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NASA Ames’ Worden reveals DARPA-funded ‘Hundred Year Starship’ program

October 18, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

"We'Pete Worden at Long Conversation (Long Now Foundation)

Video of Pete Worden and Peter Schwartz. Audio podcast of the full 19-minute conversation also available.

NASA Ames Director Simon “Pete” Worden revealed Saturday that NASA Ames has “just started a project with DARPA called the Hundred Year Starship,” with $1 million funding from DARPA and $100K from NASA.

“You heard it here,” said Worden at “Long Conversation,” a Long Now

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Navigating the seas of Titan in a boat

Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...
October 5, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

talise_paddles

NASA landed a rover on Mars. So what’s the next step? Right: land a boat on Titan!

Hey, come on, it’s gotta be the ultimate travel destiny:

  • A magical moon that’s actually more like a planet.
  • One of the most Earth-like bodies in the Solar System.
  • Has an atmosphere (OK, mostly nitrogen — so bring your own oxygen, stop kvetching).
  • A vast network of

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New brain-computer interface mobilizes patients, opens up new mind-control scenarios

June 20, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

BioBolt brain implant with the thin-film microcircuit and sensor pad

In the Green Lantern movie, a ring takes orders from Jordan’s mind, enabling him to fly, take down multiple bad guys, and create wormholes through which he can travel thousands of light-years in minutes.

University of Michigan Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems professor Euisik Yoon and colleagues are developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) that would handle the mind-to-ring communication part. DARPA is working on the other stuff,… 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

New movie Real Steel to pit Hugh Jackman against robot boxers

April 23, 2011

Real Steel poster

Wikipedia | Real Steel is an upcoming feature film inspired by Richard Matheson’s short story Steel. The story was first adapted for television by Matheson as an episode of The Twilight Zone. The film stars Hugh Jackman and is directed by Shawn Levy. Film is a gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future, where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech. Hugh Jackman stars as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up… read more

New plant paradigms from The Human Race to the Future

Genetically engineering exotic foods of the future
April 4, 2014 by Daniel Berleant

Dragonfruit (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Excerpted and adapted from the book The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen and What to Do.

An exponential change perspective, well-known among futures enthusiasts, was applied to time itself by Freeman Dyson in 1997. He taxonomized the future in terms of different, order of magnitude generations — time horizons of 10 years, 100, 1,000, and so on.

My book The Humanread more

New supercomputer on a chip ‘sees’ well enough to drive a car someday

September 16, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

Convolutional neural networks or ConvNets are a multi-stage neural network that can model the way brain visual processing area V1, V2, V4, IT create invariance to size and position to identify objects. Each stage is composed of three layers: a filter bank layer, a non-linearity layer, and a feature pooling layer. A typical ConvNet is composed of one, two or three such 3-layer stages, followed by a classification module. (Yale University)

Eugenio Culurciello of Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Science has developed a supercomputer based on the ventral pathway of the mammalian visual system. Dubbed NeuFlow, the system mimicks the visual system’s neural network to quickly interpret the world around it.

The system uses complex vision algorithms developed by Yann LeCun at New York University to run large neural networks for synthetic vision applications. One idea — the… read more

New ‘visual breadcrumbs’ smartphone/Glass app maps group exploration paths

August 19, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

radar view

CrowdOptic plans to announce Monday a new mapping technology that will allow users of electronic devices (such as smartphones and Google Glass) to create and share “visual breadcrumb” trails to find each other, CrowdOptic CEO Jon Fisher told me in an exclusive interview.

As KurzweilAI noted on August 3, CrowdOptic’s “find friend” augmented-reality app overlays an object showing what two or more users are… read more

Nine years to the Singularity

March 21, 2006

blade running

Source: Avram Grumer's Journal — March 20, 2006

Someone at The Economist with a bit of extra time on his hands was looking at the recent proliferation of many-bladed razors, and noticed that the time gap between blade increments seems to be shrinking: 70 years before someone added the second blade, a couple of decades to the third, only two or three years between the four-bladed Schick Quattro and the five-bladed Gillette Fusion. Might there be a Moore’s… read more

No methane on Mars? Say it isn’t so!

Cat astronauts? Snake robots on rockets? What the ....
September 20, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

persian cat

“In findings that are as scientifically significant as they are crushing to the popular imagination, NASA reported Thursday that its Curiosity Mars rover has deflated hopes that life could be thriving on Mars today.”

So say the kill-joys at The New York Times.

Deftly side-stepping the blow, Michael Meyer, NASA’s lead scientist for Mars exploration, explained: “This important result will help direct our efforts to examine the… read more

Nuclear radiation paranoid’s handy reference [UPDATED 3/22]

March 21, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

RadNet

The Likely Radiation Distribution in Japan (March 19)
Added 3/22:
Iodine from plant detected in Tokyo: .046 µSv/hr. (438 µSv per year — about 4 chest x-rays); Fukushima Pref.: 21.9 µSv/hr. (191,844 µSv per year or 1918 chest x-rays).

Dealing with radiation fears, potassium iodide requests: side effects include nausea, diarrhea, allergy, interference with the body’s normal production of… read more

‘Orca ears’ inspire researchers to develop ultrasensitive undersea microphone

June 27, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

A miniature underwater microphone (credit:  L.A. Cicero)

Imagine a miniature microphone that responds to ocean sounds from 1 to 100kHz (a deep inaudible rumble to ultrasonic sounds) with a dynamic range of 160 dB (a whisper in a quiet library to the sound from 1 ton of TNT exploding 60 feet away) and operates at any depth.

An amazing microphone that does all that — modeled after the extraordinarily acute hearing of orcas — has been… read more

Our Lady Peace album Spiritual Machines inspired by Kurzweil’s vision of the future

January 14, 2011

Our Lady Peace Spiritual Machines album

Wikipedia | Spiritual Machines is the fourth studio album by Canadian alternative rock band Our Lady Peace, initially released by Columbia Records in December 2000. The album was a conceptual interpretation of Raymond Kurzweil’s 1999 book The Age of Spiritual Machines and featured spoken dialog from Kurzweil himself.

Album history

While touring in mid-2000, Mike Turner came across the book The Age of Spiritual Machines by… read more

Panoramic hi-res augmented reality glasses: most radical CES intro so far?

January 7, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

Innovega Inc. is demonstrating at CES prototypes of what looks like the most radical augmented-reality eyewear yet.

Intrigued, I called Innovega CEO Steve Willey Monday night. He ran down the specs of their iOptik design: binocular 720 x 1280 pixels, 3D (depth) vision, and a humungous field of view of 90 degrees, as shown in the image above. That’s six times the number of… read more

Passing of the typewriter

April 27, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: iStockhphoto)

Sadly, one of the world’s last remaining typewriter factories, Godrej & Boyce in Mumbai, India, is closing down its typewriter production line, survived only by Moonachie, N.J.-based Swintec.

We may not know what we’ve lost. Despite its limitations, with a typewriter, you are pressed to think out the entirety of what you are trying to say in your head to avoid endless retyping (or using… read more

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