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Thanks for Reading!

Well the semester is almost done! Can you believe it? Hopefully you are not stressing out too much with end of the semester projects and exams. I just wanted to say, thanks for taking some time out of your day, and reading our blog! All of our writers have worked hard this semester to find things that would be interesting to read about, so we all hope you enjoyed our posts! Personally, I had so much fun writing my blogs. I actually learned a lot from them, and I hope you did too.

Well, I would like to wish you all luck on your final exams! Try not to stress too much because remember summer is right around the corner!

Thanks so much for reading! Good luck on the rest of your semester, and have a wonderful summer!


(No quiz with this post)


April 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment

A Legally Blind Man Drives a Car?!?!

From the title of this blog, you are probably wondering how is that possible or is that even safe for a blind man to drive a car? Well actually, Steven Mahan, who is legally blind, was driven by a car. Thanks to Google’s self-driving car, Mahan, who has lost 95% of his vision, was able to go¬† run a few errands.

Google first announced their self-driving car project in 2010. However, Mahan was Google’s first customer to sit behind the wheel of their self-driving car. Google created this self-driving, robotic car by equipping a Toyota Prius with a couple different types of technologies like a radar, lasers, and cameras. Because of this combination of technologies, the car was able to maneuver Mahan from his home through the neighborhood. It was even able to drive him through a Taco Bell drive through and park in front of Mahan’s dry cleaners.

Mahan’s drive was organized by Google’s team through a carefully programmed route. Google hopes to one day perfect the self-driving car’s technology so it can meet the safety standards. Google also stated that they began developing this car to “make driving safer, more enjoyable and more efficient.”

This self-driving car won’t be on the market anytime soon, still more research and testing needs to be done. Although, one state has made Google’s dream come closer to reality. Just a month ago, Nevada became the first state to approve self-driving cars. In California, a state senator is working on a similar bill. One day, hopefully, Google’s car will be on everyone’s driveways, but technology takes time.

If you would like to read more check out both these links: PCmag and cnet.

Don’t forget the quiz!


April 12, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Touch-Screen Display You Can Feel

Hi MAT 120 students! Can you believe it is almost April?! This semester is just flying by! For today’s blog, I found some information about a new technology that could eventually be used in the iPhone or iPad. Enjoy!

Think back to your first cell phone, it probably only had a number pad and you had to use T9 to type out a sentence. Then, cell phones moved to having a full keyboard. But now, many new phones have completely eliminated any sort of button and evolved to a touch screen that allows way more keyboard functions and options. Even though these touch-screens offer more, many people still prefer buttons on their phone. People argue that the lack of buttons make it difficult to type on a cell phone. Now, Apple could settle this argument with their new patent application.

Apple’s latest patent application is called the “Touch-based User Interface with Haptic Feedback.” Well, that’s a mouthful. What this means is that an iPad’s or iPhone’s touch-screen display will allow user to feel buttons and other controls through the use of actuators and sensors.

These piezoelectric actuators are placed under the display and when touched, it provides the user with localized feedback (piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure). Unlike other haptic technologies, like how the whole phone vibrates when the screen is touched, this localized feedback allows the user to feel individual buttons.The touch-screen will have to be flexible so the haptic layer can sense placement and pressure.

This new patent application will add to the touch-screen gestures recognized by the iOS devices. Also, this haptic feedback will allow users with disabilities be able to use iPhones and iPads more easily.

If you would like to read more about it click here.

Don’t forget to take the quiz!


March 29, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

No Need for a Bulky Wallet Anymore

Hi MAT 120 students! Are you ready for spring break? It is almost here! Today, I actually found something Google has recently developed for smartphones. It is called Google Wallet. It looks like Google is changing the market once again. Hope you enjoy this post!

Everyday, smartphones are making our lives easier. Because of the thousands of apps offered, we no longer need phone books, maps, and now your wallet. Google developed a new system for your smartphone called Google Wallet that stores your credit card and more. Google Wallet is still in development, so right now it is only offered to those that have an Android-powered phone with NFC, and on the Sprint mobile network. Also, you need a Citi MasterCard credit card or a Google Prepaid Card. I know this sounds really limited, but the Google team plans to eventually make it available for every credit card.

So what exactly is Google Wallet? If you have the right requirements for Google Wallet, you can start up by downloading the app and creating an account. What Google Wallet does is it safely stores your credit card information and makes all of your credit cards available in a single app. To use your credit card, you simply open the app and tap your phone on a Paypass credit card receiver.

But wait, there is more. Google Wallet doesn’t just save your credit cards. Nowadays, almost every store offers their free loyalty or rewards cards that offer you savings when you spend more at the store. I can’t even begin to tell you how many of those cards I have, how much room in my wallet they take up, and how most of the time I just forget them. Thanks to Google Wallet, you don’t have to worry about those reward cards anymore. At participating stores, you can save your rewards card on your Google Wallet account and your information will be given to the cashier when you tap your phone. That’s not all either, Google also searches for offer codes or coupons and will automatically redeem them at purchase with Google Wallet.

