First off, it looks like DARPA is going to expand the BigDog project. If you’ve never seen the videos of the robotic mule, it really is a must. It has an uncanny look and is the best representation of an autonomous walking machine.
To move to something that might be more useful in education, I just started watching video of Google’s Android cell phone OS. Having used an iTouch pretty extensively last year (regularly bumming it off friends), I am impressed by the thought put into the Google applications and interface options. I would recommend watching most of the videos Google has created at http://www.youtube.com/user/androiddevelopers but this video shows I think the best use of the applications:
I could see applications like this, with multiple input potentials being highly valued in education. For just an interesting thought piece think of the 2d bar code on the developers business card. What if a poster presentation included bar codes on the posters that downloaded the researcher’s information, downloaded any related papers from the Internet, and saved a picture of the poster right to your phone.
Expand this to a museum where being near a certain exhibit or scanning a bar code on a display send students to a virtual set of information.
Now expand this further to a classroom where students can move about and learn through their location in space. The multimodal input capacity allows students to access on demand information and can even better allow them to access more specific information by way of a set of bar codes on an object of interest. Think of a science classroom with various experiments set up displaying Newtonian Mechanics. The experiment’s position is used to create connection on their Android. As they explore the information, a link about gravity opens up a radar bringing them from a velocity experiment to a pendulum challenging any confusion that might be forming about velocity and acceleration.
I am a fan of multimodal computer input because I believe that like the example above it creates more chances for embodied learning.