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Obesity is (literally) one of the biggest issues in the U.S. and seems to be most prominent among today’s youth, which is arguably the most-wired and technologically inclined generation in our nation’s history.

Meet Gen Z – kids born right after the dawn of the 21st century. Plugged into the walls of their homes by computers and sedentary video game consoles; According to a CDC study, one-third of American kids are overweight, with 47% predicted to become obese by adulthood. Although technology can be identified as the root cause of this epidemic, instead of simply taking away their phones and electronics, technology – augmented reality in particular – might also be the cure in jump starting an immobilized generation.

Augmented Reality (AR) is the process in which information or imagery is superimposed in real time over the user’s point of view of the real world. Conventional health and fitness methods such as calorie counting and baseball are unable to engage kids in physical activity as they fail to connect with kids or fit in with their lives. With AR, kids are given a more enhanced experience with health and fitness so that it is more exciting and that kids would want to be engaged.

Move Gaming Outdoors:

Believe it or not, Gen Z actually wants to go outside, they just want it to be fun while they’re doing it. Through AR, Z’ers are able to layer mysteries, stories, and puzzle solving over unpredictable environments. here are a few examples:

  • Zombies, Run!: An app where the player is guided by a helicopter pilot into escaping a zombie apocalypse in the form of a 5 km race.
  • Ingress: A complex sci-fi story game where players must physically travel to virtual markers in order to make progress.

Today, kids are learning to collaborate with each other through Google Docs at the age where they should be learning cursive. So if you see a preschooler playing on a tablet or iphone, don’t be so surprised, 72% of kids under 8 have used a mobile device to either play games or consume media. While technology has turned most Americans into overweight consumers of information, AR has offered the chance for technology to become more mobile and as technology mobilizes, so will people.

For more information, here’s the link:

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/augmented-reality-save-gen-z/

 

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How many hours of spare time do you spend playing video games?

According to a 2014 study on statista.com, 32% of all video game players in the U.S. range from ages 18 to 35, with 39% of players ages 36 and older. As video games become more available, people can accumulate a large number of hours of their time into the games that they play. To some, this may seem like a huge waste, but that same amount of time and effort in gaming can actually be put to good use.

Solving Complex Problems:

The challenges that video games provide, which requires creativity and quick decision making skills can be a great tool in solving complex problems in the real-world. For example, one particular game has helped in solving one of the most pressing issues of molecular biology, more specifically, the way in which proteins fold. In 2008, a team from Washington University released “Foldit,” a free online scientific puzzle game where players can manipulate the structure of proteins – long chains of amino acids – that fold and bend in certain ways. The objective of the game is for players to find the most efficient way of compacting these proteins and as a protein’s function is determined by its shape, a badly-folded protein could either not work properly or worse, result in forms of cancer or disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. The team then collects the player’s results and recreates them in an actual laboratory where they can be used as potential cures for those diseases.

Encouraging Collaboration:

In the world of video games, multiple players are encouraged to work in groups so as to efficiently accomplish a given task with lesser time and effort. This is show in the popular online game Minecraft. Unlike most video games, Minecraft has no main objective, and one of its most unique features is the games “creative mode,” where players can freely build whatever object or structure they want.

Building massive scale projects in Minecraft would take an unbelievable amount of time and effort to complete by just one person, and that cooperation is not just in building, but also in survival because as the game enters its “night-cycle” or if you are playing in “survival mode,” monsters will spawn continuously, and that multiple players will be much safer protecting each other as a group.

Real World Simulations:

In the military, soldiers are trained to tackle harsh conditions and to be ready for any situation during a mission. However, for important or dangerous missions there is still unknown factor that may occur and that soldiers have only one attempt at success. Should the result end in failure, one or more of the squad members may end up injured, captured, or worse killed. What video game technology provides is that it would allow soldiers to safely train within a simulated environment in order to reduce the team’s margin for error. Using satellite imagery and geographical data of the target location, the army is able to create digital replicas of real-world places which they can use to run practice sessions of the actual mission. And because the computer records everything that the soldiers are doing, the mission data can be analyzed afterwards.

As technology continues to develop more and more each day, we are seeing video games with higher realism in graphics, smarter game programs that are closer mimicking human behavior, and virtual reality, where the immersive nature of video games literally take on a whole new perspective. Maybe those kinds of video games would be sitting in your living room sometime in the future, and if they are, how would those help us? only time will tell.

 

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The holidays are just around the corner and following from last year, people would begin lining up for Christmas shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner. However for some, the holiday season may really be starting sooner than you think. This year, with stores opening their doors as early as 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, over a quarter of holiday shoppers have already started searching for gift ideas before Halloween. It is important that people should get a head start and plan ahead for holiday shopping.

Shopping Days and Statistics:

During the holiday season, there are 27 official shopping days until Christmas, starting from Black Friday to Christmas eve. However, large retailers have already begun to expand their holiday sales events beyond November. with early fall reminders and post-holiday promotions, the holiday shopping season now covers up more than a quarter of the calendar. According to the google, in-store shopping spikes on key days such as Black Friday, the last two weekends before Christmas, and the day before Christmas eve.

2014-holiday-shopper-research-shopping-never-sleeps_articles_01

 

Black Friday Weekend:

Although it is widely known as the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday gradually becoming less popular as paced their sales last year; spreading sales throughout the weekend instead of condensing it all in one day. The sales pacing proved successful because not only did it allow retailers to manage foot traffic more efficiently, it also lead to an overall sales increase for the following two days after Black Friday. While holiday shoppers only aimed to save a few dollars on Black Friday, for some, they ended up paying a much heavier price. Since 2008, there have been an overall 7 deaths, and 98 people heavily injured during the Black Friday weekend.

among the list, here are a few examples:

  • In 2008, South Carolina, A shooting at a local Toys ‘R’ Us leaves two dead
  • In 2010, a former marine was brutally stabbed in a Best Buy by a violent customer.
  • In 2011, Los Angeles, a Black Friday pepper-spray attack at Walmart injures 20 people.

 

This year, people are now doing most of their holiday shopping online, away from the huge crowds. With e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay offering daily deals similar to those in-store, buying that new flat-screen TV or next-gen gaming system you always wanted can now be done in the safety of your own home.

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