Tag Archives | apps

3 Ways Tech is Changing Lives

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We know technology has grown exponentially over the past 20 years in ways that make our lives fun and efficient, but it has also made life easier and safer for some. Here are three tech advances in 2017 that are really changing lives:

1. Smart watches for blind people
Think about the last time you had trouble finding where you were going. Now imagine being disoriented again, only this time you’re blind. Sometimes we take things like vision for granted, and Sunu is changing things. Fernando Albertorio is co-founder of this company, and legally blind. He recognized a need for a product that could help him navigate without bumping into objects, and created a wristband that emits ultrasound waves and uses varying levels of vibrations to let him know how close objects are. Not only is this product practical for the blind or visually impaired, but it increases their confidence and way of living. Albertorio even ran a 5K race wearing it.
Price: $299
Availability: Starting August 2017

2. Self-driving wheelchairs
You’ve heard of self-driving cars – so it’s only logical that self-driving wheelchairs would be just as possible. A Canadian research team has claimed to develop technology that would allow wheelchairs to drive themselves. The idea has presented itself before, however, the price for one of these was in the range of $30,000 – not exactly affordable. Toronto’s Cyberworks Robotics and the University of Toronto say they can create one for a cost of $300-$700. Self-driving wheelchairs would assist those who have low mobility in their upper body and may not be able – or find it difficult – to use joysticks and similar features on current motorized vehicles. While still a work in progress, it’s a good move towards improving the quality of life for those confined to wheelchairs.
Price: TBD
Availability: In development

3. A device to prevent sexual assault
Sexual assault cases are constantly in the news, and MIT researchers wanted to develop a way to help detect it and prevent it. Too many times on campus, students are intoxicated and end up in situations where their judgment isn’t clear. The Intrepid Smart Sticker was created with the idea that it can be fastened to the inside of your clothing and sync to your phone. The sticker recognizes when clothes are being removed, and sends a notification to the wearer’s phone asking for consent. If a response isn’t received, the phone will start buzzing loudly, and if a response is still not received, the identified contacts in the user’s “safety circle” will be notified and receive their location and a phone call. The app will also start recording the phone call and any other noises. Based on input from assault survivors, volunteers, and users, the Intrepid team believes this device could really help cut down the number of assault cases.
Price: TBD
Availability: In development

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7 Tools to Improve Your Productivity As a Student

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When our brains get overwhelmed by everything we have to do in college, they have a tendency to shut down. You can’t afford for your brain to take a vacation – you need it to finish all of your work. A little organization and structure will go a long way in keeping you productive. With the right tools in your toolbox, you’ll be able to finish anything.

1. Learn With Your Phone
You have plenty of apps on your phone that you can use to keep in touch with your friends and family, and even some you use just to help you waste some time. Have you ever used an app to study? Note taking apps and flashcard generating apps make it convenient to study from anywhere. Many of them will even sync to your computer, allowing you to import the study materials you already have handy.

2. Get a Planner
A planner is an old school productivity tool, but it’s making a big comeback. People really love decorating their planners, but they don’t need to look pretty to work well. By writing down all of your plans, including your assignment deadlines, it will be easier for you to keep track of your responsibilities before they have a chance to smother you.

3. Meal Planning Apps
Believe it or not, meal planning apps will make your life a lot easier. A lot of people are more health conscious now, and you can benefit from technology. Even if you aren’t looking to shed a few pounds, meal planning apps come with tons of advantages. You’ll be able to keep up with your grocery shopping and prep your meals ahead of time. You won’t find yourself studying until midnight and settling on delivery pizza or junk food when you feel overwhelmed.

4. Budgeting Apps
You need food, you need books, and you desperately need a new pair of sneakers. You may feel like you need to choose one or the other if your money gets scrambled up in the confusion of college life. Budgeting on paper is difficult to keep up with. Budgeting apps make it a lot easier to keep track of where all of your money is going. You’ll be less likely to ask your parents for a last minute loan if you have easy access to the full scope of your finances.

