Robots Find a Muse Other Than Mayhem

May 31, 2002

“ArtBots,” held at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn on Saturday, featured ten robot-created art projects.

The robots’ art included Japanese brush painting, kinetic sculptures, art created with speaker-driven brushes, music, and sampled sounds.

Broken Limits to Life Expectancy

June 2, 2002

Is human life expectancy approaching its limit? Many–including individuals planning their retirement and officials responsible for health and social policy–believe it is, but the evidence presented in the Policy Forum suggests otherwise.

For 160 years, best-performance life expectancy has steadily increased by a quarter of a year per year, an extraordinary constancy of human achievement. Mortality experts have repeatedly asserted that life expectancy is close to an ultimate ceiling;… read more

Just 2.5% of DNA turns mice into men

June 3, 2002

Mice and men share about 97.5 per cent of their working DNA, just one per cent less than chimps and humans. Scientists are hopeful that the close match will enable researchers to more rapidly determine the genetic roots of human diseases.

High Tech Evolves

June 4, 2002

Evolutionary biology is influencing the way we build computers, write software and organize companies. TIME convened a panel of visionaries, including Ray Kurzweil, to address this. Key ideas:

  • Autonomic computing: bio-inspired systems for managing and maintaining computer networks.
  • Evolutionary computing (genetic algorithms) for engineering designs.
  • Software that models the way a community of individuals develops from the diverse decisions of its members — for
  • read more

    Sounds Realer Than Reality

    June 5, 2002

    Scientists can generate imitations of real-life sounds significantly more convincing than actual recordings of the events they are intended to mimic.Experimental psychologists Laurie Heller and Lauren Wolf at Brown University found that listeners rated some artificially generated sounds — simulating “walking in leaves” by running fingers through cornflakes, for example — as more convincing than the real ones.

    Enhancing the sound envelope (slower changing component) results in better perception… read more

    Researchers demo self-assembling nanowires

    June 6, 2002

    Researchers at Aarhus University here have demonstrated a nanometer-scale fabrication technique that self-assembles tiny wires atop substrates, with an eye toward interconnecting molecular electronic circuits in the future.

    The molecular templates were developed by supercooling the materials and then manipulating their individual atoms with a scanning-tunneling microscope (STM). Once the template molecule and its actions are perfected using the STM, the researchers hope to develop self-assembly techniques that do… read more

    Consciousness in Human and Robot

    June 6, 2002

    AI skeptics offer several reasons
    why robots could never become
    conscious. MITs’ humanoid Cog robot
    project may give them pause.

    Nanoscale gene chips possible

    June 7, 2002

    Scientists at Northwestern University have demonstrated a technique that takes gene chips to the limit of miniaturization — down to the nanometer scale of the DNA molecules themselves — and could have a major impact on genomics and proteomics research.
    The “dip-pen nanolithography” method uses an atomic force microscope tip as a pen and different single-stranded DNA as inks to produce spots of DNA down to 50 nanometers in diameter.… read more

    Researchers run molecular machines on light

    June 10, 2002

    Researchers at the Center for Nanoscience, Ludwig-Maximilians Universit├Ąt have demonstrated the feasibility of operating molecular machines with light.

    A polymer made from photoactive chromophores was deposited on a microscope slide. The polymers were seen expanding and contracting under illumination, performing mechanical work.

    Advantages of optical control and energy transfer include picosecond reaction times and simple, massively parallel addressability.

    What’s Next?

    June 11, 2002

    Twelve scientists have predicted the next great inventions.
    They include:

  • Ray Kurzweil: A three-dimensional molecular computer and a system for sending microscopic intelligent robots into the human bloodstream to fight pathogens, rebuild bodies, provide full-immersion VR and establish direct mental connections to the Internet.
  • Daniel Branagan, Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory: Nanotech alloys to create a new class of highly wear- and
  • read more

    Brain Fingerprinting on CBS ’48 Hours’

    June 11, 2002

    Dr. Lawrence Farwell and Brain Fingerprinting will be featured on CBS “48 Hours” Friday, June 14 at 10 PM ET/PT, 9 PM CT.

    The show will highlight the case of Dan and Brad Harris, two Iowa brothers convicted and imprisoned 17 years ago for the murder of a young woman. Dr. Farwell’s Brain Fingerprinting tests showed that the record stored in the
    Harris brothers’ brains does not… read more

    TSMC Details New Type of Transistor

    June 11, 2002

    Anew type of CMOS transistor as small as 9 nanometers — about 10 times smaller than current production technology — has been announced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

    The company said this size would allow for the computational power of a supercomputer in a space smaller than a fingernail.


    June 14, 2002

    “What if robots could be made to look like us? And what if they could be implanted with false memories so they think they are us? Am I human? Or am I just programmed to believe I am human?”

    That’s the premise behind the movie Impostor, adapted from the story by scifi writer Philip K. Dick.

    Artificial vision device stimulates the visual cortex

    June 14, 2002

    A neurosurgeon has become the first U.S. doctor to implant an artificial vision device that allows a blind patient to see using a video camera’s image that stimulates the visual cortex of the brain.

    Kenneth R. Smith Jr., M.D., professor of neurosurgery at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, performed the two- to three-hour surgical procedure in Lisbon, Portugal, in April.

    Patients use special sunglasses fitted with a… read more

    Kurzweil to be featured on CBS ’48 Hours’ Friday night

    June 14, 2002

    Ray Kurzweil will be featured on CBS 48 Hours: “It’s All In Your Head” on Friday, June 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, discussing nanobots and other future scenarios.

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