technology

If you’ve ever been to the Detroit Institute of Arts, you’ve probably seen the Diego Rivera murals that fill the museum’s courtyard.

They capture a city that was once an industrial hub with behemoth steel machines and men on assembly lines. 

Today, however, Detroit is trying to become a different kind of hub: a tech hub. 

Tracking a student's behavior is a big part of a teacher's job.

Two Michigan teachers developed a new app to make that job a little bit easier.

It's called TABS, Tracking Appropriate Behaviors System.

Along with tracking a student's behavior, it can also be used as a digital hall pass, and assist administrators, teachers, and students during a school lockdown.

Researchers have developed a way to track endangered species using smartphones and drones, and you can help them with that work.

Escape rooms keep gaining popularity. 

You might have heard of them. The interactive game where you and a bunch of friends, or complete strangers, are locked in a room and have to solve a series of puzzles to get out -- oh, and you only have about an hour.  

The scenarios are endless. Think Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones or Jail Break. 

Patton Doyle is the co-founder of Decode Detroit, an escape room with a tech vibe located in Ann Arbor.

The Next Idea

In the early 1990s, I visited billionaire George Soros’ office in New York City to provide some direction on an investment his firm had made in a technology startup run by senior Israeli Air Force officers. Their technology was something akin to an iPod, and this was almost a decade before you could store your entire music collection on a device the size of a bar of soap.

One of the most famous and vocal climate scientists is speaking out, again. Penn State researcher and author Michael Mann was recently asked by Democrats to be a witness at a hearing on climate science. It was held by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Mann called the other three witnesses fringe experts because they were questioning the science behind climate change.

The Next Idea

Why is it that you can summon an Uber with one click on your smart phone, but if your child is struggling in school, you might not find out for weeks?

The Next Idea

A recent headline in the Financial Times read, “Vancouver seizes chance to lure Silicon Valley tech talent.” The mayor of Vancouver confirms that inquiries from U.S. tech companies have risen sharply in recent months.

It’s no secret that Cisco Systems, Samsung and SAP have recently established a presence north of the border, but now it appears that Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are all also considering their options. If this tire-kicking becomes a trend, it will compromise America’s ability to remain a global leader in technology.

 

What’s the first thing you do when you’re waiting at the post office or a bus stop?

Likely, you whip out your smart phone. That's according to Daniel Kruger, a scientist with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

What could artificial intelligence (AI) mean for us in the future? And when might intelligent machines and technology be at a point where they become an integral part of our lives?

Those are the questions that Michigan State University researcher Arend Hintze explores.

He's an assistant professor of Integrative Biology and Computer Science and Engineering, and he runs the Hintze Lab, where they research the evolution of natural and artificial intelligence.

There's an app for just about everything. Proof of that is Honour Water.

It's a new app that teaches you Anishinaabe songs about water. Anishinaabe is the name used by native tribes including the Odawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi and Alquonquin peoples.

The Next Idea

If you listen to the World Economic Forum, we are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The WEF calls this “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” Just as mass production launched an era of large-scale centralized organizations at the turn of the 20th century, the Internet and smartphones in the 21st century are ushering in new forms of collaboration — and conflict.

Technologies are replacing the fundamental missions of organizations. They are moving from scale — creating something once and distributing it everywhere — to scope, creating an infinite variety of offerings. Everything from your made-to-order sneakers to the medications you take for your unique ailments are being mass customized. That is, companies are using integrated technologies and supply chains, along with complex information from diverse sources, a.k.a. Big Data, to create a product or service just for you, just in time.

If you wandered past any landmarks or took a stroll through a public park this summer, you may have noticed a lot more foot traffic than usual. But instead of walking and talking together, these large groups of new guests basically just sit around and stare at their smartphones. 

Yes, "Pokémon GO" players are everywhere.

For many, the game has become a core part of day-to-day life. 

Alexander Weinstein's new book of short stories takes the idea to the extreme, exploring a future full of dangerously immersive virtual reality games. 

Technology and creativity are not mutually exclusive. They go hand-in-hand.

That's the message of Intermitten. It's a conference happening this Friday and Saturday in Ann Arbor.

The conference will be exploring all the ways that successful business efforts contain a healthy mix of creativity and technology.

The Next Idea

Most anyone would agree that Traverse City is one of Michigan’s crown jewels. It’s a beautiful location and a great place to live, visit and retire.

But one thing Traverse City has lacked is a strong central point for the area’s tech industry.

Russell Schindler is a Traverse City geologist and entrepreneur. He basically got sick and tired of driving nearly four hours to Ann Arbor for tech meet-ups, so he started a new group, called TC New Tech.

The march of technology continues, bringing us closer to the day when owning your own car may be less important than on-demand transportation services.  And closer to the day when we expect our cars to be super-connected to just about everything.

Automakers are laying the groundwork for this new era, as seen in some  announcements this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Material that repairs itself after being shot? Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but what practical applications could this have?

Online shopping for groceries and consumer packaged goods is lagging way behind other forms of online shopping.

Amitabh Sinha is a professor of technology and operations at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He’s been studying e-commerce of groceries, and he thinks grocery chains and retailers that don't get onboard with e-commerce could go the way of Circuit City or Borders.

On yesterday's Stateside, we met the co-founders of Rocket Fiber, the ultra-high-speed Internet service coming to downtown Detroit later this year and to Midtown Detroit next year.

The prospect of fiber optic cable delivering an Internet that's at least 100 times faster than what most of us are used to is mighty appealing.

Technology invades the restaurant dining experience. No, not diners posting photos of their food to Facebook or Instagram, but restaurants in Michigan are replacing their old-school paper menus with iPads.

Chief wine and restaurant critic for Hour Detroit Magazine Chris Cook says, "I haven't seen too many around Southeast Michigan, but I think it's going to become a growing trend."

The focus will be on how to increase diversity in tech jobs as a hundred Detroit middle schoolers gather this weekend for a two-day hackathon. It's put on by Ford STEAM Lab, which is part of the Ford Motor Company Fund in conjunction with partners like California-based #YesWeCode and the Level Playing Field Institute.

The hackathon will allow young people to work with technology professionals to pitch ideas for their own mobile app and build a prototype in 48 hours.

Senior technology writer for Slate, Will Oremus, has a hard time “getting” Snapchat. He says the app makes him feel old, and recently wrote an article about his struggle.

Oremus is 32 years old.

Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social apps in the world. So this raises the question: Are newer apps trying to keep older users out of the loop?

Kimberly Springer, Michigan Radio’s social media producer, doesn’t think so.

As much as we seem to love checking our Facebook feeds, the result may not be what you’d expect.

Ethan Kross from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan recently published some of his findings involving Facebook in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

 


It's not often you can say without a shadow of a doubt that someone is "brilliant." 


But you can make a good case for Prabal Dutta. He's an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan.


And he has been named one of Popular Science's 2014 Brilliant Ten, a list saluting scientific innovators who are changing the world as we know it.


Dutta made this list for his work on energy scavenging sensors. He explains that these sensors won't need batteries because they can harvest energy from the world around them.


Tom Carr

 

   At the first of the month, the iconic video rental chain Blockbuster will close its remaining stores near Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and across the country.

Many in the media are calling this the end of an era as digital downloads are expected to make video stores a relic of the 1980s and '90s. But Blockbuster left northern Michigan years ago, and the chain that stuck around, Family Video, has no intention of dying off.