5. Anki
Anki is a flashcard deck program that’s easy to set up. You can choose from any of their preloaded decks, or create your own. It’s great to use when learning a foreign language, as many of the language packs come with audio clips of native speakers pronouncing the words. It’s a lot more immersive than reading plain text – the verbal accompaniment will enrich the learning experience.

6. Old Fashioned To Do Lists
Who wouldn’t benefit from a to do list? Whether you manually write out the things you need to accomplish on a piece of paper, use an app, or get yourself a huge chalkboard, it will help you keep track of all the small things that have been piling up while you’ve been focused on the bigger stuff. You got the grade you wanted on that huge project, but how long has it been since you’ve done your laundry? Don’t let the mundane chores slip away.

7. Fitness Trackers
Whether you wear one of those tracking bracelets or use an app on your phone, you’d be surprised how much good it does for your life. Focusing on exercise can help boost your cognition, providing you with the energy you need to take on the day. You’ll never be productive if you feel tired and bogged down all the time. Your health is more important than you may realize.

By focusing on becoming more productive now, you’ll already be set when you graduate and land the career you’ve always dreamed of. It’s never too early to begin forming lifelong good habits.

This article was contributed by guest author Sarah Davies.

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Top 10 Apps for Students

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Apps – if used appropriately – can help to ease a student’s workload, to communicate more efficiently and to organize more effectively. Here’s a list of our top 10 apps for students. Where possible, apps are listed across all three operating systems. Most apps on the list are free, which we all know is a student’s favourite price!

Social

1) Songza
This app is great for helping you unwind, or for getting you motivated for that 8:30am economics class. It streams over an internet connection and automatically creates playlists for you based on mood.

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2) Facebook
You can’t escape adding Facebook to a top ten app list: Facebook is still king outside the classroom. Stay connected to friends and family, hassle-free.

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Games

All of us need to blow off some steam. Remember, all work and no play makes for…a burnt out student!
 
3) Candy Crush
If you want your life to be completely consumed by any game app, this one is for you. Warning: may have severe repercussions on your academic life. And your social life. And your sleep.

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Note Taking

4) Evernote
Evernote is the mega app for organizing your life. From trips and events to tasks and classes, Evernote can do it all. It has a built-in note taker (voice and text) so you’ll never forget another moment of inspiration again.

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5) Voice Recorder – (Android); Voice Record Pro – (Apple); Parrot – Voice Recorder (BBM)
You’ll never have to ask a professor to repeat themselves again with this handy app. It records for as long as you have storage space, which on most phones is longer than you’d ever want. The Voice Recorder app for Android has a very nice feature that skips silences.

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Organizing

6) Google Drive
Google Drive offers a great way to access your documents from anywhere, even offline. You can also incorporate Google Docs to give you seamless access to your files for editing. Simply add documents or study notes to Google Drive, and access them on the go – or more likely, on the bus 20 minutes before that big exam. It’s also important to store any school work in more than one place, in case your computer has a meltdown. Storing your files online is a great backup. (Blackberry: Cloud Explorer for Google Drive – $1.99)

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7) Labtally
Labtally is currently available for 50 schools across the world. Sometimes finding a computer to use at your school can be really difficult – especially during peak times. Labtally lists the total number of computers that are available, in use, or offline in specific computer labs. It is only currently available for the Android market.

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Communication

8) Skype
Staying in touch with friends and family is very important, especially if you move away from home to attend school. Skype offers a no hassle chat via video calls over Wi-Fi.

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9) BBM
For quick messaging, nothing beats BBM – and now it’s available on Apple and Android. Chat with friends and family regardless of what type of phone they have. Simply download and install the app, then let people know your unique pin.

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Finance

Balancing your cheque book is a tedious and often boring chore, but it’s a necessary evil. As a student living away from home, this may be the first time you have to manage rent, groceries, and student loans. Make it a little easier on yourself.

10) Mint.com Personal Finance
Stay out of the red with this handy app that tracks and manages all of your money, expenses, and how much you’ve spent buying Candy Crush lives.

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What’s your favourite app to use? Tweet us @StudentsDotOrg and let us know!