MIT Media Lab and partners Deloitte and data visualization startup Datawheel, have launched a mammoth and stunning new tool called Data USA, where users are able to mine and visualize United States Government open data. Data USA is great new tool for analysts, economists, and data geeks. Data USA has gathered data from what used to be multiple sources into a singular open data platform.
As a Research Analyst for Calgary Economic Development, managing and analyzing data is a critical component of my work. With the current economic downturn, improved data interpretation and analysis tools such as Data USA, are increasingly important. We use data from Statistics Canada and other organizations to compare economic indicators for Calgary to other cities in Canada and North America. With this analysis we can then determine how Calgary ranks competitively with other metropolitan areas. We use this insight to create strategies to promote our city, attract business and diversify our economy. Open data rocks!
Digital designs for robotic creatures are shown on the left and the physical prototypes produced via 3-D printing are on the right (credit: Disney Research, Carnegie Melon University)
Now you can design and build your own customized walking robot using a 3-D printer and off-the-shelf servo motors, with the help of a new DYI design tool developed by Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University.
You can specify the shape, size, and number of legs for your robotic creature, using intuitive editing tools to interactively explore design alternatives. The system takes over much of the non-intuitive and tedious task of planning the motion of the robot, and ensures that your design is capable of moving the way you want and not fall down. Or you can alter your creature’s gait as desired. READ MORE: Disney Research-CMU design tool helps novices design 3-D-printable robotic creatures | KurzweilAI
Makerspaces are great for bringing your gadget ideas to life, but they’re not usually much help to nurses who may want to invent (or improvise) tools needed to take care of their patients. That’s where the University of Texas’ new, permanent MakerHealth Space might just save the day. Nurses and other workers at the school’s John Sealy Hospital now have a dedicated area with 3D printers, laser cutters and other equipment that lets them create or modify devices (say, a pill bottle sensor) without leaving work. The facility sterilizes and reviews every product before it’s put into service, so you shouldn’t have to worry about a risky tool ruining your hospital stay. READ MORE: Hospital makerspace lets nurses build their own tools | Engadget
Libraries aren’t just for books, or even e-books, anymore. They are for checking out cake pans (North Haven, Conn.), snowshoes (Biddeford, Me.), telescopes and microscopes (Ann Arbor, Mich.), American Girl dolls (Lewiston, Me.), fishing rods (Grand Rapids, Minn.), Frisbees and Wiffle balls (Mesa, Ariz.) and mobile hot spot devices (New York and Chicago). Here in Sacramento, where people can check out sewing machines, ukuleles, GoPro cameras and board games, the new service is called the Library of Things. READ MORE: These Public Libraries Are for Snowshoes and Ukuleles | The New York Times
One of the most intense experiences you’ll ever have is visiting a country that speaks a language different than yours. There’s a host of tools you can use, but Google’s Translate product has leapfrogged just about everything out there over the years.
Its most handy, and impressive, tool is the six-month-old instant translation feature, using the goodies from the acquired Word Lens, that lets you point your camera at something written in another language, say a sign, and it’ll translate into your language with ridiculous accuracy in almost real-time.
Today, that feature is expanding today from seven languages to 27 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. The update is rolling out over both iOS and Android.