is able to comfort and soothe children through their procedures, with the robot programmed to adapt depending on the situation.

“It’s going to introduce himself and build a rapport,” Mark Williams, a MEDi rep, told Yahoo Tech. “It’ll tell them what to expect. But once they get involved in the medical procedure itself, it’ll tell them what they should be doing, how they should be breathing, and how they should be coping. It’s choreographed along with the medical procedure itself, so he’s giving the right advice, he’s watching them and responding to their actions during the procedure itself.”

So say a child is visiting the doctor for her annual flu shot. As her arm is swabbed with rubbing alcohol, MEDi will make conversation about how the sensation feels like “a puppy licking your arm” to distract from the seriousness of the situation.

Since those findings, Beran has been working to enhance the capabilities of MEDi so that he has routines for procedures that parents aren’t always alloweed to be in the room for. These range from blood transfers to surgery to chemotherapy. Added-on features like MEDi’s facial recognition help bolster his abilities. For instance, if a child is undergoing a treatment that requires frequent visits, MEDi will automatically recognize that patient after their first meeting.

These additional applications, however, will cost hospitals. Though MEDi’s body — made by Aldebaran Robotics — retails for $9,000, the applications required for him to aid in medical procedures bring that total to anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, depending on what the staff wants him to do.

Later this month, four MEDis will be deployed in the Alberta Children’s Hospital to be the first units tested in the wild. It’s Beran’s hope that many more will follow.

Source: Yahoo

facebook

Facebook apologizes for ‘Year in Review,’ Twitter sees ‘war on Christmas’

Does it ever feel like Facebook is doing its desperate best to keep you engaged? Urging you to connect with new “friends,” play online games, watch puppy videos, follow “trends” (like actor Patrick Stewart reacting to a singing Christmas hat).

The next thing you know, it’s a half hour later and you’re still in your jammies.

The latest Facebook gimmick is a customized timeline labeled “Year In Review.” It’s a collection of your photos most “liked” by fellow Facebook travelers, put into a sort of album with the default tagline “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.”

Recommended: Are you savvy about social networks? Take our quiz to find out.

There’s no actual human picking those photos, let alone asking you which photos you’d like to include. Instead, like so much in the online world of social media and news aggregators, it happens algorithmically via computer programs designed, launched, and operating on their own.

Lots of people are playing the game, happy to let the social media giant pick the photographic high points of their 2014.

The problem is, not everyone had a great year. For some, the most memorable event may have been depressing or even tragic, and their Facebook-generated “Year in Review” can be a distressing reminder.

Web design consultant, speaker, and writer Eric Meyer had such an experience. His daughter Rebecca died last June on her sixth birthday, and it didn’t help to have her photo shown so prominently on Facebook – surrounded by jolly balloons and dancing cartoon figures.

“This inadvertent algorithmic cruelty is the result of code that works in the overwhelming majority of cases, reminding people of the awesomeness of their years, showing them selfies at a party or whale spouts from sailing boats or the marina outside their vacation house,” Mr. Meyer wrote on his blog. “But for those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year.”

“The design is for the ideal user, the happy, upbeat, good-life user. It doesn’t take other use cases into account,” he writes. “Just to pick two obvious fixes: first, don’t pre-fill a picture until you’re sure the user actually wants to see pictures from their year. And second, instead of pushing the app at people, maybe ask them if they’d like to try a preview – just a simple yes or no…. It may not be possible to reliably pre-detect whether a person wants to see their year in review, but it’s not at all hard to ask politely – empathetically – if it’s something they want.”

In Meyer’s case, Facebook did apologize.

“[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy,” Jonathan Gheller, the product manager for Facebook’s “Year in Review” app, told The Washington Post. “We can do better – I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”

Over at Twitter, it was not so much the medium as the message, specifically astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s tweets generating a sort-of “war on Christmas” backlash.

Among his jabs regarding Christians’ holy day: “QUESTION: This year, what do all the world’s Muslims and Jews call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday … On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642 … Merry Christmas to all. A Pagan holiday (BC) becomes a Religious holiday (AD). Which then becomes a Shopping holiday (USA).”

In no time at all, Tyson’s rhetorical pokes had been retweeted thousands of times, bringing a sharp backlash: “Only a small & uncharitable man would take time on Xmas morning 2 take shots but Merry Christmas to you anyway Neil…. This is disrespectful to Christians. Jesus created the science you cherish so much. Everyone finds God eventually, you will too…. Looking fwd to witty jabs during the spiritual days of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism etc. Or is it reserved for the easiest target?”

