Google’s Finally Offering Rides in Its Self-Driving Minivans

AFTER SPENDING NEARLY a decade quetly working on self-driving cars, Google finally wants to take people for a ride. Its autonomous spin-off, Waymo plans to add 500 Chrysler Pacifica minivans to the 100 already roaming the roads of Phoenix, and inviteds locals to sign up for free rides to school, work, soccer practice, or anywhere else they need to go. Continue reading Google’s Finally Offering Rides in Its Self-Driving Minivans

The Power of a Plant: A Teacher’s Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools

An inspiring story about how incorporating gardening and plants into teaching curriculum moved the graduation rate of students from 17% to 100% and improved attendance to 93% in his South Bronx high school.

In The Power of a Plant, globally acclaimed teacher Stephen Ritz shows readers how, in one of the nation’s poorest communities, his students thrive in school and in life by growing, cooking, eating, and sharing the bounty of their green classroom. His innovative program began by accident. When a flower broke up a brawl among burly teenagers at a tough South Bronx high school, Stephen saw a teachable moment to connect students with nature.

By using plants as an entry point for all learning, he witnessed nothing short of a transformation. Attendance soared from 40 to 93 percent. Disciplinary issues plummeted. In a school with a 17 percent graduation rate and high crime rate, every one of his students finished school and stayed out of jail. More than 50,000 pounds of vegetables later, he has figured out how to bring the magic of gardening into the heart of the school day for students of all ages.

Green Bronx Machine Bronx Green Machine

The Power of a Plant, shares Stephen’s practical solutions for growing his favorite crop: organically grown citizens. His approach Stephen Ritzhas attracted attention from the White House to the Vatican. For anyone worried about rising childhood obesity rates, better access to healthy, affordable food, and job opportunities to lift families out of poverty, he has hard-earned answers.

Read more about the Green Bronx Machine and pre-order your copy of “The Power of a Plant” today!

Why Zendaya is Helping Bring Tech to Kids in Need

Career-wise, Zendaya has pretty much done it all. On top of starring in and producing one of Disney Channel’s biggest shows ever, K.C. Undercover, Z has landed roles in two huge films (Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Greatest Showman on Earth), along with inking a record deal, designing her own fashion line, and starting her own Zendaya app. Whew! Continue reading Why Zendaya is Helping Bring Tech to Kids in Need

Tackling Tech: NFL, NBA Stars Redirect Followers to STEM Careers

How will young boys and girls respond when their pro sports, entertainment and performing arts idols tell them to pass on fame and focus on careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)? Sports tech companies hope kids listen to the likes of Drew Brees and LeBron James and consider a career as a mathlete, for example, over a shot at a professional athlete. The same goes for girls hearing a similar message from super-model Adriana Lima, and actress Zendaya.

It’s no secret that there are millions of open tech jobs available in the U.S. today that STEM-educated kids could fill as adults. Verizon pegs the number at 9 million overall with 4 million in science and math alone. By contrast, the number of pro sports and entertainment jobs are limited and quite difficult to land.

You needn’t do the math. A Verizon commercial claims there are only 2,880 pro football players, 624 pro basketball players, 850 pro soccer players and 5,800 models.

“We don’t need more Drews,” says NFL Super Bowl Winner Saints QB Drew Brees in the engaging ad. “We don’t need more LeBrons,” says NBA Superstar LeBron James. Other famous personalities added their voices.

That’s Brees’ and James’ message in a Verizon commercial that hit the airwaves during the Final Four and then during the national championship on Monday evening. The ads are part of an ongoing Verizon program, which includes financial and tech resources for kids in underserved schools and communities so that they have the opportunity to take the STEM challenge.

Continue onto the New England Patriots newsroom to read the complete article.

You can create your own augmented reality experiences with this app

2017 is the year tech will change the way we interact with the world around us. Augmented reality is the emerging tech that’s slowly disrupting our lives. Perhaps you spent a good chunk of last year running around after Pokemon IRL? Or sent a Snap of you with an adorable pair of dog ears to your nearest and dearest on Snapchat? Then you’ve experienced the power of augmented reality for yourself. And there’s an exciting British startup bringing AR to the palms of the people.

Zappar is the app that’s giving you the power of augmented reality via something you can’t live without – your smartphone.

What actually is AR?

Although the two are often mistaken, AR is something completely different from its so-called “cousin” virtual reality. Reality of the virtual kind aims to reconstruct reality itself – creating a world you can enter and explore. Augmented reality enhances the real world, layering information over what’s “real.” And augmented reality through Zappar is making it quick and easy to create your own “Zaps” – the company’s term for AR experiences.

Born in 2011 as the brainchild of four founders with a big ambition and some great technology, Zappar creates custom AR experiences for brands, and also gives the power over to you to create experiences for yourself. A feat of technology, Dr. Simon Taylor and Connell Gauld had already done the heavy lifting in terms of the algorithm and platform at the core of the Zappar proposition during their time at the University of Cambridge. CEO Caspar Thykier and Kirk Ewing came on board with their experience in business development, marketing and licensing, and so the app came to be. Today, Zappar has worked with some of the world’s biggest names, creating immersive experiences with huge global reach.

At just six years old, Zappar is still a relatively new business. However, CEO and co-founder Caspar Thykier told Mashable that “AR years are a lot like dog years, so in fact we’re practically part of the furniture in our field!” There’s a vibrant future ahead for companies at the forefront of the tech.

Having built their fully-owned tech-stack from the ground up, the team is constantly pioneering and pushing what’s possible in the field of reality both augmented and virtual for the mass market – keeping their proposition young and fresh. Thykier lamented that “the market is really coming towards us in terms of the development of better hardware, better cameras, processors and batteries all at more affordable prices across the world” – giving a glimpse of what the future of this tech could hold. The team is ready for the future too:  “As a software-as-a-service platform, we’ve built scalability into our proposition, ready for the next generation of developers who are beginning to experiment with this new creative canvas.”

Continue onto Mashable to read more about this creative app.


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