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Khan Academy’s Marcia Lee Builds Tools for Online Education

Marcia Lee shapes the Khan Academy’s tools for Web-based instruction

3 min read
Marcia Lee

Despite being photographed outdoors in full sunlight, a 160-mm-diagonal, color cholesteric liquid-crystal display, built with off-the-shelf electronics for demonstration purposes by Kent Displays Inc., shows a bright image. The image is produced by reflected light, not backlighting, and no power is needed to hold the image on the screen.

Photo: Gabriela Hasbun; Stylist: Tietjen Fischer


In late August 2010, Marcia Lee, newly graduated from Stanford with a master's degree in computer science, packed her car and drove north from Silicon Valley for what she thought would be a fantastic job at Microsoft and an awesome apartment in Seattle. She turned out to be right about the digs but wrong about the work.

So after just five months, Lee quit Microsoft and headed back to Silicon Valley. The apartment she settled into there was nothing special, but the new job she found, at the Khan Academy, sang to her heart.

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A First: An AI System Has Been Named An Inventor

A patent was granted that lists it as the creator of a food container

4 min read
A photo-illustration of a robotic hand holding a light bulb against a starry sky.
ISTOCKPHOTO

The South African patent office made history in July when it issued a patent that listed an artificial intelligence system as the inventor.

The patent is for a food container that uses fractal designs to create pits and bulges in its sides. Designed for the packaging industry, the new configuration allows containers to fit more tightly together so they can be transported better. The shape also makes it easier for robotic arms to pick up the containers.

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Exaggerated stopping movements help pedestrians read autonomous cars’ minds

4 min read
autonomous cars and pedestrians in city scene
iStockphoto

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When he’s waiting at a cross walk, Paul Schmitt, chief engineer at Motional, engages in what he calls the “glance dance”—a rapid and almost subconscious assessment of where an oncoming driver is looking and whether they’re aware of him. “With automated vehicles, half of that interaction no longer exists,” he says. “So what cues are then available for the pedestrian to understand the vehicles’ intentions?”

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By adding new faculty and developing innovative approaches to its curriculum, McMaster solidifies its world leading position in engineering

3 min read

The Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., Canada is aiming to build on its ranking as one of the world's top engineering schools by expanding its recruitment of both tenure-track and teaching track positions across multiple departments. This broad initiative is expected to continue the growth of McMaster as a leading destination for innovative teaching and research.

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