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Mask-bot: A talking video humanoid robot

November 8, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Mask-Bot

Welcome to the creepiest uncanny-valley experience yet: a talking robot face called Mask-botdeveloped by a team at the Institute for Cognitive Systems (ICS) at TU München and AIST, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan.

What sets Mask-bot apart is that it can instantly construct and project a static video image of anyone’s face (from a photo) on a 3D surface,… read more

Beyond GPS: your phone in 2015

November 1, 2011 by Giulio Prisco

Galileo GNSS

Attention smartphone users: the recent launch of the first two satellites for Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system (GNSS) could make things a lot more interesting in about four years.

Galileo will deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to one meter range, compared to 10 meters for GPS, the European Space Agency (ESA) states, and it plans to give non-European… read more

Microsoft offers a glimpse into the future of productivity

October 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

cell

Microsoft has posted an awesome new concept video with some ubercool new interfaces that could be here in five to ten years, estimates Kurt DelBene, President, Microsoft Office Division.

That sounds a bit conservative. “All of the ideas in the video are based on real technology,” he said. “Some of the capabilities, such as speech recognition, real time collaboration, and data visualization, already… read more

The Internet, peer-reviewed

October 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

hypothesis

It could be one of the most important innovations on the Internet since the browser.

Imagine an open-source, crowd-sourced, community-moderated, distributed platform for sentence-level annotation of the Web. In other words, a way to cut through the babble and restore some sanity and trust.

That’s the idea behind Hypothes.is. It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books,… read more

Kurzweil responds: Don’t underestimate the Singularity

October 20, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

Last week, Paul Allen and a colleague challenged the prediction that computers will soon exceed human intelligence. Now Ray Kurzweil, the leading proponent of the “Singularity,” offers a rebuttal. — Technology Review, Oct. 10, 2011.

Although Paul Allen paraphrases my 2005 book, The Singularity Is Near, in the title of his essay (cowritten with his colleague Mark Greaves), it appears that… read more

Singularity Summit 2011 roundup

October 19, 2011 by Giulio Prisco

Stephen Wolfram

The tone of the Singularity Summit 2011 in New York was set by Ray Kurzweil, who presented many examples of accelerating developments, countering the arguments presented by Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen in a recent article, The Singularity Isn’t Near.

Robots vs. humans

James McLurkin introduced the concept of swarms of small, light, and cheap robots that communicate with each other, solve… read more

What just happened? Why some of us seem totally spaced out

October 7, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

fMRI of individual without a paracingulate sulcus (credit: Jon Simons)

Ever wonder why uncle Louie seems to imagine stuff that didn’t happen, and calls you crazy? Well now’s there’s an explanation.

Half of you won’t like it, I warn you.

A new study of the brain by University of Cambridge scientists explains why some people can’t tell the difference between what they saw and what they imagined or were told about — such as whether they or another… read more

Another faster-than-light neutrinos challenge

October 1, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Cherenkov radiation (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

This just in: a new critique of the CERN OPERA finding of faster-than-light neutrinos. In “New Constraints on Neutrino Velocities,” Cohen and Glashow argue that the high-energy (17.5 GeV) superluminal muon neutrinos would actually lose energy rapidly (down to about 12.5GeV) on the 730km trip, long before arriving in Italy.

But that didn’t happen. Ergo, the neutrino weren’t really traveling faster than light, say Cohen… read more

Fed-funded research: magic mushrooms create ‘openness’

September 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Psilocybe cubensis (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” was enough to bring about a measureable and lasting personality change — “openness” — lasting at least a year in nearly 60 percent of the 51 participants in a new study, say Johns Hopkins researchers.

Well, doh, didn’t Timothy Leary discover that in the 60s? Um, OK, controlled experiments….… read more

‘Pig’ movie: question reality

September 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

"I can't remember what I remembered."

Pig is a trippy indy film that starts weird and gets weirder, with hints of MementoTotal Recall, Groundhog Day, The Truman Show, Vanilla Sky, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Starring Rudolf Martin (Vlad Dracula in The Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula and Ari Haswari in NCIS), the film engaged my mind right up to the reveal at the end,  and pushed my paranoia up… read more

How to make movies of what the brain sees

September 23, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

brainstorm

Remember the movie Brainstorm? Imagine watching someone’s dream, or tapping directly into the mind of a coma patient. University of California, Berkeley scientists claim they have finally achieved this classic futuristic movie “mind reading” trope. Sorta.

They’re using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models to decode and reconstruct people’s dynamic visual experiences.

So far, the technology can only reconstruct movie clips you’ve… read more

Breakthrough: proton-based chips that communicate directly with living things

September 21, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
Proton communication

University of Washington scientists have just crossed another major threshold between humans and machines: they’ve built a transistor that uses protons instead of electrons.

Their ultimate goal: create devices that can communicate directly with living things certain biological functions that involve protons — eventually even control them — a “first step toward ‘bionanoprotonics‘.”

Yes, there are implants (such as cochlear… read more

Every breath you take, every move you make …

September 19, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

breath_detector

Those University of Utah engineers who built wireless networks that see through walls are now taking it a step further: detecting if surgery patients, adults with sleep apnea, and babies at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) have stopped breathing.

This thing freaks me out a bit. Think what Homeland Security could do with it. The idea of being surrounded by tiny microwave ovens… read more

How to synthesize a new kind of yeast cell — or person

September 19, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Dr._Moreau

Scientists, in theory, could one day create whole new lifeforms, going way beyond simple cloning, new research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests.

The scientists have now replaced the DNA in a yeast chromosome with computer-designed, synthetically produced DNA (structurally distinct from its original DNA), producing a healthy yeast cell.

So perhaps one day, a mad scientist could even create an entirely new… read more

Is Sponge Bob destroying kids’ minds — or accelerating their intelligence?

September 13, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

spongebob

Young children who watch fast-paced, fantastical television shows may become “handicapped” in their readiness for learning, says a new University of Virginia study.

U.Va. psychologists tested 4-year-old children immediately after they had watched nine minutes of the popular show “SpongeBob SquarePants” and found that their “executive function” — the ability to pay attention, follow rules, remember what they were told, solve problems,… read more

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