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New 'ATM' takes old phones and gives back green

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With support from the NSF Small Business Innovation Research program, ecoATM of San Diego, Calif., has developed a unique, automated system that lets consumers trade in old electronic devices for reimbursement or recycling. (Credit: ecoATM)

TechAndComputer (Sep. 17, 2012) — When new cell phones or tablets enter the marketplace, yesterday's hot technology can quickly become obsolete--for some consumers. For others, the device still has value as an affordable alternative, or even as spare parts.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), ecoATM of San Diego, Calif., has developed a unique, automated system that lets consumers trade in those devices for reimbursement or recycling.


Computer program can identify rough sketches

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TechAndComputer (Sep. 13, 2012) — First they took over chess. Then Jeopardy. Soon, computers could make the ideal partner in a game of Draw Something (or its forebear, Pictionary).

Researchers from Brown University and the Technical University of Berlin have developed a computer program that can recognize sketches as they're drawn in real time. It's the first computer application that enables "semantic understanding" of abstract sketches, the researchers say. The advance could clear...

Are older adults willing to accept help from robots?

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TechAndComputer (Sep. 12, 2012) — Most older adults prefer to maintain their independence and remain in their own homes as they age, and robotic technology can help make this a reality. Robots can assist with a variety of everyday living tasks, but limited research exists on seniors' attitudes toward and acceptance of robots as caregivers and aides. Human factors/ergonomics researchers investigated older adults' willingness to receive robot assistance that allows them to age in place, and...

Who (and what) can you trust? How non-verbal cues can predict a person's (and a robot's) trustworthiness

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TechAndComputer (Sep. 11, 2012) — People face this predicament all the time -- can you determine a person's character in a single interaction? Can you judge whether someone you just met can be trusted when you have only a few minutes together? And if you can, how do you do it? Using a robot named Nexi, Northeastern University psychology professor David DeSteno and collaborators Cynthia Breazeal from MIT's Media Lab and Robert Frank and David Pizarro from Cornell University have figured out...

Computer, read my lips: Emotion detector developed using a genetic algorithm

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TechAndComputer (Sep. 10, 2012) — A computer is being taught to interpret human emotions based on lip pattern, according to research published in the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing. The system could improve the way we interact with computers and perhaps allow disabled people to use computer-based communications devices, such as voice synthesizers, more effectively and more efficiently. Share This: See Also: Mind &...