The Top State for Robotics Innovation? Florida Will Surprise You

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Lifelike animatronics, next-generation “surgeons” and mechanical warfighters — words that might create visions of a Sci-Fi blockbuster. However, these innovations in high-tech robotics are real and you need look no further than Florida to find them. The history between the state and robotics is a long one. Since the birth of IBM PC in Boca Raton in 1981, the “Second Machine Age” has been thriving in the Sunshine State.
Florida’s robotics revolution covers a lot of ground, including mobility assistance and research, but a common theme found in the state’s innovation reliance on technology that defies human capabilities, including in the life sciences. Seamless procedures on the spine, cancer cells and more have been enhanced by robotics at the Florida Hospital Global Robotics Institute and Mazor Robotics, both in Orlando. Similarly, Kissimmee-based Photon-X explores the science of photonics, such as fiber optics, in applications for robotics surgery.
According to Photon-X President and CEO Blair Barbour, “Medical robotics is the next generation of surgery. The technology is perfected to eliminate human error from procedures, making it possible to enhance surgeries and surgeon capabilities with better hand-eye coordination. Tests have proven that patients also heal faster through robotic surgery.”
The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola takes a different approach to defying human capabilities. By pairing scientists and robots to develop systems using complicated human thought process and versatile machines, IHMC develops systems that save lives in situations where help is needed but the risk is too great for human response, including in nuclear meltdown sites and space exploration.
To develop the groundbreaking technology that Florida has become known for, the world’s most talented scientists are required, and the state has made it possible to attract and retain that talent. Says Julie Sheppard, general counsel of IHMC, “Being in Florida helps us with our recruitment. In addition to the exciting work, IHMC is able to hire top talent due to Florida’s weather, our affordable housing and all the access to waterways for recreational purposes. We are especially appealing to scientists from cities with a higher cost of living because we offer our employees a more attractive lifestyle.”
Homegrown talent is cultivated at colleges throughout the state, including the Tallahassee-based Center for Intelligent Systems, Control, and Robotics (CISCOR), a cooperative program between Florida A&M University and Florida State University. As one of the top schools in the country for development and implementation of robotics technology, CISCOR’s students focus on studying mechanical design and human-robot interaction, including mobility in complex environments.
In addition, the Army has collaborated with students to develop automated motion planning, terrain classification and design and modeling of four-legged robots.
For more information about high-tech robotics in Florida, visit www.enterpriseflorida.com

Talking about Estate Planning Needs to Happen Sooner Rather Than Later

There are subjects in life that need to be discussed, but many of us tend to avoid them. Issues like mortality and money top the list. As parents and children grow older, a must-have conversation should be the topic of estate planning, but do we know all that we should?

According to Fidelity Investments’ “ Family & Finance Study,” the answer is a resounding — and rather scary — “no.” In fact, seven out of 10 of children underestimated their parents’ estate by an average of $278,000. That’s a big number between knowing what is going on and not understanding at all. It illustrates a breakdown in communication that Kevin Ruth, head of Fidelity’s wealth planning and personal trust, says badly needs addressing through ‘frank conversations” between parents and their adult children.

