There are five Microsoft Kinects set up all around the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development, but they're not for playing games (or any of the other stuff the Kinect can do with an Xbox). They're monitoring the students, looking for signs of unusual behavior that might indicate a potential autism spectrum disorder.
IBM's Jeopardy! master robot Watson may not be a judge anytime soon, but he has gotten his first job: as a diagnostic whiz, like we expected. (Note: We will refer to Watson as a "he" and not an "it" until he stops being more charismatic than most humans we know.) According to the Wall Street Journal, IBM and health insurer WellPoint have agreed to use Watson to "help suggest treatment options and diagnoses to doctors." Congratulations, Watson! Don't blow your first paycheck on anything frivolous! [WSJ]
When Watson was competing on Jeopardy!, its massive databanks were filled with encyclopedias, novels, film scripts, and history books. These days, Watson is more into medical journals and misspelled Yahoo Answers blog posts about weird rashes and vague abdominal pains. Watson is maturing, and prepping for his first non-trivia, real-world application: medical diagnoses. He's all *sniff* grown up!
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.