Category: College students and adults

March 16th, 2014 by admin

Most technically-oriented people are smart enough to master chemistry, physics, and advanced math, yet too often much of that knowledge will go to waste unless they channel their technical know-how into some type of productive use. Some people start up companies like Google, others apply their brainpower to mastering business. Two Dutch engineers decided to use their brainpower to create a Lego Mindstorms computer and a Samsung smartphone to create a Rubik’s Cube solving robot.

Amazingly, their combination Lego/Samsung computer set the world’s record for solving the Rubik’s Cube in 3.253 seconds, shattering the old record (that their Lego computer also set) of 5.55 seconds.

Bruce Lee once said, “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” If two Dutch engineers could use their creativity to make a Rubik’s Cube-solving robot out of Legos, there’s no limit to what other engineers and scientists can do. While solving the Rubik’s Cube might seem whimsical, it’s actually a complex problem that stumps many people.

Of course, you don’t have to create a game-playing robot out of Legos. Use your imagination and think of ways to create a low-cost water filter that never needs replacement parts. Develop low-cost solar panels. Innovation rides on the back of creative minds that often come from the scientific world. While Wall Street bankers may make a lot more money, they often contribute little to the well-being of society. As scientists and engineers, you not only have the know-how to solve technical problems, but you have far greater opportunities to achieve much more than any executive with an MBA could ever do.

Put your technical knowledge to work on something wonderful today. You won’t regret your decision. If you need inspiration, watch this video of the Lego/Samsung computer solve the Rubik’s Cube puzzle.

To read more about the Lego/Samsung robot, click here.

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Posted in College students and adults, Computer games, Programming

January 21st, 2014 by admin

29-year old Lyndsey Scott works as a model for Prada and Victoria’s Secret, but also spends her spare time building mobile apps. Although she’s appeared in major magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, W and British Vogue, she’s more proud of getting her iPhone and iPad apps approved by Apple.

In high school, she taught herself how to program her TI-89 calculator.

“I didn’t realize I was even coding at that point,” Scott said. “I first got into it just to make fun games and entertain myself.”

Yet her intelligent and game-coding skills caused her classmates to bully and taunt her. “It got so bad in high school I couldn’t even look people in the face,” Scott said. “I would hide out in school so I wouldn’t have to eat lunch in the cafeteria or see people in between classes.”

At Amherst College, Scott learned Java, C++ and MIPS while majoring in theater and computer science. But instead of pursuing a programming career, she plunged into modeling.

By being both a computer programmer and a Victoria Secret model, Lyndsey Scott shows that you can be smart and successful at the same time, even in a glamorous field where most models seem to use their brains for anything but actual thinking. While not all of us may be born with perfect physical features to model professionally, Lyndsey Scott proves that you can control your future with your brains rather than your body.

Physical looks will eventually fade but intelligence will always reign supreme and give you the opportunity to define your own life. Look at Lyndsey Scott as inspiration. If she could get through school and maintain her curiosity about life, then that shows how little peer pressure really means in the long run.

Do what you want and pursue your own dreams regardless of those around you. You never know when you might become the next success story that shatters the nerd stereotype like Lyndsey Scott.

Read more about Lyndsey Scott here.

Posted in College students and adults, iOS

May 5th, 2012 by admin

Researchers at UCLA have created an online crowdsourcing game designed to let players help doctors in key areas of the world speed the lengthy process of distinguishing malaria-infected red blood cells from healthy ones.

For instance, the researchers hope that users of the game can help in areas like sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria accounts for some 20% of all childhood deaths, The disease, which affects about 210 million people annually worldwide, accounts for almost 40% of all hospitalizations throughout Africa.

Typically, malaria is diagnosed by a trained pathologist peering through a conventional light microscope. The time consuming process can overwhelm researchers in countries that have high numbers of cases and limited resources, UCLA researchers said.

The researchers also noted that a significant percentage of cases reported in sub-Sahara Africa are false positives, which lead to unnecessary and costly treatments and hospitalizations.

The crowdsourcing game, which is free to play, works off the assumption that large groups of non-experts can be trained to recognize microscopic images of infectious disease cells with the accuracy of trained pathologists.

So far mostly undergraduate UCLA volunteers have played the game, and have collectively been able to accurately diagnose malaria-infected red blood cells within 1.25% of the accuracy of a pathologist performing the same task, resesarchers said.

Read the complete article here.

Posted in College students and adults, Computer games

March 11th, 2012 by admin

The typical video game requires eye-hand coordination along with trigger-happy reflexes. Yet there’s a new breed of games out there dubbed contemplative gaming. The idea is less to blow things up and more to explore an artistic environment.