Five Reasons You Need Cell Phone Insurance Now

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Not long ago we only used cell phones to make calls or send cryptic, short-hand text messages. Now, we rely on our phones for storing our contacts and calendar appointments, watching videos, checking email, managing our connected devices and, of course, keeping up on social media. In fact, phones have become such a crucial part of our lives that many people sleep with them.
So when your phone becomes lost, stolen, or damaged, it can send the most unflappable of us into a panic. Which is why, most industry experts agree, it is worth considering cell phone insurance.
For those who may still be on the fence about cell phone insurance, consider this:
1. Despite monthly premiums and deductibles, insurance can save owners money. The average retail price of a new smartphone is $590; even higher for a basic iPhone 7 ($649). More than 70 percent of phone claims are filed within the first year. This means that customers with phone insurance who file a claim at month 12 on an iPhone 7 can save $318 – $342 on a replacement phone after premiums and deductibles.
2. Most after-market “protection plans” are extended warranty plans which only cover accidental damage and malfunctions. Only a cell phone insurance and warranty bundle — available through most wireless carriers — covers loss, theft and damage. This is important because one in four phone claims last year were from loss or theft, according to the nation’s leading mobile insurance provider Asurion.
3. Most cell phone insurance programs through wireless carriers include cracked screen repair for smartphones with a lower deductible than what you would pay for a replacement device, and often lower than a consumer would pay to take it to a repair shop.
4. Shoppers now pay the full cost of their phones either up front or in monthly installments. Those who have a loss or theft before they’ve paid off the installments will still have to make the remaining payments. What’s more, without insurance you could be left with both the remaining installments and the payments for a new phone. With a 128 GB iPhone 7 Plus, at 6 months a customer could still owe nearly $700 on their old phone while trying to pay for a new one.
5. For the customer that can’t imagine being without their beloved cell phone, most carrier cell phone insurance programs provide a replacement device the next day. Replacement devices through the major wireless carriers are backed by a 1-year warranty providing shoppers with peace of mind should they have any mechanical or electrical issues.

Companies Are Discovering That Pittsburgh Is Good for Business

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Many companies have recognized the road to their success runs through Pittsburgh. Popular brands like American Eagle Outfitters and Dick’s Sporting Goods are headquartered in the city, and powerhouse companies like Amazon, Google, Uber, Shell, Facebook, and Apple have made recent investments or are expanding operations in the region.
For businesses that are considering new strategies to expand their customer base and reach, Pittsburgh offers a high-tech environment, an experienced and eager workforce, and inviting surroundings for both start-ups and established companies. Using Pittsburgh to increase your revenue and influence is the key to growing your business in 2017.
For those who would like to enter into the Pittsburgh area, the Pittsburgh Business Show is one way to gain a foothold within the city’s markets.
The Pittsburgh Business Show, a business-to-business trade show, will be held on April 19 and 20, 2017, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh. The show is the brainchild of Bryan Thornberg and Linda Jo Thornberg. It offers business owners, executives and entrepreneurs the tools they need to achieve goals and drive revenue.
The Pittsburgh Business Show is free to attend and will feature networking events, inspirational speakers and exhibitors from dozens of industries. It serves as an entry point for those companies that would like to establish operations within Pittsburgh. It also features an elaborate marketing and technology platform that includes real-time lead generation and will drive attendance through business, media, and attendee promotion.
The Show has attracted a slate of partners and media sponsors including the Pittsburgh Business Times, 102.5 WDVE, KDKA-TV, and The CW. The speakers list boasts names such as Darieth Chisolm, a business coach and Emmy-winning TV personality, and Dan Harmon, Vice President of digital marketing firm Higher Images.
The feedback from Pittsburgh and the surrounding region has been overwhelmingly positive, with media partners touting this one-of-a-kind show as a great stepping stone for people who want to engage the Pittsburgh market.
The Pittsburgh Business Show is opening the door for companies to come to Pittsburgh, connect with interested partners, and work together to improve their bottom line. The unique opportunities here can be introduced to business owners and executives through the Pittsburgh Business Show’s agenda and networking opportunities.
For more information about the Pittsburgh Business Show, visit www.pittsburghbusinessshow.com or call 412-668-4990.

