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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

When The Speed Of Light Is Too Slow: Trading at the Edge

November 11, 2010 by Thomas McCabe

optimaltradinglocations

Modern stock market trading computers have become so fast that the speed of light is now their key limiting factor. A new paper by a physicist and a mathematician explains how traders can take advantage of this ultimate speed limit.

Computers were originally introduced in trading because they are faster than us in responding to market signals. A human trader might buy up a million shares of Microsoft for… read more

GLITCHES IN THE MATRIX . . . AND HOW TO FIX THEM

March 2, 2003 by Peter B. Lloyd

Why, exactly, do the rebels have to enter the Matrix via the phone system (which after all doesn’t physically exist)? And what really happens when Neo takes the red pill (which also doesn’t really exist)? And how does the Matrix know what fried chicken tastes like? Technologist and philosopher Peter Lloyd answers these questions and more.… read more

Crowdfunded science projects

March 14, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Exomoon project (Harvard)

Got a cool idea for a research project, but need funding? Check out Petridish.org, which has just launched crowdfunded science and research projects. I think this is a really great idea that could open up funding for some amazing research ideas.

On Petridish.org, researchers post materials about themselves and their research, and the public can discover projects that are exciting to them. In exchange for contributing to… read more

Future food for cities

September 10, 2010 by Derek Jacoby

8 25

Within the next decade you will be able to grow all of your vegetables in a box barely larger than your refrigerator. This surprising statement is the result of a class project at Singularity University this summer. Here’s how we came to believe that this is true.

In the first week at Singularity University, we were introduced to a team project called “Food for Cities.” The project… read more

USC engineers build synthetic synapse with carbon nanotubes

May 2, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Field effect transistor using carbon nanotubes to create synthetic synapse (credit: USC Viterbi School of Engineering)

Engineering researchers at the University of Southern California have built a carbon nanotube circuit that reproduces the function of a neural synapse.

“This is a necessary first step in the process,” said Professor Alice Parker, who began the complex project of looking at the possibility of developing a synthetic brain in 2006.

“We wanted to answer the question: Can you build a circuit that… read more

book review | Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

January 24, 2011 by R.U. Sirius

In 1938, existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote “Hell is other people.” Sartre may never have cobbled together his existential philosophy that viewed human individuals as utterly alone — alienated, atomized beings in a vast meaningless universe — if he had grown up playing with social robots and holding others at a discreet psychological distance by communicating with them nearly exclusively via instant messaging.

According to Wikipedia, one… 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

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

Virtual self

January 25, 2011

A still image of a Project LifeLike avatar conversing with a person. Project LifeLike is a collaboration between the Intelligent Systems Laboratory (ISL) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) that aims to create visualizations of people, or avatars, that are as realistic as possible. While their current results are far from perfect replications of a specific person, their work has advanced the field forward and opens up a host of possible applications in the not-too-distant future.  (University of Chicago/University of Central Florida)

Your avatar may be just a virtual identity, but it can also affect how you are in the real world.

“In this world of new media, people spend a lot of time interacting with digital versions of one another.” — Jeremy Bailenson

If you spend a lot of time online, you may even have an electronic alter ego–an avatar. An avatar is a movable image that people design… read more

How Watson works: a conversation with Eric Brown, IBM Research Manager

January 31, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

IBM Watson

For nearly two years IBM scientists have been working on a highly advanced Question Answering (QA) system, codenamed “Watson.” The scientists believe that the computing system will be able to understand complex questions and answer with enough precision, confidence, and speed to compete in the first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition, which will air on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011.

We had some questions, so we spoke… read more

Are you ready for virtual taste?

January 3, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

nus_digital taste

We’ve talked about robot burger makers. How about virtual tasting, so you could sample your burger before buying it, without grossing everyone out — even taste a pizza before having it delivered?

A National University of Singapore (NUS) researcher has taken an early step in that direction. Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe has invented a digital gadget that can recreate the taste of virtual food and drinks.… read more

How to Live Forever*

May 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

buster

* Results may vary 

I love the premise: take off on a global trek to interview the world’s oldest people, top health and fitness gurus, and smartest life-extension scientists, and ask one question: what’s your secret? 

In How To Live Forever, a new film from Variance Films (opening in New York Friday May 13 and L.A. May 20), producer/director Mark Wexler (Seeing Double, Me & My Matchmaker,read more

teleXLR8 returns, featuring quantum physicist Gildert on ‘Hack the Multiverse!’

August 16, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

hack_the_multiverse

This exciting news just in from Giulio Prisco: “teleXLR8 is reopening on Sunday 21 10 a.m. PST with a talk by [experimental quantum physicist/programmer] Suzanne Gildert on Hack the Multiverse!.”

The teleXLR8 online talk program is “a telepresence community for cultural acceleration,” as their blog puts it. Translation: an audiovideo seminar — think TED in Second Life, plus webcam videoconferencing and video session… read more

Former president of India wants to beam energy from space

November 3, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

SSP03

On Thursday November 4 at the National Press Club the National Space Society (NSS) will reveal a plan for solving the global energy crisis — along with the carbon crisis and America’s jobs crisis: the Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative (Dr. A.P.J. Kalam is the former President of India). This is a visionary, ambitious plan for harvesting solar power in space and beaming… read more

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