Wal-Mart Robots

Wal-Mart has been testing robots that are designed to scan shelves for missing inventory, update stocks, and tag misplaced items. According to the article from MSN, these robots will be approximately 2 feet tall and are “50 percent more productive” by scanning the shelves “three times faster” than employees. This is a big concept for retailers because customers cannot purchase goods if they are not on the stock.

This is the first time I have heard of such technology. Can you see this concept working? What problems or concerns to you have with this innovative technology. Does this have the potential to disrupt the market of retail employees?


Smartphone will Become Obsolete by 2025

There is a big theory that by 2025, smartphones will become obsolete. The reasoning behind the disappearance of smartphones is due to advancements in augmented reality. Pearson stated, “If it’s 2025 and you have a smartphone, people will laugh at you” (BusinessInsider).

Technology is advancing more and more by the year, and soon there will be no inconvenience of holding your phone and losing it every second. A lot of professor’s theories are that there will be a tiny bracelet that pulls up a hologram screen in order to text and send phone calls. This way, you will not have to worry about bringing a physical device out with you.

Smartphone users believe artificial intelligence will take over many tasks that the smartphone does. In fact, artificial intelligence products are already starting to become popular as the Echo, Alexa, Siri, etc. are talking to their user’s and providing information to the users.

This is a big deal and a huge advancement if the smartphone does in fact become obsolete by 2025. This shows how fast technology is advancing and the power that technology has the ability to make on their user.

The Scary Effects of Technology on our Eyes

Technology is everything these days. It helps us connect to each other and makes our lives significally more convenient. However, are we using too much technology? According to an article, “More than a third of American adults spend more than half of their day with some type of technology and 14% report using technology 10-2 hours daily” (GoodEyes).

This overuse of technology causes great strain to the user’s eyes. One main affect technology has is causing eyestrain, headaches, focusing difficulty, double vision, etc. Without looking at technology, a user’s eye blinkes 12-15 times a minute. However, when a user is focusing on a digital screen, they forget to blink. This can lead to a user blinking only 7 times a minute. The decrease in blinking can lead to less lubrication which results in dry and extremely sore eyes.

Almost 60% of adult Americans have adopted the habit of carrying their phone or laptop with them when they go to bed (GoodEyes). Leaving your phone next to a user’s head while sleeping can cause severe damage to the eyes. This is because the direct exposure to blue light damages the retina, which gets worse and worse as you age.

This is an important issue due to the fact that technology is becoming more and more popular as the years go on, and no one pauses and thinks about the severe impact it can have on your eyes. As I walk down a street, almost every person I walk by is glued to their phone. People should be aware of the health risks.



Jibo: The Family-Friendly, Dancing Smart Home Assistant

With voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home becoming more popular by the day, the smart home tech industry has been growing fast.  So, it was only a matter of time until startups started pitching fun, new takes on these devices.  That’s where the Jibo family assistant comes in.Jibo

According to a recent CNET article, Jibo is “an 11-inch-tall countertop robot: A family assistant that can distinguish between different voices and faces, with an adorable personality to boot” (Carey).  In general, this device is created specifically with families in mind, as it could engage with children with witty banter and even dance on its swivel base.  Additionally, it could perform other interesting functions, such as controlling other smart home devices, taking pictures, and even turning to face the source of a motion or sound.  However, the device is not perfect, as it is currently priced at $899 and is lacking a few basic smart assistant functions (which it will be updated to include in the future), causing the author to state “that’s a hefty price for a home assistant that can’t yet play music. Or make calls. Or set reminders” (Carey).

Overall, I feel the Jibo is an interesting and exciting take on the conventional smart home assistant, and after the promised software updates, I think it could definitely be a hit product with families in the future.  What do you think about this device?  Will it be successful?  Leave a comment below.


Carey, Bridget. “This Super-Cute Robot Wants to Join Your Family.” CNET, CNET, 25 Oct. 2017, www.cnet.com/news/jibo-social-robot-price-launch-899-nov-7/.