“The result is likely to further spark conservative anger at Tyson, who has long been reviled by some on the right for what is perceived as a know-it-all attitude towards organized religion,” writes Ben Jacobs at The Daily Beast. “Ironically, this was an attitude not shared by Isaac Newton who devoted much of his later life to theology and trying to interpret biblical prophesies.”

Source: Yahoo
image: Washington Post

northkorea2

After major outage, key N. Korea sites back online

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Key North Korean websites were back online Tuesday after an hours-long shutdown that followed a U.S. vow to respond to a cyberattack on Sony Pictures that Washington blames on Pyongyang. The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the U.S. government was responsible for the shutdown in one of the least-wired countries in the world.

Internet access to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency and the Rodong Sinmun newspaper were working normally Tuesday after being earlier inaccessible, South Korean officials said. Those sites are the main channels for official North Korea news, with servers located abroad.

U.S. computer experts earlier said North Korea experienced sweeping and progressively worse Internet outages. One said the country’s online access was “totally down.”

President Barack Obama said Friday the U.S. government expected to respond to the Sony hack, which he described as an expensive act of “cyber vandalism” that he blamed on North Korea. Obama did not say how the U.S. might respond, and it was not immediately clear if the Internet connectivity problems represented the retribution. The U.S. government regards its offensive cyber operations as highly classified.

North Korea has denied it was responsible for hacking into Sony. But the country has also called the attack a “righteous deed” and for months condemned the “The Interview.” Sony canceled plans to release the movie after a group of hackers made terroristic threats against theaters that planned to show it.

North Korea has promoted the development of science and technology as a means of improving its moribund economy. But access to the global Internet is severely restricted. Mobile phones used on the state-authorized network cannot make overseas calls. The North’s Intranet gives access to government-sanctioned sites and works with its own browsers, search engine and email programs, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry.

Source: AP/Yahoo

michelkellybeyounce2

NEW MUSIC! Do We Love It? Michelle ft. Beyonce and Kelly- “Yes”

Michelle, Beyonce and Kelly reunite for Michelle’s latest gospel track, ‘Say Yes.’ The Destiny Child trio have continued to stay in touch and collaborate on tracks, and over the weekend, they continued their support streak by meeting up in new Jersey to shoot the visuals for the latest track. Michelle is on a roll with her latest releases, with her last song “Fire,” generating a lot of buzz in the gospel circuit. “Yes,” is expected to be off of Michelle’s upcoming Journey to Freedom album. Michelle will also be seen in the upcoming Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour, where she’ll play the role of Mary Magdalene. Grinding for God, get it girl! Check out ‘Yes,’ below!

What do you think about this video? Do you think it will have a negative or positive impact on Michelle’s image or Beyonce, vice-versa? Have your say.

Michelle, Beyonce and Kelly reunite for Michelle’s latest gospel track, ‘Say Yes.’ The Destiny Child trio have continued to stay in touch and collaborate on tracks, and over the weekend, they continued their support streak by meeting up in new Jersey to shoot the visuals for the latest track. Michelle is on a roll with her latest releases, with her last song “Fire,” generating a lot of buzz in the gospel circuit. “Yes,” is expected to be off of Michelle’s upcoming Journey to Freedom album. Michelle will also be seen in the upcoming Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour, where she’ll play the role of Mary Magdalene. Grinding for God, get it girl! Check out ‘Yes,’ below!

Michelle, Beyonce and Kelly reunite for Michelle’s latest gospel track, ‘Say Yes.’ The Destiny Child trio have continued to stay in touch and collaborate on tracks, and over the weekend, they continued their support streak by meeting up in new Jersey to shoot the visuals for the latest track. Michelle is on a roll with her latest releases, with her last song “Fire,” generating a lot of buzz in the gospel circuit. “Yes,” is expected to be off of Michelle’s upcoming Journey to Freedom album. Michelle will also be seen in the upcoming Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour, where she’ll play the role of Mary Magdalene. Grinding for God, get it girl! Check out ‘Yes,’ below!

Michelle, Beyonce and Kelly reunite for Michelle’s latest gospel track, ‘Say Yes.’ The Destiny Child trio have continued to stay in touch and collaborate on tracks, and over the weekend, they continued their support streak by meeting up in new Jersey to shoot the visuals for the latest track. Michelle is on a roll with her latest releases, with her last song “Fire,” generating a lot of buzz in the gospel circuit. “Yes,” is expected to be off of Michelle’s upcoming Journey to Freedom album. Michelle will also be seen in the upcoming Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour, where she’ll play the role of Mary Magdalene. Grinding for God, get it girl! Check out ‘Yes,’ below!

