Category Archives: Uncategorized

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)


[iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4481879/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Download MP3

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?


[iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4479020/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Download MP3

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?

 

 


[iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3753016/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Download MP3

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?


[iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3642626/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Download MP3

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!


[iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3642542/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Download MP3

Internet of Things – Smart Homes and Toys

Smart home company, Nest has launched Nest Cam, its new security camera (you can read the details of the product here). Nora Young and Cathi Bond talk use cases, smart homes, and riff on the Internet of Things and our data future. Nora mentions Sandy Pentland and the New Deal on Data (read more here) and concerns about security in smart, internet of things-ified cities.

Cathi talks about Avakai, a super cool 'smart' toy. It keeps the physicality of traditional toys that get kids playing in nature and using their imaginations, but is also built for our internet connected, modern world.

 


[iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3630044/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Download MP3

Curing Digital Distraction and Mindful Tech

This time around, Nora Young mentions Matthew Crawford's new book, The World Beyond Your Head (interesting reviews here and here). In it, he argues that our problem with digital distraction goes all the way back to the Enlightenment view of the self: highly individualistic, cerebral - stuck in one's head, in short. He argues for the kind of engaged, embodied practice that you might find by, say, working on a motorcycle. He also argues for the importance of shared or "joint" attention, such as you might find with an apprenticeship. Nora and Cathi Bond pick up on that thread for a yak about solitude vs. shared practice. 

Plus, if you want to be more mindful, is it enough to rely on your own education in mindfulness, or can technology help? Cathi Bond brings you the Wellbe, a wristband that monitors your heart rate, looking for signs of stress, and notifies you. It also offers calming and mindfulness lessons. Cathi and Nora chat about contemplative technologies, such as those discussed on Buddhist Geeks, and their own thoughts on effective strategies. 


[iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3602913/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Download MP3

Virtual Reality for Robots, and Super Cool Desks

Gazebo is a virtual world...for robots! It lets researchers test robot behaviour without risking the expensive robot hardware in a real situation (via Technology Review). In this podcast, Nora Young sees it as an example of the creative power of building on top of an open source platform. Cathi Bond wonders about its potential in medical research.

Sharetable is a very cool desk designed for people who work with clients. The table has a computer on one side and a sort of 'mirror image' set right into the desk on the client side. The client can not only look at the images, but scroll through and manipulate them using touch.

And, just for fun, play a simulated theremin in your browser here!


[iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3574454/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen]
Download MP3