Four Tips to Keep Your Kids’ Teeth Healthy And Clean

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – We all want our kids to have movie-star smiles as adults. As parents, this means knowing how to protect their teeth when they’re young, while ensuring that they practice good dental health care for a lifetime.
Because February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s the perfect time to “brush up” on instilling good oral-hygiene habits.
Consider this: according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), nearly one in three children ages two to five years old in the U.S. are affected by tooth decay, which is one of the top chronic infectious diseases among children and can compromise their health, development, and quality of life in both the short and long term.
“Parents are bombarded with unsolicited advice and health findings that are constantly changing,” says Dr. Jade Miller, AAPD President. “We don’t want to add to that stress, but there are a few common misconceptions, that could help make a huge difference in your child’s oral health — which is linked to their overall health and wellness.”
The good news is that tooth decay is nearly 100 percent preventable. The following do’s and don’ts from the AAPD can keep tooth decay at bay and keep kids smiling for years to come:
*Do cut down on sugar. Children shouldn’t graze on candy and sugary drinks (including sports drinks and juice). That prolonged exposure to sugar and acid can wreak havoc on teeth. Instead, stick to designated meal and snack times and have them drink plenty of water throughout the day.
*Don’t put babies to bed with a bottle. Milk and juice contain sugar. When babies are put to bed with a bottle, the sugar coats their teeth while they are sleeping, causing tooth decay. If you use a bottle before sleep, opt for water.
*Do wean children off of pacifiers by age three. Pacifiers are a natural way for children to self-soothe. However, prolonged use can increase the risk of cavities, and affect the way a child’s teeth bite together often causing an overbite.
*Do avoid topical teething gels and rings. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against using teething gels that contain benzocaine or lidocaine because they can harm your child. Parents and caregivers should stay away from teething rings too which contain chemicals, and low levels of BPA– despite labels citing otherwise — that can be harmful to your child.
For more information about children’s oral health and to find a pediatric dentist in your area, visit www.mychildrensteeth.org.

CME Group Competition Brings Trading to The Classroom

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – University students around the world can test their trading skills in CME Group’s 14th Annual Trading Challenge next month — and could walk away with $1,500 in prize money and a trip to Chicago.
CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives exchange hosts its complimentary, electronic trading competition each year in order to help educate the next generation of global finance professionals. Last year, nearly 500 teams from 200 universities represented 30 countries in the competition. Nanyang Polytechnic from Singapore was the winner in 2016 and Ozyegin University from Turkey prevailed in 2015.
During the competition, teams of undergraduate and graduate students learn hands-on techniques for trading up to 10 different CME Group derivatives products from multiple asset classes on a real-time professional trading platform. Live data and news is also provided to the students free of charge.
Each member of the first-place team receives a cash prize of $1,500, as well as a trip to Chicago for the company’s day of market education. Cash prizes are also awarded down to the fifth-place team, with the top 10 percent of teams also invited to Chicago.
Registration for the competition is now open and will remain open until Tuesday, February 7, at 5 p.m. CST.
For more information, visit cmegroup.com/tradingchallenge.
Students can also try their hand at trading year-round by using the CME Group’s Futures Fundamentals site, an innovative resource that explains the role of futures markets in everyday life.

Four-Wheel Fans Care for Trails

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A foursome of four-wheel drive clubs are the winners of the 2016 Outstanding Trails Program sponsored by BFGoodrich Tires, in partnership with 4 Wheel Parts, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, Blue Ribbon Coalition, and Off Road Business Association.
The clubs and their nominated trails are:
-Mile-Hi Jeep Club: Sidewinder Trail, Colorado
-Ohio River Four Wheelers: Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway, Kentucky
-Grand Mesa Jeep Club: 21 Road, Grand Junction, Colorado
-Piston’s Wild Motorsports Club: Hagen Creek Trail, Yacolt Burn State Forest, Washington
The Outstanding Trails program, now in its 11th year, was created to promote trail conservation and responsible off-road driving. The program invites off-road clubs from all over North America to nominate local trails that need maintenance or improvement. A panel of judges chooses the winning clubs and trails, which are selected based on unique features, terrain, and club support.
The four off-road clubs chosen each year receive grants of $4,000 each to use for local efforts to preserve and protect their hometown trails. In addition, representatives from BFGoodrich Tires will attend club events related to the winning trails in order to highlight each location’s unique features and educate four-wheel drive fans in responsible trail use.
“The saying goes, ‘where the rubber meets the road,’ and at BFGoodrich, not only do we take that to heart, but we also believe that where the rubber meets the trail is equally important, and that starts with the All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire,” says BFGoodrich’s Oscar Pereda. “In our first ten years of the Outstanding Trails program, we have helped to improve, repair, maintain, and protect nearly 50 trails in 17 states and two Canadian provinces.”
Each of the winning clubs has plans to improve and maintain their local trails. One in particular has taken conservation a step beyond the trail itself to include animals that live there. The Grand Mesa Jeep Club “has adopted the 21 Road Trail and other local trails and is committed to its protection and maintenance,” according to club president Jeff Bates. But the club has adopted not only the road, but also the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad (also known as the “21 Road Toad”), a threatened species in the area. “The club has committed to protecting the toad’s habitat in at least three areas along the trail with posts and cable,” Bates says.
Visit bfgoodrichtires.com for more information.

