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Innovation Nation: 3 Ways Robotics are Changing the World of Work

Innovation is now business-as-usual for companies in fields across the spectrum, from manufacturing and health care to education and hospitality. How are these different fields applying robotics to meet the need to adapt and innovate?

Health Care Innovations

The medical field is experiencing some of the most exciting innovations in technology. We may be a few years away from our own personal Baymax to watch over our health and wellbeing, but robots are already having a beneficial impact on health. For a survey of what’s already available, check out the slideshow on today’s medical robots at Medical Daily.

Using robotics for surgery has been more commonplace in recent years. And effectiveness and safety of medical robotics continues to be the focus for big players like Google, as WIRED Magazine reported recently.

There’s a lot of excitement around nanotechnology in medicine. Tiny robots known as nanobots are generating a lot of buzz, with CNN headlines like “Will nanotech soon allow you to swallow the doctor?” Medical professionals are at the forefront of creative innovation with robotic technologies.

Workforce Innovations

But there are other ways that robotics are improving the health of the nation that may be obvious. Industry leaders credit robotics with the elimination of repetitive-motion injuries. John Tranquilli, materials manager says: “At Apple Rubber, we use robots for the repetitive jobs that can cause long-term health issues for employees. With robotic pickers, we can eliminate those health issues as well as avoid any dangers associated with injection or molding machines. Robots save us money, time and risk.”

The cutting edge is robots that work side-by-side with humans, Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff reports in an article about tech trends for 2015. He quotes Julie Shah: “In 2015, we’ll see this have more of an impact on manufacturing.” Shah is a professor and leader of the Interactive Robotics Group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Perhaps someday carpal tunnel syndrome will be a thing of the past. In the meantime, robots will likely continue to cut labor costs. And that capital saved by utilizing robots for dangerous and repetitive jobs can be invested in innovation, and in employees who are innovators. Instead of merely replacing the human workforce, robots may create an environment in which human workers have better, more rewarding, creative jobs.

Education Innovations

The workforce of tomorrow must be prepared to enter with the skills to adapt and innovate. That starts early.

Preparing young minds for a future in which innovation is an expectation is crucial. Fortunately, it can also be a lot of fun. Check out a recent Top 5 list from Tech Cocktail. Children are all-natural innovators, and those in the education field are finding ways to encourage this inherent capacity. Ozobot helps kids learn programming and PLEO rb is a robotic pet.

Even public libraries are riding this wave. Makerspaces are going in at libraries around the country. Robotics, 3D printing and product design are all a part of the movement to let the next generation of innovators get hands-on experience.

For workers who want training (or retraining) in robotics, community colleges are stepping up with an increasing number of programs. Ivy Tech, for example, works with industry partners such as Honda.

Hospitality Innovations

The first ever hotel run by charming, life-like robots will open in Japan, the country that is arguably the leader in advanced robotics. The hotel won’t open until July, so it might be some time before there will be data to prove the robot hotel clerk’s value. Stay tuned!

Robotics will continue to change the workforce, growing ever-more indispensable in a widening array of fields as the technology advances. The future of robots is not just in the factory — it’s everywhere.

The Fun Side of Wearable Technology

The future of technology seems to be headed in the direction of wearable technology. With fantastical items like Google Glass and the ever more sophisticated series of smartwatches and fitness trackers, wearable tech is making hands-free tech more appealing than ever. But, not all wearable tech has to be purpose driven. The following devices help you have fun with your wearable tech:

Quick Travel

The innovative company Action has taken the convenience of roller skates and combined them with the power of a Segway to create Rocketskates. With a top speed of 12 mph and a battery that lasts up to 1.5 hours, Rocketskates are the perfect way to get around in style. They also sync with your smartphone, which allows you to control your speed, track your travel statistics and save and share your favorite routes. What’s best is that you don’t have to take them off to go up stairs or move across rough ground, simply lean forward to walk with ease.

Gamers Beware

The immersion of gaming is going to a whole new level with the adaption of the PrioVR suit. This full-body sensor system and VR headset lets you get right into the action. Every movement you make in the real world is immediately copied by your in-game avatar, whether it’s taking a swing at a bad guy, picking up a gun and taking aim, crouching behind cover or looking around a corner. It also comes in three different versions so you can get the right one for your personal gaming style.

Dress to Impress

Dress to impress — or surprise, scare or amaze. With technology-integrated clothing, your outfits can come to life on their own. MorphCostumes offers cyborg masks that have computerized eyes that light up, full body zombie suits with visible beating hearts and illusion outfits that can add a little magical flair to any occasion.

Social Networking on the Go

Have you ever wanted to check in on Facebook, but didn’t want the hassle of pulling out your phone? Now, you can use the LikeBelt instead. With a simple thrust of your hips, you can check in, like a location or company and even friend someone. And, if the thought of thrusting at a stranger doesn’t sound appealing, don’t worry because you can use the much more subtle Ping hoodie from Electricfoxy. With this gadget, you can accomplish the same results by moving the sweatshirt in specific ways. For instance, lifting the hood can send a specific message and update your status.

The Ultimate Drinking Game

Looking for a little more fun and adventure at your next party? With the DareDriod 2.0 cocktail-making dress, you have to earn your drinks. The dress comes with sensors that can detect when someone else is near and starts to dispense non-alcoholic mixers. To get the alcohol added, you have to be both charming and willing to play a game of Truth or Dare. But be careful, if you get too close to the server, the whole system will shut down.

Do It Yourself

If you want a to have wearable technology, but can’t find anything that fits your style, consider making something yourself. Adafruit provides all the sensors, lights, components and accessories you could want to turn your everyday outfit into a wondrous technological masterpiece.