Category Archives: Gadgets


Cornell U. Researchers Put Robots in Conversation, and the Result Is Surprisingly Human

When the machines take over, much will change. But perhaps not the exquisite frustrations of a halting philosophical debate.

Researchers at Cornell University’s Creative Machines Lab have demonstrated this by putting two artificially intelligent avatars in conversation with one another. The avatars, called Cleverbots, are sophisticated versions of the classic Eliza program, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1960s. The Cornell researchers—two doctoral students and an…


QuickWire: Texas A&M U. Stadium Will Add 163-Foot-Wide Video Screen

As part of a $450-million expansion of its football stadium, Kyle Field, Texas A&M University will add what the manufacturer says is “the largest video display in all of college football”—a 47-foot-high by 163-foot-wide screen featuring high-definition LED technology. The display will be mounted over the seats in the south end zone, and will be complemented by two 36-by-54-foot screens in opposite corners of the north end zone.

A news release from the manufacturer, Daktronics, says the display w…


QuickWire: Yale U. Libraries Add Google Glass to Offerings

Yale University’s library system is asking students and faculty members to propose fall-semester research and teaching projects that would use Google Glass, the high-tech eyeglasses with built-in computing power. The announcement said the offering followed on the library system’s other successful technology-lending programs, such as one allowing entire classes to borrow iPads.

So far, though, the Yale student who has attracted the most attention using Google Glass has been Henry Furman, a senio…


Futurist Attends Educause Conference via ‘Doppelbot’

Has your budget for attending conferences been slashed again? Here’s an idea: Send a remote-controlled robot instead.

doublebot_bryan_eli2014_liananunziatoThat’s how Bryan Alexander, a futurist and education-technology consultant, attended the Educause Learning Initiative conference, in New Orleans this week. Without leaving his home, in Vermont, he maneuvered a slightly-gawky, two-wheel “telepresence robot”—essentially, an iPad mounted on a sort of miniature Segway—around the Riverside Hilton’s meeting rooms. He chatted with frien…


Vermont Tech Nanosatellite Is Among 11 Rocketed Into Space

Before Tuesday evening, Carl Brandon had never seen a rocket launch. But at about 8:15, when a U.S. Air Force Minotaur I rocket took off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, in Virginia, he not only saw a launch, but the rocket carried a satellite he helped build.

Mr. Brandon, director of the CubeSat Lab at Vermont Technical College, spent the past two years with a few of his students building what’s sometimes referred to as a nanosatellite—or, specifically, a CubeSat, after a set of specifica…


Ohio State U. Band Marches Ahead of the Curve With iPads

MBdrills on iPad copy

(Ohio State U. photo by Meagan Culley)

This semester some members of Ohio State University’s marching band will be looking at iPads while they’re practicing, instead of the sheet music and paper drill routines they’re used to. The change was proposed by two students—Ryan Barta, a senior in the business school, and Charlie King, a senior computer-science major—who saw both economic and sustainability advantages in using the iPad.

With the help of the band’s director, Jonathan Waters, and a $25,00…


Moravian College Will Market Itself as an All-Apple Campus

A college established in 1742 by a Protestant sect devoted to unity is turning to a new-age orthodoxy: It’s becoming an all-Apple campus.

Moravian College, located about an hour north of Philadelphia in Bethlehem, Pa., will provide each member of its 2014 freshman class with a new MacBook Pro and a new iPad. Faculty members will receive the same devices as their current machines come due for replacement.

Michael P. Wilson, director of public relations and marketing at Moravian, said the plan wou…


Move-In Day at Lehigh U., Seen Through Google Glass

Call it a Google Glass view.

Patrick V. Farrell, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Lehigh University, donned Google’s latest accessory, a pair of high-tech glasses, to document freshman move-in day.

Known formally as Google Glass, the spectacles are a wearable computer that presents information via a hands-free, voice-command display. Features include the ability to take still photographs and video.

Lehigh’s first “glassumentary” shows Mr. Farrell—or his voice and hands, at …


2 Drone-Journalism Programs Seek Federal Approval to Resume Flying

Mizzu drones photo

The U. of Missouri’s Drone Journalism Program, now on hold, hopes to deploy small, unmanned aircraft like these to report on stories such as natural disasters. (U. of Missouri photo)

Two fledgling programs created to teach journalism students how to use drones in their reporting are applying for permits so they can resume operating unmanned aircraft outdoors, their directors said this week. Both programs received cease-and-desist letters from the Federal Aviation Administration last month.

Matt …