Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Ways to Pay: Do You Tap? And Using Your Ring to Pay

Cathi is a fan of "tap and pay" credit cards. But now she's wondering if they're really secure. She also mentions this security report about malware on phones installed somewhere along the supply chain. 

Nora looks at Kerv, a cool-looking ring that gives you the ability for contactless payment without a card, or a phone, at all (via Tech Radar). 


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Cool, Sustainable Buildings and Uncanny Valley Update

In this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about architect Vincent Callebaut's cool, sustainable, luxury condo project. Will this be the way of the future for condos that aren't on the luxury end too? See more of Callebaut's projects here.

Nora Young talks about new research suggesting just how good - and fast - humans are at visually distinguishing reality from unreal images. What does this mean for virtual reality design, as well as the design of robots?


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How to Brainstorm and Mind-Bending Internet Art

In this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about Continuum Infinitum, a supercool continuous video loop (via Gizmodo). Watch the video here. She also mentions Snarg. Cathi and Nora talk internet art. What do you think defines it? Nora mentions Grocery Trip, and the work of Darius Kazemi.

Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about this Fast Company article by Veronique Lafargue on how the folks at Google brainstorm. Some of it is familiar (eg, don't shoot down ideas), but some is really new: in particular, don't follow up brainstorming with more meetings. Instead, go straight to prototype!

 


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Exoskeletons and Smart Tables

On this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about a soft, lightweight "exosuit" created by the Wyss Institute at Harvard, and ReWalk Robotics (via Gizmag). Unlike other experiments in exoskeletons designed for people who can't move their legs, this is a support for people with some mobility impairment. Nora mentions this segment on her show, Spark.

Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about Smart Slab, a design for a 'smart' table that offers heating, cooling, and device charging. In addition to being great looking, it's the kind of design Nora and Cathi think we could see a lot more of in our connected future (check out the pictures via Core77)


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AI News Readers and Robots on the Sidewalk!

Nora Young talks about new research into creating an AI that can read and 'understand' a news article with greater accuracy than Google's DeepMind had previously been able to do (via New Scientist). What does it mean for the future, now that AI is getting so good at recognizing and interpreting text, images, faces, and speech?

Cathi Bond continues on the artificial intelligence tip with research out of Stanford into robots that can navigate pedestrian sidewalks, where we chaotic humans can behave in unexpected ways (via Gizmag). The Jackrabbot, as it's called, is even cute!

Care to rate us on iTunes?


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Ingestibles for Health Care and Humanoid Robotics

Nora Young talks about this ingestible monitor for the body's vital signs, courtesy of MIT research. Alongside Proteus, which promises "digital health" via tiny sensors attached to medication, Nora wonders if we're entering a new era of ingestibles for health. Cathi Bond and Nora talk about the potential future of monitored health. Meanwhile, Cathi Bond discusses a new generation of humanoid robot, Surena, from researcher Aghil Yousefi-Koma from the University of Tehran (via IEEE Spectrum). Nora mentions a fascinating robotics panel at this conference, and Baxter, the pretty darned inexpensive robot. Nora promised to check out the Robot Operating System, which is "...a collection of tools, libraries, and conventions that aim to simplify the task of creating complex and robust robot behavior across a wide variety of robotic platforms".   [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3994734/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Changing Your Mood with Tech. Making Your Own Avatar with Selfies

In this episode, Cathi Bond talks about Thync, a wearable that uses what they describe as "low-energy waveforms" to boost your energy or calm you down on demand, via patches that you place on your head. You can find helpful reviews here and especially here, where the journalist had a positive hands-on experience. Nora Young says this is part of a broader trend towards tech that targets brain states, especially for calm and focus, such as the Muse brain wave sensing headband, or the contemplative technology the Buddhist Geeks podcast talks about. Cathi's tempted to get Thync. Would you? Nora also references Kelly McGonigal's new book, The Upside of Stress. Meanwhile, how would you like to make your own realistic avatar using selfies? Nora talks about research from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. You use your phone to take pictures of yourself from various angles, and shoot short videos of yourself, in order to create avatars that actually look (more or less) like you (via New Scientist). As we move into more VR spaces and situations, would you want to look like yourself, or an idealized version...or maybe a cartoon?   [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3807455/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Office of the Future and Next Gen Camping

We're back from summer break, and ready to kick off the new season of The Sniffer. This time, back to work, and one last kick at the summer (camping) can.

The Atlantic has a great, thought-provoking look at the office of the future. Give it a read here. Nora Young and Cathi Bond kick around some of the ideas. Share your pet peeves about office life in the comments.

Meanwhile, Cathi Bond talks about the Polarmond 'sleep system' (via Gizmag, where you can take a look at the images). Say goodbye to cumbersome tent, groundsheet and sleeping bags when you camp, in favour of an all-in-one unit. We'd love to hear from campers out there. It's due out in the spring. Would you use it?

 

 


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Facial Recognition Tech and Standing Desk Alternative

Happy Summer! On this podcast, Nora Young talks about new developments in facial recognition technology, and Cathi and Nora riff on the future of tech that knows who you are, and what you're feeling. We mention Facebook's Moments feature, this article from Fusion.net on Face First, a customer facial recognition tool, and the potential of emotion detecting software for, amongst other things, helping screen-bound kids learn to detect subtle facial cues (via Fast Company).

Also, you've no doubt heard all about the trend in standing desks to avoid the health pitfalls of constant sitting. Cathi Bond talks about a Kickstarter for the Lean Chair. The premise is to avoid the hazards of sitting OR standing too much...by leaning (via Gizmag)! Would you use this? Do you try to stand more at work?


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Cool Drones and Writing in an Age of Self-Promotion

It's all about drones these days, isn't it? If you're into capturing active sports, there's the Lily drone/video camera. It's easy to operate - you just toss it in the air - and it captures video and audio from a variety of angles via Gizmag). When the Lily is officially released, it will cost about $1,000, but it's available for pre-order for a little more than half that. It's a natural for adventure tour companies. What do you think? Would you buy it? 

Plus, these days, writers really have to hustle: be active on social media, cultivate their own audiences, and of course, hustle to be recognized by editors. A former editor at a literary magazine talks about the differences between men and women when it comes to following up with editors, and resubmitting work. 

And, just for fun, check out the "Flike" - a flying bike - that's basically like three drones stuck together. Dude! Your own hovercraft!


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