Michelle, Beyonce and Kelly reunite for Michelle’s latest gospel track, ‘Say Yes.’ The Destiny Child trio have continued to stay in touch and collaborate on tracks, and over the weekend, they continued their support streak by meeting up in new Jersey to shoot the visuals for the latest track. Michelle is on a roll with her latest releases, with her last song “Fire,” generating a lot of buzz in the gospel circuit. “Yes,” is expected to be off of Michelle’s upcoming Journey to Freedom album. Michelle will also be seen in the upcoming Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour, where she’ll play the role of Mary Magdalene. Grinding for God, get it girl! Check out ‘Yes,’ below!

Source: Bosschick

orion

Dawn of Orion: NASA launch opens new era in space

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s new Orion spacecraft circled the planet Friday on a high-stakes test flight meant to usher in a new era of human exploration leading ultimately to Mars.

The unmanned journey began with a sunrise liftoff witnessed by thousands of NASA guests. Parts of the spacecraft peeled away exactly as planned, falling back toward Earth as onboard cameras provided stunning views of our blue, cloud-covered planet.

Orion’s debut will be brief – just 4 1/2 hours from launch to splashdown, with two orbits of Earth. But for the first time in 42 years, NASA is sending a spacecraft built for humans farther than a couple hundred miles from Earth. The previous time was the Apollo 17 moon shot.


And it’s NASA’s first new vehicle for space travel since the shuttle.
“Very exciting,” NASA’s Orion program manager, Mark Geyer, said early in the flight. “We still have a bunch to go.”

NASA is now “one step closer” to putting humans aboard Orion, said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. He called it “Day One of the Mars era.”

Sluggish rocket valves and wind halted the launch Thursday, but everything went NASA’s way Friday as the Delta IV rocket carried Orion into orbit. The first-stage boosters detached and fell away into the Atlantic as the spacecraft soared from Florida to South Africa and beyond.

NASA launch commentator Mike Curie fed the enthusiasm in the gathered crowds, calling it “the dawn of Orion in a new era of American space exploration!”

NASA aimed for a peak altitude of 3,600 miles on Orion’s second lap around the planet, in order to give the capsule the necessary momentum for a scorchingly high-speed re-entry over the Pacific. Engineers want to see how the heat shield – the largest of its kind ever built – holds up when Orion comes back through the atmosphere traveling 20,000 mph and enduring 4,000 degrees.

The atmosphere at Kennedy Space Center was reminiscent of the shuttle-flying days, but considerably more upbeat than that last mission in 2011.

Astronaut Rex Walheim was aboard that final shuttle flight and among the dozens of spacefliers on hand for Orion’s historic send-off. He talked up Orion’s future in sending crews to Mars and the importance of becoming a multiplanetary species.

“You have that excitement back here at the Kennedy Space Center and it’s tinged with even more excitement with what’s coming down the road,” Walheim said.

In Houston, NASA’s Mission Control took over the entire operation once Orion was aloft. The flight program was loaded into Orion’s computers well in advance, allowing the spacecraft to fly essentially on autopilot. Flight controllers – all shuttle veterans – could intervene in the event of an emergency breakdown.
And in the Pacific off the Mexican Baja coast, Navy ships waited for Orion’s return.

The spacecraft is rigged with 1,200 sensors to gauge everything from heat to vibration to radiation. At 11 feet tall with a 16.5-foot base, Orion is bigger than the old-time Apollo capsules and, obviously, more advanced.
NASA deliberately kept astronauts off this first Orion.

Managers want to test the riskiest parts of the spacecraft – the heat shield, parachutes, various jettisoning components – before committing to a crew. In addition, on-board computers were going to endure the high-radiation Van Allen belts; engineers wondered whether they might falter.

Friday’s Orion – serial number 001 – lacked seats, cockpit displays and life-support equipment for obvious reasons. Instead, bundles of toys and memorabilia were on board: bits of moon dust; the crew patch worn by Sally Ride, America’s first spacewoman; a Capt. James Kirk collector’s doll owned by “Star Trek” actor William Shatner, and more.

Lockheed Martin Corp. already has begun work on a second Orion, and plans to eventually build a fleet of the capsules. The earliest that astronauts might fly on an Orion is 2021. An asteroid redirected to lunar orbit is intended for the first stop in the 2020s, followed by Mars in the 2030s.

The company handled the 0 million test flight for NASA from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, opting for the Delta IV rocket this time given its heft. It’s the most powerful unmanned rocket in the U.S. right now. The entire rocket and capsule, topped by a launch abort tower, stretched 242 feet and weighed 1.6 million pounds – an “incredible monster,” according to Bolden.