Image: https://image.slidesharecdn.com/jibo-150410055608-conversion-gate01/95/jibo-2-638.jpg?cb=1444597475

Google Plans to Build an IoT-Powered District in Toronto

Possibly one of the most fascinating developments in technology is that of the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT).  While personal smart devices like the Fitbit and home devices like the Nest Smart Thermostat have been gradually improving in both quality and popularity, large scale projects like “smart cities” still seem to be part of the distant future.  However, Google’s parent company Alphabet is now attempting to make that dream into a reality sooner rather than later.

Artist Rendering of Alphabet's Quayside

Artist Rendering of Alphabet’s Quayside

According to recent articles from Slate and Wired, Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs has just reached a deal to convert a 12-acre area of the Toronto waterfront into an Internet-powered community named Quayside within the next few years.  In general, “Sidewalk Labs promises to embed all sorts of sensors everywhere possible, sucking up a constant stream of information about traffic flow, noise levels, air quality, energy usage, travel patterns, and waste output” (Marshall).  With this massive amount of information, the company hopes to tailor the town to be both more efficient and comfortable for its citizens and workers.  For example, through the collection of weather data, things like retractable canopies and heated pathways can be activated, and “the company projects that managing wind, sun, and rain can “double the number of [year-round] daylight hours when it is comfortable to be outside’” (Grabar).  Additionally, Sidewalk plans on using these sensors to facilitate easier deployment of autonomous cars and robot delivery services to pave the road for the integration of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics with our daily lives (Grabar).

What do you think about Alphabet’s plan to build a smart city?  Do you think they will be successful?  Leave a comment below.


Grabar, Henry. “Can Google Build a City? We’re About to Find Out.” Slate Magazine, Slate Magazine, 25 Oct. 2017, www.slate.com/articles/technology/metropolis/2017/10/sidewalk_labs_quayside_development_in_toronto_is_google_s_first_shot_at.html.

Marshall, Aarian. “Alphabet Is Trying to Remake the Modern City, Starting With Toronto.” Wired, Conde Nast, 19 Oct. 2017, www.wired.com/story/google-sidewalk-labs-toronto-quayside/.

Image: https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/article_small/public/thumbnails/image/2017/10/23/17/google-quayside-.jpg

Amazon Key: Have we gone too far?

Amazon Key is a new service that will become available to Prime customers beginning November 8th. The system allows delivery people to unlock your door and safely place deliveries inside when you aren’t home, instead of just leaving them on your porch. In order to use the service, you would have to purchase the whole system which includes a smart lock, Cloud Cam, and installation. The lock allows the courier to swipe in and out of your home, and the camera records the process to make sure they only do what they are supposed to. You will also get notifications through an app that update you during the delivery process. You could also use the service to let in family members, or other service workers when you aren’t home as well. I think this service definitely displays a significant advancement in the Internet of Things, however I think this crosses the creepy line. There are several security concerns, especially if the camera gets disabled. I would not be comfortable with allowing a stranger to enter my home while I am not there, especially because the system could become compromised. What do you think? Would you consider using this service?





New Malware Strikes in Ukraine and Russia Strikes

On October 23, a cyber attack was hit at a Ukrainian internal airport and parts of Russian websites This “Bad Rabbit” is a type of ransomware, with similarities to WannaCry and Petya outbreaks from earlier this year. Apparently, Bad Rabbit encrypts the contents of a computer and asks for a payment of 0.05 bitcoins or $280 U.S. dollar equivalent. The malware was a distribute through a fake Adobe Flash update.

This alarms me, especially because I never think twice when asked to update my Adobe Flash. Therefore, it is important that as users on the web, we are mindful that we are downloading is legitimate.

Google Headphones Translate Foreign Languages

In the beginning of October, Google release it’s first pair of wireless headphones. What makes these unique is the feature of language translation from Google Translate. The headphones connect to an Android or Google Pixel, and can understand voice controls. These voice controls are like Siri requests on an Apple phone: place phone calls, play music, or understand a language. Holding down the earbud translates another language into the user’s chosen language.  By squeezing the bud, you can ask the headphones questions, much like Siri.

I think these are very helpful for today, especially since the business world is global, and we are consistently trying to communicate with people who speak different languages

Do you think these headphones are the future?

