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Kurzweil receives honorary doctorate at Landmark College

September 6, 2002

Dr. Ray Kurzweil received an honorary doctorate degree from Landmark College of Putney, Vermont today. Landmark College is the nation’s premier college for high-potential students with learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “Ray Kurzweil’s impact on students with learning disabilities has been immeasurable,” noted Landmark president Lynda J. Katz, Ph.D. “The extraordinary strides some of our students make at Landmark College would simply not be possible were it not… read more

A Theory of Evolution, for Robots

September 6, 2002

Scientists have designed a winged robot capable of learning flight techniques automatically with genetic algorithms. Its small motors allow it to manipulate its meter-long, balsa-wood wings in different directions. A computer program feeds the robot random instructions, which let it develop the concept of liftoff on its own.

Musical approach helps programmers catch bugs

September 6, 2002

Researchers have developed a system that automatically converts computer program code written in Pascal into simple “music” to make it easier for programmers to detect bugs from sequences of notes.

Parents look to microchip children

September 5, 2002

Worried UK parents are asking to have tracking microchips implanted into their children following the murders of two 10-year-old girls, says scientist Kevin Warwick, who has implanted a chip in his arm that is connected to a computer in an ongoing experiment.

The operation would involve implanting a small transmitter about one inch long into the child’s arm or stomach, Warwick said. Tracking options include using a mobile phone… read more

Dinosaur ancestor’s vision possibly nocturnal

September 4, 2002

Scientists at Rockefeller University have reconstructed the light-sensing rhodopsin protein from the ancestors of dinosaurs. It suggests that dinosaurs may have been well-adapted to seeing in the dark. Belinda S.W. Chang, Ph.D., first author and research assistant professor at Rockefeller, used existing databases and sophisticated statistical methods to infer the most likely DNA sequences that the ancestral archosaur would have had for its rhodopsin.

“From the databases, we pulled… read more

They Weren’t Meant to Be Games

September 4, 2002

Video games have rocketed past movies in mass appeal, driven by powerful technologies that have transformed games into fully interactive worlds.

A high-quality video game now can surpass traditional action movies in terms of realism, usability, return visits, interactivity and subtlety, thanks to sophisticated computer graphics, improved sound effects, and use of artificial intelligence for character portrayal and movement.

Radio emerges from the electronic soup

September 2, 2002

A self-organising electronic circuit with evolutionary computer program to “breed” an oscillator circuit has stunned engineers by turning itself into a radio receiver. Researchers discovered that the evolving circuit had used the computer’s circuit board itself as an antenna, picking up a signal from a nearby computer and delivering it as an output.

Organic robot mimics sea life

September 2, 2002

The Public Anemone, an organic robot designed to imitate primitive life forms, has been created by MIT researchers. The robot is intended to explore artificial life and provide insights into how to create robots that can behave and interact naturally with humans.

Mind Catcher: A Boy and his Exo-Brain

August 31, 2002

Scientists have perfected a machine that downloads brain waves in this new novel by John Darnton. When surgeons have to shut down the brain stem so the organ can be repaired, a computer supplies the necessary neural transmissions to keep the rest of the body alive.

Game developers look beyond polygons

August 30, 2002

Graphics in games have reached the point where throwing more polygons at the screen has little effect on the quality. The next big thing will be two-way speech.

Rival replacement for DVDs announced

August 30, 2002

A high-capacity replacement for current DVD technology has been announced by NEC and Toshiba. It would increase data storage capacity from the current 4.7 to 8.5 gigabytes to between 15 and 30 gigabytes.

The competing Blu-Ray discs are expected to hold between 40 and 50 gigabytes of data. Both formats are expected to be available in 2004.

The Even-More-Compact Disc

August 30, 2002

The new miniaturized DataPlay digital media offers CD performance and 500 MB storage at a tiny size but at expensive prices initially for media and players.

DataPlay discs will be available in blank, recordable form as well as prerecorded, copy-protected albums.

A Universal Tool to Rescue Old Files From Obsolescence

August 30, 2002

Dr. Raymond Lorie, a researcher at the I.B.M. Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., has developed a “universal virtual computer” for long-term preservation of obsolescent digital documents.

The system, which uses semantic tags, is designed to be logical and accessible so computer developers of the future will be able to write instructions to emulate it on their machines.

Kurzweil reviews Simone on NPR

August 30, 2002

Ray Kurzweil discussed the movie Simone on NPR’s Here & Now noon news and culture magazine show on Friday, August 30.’s Ramona avatar read the show’s credits.

The show archive can be heard here.

New Hard-Drive Tech Overcomes Magnetic Memory Problems

August 29, 2002

Seagate researchers now believe they can store as much as 50 terabits per square inch — equivalent to the entire printed contents of the Library of Congress — on a single disk drive for a notebook computer.Currently, the highest storage densities are around 50 gigabits per square inch.

The new techniques involves heating the memory medium with a laser-generated beam at the precise spot where data bits are being… read more

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