To push Orion farther out on future flights, NASA is developing a megarocket known as Space Launch System or SLS. The first Orion-SLS combo will fly around 2018, again without a crew to shake out the rocket.
NASA’s last trip beyond low-Earth orbit in a vessel built for people was the three-man Apollo 17 in December 1972. Orion will be capable of carrying four astronauts on long hauls and as many as six on three-week hikes.
Bolden, a former astronaut and now NASA’s No. 1, called Mars “the ultimate destination of this generation,” but said his three young granddaughters think otherwise, telling him, “Don’t get hung up on Mars because there are other places to go once we get there.”

Source: AOL

riseoftomb

Rise of the Tomb Raider will be Published by Microsoft

A Microsoft executive has confirmed that the corporation will act as publisher for Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider for Xbox One.

Aaron Greenberg, a marketing manager for Xbox, revealed the deal when responding to a fan on Twitter.

The newest revelation sheds light on the finer details of The Rise of the Tomb Raider’s timed exclusivity deal for Xbox One, but also poses questions about how future ports to other systems will be handled.

Microsoft’s agreement to act as publisher likely means it will handle marketing and distribution costs; which possibly could be a responsibility it has taken to help broker the exclusivity deal in the first place.

The deal also suggests how deep the agreement between the two companies has become, as well as how much of the publishing costs Microsoft is willing to shoulder in order to seal an exclusivity agreement. That also, in turn, suggests how far into the future the exclusivity period could last.

Currently, both Microsoft and Square Enix are only saying The Rise of the Tomb Raider is a “holiday 2015″ exclusive.

A representative for Square Enix has told GameSpot that Microsoft is providing support across the entire development and publishing pipeline for Rise of the Tomb Raider. The publisher has not yet commented on whether this affects plans for a PlayStation 4 version.

“Yes, Microsoft will be publishing Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox,” Square Enix’s statement read.

“Microsoft has always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and they will get behind this game with more support across development, marketing and retail than ever before, which we believe will be a step in continuing to build the Tomb Raider franchise as one of the biggest in gaming.”

Microsoft turned heads in August when it revealed that Lara Croft’s latest adventure would only be available on Xbox One for a limited time.

In December, Sony revealed it had a major third-party exclusive of its own with Street Fighter V, which will be a PS4 and PC exclusive.

Source: Gamespot

Sony Alpha A5000

Sony Alpha A5000

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istagrampalaroids

Polaroid’s ‘Instagram Camera’ Now Available for Preorder

Polaroid, a company that’s synonymous with old-school instant cameras, is bringing its products into the social media age with the Polaroid Socialmatic. Now available for preorder through Amazon, the Socialmatic combines a classic instant camera with the ability to upload your photos to your favorite social media platforms — including, yes, Instagram.

The camera, which is a dead ringer for that Instagram app icon on your smartphone, features a 14-megapixel main camera and comes with a 2 MP rear camera for taking selfies, because of course it does.

Thanks to its Android operating system and 4.5-inch display, the Socialmatic can also be used as a kind of smart camera, so you can browse the Web and access your email.

Perhaps more importantly, though, you can download your favorite social media apps including Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, Instagram, so you can upload your photos to the web as soon as you’re within range of an available Wi-Fi signal.

The Socialmatic also includes built-in Bluetooth and GPS, so you can connect the camera to your smartphone, as well as add location data to your images, which means you’ll easily be able to see where they were taken.

And with 4 GB of onboard storage, and a microSD card slot that lets you add an additional 32 GB of space, you can save a massive number of photos and videos on the Socialmatic.

The camera pumps out 2 × 3 photos that Polaroid says are water-resistant and smudge-proof, which is a huge improvement over those runny instant photos of yore. Stacks of photo paper for the Socialmatic are also fairly cheap at $15 for a stack of 50.

For a camera that’s ostensibly made for pulling out during parties, however, the Socialmatic is a bit on the pricey side: $299 to be exact.

If that’s too rich for your blood, you might also want to check out Polaroid’s Cube, a 3.5 mm cube that lets you shoot videos and photos with ease. The kicker is that the Cube, which is just $99, doesn’t have a viewfinder of any kind, so you’re no longer tempted to spend all your time looking at the world through your camera, when you could be experiencing it with your own two eyes.

But if you’re the kind of person who loves documenting every moment of your life for social media, and craves the instant gratification of a Polaroid, the Socialmatic may be the camera for you.

Source: Yahoo

Image Source: Flickr

Minecraft Xbox 360 update 8 hopes to deliver 40 fixes this week

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Photo by Mike Poresky on Flickr

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