Now, you are probably thinking, is it safe to store all my information in a single app? Yes, Google Wallet is actually safer than holding your wallet with all your cards in it. Your wallet can just get stolen and then someone can instantly start using your cards. With Google Wallet, your credit cards are locked with a PIN. You can’t use the app until the PIN is entered. Not only does the app itself have a PIN, you can also put a password lock on your phone. Google Wallet also offers layers of security. It stores your information not on your phone’s memory chip, but on what is called the Secure Element. This chip only allows trusted programs to access your information.

Even though this is a pretty new technology, many companies already offer its services. Some of the major stores are American Eagle Outfitters, Banana Republic, Foot Locker, Gap, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Sports Authority, Jamba Juice, and many more. It is also rumored that Walmart and Target are going to be offering it soon.

I only gave you the basic overview of Google Wallet, there is still so much more it can do. If you are interested in reading more about it, here is Google Wallet’s official website.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Don’t forget about the quiz!


March 8, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Texting App Not Just for the Blind

Hi MAT 120 students! Hope all is well! On Saturday, I was looking through CNET’s website ( and one specific article caught my eye. The summary for the article immediately drew me in. It talked about how some Georgia Tech students developed a texting app for the visually impaired.

There are many different ways for a visually impaired person to text. There are voice-to-text applications that converts what you say to text, but sometimes those aren’t always reliable. You might come across the program translating the wrong wording. Another way is a keyboard that uses the Braille writing system that hooks up to your phone. However, these keyboards start at around $1000. Now, thanks to students at Georgia Tech, the visually impaired can text, for FREE! Who doesn’t love free?

The Braille Alphabet

These students developed the Braille Touch, which is an open source app that transforms the Braille writing system into a touch-screen keyboard for smartphones. The Braille system uses six dots arranged in six-position matrix or cell. So this app’s keyboard only uses six keys and converts gestures into input points. The way it works is the user faces their phone away from them, places the phone in their palms, use their fingers to gesture a specific letter.The app will then confirm which letter was chosen through sound.

The best part is that the app is not just for the visually impaired. According to the project leader for the app, Mario Romero, anyone can learn how to type in the Braille alphabet in a matter of minutes, without having to learn how to be able to read the alphabet. Previous studies show that those who learn Braille typing can type up to 32 words per minute with a 92% accuracy.

Currently, the Georgia tech team developed the Braille Touch for the iPhone and iPad. They are working on developing it for Android. Already though, the app won the MobileHCI 2011 competition for design.

I do have to throw in a disclaimer for this app. Even though it does allow you to text faster, it was not made to help you text quickly while you drive. Please don’t text and drive, it’s dangerous!

Hope you enjoyed my post! If you want to read the original article click here.
And don’t forget the quiz!

Remember, don’t text and drive!


February 23, 2012 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Robots Used to Treat Cancer

Hi MAT 120 students! I thought I would introduce myself before I got started on the blog. My name is Katie Hammer and I am currently a junior. I am majoring in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management with a minor in Information Systems. I encourage everyone to try out an IT class. Technology is such a major part of the business world now that it will really give you an edge if you have a background in Information Systems.

This is actually my first time writing a blog (so be nice!), and I hope you enjoy!

Nowadays, almost everyone is affected by cancer. Either you personally are fighting it or you know someone close to you fighting it. Researchers work everyday to develop new technologies to defeat it. A new technology inspired by a crab dinner helps treat a cancer patient without having to put them under the knife.

Together Lawrence Ho, an enterologist at Singapore’s National University Hospital, and Louis Phee, an associate professor at Nanyang Technological Institute’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, created a crab-like robot that is used to remove early-stage stomach cancer. In 2004, when dining with Sydney Chung, a well-known surgeon from Hong Kong, Ho and Phee gained their inspiration for the robot from Singapore’s signature chili crab dish. Because of the strength of a crab’s pincers, Chung proposed that Ho and Phee could use the crab as their prototype.

Soon after, Ho and Phee started their work on the crab-like robot. Like a crab’s pincers, they developed a mechanical pincer and hook that connects to an endoscope. They also attached a small camera to the robot to provide visual feedback.

from the site

The way it works is that the robot enters through the patient’s mouth and then crawls down the throat to the stomach. By using the feedback from the camera, the surgeon can control the pincer to grab the cancerous tissue and slice it off with the hook. According to Ho, this procedure offers more precision because the robot can make finer movements compared to a surgeon using his or her hands.

Besides the finer movements, the robot offers some more benefits. This procedure takes a fraction of the time that the laparoscopic surgeries take and reduce the risk of infection and visible scars. So far, the crab robot has removed stomach cancer from five patients. Within three years, the robot could possibly be available commercially.

If you would like to read more about it click here.

Don’t forget to take the quiz!

February 9, 2012 at 6:00 am 2 comments

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