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13 Apr

Experiments involving self-driving cars have highlighted sensor and mapping technologies that evaluate what's going on outside the car. This involves the use of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging, which uses laser pulses) and GPS navigation systems.

When it comes to keeping track of what's happening inside the car, industry players are exploring technology that can monitor the preferences and moods of passengers, making it possible to adjust the car's operation to better suit the occupants' feelings.

Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, a Boston-based startup working in this area, recently told Xconomy, “All of our technologies and our devices are becoming conversational and perceptual—even our car."

11 Apr

Drones have become popular with hobbyists interested in capturing flyover video of local attractions. But the advanced tech gadgets have proven useful in a variety of industries, especially agriculture.

Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, drones can cover a large distance quickly while also taking up very little airspace. At the same time, demands on the agricultural field will only continue to grow as the world’s population increases. Experts anticipate that by the year 2050, consumption of agricultural products will grow by as much as 70 percent, challenging farmers and manufacturers to keep up.

09 Apr

A horse’s hooves can suffer damage, especially if they haven’t been toughened up by walking long distances every day. To remedy this, caretakers have traditionally used horseshoes. Unfortunately, these shoes are attached by hammering a nail directly into the horse’s hoof.

A new Kickstarter campaign reveals a more humane way to keep a horse safe. Megasus Horserunners clip onto the horse’s hoof using the company’s patented Mega-Lock Fastener. Not only does the experience eliminate the nail, it is more comfortable for the horse, since it is designed to absorb shock and mimic the animal’s natural movements.

07 Apr

It might not boast every feature of the most tricked-out Swiss Army Knife, but the Morsel Spork may well be the coolest camping utensil to come along in quite a while.

Or, as one user testified on the Morsel Spork Kickstarter page, "[T]hat's the best spork I've ever seen."

The makers describe their device the way: "Morsel is part spoon, part fork, part spatula, resulting in the world's first... Sporkatula? Foonula? We couldn't decide, so we decided to call it Morsel."

The goal, they add, was to come up with a utensil that could better perform where other camping utensils and conventional sporks had come up short.

05 Apr

Google is taking advantage of its sizable collection of Maps app users to make the service more beneficial to people with disabilities.

People with mobility challenges are typically not taken into account in the realm of transportation. Which is odd when one considers that practically every other need -- from restaurant reviews to boutique store locations -- can be had by selecting an icon or two on a Google Maps display.

To be sure, Google Maps currently indicates if a particular location is wheelchair accessible, thanks to the efforts of one of the company's employees. Now, though, the company allows people to tap into crowdsourcing information from its 30 million global Local Guides. Users are submitting photos and tips about neighborhood locations. In return, they receive minor perks such as beefed up storage space.

Google requires crowdsourcing contributors to provide feedback to five questions, such as whether a location has accessible bathrooms or entrances, when contributing a review for a business or other location.

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