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3-D, and Ditch the Glasses

April 19, 2002

A number of 3-D displays currently being developed “open up a whole new world for medicine, science and other professions that rely on complex visualizations” as well as video games.

For example, the autostereoscopic display currently under development at NYU eliminates the need for glasses, can be seen from a variety of viewing angles, and allows users to see a unique picture depending on where they sit.

Microsoft pictures the future

April 19, 2002

Scientists at the software giant’s Microsoft Cambridge U.K. researchers are developing picture editing tools that can “automatically trace outlines, seamlessly cover marks or blemishes, and fill in backgrounds when pieces of an image are removed. The researchers are also working on similar tools that automate the editing of video clips.”

One tool called “jetstream” automatically draws contours around the most likely edges of an image. Another tool called “patchwork”… read more

Thinking Cap or Dunce’s Hat?

April 19, 2002

Researchers are using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to temporarily shut down the left hemisphere of the brain, where speech and short-term memory are supported, to mimic temporarily the brain pattern of autistic savants and achieve very fast brain processing.

Some autism experts are skeptical.

Also see: TMS: Twilight Zone Science?

Supercomputer smashes world speed record

April 18, 2002

A Japanese supercomputer has recorded the world’s fastest floating point calculation speed at 35.61 teraflops — five times faster than IBM’s ASCI White’s 7.23 teraflops.
The supercomputer is installed in The Earth Simulator at the Marine Science and Technology Center in Kanagawa. It which simulates climate change using data collected by Earth-monitoring satellites.

According to an NEC spokesman, the supercomputer was tested using the Linpack benchmarking software.… read more

Let the robot revolution commence

April 18, 2002

“Californian company Evolution Robotics (ERI) plans to release an operating system that it claims will do for robotics what Microsoft did for the personal computer with DOS and Windows.
“The idea has two aims: to slash the time and cost involved in developing new robots, and to let people who buy robotic lawnmowers, beer gophers or vacuum cleaners reprogram them.”

Microsoft, I-Robot, and other competitors are pushing their own… read more

Can Technology Foil Hijackers?

April 18, 2002

Technologies to foil hijackers being considered include “onboard flight-control systems that could be programmed to prevent planes from heading into restricted areas; remote control from the ground that could not be overridden from the cockpit; and a panic button, also impossible to override, that has the plane direct itself to land at the nearest suitable field.”
However, these require adding expensive “fly-by-wire ” systems and improved computer, GPS, and communications… read more

Big Brains Rule Trading Floor

April 17, 2002

“A growing number of tech-savvy traders…[are creating] programs to make the computer a tool for making small-scale pricing decisions, the task traditionally performed by traders.”

The Robots Are Coming

April 17, 2002

“Created under a U.S. Department of Defense contract by an MIT spinoff company called iRobot, Morticia is a military machine with a mission. Instead of carrying bombs, she carries eyes and ears, transmitting what she sees back over a wireless link. She is also a pioneer, showing us how robots are likely to be integrated into our jobs and our lives in the coming years.”
Morticia is a prototype of… read more

Virtual-reality body suit planned for pilots

April 17, 2002

The U.S. Air Force is developing a body suit for pilots who fly remote-controlled aircraft such as the Predator. Using a system of electromagnets and magnets that apply pressure to the suit, it will give pilots feedback from the plane’s motions. The technology could also be used in the future for improved arcade games.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Crew Station Evaluation Facility

Newest storage tech–holographic DVD

April 17, 2002

InPhase Technologies, a spinoff of Lucent Technologies’ research arm Bell Labs, has introduced the first commercial holographic video recorder. Aimed at professional video editors, it holds 100GB of data on a single CD-sized disc as a series of 1.3MB holograms, enough for 20 full-length movies or 30 minutes of uncompressed high-resolution video.

The extended storage is due to the fact that each storage location can hold multiple holograms.

Machines Are Filling In for Troops

April 16, 2002

The Pentagon is replacing soldiers with sensors, vehicles and weapons that can be operated by remote control or are autonomous.
These devices can function as heat detectors, radar, cameras, and microphones, for example, and can reveal decoys, pierce camouflage, operate in darkness and bad weather, do video surveillance, and detect enemy vehicles. They are smaller, lighter, cheaper, more fuel efficient, and easier to move; can avoid harm to humans; and… read more

Dust and mirrors bring smart world closer

April 14, 2002

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley are developing self-sustaining network nodes measuring millimeters in length, complete with sensors and communications. This “smart dust” could be used for environmental monitoring, health, security, distributed processing, tracking and new user interfaces, including invisible keyboards, gesture control and 3D input devices.Problems in implementing smart dust include power (tiny batteries and more efficient chips are being developed) and communications (optical links via optical… read more

Jumping genes make ‘designer’ animals easy

April 11, 2002

Biotech company Tosk says it can add genes to mammalian cells with unprecedented efficiency with the help of fruit fly DNA that can jump in and out of chromosomes.
Introducing genes into mammals is laborious and expensive at present. The new method promises to make genetically modified mammals cheap and easy and could even be used to correct genetic faults in people.

GM mammals are usually made by injecting… read more

Firm aims to ‘computerize’ common sense

April 11, 2002

The Cyc knowledge base will acquire knowledge of 100 million things — about the number a typical person knows about the world — in five years, says Cycorp CEO and founder Doug Lenat. “It’s difficult to predict the course thereafter,” he adds.

Seeing Around Corners: artificial societies

April 11, 2002

The new science of artificial societies (A-societies), using computer techniques similar to A-life (artificial life), may suggest where to look for surprises and small interventions in society that may have large, discontinuous consequences.

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