The independent game studio, thatgamecompany, recently released a game called “Journey,” which places the player in the role of a silent robed figure standing alone in a sea of glimmering sand dunes. In the distance, a great mountain appears against the sky as your destination. The metaphor is that this is your life journey for you to discover on your own. From start to finish, everything about this mysterious and beautiful experience is entirely open to interpretation, and the overall feeling of playing is one of serenity and peace.

“I think the quality we are after in ‘Journey’ and similar games is not zen or relaxation or even peacefulness, really, but something like interactive contemplation, or contemplative gaming,” says Timothy J. Welsh, assistant professor of digital humanities at Loyola University. “I realize that is a term that also gets associated with zen, mediation, and mystic spirituality, but I’m thinking of it more in the sense of how one regards a landscape painting.”

If you see video games as a possible art form, you might enjoy this latest category of video games. Now video games can be as thought-provoking and calming as a museum painting.

Read the full article here.

Posted in College students and adults, Computer games

March 9th, 2012 by admin

Engineering professor Brianno Coller didn’t like math problems as an instructor any more than he had as a student. What he needed was animation and interactivity, and that’s when he decided to use video games as a teaching tool.

Now his third-year students at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb build virtual race cars, complete with roaring engines and screeching tires, that must maneuver an increasingly challenging course. Along the way, they’re exposed to computational math, a basic building block of engineering.

“I use games to, in some sense, throw away the textbook,” says Coller, 42, who played Lunar Lander and other video games as a kid. “My philosophy is that learning can be a burdensome chore or it can be an interesting journey.”

Around the country, pockets of faculty have been adding games to their courses as a way to stimulate learning. At Boston College, nursing students conduct forensics at a virtual crime scene. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a game called Melody Mixer teaches students how to read and compose music. Students at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., play World of Warcraft, a multiplayer online game, in a course on intelligence studies.

“The key driver is the need for ways to make learning more engaging,” says Larry Johnson, CEO of the non-profit New Media Consortium and co-author of a report this year that predicts an explosion of game-based learning in higher education within three years. “Games can open that door for many students.”

Game-based learning has become a new field and has even been touted as part of the U.S. Education Department’s new national technology plan, but games don’t have to be based on the computer. To help students grasp the psychological and economic impact of the Black Death, University of New Haven lecturer Matt Wranovix created a card game in which students left holding a Joker fall victim to the plague. And there is no software to download to play Reacting to the Past, a role-playing game developed a decade ago by Barnard College history professor Mark Carnes. The game, which has spread to more than 300 campuses in the past few years, relies mostly on classic texts and, sometimes, homemade costumes.

While some people are skeptical about using games as an educational tool, others are embracing it to make learning fun. The more fun you have, the more likely you’ll learn something.

Read the full article here.

Posted in Board games, College students and adults, Computer games

March 8th, 2012 by admin

If you thought video games were useless, you might be interested in the September 14 issue of Current Biology that concluded that people who play action video games develop skill in detecting a range of visual and acoustic evidence that increases their decision-making capabilities with no loss of precision. Researchers call this skill probabilistic inference.

“What’s surprising in our study is that action games improved probabilistic inference not just for the act of gaming, but for unrelated and rather dull tasks,” says psychologist Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester in New York.

Unlike slower-paced video games that feature problems with specific solutions, action video games throw a rapid-fire series of unpredictable threats and challenges at players. Those who get a lot of practice, say, killing zombies attacking from haphazard directions in a shifting, postapocalyptic landscape pump up their probabilistic inference powers, Bavelier proposes.

Psychologist Alan Castel of the University of California, Los Angeles, calls the new study “thorough and intriguing.” Much remains to be learned, though, about whether and to what extent video-induced thinking improvements aid other skills, such as pilots’ ability to land airplanes in challenging conditions.

So if you think action-oriented video games have no redeeming value, think again. They may be helping you develop the skills you need to assess information rapidly and make decisions quickly, which you can apply to your world outside of video games.

Read the full article here.

Posted in College students and adults, Computer games

February 28th, 2012 by admin

While many people play games for fun, many more are involved in using games as a learning, training, and teaching tool. This field, dubbed “Serious Games,” is a rapidly growing field. To learn more, you can read Adobe’s white paper about “Serious Games.” Some comments from this white paper include:

“Serious games, expected to be a US$1.5 billion global market in 2008, are being described by some analysts as the next wave of technology-mediated learning. As organizations intensify their efforts to engage with members of today’s workforce, serious games offer a powerful, effective approach to learning and skills development.”

