Category Archives: News

5 Ways to Make Your Home More Secure

The most common home improvement projects in any given year are bathroom and kitchen remodels, along with door and window replacements, according to the National Association of Home Builders Remodeling Market Index. Although these can increase the value of your home, none of them will make your home more safe and secure. Technology has made it possible to streamline processes in your home that used to require expensive equipment or hiring independent contractors to implement. But now, with the growing popularity of smart house equipment, you can eliminate many risks, while increasing its value at the same time.

Transonic PRO

The fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias around the world, according to Mental Healthy. And, despite mice sometimes being cute and fuzzy, you don’t want to see them roaming wild in your home. If this is one of your fears for your home, the Transonic PRO may be the perfect solution.

All you have to do with this gadget is plug it into the wall and let it transmit both sonic and ultrasonic noise that disrupts the communication, habits and habitats of pests. This is a green, humane and safe way to get rid of bats, mice, rats, spiders and even squirrels.

The Transonic PRO covers about a 3,500 square foot area. Plus, it is much cheaper and easier than hiring a pest control company to come out.

SmartThings Home Automation

The trick to a DIY home automation system is finding one that is compatible with all your different appliances, devices and components. SmartThings is one tool that can turn your smartphone into a universal remote control for your entire house.

The control panel, which is about the size of an air freshener, plugs into the wall and connects to your router with an ethernet cord. Once the app is installed on your phone, you just have to push a button to activate its “SmartSetup” function. It then scans your entire home for compatible components and adds them to the system. You’ll be able to turn lights on and off, lock doors and even detect floods from your phone through a moisture reading.

The basic hub costs around $100, but you can spend as much as you want to make your system as sophisticated as possible.

iTouchless Bio-Matic Fingerprint Door Lock

With this gadget, you’ll never be locked out again. Plus, you’ll never lose the front door key or have to put a spare under the rug that anybody can find and use. The Bio-matic Fingerprint Door Lock works much like a smartphone reader to unlock the door. But, it requires a pulse in your finger for an added layer of protection. Of course, you also can set a numeric password as a backup option.

The $300 cost is a bit steep, but worth the peace of mind.

Roman Shades From The Shade Store

A survey by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors found that after the front door, first-floor windows are the most common way burglars enter homes. To help counter this risk, use window treatments to make the inside of your house unknown to a potential burglar. For example, Roman shades from The Shade Store are great for both blocking out the sun and the view inside. This way, they don’t know what there is to steal or any obstacles that could be waiting inside your house.

DropCam Pro

The options are endless when it comes to keeping an eye on your home from your smartphone. Cameras can help you keep an eye on your kids when they play in a different room or when a babysitter comes to stay, let you see who is knocking at your front door or enable you to detect intruders when you’re away. For example, DropCam has a motion sensor and microphone to pick up audio.

The DropCam PRO costs about $200.

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.