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Battle of the ‘Fantastic Voyage’ researchers

January 12, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Cap-sule

The 1961 classic science-fiction movie Fantastic Voyage movie is about a team of scientists who are shrunk down and sent in a miniature submarine inside the body to repair a blood clot in an ailing colleague’s brain. How far have today’s scientists come in exploring inside the body?

Pretty far. We’ve reported on 17 research projects since 2003 to develop innovative endoscopes and other devices… read more

China Telecom to launch telecom services in Europe; U.S. next

January 12, 2012 by Giulio Prisco

China-Telecom

China Telecom is reportedly launching mobile services in the U.K., the first time a Chinese telecom operator has launched MVNO services outside China (an MVNO is a mobile operator that sells services directly to its customers but does not own any of the infrastructure), according to China Tech News.

The service will target Chinese residents and visitors in the UK, starting in the first quarter of 2012.… read more

Social networks, surveillance, and terrorism

January 10, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: iStockphoto)

“We are creating systems of comprehensive surveillance in which a billion people are involved and those people’s lives are being lived under a kind of scrutiny which no secret police service is the 20th century could ever have aspired to achieve,” claims militant digital privacy advocate Eben Moglen, Betabeat reports.

“And all of that data is being collected and sold by people whose goal it is to… read more

A super-memory smart drug?

December 15, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Suppression of PKR

Could this be the “Limitless” breakthrough we’ve been looking for?

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine  (BCM) have discovered that when the activity of PKR — a molecule normally elevated during viral infections — is inhibited in the brain, mice learn and remember dramatically better.

“The molecule PKR (the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase) was originally described as a sensor of viral infections,… read more

How to learn things automatically

December 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Decoded Neurofeedback

OK, this one’s right out of The Matrix and The Manchurian Candidate.

Imagine watching a computer screen while lying down in a brain imaging machine and automatically learning how to play the guitar or lay up hoops like Shaq O’Neal, or even how to recuperate from a disease — without any conscious knowledge.

Researchers at Boston University (BU) and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan… read more

Will the Kinect 2 read your lips? Open the pod bay door, HAL

December 8, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

3D Video Capture with Kinect (YouTube)

The next generation of the Kinect (bundled with future Xbox consoles) may be “so accurate it can lip read,” the Technology Review Hello World headline breathlessly reads — evoking HAL 9000 in 2001.

What’s more, says Eurogamer, citing a nameless source, “Kinect 2 will be so powerful it will enable games to detect when players are angry, and determine in which direction they are facing,… read more

When the Singularity happens, it will be ‘very obvious’: Vernor Vinge vs. the Singulars

December 7, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

singularityfringe

How will we know if we have passed through a Singularity? Damn good question, one that keeps me up at night. Like right now.

Science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, originator of the technological Singularity concept, came up with some interesting answers in an io9 video interview: “When things begin to happen in the real world that no human has any explanation for … or if… read more

Ask Ray | Will future people lose sight of their humanity?

November 30, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

A Nice Place to Visit

Dear Ray:

Have you seen this Twilight Zone episode, “A Nice Place to Visit?” I think it is a good illustration of the likely consequences of our future.

I’m eager for my 12-year-old son to watch Transcendent Man with me. I think it’s important for him to understand the implications of free will.

Resa

Resa,

Thanks. Yes, I’m very familiar… read more

Bots gone wild

November 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

ant-roach

Introducing random — a new, occasional blog category for stuff that’s way too weird for our regular weird posts. Like these wacky robot stories:

Wanna take a ride on a 15-foot-long inflatable walking robot named Ant-Roach (as in anteater-cockroach)? Um, maybe not, but hey, “human safe” bots are not a bad idea, especially if you plan to have one in your home, with kids. A future Disney… read more

Let’s tell everyone how to make a virus that could kill millions!

November 26, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

H5N1 virus (credit: Lennart Nilsson)

Here’s an idea: why don’t we just tell everybody in the world how to make an airborne H5N1 influenza virus strain (“bird flu”) that has been genetically altered to be easily transmissible (between ferrets, which mostly closely mimic the human response to flu), and which if released, could trigger an influenza pandemic, quite possibly with many millions of deaths?

OK, it seems like a totally evil idea, one that… read more

New hope for repairing diseased or damaged brains

November 25, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Two exciting landmark studies of ways to repair damaged or diseased brains have just been published, and are discussed on KurzweilAI today.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that when neurons generated from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) were implanted into the hippocampus of a mouse, the neurons began to behave like normal rat neurons. That means that for humans in the future, there could be limitless… read more

A Connectome Observatory for nanoscale brain imaging

November 14, 2011 by Giulio Prisco

Ken Hayworth's online talk

Dr. Ken Hayworth, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and designer of the Automatic Tape-Collecting Lathe Ultramicrotome (ATLUM), proposed to build a “Connectome Observatory” for nanoscale brain imaging in an online talk Sunday, How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond, presented in teleXLR8, a 3D interactive video conferencing space.

Hayworth suggested that Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopes… read more

A limitless power source for the indefinite future

November 11, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Space solar power satellite (credit: SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc./Spaceworks Commercial)

On Monday, the National Space Society (NSS) will present findings from an eye-opening new report by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). You’re hearing about this here first. (Full disclosure: I’m a member of the NSS board of directors.)

Some background: By 2030–40, the projected annual electrical energy consumption will be a staggering 220 trillion kiloWatt hours, double the consumption in 2010 — and four times more… read more

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

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