Augmented Reality Presentations

Most people are familiar with the presentation program called Prezi. The goal of Peter Arvai, founder of Prezi, was to create a way to really engage an audience during a presentation, as opposed to just flipping through a stack of bulleted slides. From this idea he created Prezi, and although Prezi has grown immensely over the years, Microsoft Powerpoint is still the leader of the market. Because of this, Prezi is ready to take presentations to a whole new level through the incorporation of augmented reality. After watching companies such as Snapchat, Facebook, Google, and Apple apply this technology Arvai and his team wanted to bring augmented reality into presentations. Understanding that the traditional setup for a presentation, a speaker in front a screen, lends itself well to the standard projected presentation. However, in situations such as web conferences, those in the video conference either see the speaker or a slide with information. Arvai wants to change this by allowing the speaker to pull up graphs, images, etc. next to and or around her while delivering a speech.This would allow for a unique immersive experience for the audience, and could potentially revolutionize presentations. However, Prezi is still developing this product and it may be a while before they have a solid product to place on the market.


Information retrieved from:

Pardes, Arielle. “Sorry, PowerPoint: The Slide Deck of the Future Will Be in AR.” Wired. Conde Nast, 20 Oct. 2017. Web.

Image retrieved from:

Will Augmented Reality Transform Banking? » Banking Technology. N.d. Banking Technology. BankingTech.com, 10 May 2017. Web.


Could Robots Hold the Key to Get More Girls Interested in Science and Tech?


Kibo Robotics: STEM in early childhood.

Only 12 percent of engineers in the U.S are women. That’s right, ONLY 12. Women actually make up 26 percent of the workforce, but that number has decreased from 35 percent in 1990. For some reason, the U.S faces this ongoing issue of encouraging women to join STEM and actually keeping them in that field.

It’s no surprise that discrimination, sexism, and other factors deter many women from joining this field. Our society, since the beginning of time, has placed gender stereotypes, for example, that boys enjoy building things more than girls. Many teachers in the U.S also spend more time focusing on teaching math and science to boys rather than girls.

However, robots could be the smoking gun we needed all along to get more girls/women into the STEM field. Specifically, robot kits for kids. These kits are simple yet influential toys for teaching kids how to engineer and code. Because of this prolonged stereotype and jaw-dropping statistics, there are more toys targeted at getting kids interested in science and math. However, some of these toys are STILL gendered specific. For example, “Roominate” is a building kit targeted for girls and teaches them to code. Toy companies/marketers still have the connotation that a girl would not be interested in a toy if it wasn’t pink or purple and that’s not always the case.

Amanda Sullivan, who works in human development at Tufts University decided to test the effects of a non-gendered robotics kit called “Kibo.” Kids can program the rolling robot by stringing together blocks that denote specific commands. It isn’t necessarily marketed specifically to boys or girls using the traditional and stereotypical markings of maleness or femaleness.

Before playing with Kibo, boys were significantly more likely to say they’d enjoy being an engineer than girls. However, this shifted after both parties played with Kibo and the girls equally expressed engineering as interest as the boys. Unfortunately, just because a gender-neutral robotics kit can get grab girls attention, this doesn’t mean it will sell well. This is probably because there are many parents who still give into the gender stereotypes and prefer to buy their daughter a doll rather than a robotics kit.

Still, companies are designing a new line of toys in groundbreaking ways. More and more companies are taking note and are testing out gender-neutral products.

This was such a fun article to read! I’m not in STEM myself, on the contrary I’m actually on the opposite end of the spectrum and in the Communications school. However, I do notice the lack of women in STEM and it’s sad. I’m glad companies are starting to realize that toys don’t need to be purple and pink for girls and blue and green for boys. Why place that unnecessary pressure on a child? They’re going to feel obligated to pick out something with those colors based on their gender and what they see their friends playing with. Women can contribute so much to science, technology, and mathematics. I can only hope that many parents will break out of the traditional mindset of girls should play with dolls and boys should just build, be destructive, etc. This is a vicious cycle and it truly needs to be broken. Also, how cool would it be if robots were part of the answer all along to get women into the STEM field!?


What do you think about robotics encouraging young girls to join STEM? Do you think this will work? Or do you think parents will just continue to buy what’s considered “traditional?”


Simon, M. (2017, Oct., 23) Can Robots Help Get More Girls into Science and Tech? Retrieved from: