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Why immersive virtual reality is the next generation of gaming: part 2

A new head-mounted display called Oculus RIFT promises to change the gaming industry
July 14, 2012 by James Iliff

Doom3 BFG

At the recent E3 2012 show, I saw the future of virtual reality and gaming.

It’s a robust stereoscopic head-mounted display (HMD) called the Oculus RIFT from hardware pioneer Palmer Luckey, shown off by legendary computer graphics guru John Carmack, technical director of Id Software.

Using aspheric lenses and side-by-side stereoscopy, the Oculus RIFT boasts a wide field-of-view of 90 degrees horizontal and 110… read more

Why immersive virtual reality is the next generation of gaming: part 1

DIY real virtual reality on your smartphone or iPad 3 is here
July 14, 2012 by James Iliff


It’s now obvious that immersive virtual reality is finally back in the consumer market — with a vengeance.

Especially with the recent advent of FOV2GO, a free DIY portable fold-out iPhone and Android viewer that turns the smartphone screen into a 3-D VR system.

You can create one with foamboard and 2 cheap plastic lenses, and downloadable software lets you create your own virtual worlds or environments to display.… read more

Transhumanist religion 2.0

July 13, 2012 by Giulio Prisco


Cosmism, an emerging “religion 2.0” that is part of a radical futurist conception of the future development of humanity, can give us the positive optimism and “strenuous mood” to overcome our current problems and embark on our cosmic journey.

So say contemporary cosmists, who believe that the “manifest destiny” of our species is colonizing the universe and developing spacetime engineering and scientific “future magic” much beyond our current understanding… read more

I’ve seen the future of electronics and it’s … vacuum tubes!

July 12, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


Huh? Yep, you read it right.

We are bumping into a limit to increasing transistor speed, determined by the “electron transit time” — the time it takes an electron to travel, says Hong Koo Kim, a professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering.

It’s back to the vacuum, folks.

Kim explains: electrons traveling inside a semiconductor device frequently experience collisions or scattering… read more

Is there a biological limit to longevity?

"Medicine is about transcending biology."
July 5, 2012 by Aubrey de Grey

Percent of people surviving to a given age, based on data from the Dept. of Demography, UC Berkeley (credit: C. A. Everone/

Gerontologists and demographers have argued about this for a long time, with the balance of opinion heavily influenced by the changes seen in the wealthiest nations’ “survival curves” — graphs showing, broadly speaking, the proportion of an initial population that survived to a given age.

Until a couple of centuries ago, these curves looked very much like radioactive decay curves, because one’s chance of dying at any given age… read more

Why the sponge’s protosynapses never evolved into the real thing

June 25, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


It was a mystery: sponges had evolved a protosynapse — the beginning of a nervous system — but never actually developed a real synapse.

It was the evolutionary period of time when virtually the rest of the entire animal kingdom branched off from a common ancestor it shared with sponges, the oldest known animal group with living representatives.

Ironically, sponges themselves have no nervous system. So what happened to… read more

Getting ‘hallucinating’ robots to arrange your room for you

June 20, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

A robot populates a room with imaginary human stick figures in order to decide where objects should go to suit the needs of humans (credit: Personal Robotics Lab, Cornell)

When we last (virtually) visited the Personal Robotics Lab of Ashutosh Saxena, Cornell assistant professor of computer science, we learned that they’ve taught robots to pick up after you, while you sit around and watch Futurama.

But why stop there in your search for the ultimate slave robot? Now they’ve taught robots where in a room you might stand, sit, or work,read more

V2V: Department of Transportation’s new communication system helps cars avoid crashes by talking to each other

June 11, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


The University of Michigan is conducting a pilot program to test a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications device that could help drivers avoid accidents, CNET reports.

This technology could prevent up to 81 percent of all vehicle crashes, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The school’s Transportation and Research Institute is seeking 3,000 drivers in the Ann Arbor, Mich., area, and will equip their vehicles with wireless… read more

Bing likes Britannica, Bruno burns

June 11, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Giordano Bruno, heretical cosmologist

Microsoft has announced a deal with Encyclopaedia Britannica to add entries from the prestigious reference work to Bing search results.

The deal appears related to Britannica’s decision in March to stop producing a print edition and Google’s “knowledge graph,” which consolidates search information about specific subjects.

Et tu, Bruno?

For example, a Bing search for Giordano Bruno would provide a quick overview of… read more

A miniature humanoid robot lives on your shoulder and wants to be your friend

May 30, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


OK, this one pushes me over the “Onion threshold,” to coin a term.

A wearable miniature humanoid lives on your shoulder and can be remotely inhabited by your friends from anywhere in the world.

Hey, I’m not making this stuff up — it comes from IEEE Spectrum, a credible source, and it’s not April 1!

Anyway, it turns out Yamagata University researchers are developing a robot to make… read more

Ask Ray | How do you find the motivation to live forever?

May 26, 2012 by Ray Kurzweil

Transcendent Man poster earth

Dear Ray:

How do you find motivation to want to live forever? How do you find comfort in your father’s death, knowing you may never truly see him again — only an avatar of what he’d represent?

John Hansen


I have the motivation to live to tomorrow, metaphorically speaking. I think everyone has that motivation. As we get to times in the… read more

‘Avatars’ to replace some humans at NYC area airports

May 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


As if TSA groping in airports wasn’t enough, now we’re going to be subjected to some kind of creepy composite of Princess Leia from Star Wars and the advertising scene in Minority Report.

“I can be just about anything you want me to be,” over-enthuses the simulated “customer service representative,” five of which are intended for installation in LaGuardia, JFK. and Liberty Newark airports in early July, according to read more

A robot that learns how to tidy up after you

May 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

A robot places an item in a refrigerator (credit: Saxena Lab)

Finally: a robot I really need. Like right now.

Researchers at Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab have trained a robot to survey a room, identify all the objects, figure out where they belong, and put them away. Bingo!

“This is the first work that places objects in non-trivial places,” said Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science.

“It learns not to put a shoe in the refrigerator,”… read more

Looking to the future of A New Kind of Science

May 15, 2012 by Stephen Wolfram


Today ten years have passed since A New Kind of Science (”the NKS book”) was published. But in many ways the development that started with the book is still only just beginning. And over the next several decades I think its effects will inexorably become ever more obvious and important.

Indeed, even at an everyday level I expect that in time there will be all sorts of visible reminders… read more

Swarms of tiny intelligent drones with cameras — what could go wrong?

May 10, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


Are you ready for Eye-Bots — flying smarms of intelligent drones that zoom in and track everything going on?

Yo boy, this one’s gonna make them spyder bots in Minority Report and Big-Brother TV sets in 1984 look positively user-friendly.

A flock of flying robots rises slowly into the air with a loud buzzing noise. They perform an intricate dance in the sky above the seethingread more

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