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This hand was made by a printer. For only $150

NEED TO KNOW
  • This week's 5 most fantastic innovations and ideas!
  • Prosthetic hand (and stem cells?) created by 3D printer
  • New app translates foreign language TV shows
This hand was made by a printer. For only $150

Editor's Note: Karyn Lu is Turner Broadcasting's manager of New Media Insights & Inspiration. Each week, she scouts out amazing innovations, cutting edge technology and, well, just really awesome stuff and shares them right here. Before it goes mainstream, it's going to be one of her favorite 5 Things From The Future!

1. The president's favorite technology does it again

Did you catch President Obama’s mention of 3D printing during his State of the Union address this week? He said this technology “has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything,” and he’s absolutely right. This week, we have more amazing stories from the world of 3D printing.

Out of South Africa, we learned about an incredible collaboration between two makers who teamed up to design and build a 3D printed prosthetic hand -- called the “Robohand” -- for a 5-year-old boy who was born with no fingers on his right hand (this is reminiscent of the 3D printed “magic arms” story that changed 4-year-old Emma Lavelle’s life). Moreover, the Robohand cost only $150, can be personalized and is freely available for anyone to download the design!

Think that’s amazing? Here’s some more astounding news: a team of scientists in Scotland are also looking into 3D printing with human embryonic stem cells. Using stem cells as the “bio-ink,” if you will, these scientists believe they can someday “print” human tissues and organs. While it sounds like sci-fi, this technology is fast becoming a mainstream reality -- even the president agrees.

2. Would work be better with a 'puppy room'? (Yes. Yes it would)

Why, oh why, was a “puppy room” not a part of my college exam experience? I’m pretty certain any finals-related stress would have melted away after 5 minutes of cuddling with a four-legged friend. Recently, a third-year Environmental Science student at Canada's Dalhousie University came up with the ingenious idea to mingle dogs and students during exam week. Not at all surprisingly, the very first day alone reportedly drew almost 500 students.

Apparently, similar programs have also popped up at Yale Law School and Harvard Medical School. But really, universities aren’t the only places where life can get stressful -- could we perhaps think about implementing a “puppy room” for those of us working out of corporate office buildings? In the meantime, if you don’t have easy access to a puppy to cuddle with, just watch the video here.

3. The next big thing in music? Your gym

Getting to the gym can be pretty tough, but once you get yourself there, having the right music to accompany your workout is surely pretty important. Well, to that end, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that fitness companies are increasingly getting into the music business. The fitness industry is investing in training their instructors to create awesome playlists that will help create more loyal classes.

Meanwhile, “music labels are pitching their emerging talent to instructors and cutting deals with fitness chains. And exercise businesses are trying to cut licensing deals with music companies in order to package and sell workout songs in much the same way that film and television executives do with soundtracks.” All of this is good news for us, as better music = more motivation to stick to our New Year’s resolutions!

4. App translates foreign TV shows

The number of foreign students and professionals entering Brazil increases every year, but most of them don’t speak Portuguese, according to Brazil’s Easy Way Language Center. And watching TV can be a major challenge if you don’t speak the language (entertaining, but ultimately frustrating). To that end, Easy Way has launched an app that translates television content in real time. The app combines closed captioning and Google Translate technology to translate programs into your own language via your smartphone or iPad.

And of course, it’s a clever vehicle for Easy Way to promote their language lesson programs, as well. We’ve already seen sign-translating apps, and even an app that translates newspaper content into a kid-friendly format. I expect that pretty soon, with the help of technology, language will truly no longer be a barrier to communication.

5. The full arena experience. Earplugs not included

More good news for hockey fans. First the lockout ended, now this: a clever way to stay connected to your favorite team no matter where they are, with a new device called the “Budweiser Red Light.” You know that red light and horn that goes off every time there's a goal? Well, that very same light can now live inside your own home, so that whenever your favorite team scores -- no matter where they’re playing -- you’ll know, thanks to the light's built-in Wi-Fi connection. It can be programmed with a smartphone app. What a smart use of technology to help sports fans stay connected to their teams.

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