Got Tech Neck? Here’s Some Advice.

(NewsUSA) – It’s called "tech neck." But to really understand the stress you’re putting on your neck every time you look down at some wireless device -; think texting, for example -; just imagine four 15-pound bowling balls sitting atop your head.Done imagining? Doctors of chiropractic, who regularly consult on issues including spinal alignment and proper posture, have some important advice for you. Watch the video at: http://youtu.be/JVigUgq-Wmc 

Easy Ways to Make Your Media Space More Enjoyable

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The holiday season is right around the corner, which makes this the perfect time to spruce up your home before entertaining friends and family. Whether your guests are coming just to watch the big game or to stay for an extended period of time, your media space will no doubt be a popular gathering spot. The American Lighting Association (ALA) suggests a few ways to enhance everyone’s viewing experience.
No matter what kind of space you have, whether it’s a dedicated media room, a simple TV nook or something in between, the fundamental components are comfort and appropriate lighting. For the majority of homeowners, most media-related activity takes place in a multi-use space, which means the lighting must have the flexibility to go from everyday activities to TV viewing.
“One of the primary design objectives in a media space is to create the ability to achieve multiple and varied types of experiences, and lighting provides the key element to achieve that goal,” says Joe Rey-Barreau, AIA, IES, education consultant for ALA and associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design.
Three necessary elements for the ultimate media viewing experience are the source of light, types and placement of light fixtures, and the use of smart dimmers.
Light source
Keep in mind that natural light from outside is as influential as light from indoor fixtures. Multi-purpose spaces generally have windows, which create the need to control that light during the daytime as well as at night when even minor reflections can be distracting.
Erik Anderson, national sales manager for Lutron Electronics Co., says that when it comes to lighting, “the sun is light bulb number one.” He suggests using motorized shades, which can be retrofitted to an existing window, as a convenient and effective way to manipulate ambient light. It is important to consider where your light is coming from as well as the time of day and season, which affect not only the amount of incoming light, but also the angle and intensity of the light.
Fixture type and placement
The types of fixtures used in a dedicated media room are different from those typically used in a family room. Selecting fixtures for any type of media space can be confusing. To get it right, your best bet is to consult with a professionally trained lighting consultant at an ALA-member showroom.
Smart dimmers
Using dimmers may seem like a no-brainer, especially considering they are easy to install and highly impactful. New wireless smart dimmers simply attach to a wall or sit on a tabletop. Anderson explains that Lutron’s Caséta Wireless dimmers are designed for simple, do-it-yourself installation. The inexpensive devices can be synced with a phone to control the lights, window shades and room temperature from a remote location.
“It can be inconvenient to turn each thing on and off every time you enter or leave a room,” says Anderson. “With Lutron’s Caséta Wireless, you can pre-set it to adjust everything at once, so that it all comes to life with one press of a button.”
For more ideas and advice for improving your media viewing experience while maintaining functionality in your multi-use space, stop by your local ALA-member lighting showroom or visit AmericanLightingAssoc.com.

‘Effective Praise’ Encourages Good Behavior

Five words or less