“What sets serious games apart from the rest is the focus on specific and intentional learning outcomes to achieve serious, measurable, sustained changes in performance and behavior. Learning design represents a new, complex area of design for the game world. Learning designers have unique opportunities to make a significant contribution to game design teams by organizing game play to focus on changing, in a predefined way, the beliefs, skills, and/or behaviors of those who play the game, while preserving the entertainment aspects of the game experience.”

“Serious games are a rapidly growing industry. Military, corporate, education, and healthcare organizations from around the world are enjoying the positive effects that serious game implementations have had on their organization’s learning needs. Learning designers and game designers must collaborate fully for a game to provide the most engaging and effective learning experience. Incorporating aspects of social networking and other Web 2.0+ technologies into serious game design enhances learner-adoption by today’s workforce. Developing and deploying a serious game using industry-standard tools, such as those offered by Adobe, will promote sweeping adoption by users.”

If you want to turn your gaming hobby into something productive and lucrative, take a look at this emerging field of serious gaming. What better way to make a living than designing and playing games all day?

Posted in College students and adults, Computer games

February 24th, 2012 by admin

If you think games are just for young people and serve no purpose other than to waste away idle time, think again. Kathleen ‘Kit’ Connell. Kit plays on her Nintendo DS console for two hours every evening, and has been nicknamed the ‘Nintendo Queen’ by UK newspaper The Sun.

“Kit, who turned 100 last week, only started playing video games at the age of 96, but she now relies on her DS console to keep her mind active. ‘The Nintendo has been a great help to me, it’s absolutely amazing. If there’s any secret to a long life it’s to think positive and keep your mind active.”

Kit plays games like My Word Coach, Left Brain Right Brain 2, Easy Piano and Brain Training. According to the Brain Training game, she’s mentally at age 64, which she attributes to using video games to keep her mind active.

If a 100-year old woman can stay mentally sharp by playing the right kinds of video games, who knows what effect such positive video games could have on everyone else as well? To learn more about Kit and her video gaming, read the compete article here.

Posted in College students and adults, Computer games

February 14th, 2012 by admin

Here’s an unusual game to help people understand different blood types. The Blood Typing Game, developed by the official Web site of the Nobel Prize, challenges players to give blood transfusions and learn the different blood types available. Give the wrong blood type to a patient and you could kill him. Give the right blood type and you could save a life.

While this game may not be as challenging as the latest eye-hand coordination, first-person shooter game, it’s still another interesting use of a game to teach complex topics to the general public. If you’re involved the field of biology or medicine, try playing the Blood Typing Game and see how well you do.

Reason to play: Learn to understand the different blood types in people.

Posted in College students and adults, Computer games

February 9th, 2012 by admin

Decision Games

Before the popularity of video games, many military and war historians played paper war-games where pieces represented tanks, navies, armies, or airplanes. By creating rules for how each playing piece could move and attack, these paper war-games could help historians argue about the merits of certain battle plans or simulate future battles between likely enemies.

During World War Two, the Japanese made up a war-game to simulate the upcoming attack on Midway island. Based on what they thought the Americans would have at their disposal and what their own strategy would be, the Japanese attacked Midway Island in their war-game and lost when the American fleet ambushed their aircraft carriers and sank the Japanese fleet.

Outraged that the American could possibly win, the Japanese broke their own rules and allowed the Japanese team to win. When the Japanese sailed into the actual battle of Midway, the Americans wound up ambushing the Japanese fleet, ambushing their aircraft carriers, and sinking four of them, just like the Japanese war-game had predicted.

If you’re interested in both studying historical battles or simulating potential new ones, look at Decision Games, the publisher of various historical and modern war-games. These games can often be complex to learn and play, but they can give you a unique insight into the battles that changed the course of history so you can test out different tactics to see what might have been a better strategy.

More importantly, studying these paper war-games can help you better understand both geography and history while teaching you strategy at the same time. These war-games aren’t as precise as chess, but they can help bring history to life. If you think you could win the American Civil War for the South, conquer Europe back in the Middle Ages, or invade Iraq in the near future, a paper war-game can help you prove your skill as you learn.

Paper war-games more closely resemble the strategy, turn-based games of some video games like “Civilization.” However, don’t let the lack of fancy computer graphics turn you away from this fascinating aspect of gaming where history and military strategy can prove itself right before your eyes.

Posted in Board games, College students and adults, Pre-teen and teenagers

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