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PODCAST: Robot teacher, study says ‘walk this way’

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Scientists at the University of Wisconsin have developed a robot teacher that can tell when students’ minds start to wander. The robot speaks and delivers lessons all the while, monitoring students’ minds with electrodes. If the robot senses attention starting to wane it responds by raising its voice or gesturing. In tests, the robot was able to boost learning retention. Robot teachers that can tell if you’re paying attention. I feel like I had a nightmare about that once.

It’s a mobile phone; it’s a Geiger counter. There’s news this morning that a mobile phone company called Softbank is coming out with a smart phone in Japan this summer that will monitor radiation levels in this post-Fukushima world. The Pantone line of handsets will come with a Geiger counter microchip built in. The phone can also save the location of the radiation readings and will be available in eight cheery colors. 

New research from the Brookings Institution says Americans will pay up to $1,500 more in rent every month to live in a “walkable” neighborhood — say, a place near their dry cleaners or grocery store or favorite restaurant. Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution was one of the lead researchers on the study and he spoke with us about the new urbanized suburb and the rise in singles home buyers.

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