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Super-fast Google Fiber for Kansas City

July 27, 2012

google_fiber

Google has announced Google Fiber, to be installed first in Kansas City.

Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today’s average broadband.

Imagine: instantaneous sharing; truly global education; medical appointments with 3D imaging; even new industries that we haven’t even dreamed of, powered by a gig.

Google has divided Kansas City into small communities called “fiberhoods.” To get service, each fiberhood needs a critical… read more

A 360-degree view of the world

Paranoids alert
December 13, 2012

FlyViz

Have you ever dreamed of having eyes in the back of your head?

Yeah, we haven’t either, but FlyVIZ, designed by French engineers, lets you experience a real-time 360° vision of your surroundings. It combines a panoramic image acquisition system (positioned on top of the your head) with a head-mounted display (HMD) and a laptop for transforming the fly-eye images in real time into something humans can… read more

Android smartphone to control satellite in orbit

February 27, 2013

surrey_sat_tech

A satellite with an Android Google Nexus One smartphone at its heart is now orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 785 kilometers.

Called STRaND-1,  the UK’s first cubesat, the satellite’s incorporation of a phone is a bold attempt to test how well cheap, off-the-shelf consumer electronics handle the harsh temperature variations and microchip-blasting cosmic radiation of space, New Scientist reports.

The shoebox-sized satellite… read more

A Conversation with Peter Thiel

March 26, 2012

Peter Thiel

Some comments by entrepreneur Peter Thiel, interviewed by author Francis Fukuyama:

  • I think there’s a close link between technological deceleration and increasing cynicism and pessimism about politics and economics.
  • We should debate whether it should be decentralized or centralized, but what the United States has today is an extremely big government, a quasi-socialist government, but without a five-year plan, with no plan whatsoever.
  • If there is going

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A bandwidth breakthrough

October 23, 2012

Speed test (credit: Speedtest.net)

Academic researchers have improved wireless bandwidth by ten times — not by adding base stations, tapping more spectrum, or cranking up transmitter wattage, but by using algebra to banish the network-clogging task of resending dropped packets, Technology Review reports.

By providing new ways for mobile devices to solve for missing data, the technology not only eliminates this wasteful process but also can seamlessly weave data streams from… read more

How to store the world’s data on DNA

January 24, 2013

Storage cost for DNA v. tape

Researchers at the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) have created a way to store data in the form of DNA — a material that lasts for tens of thousands of years.

The new method, published in the journal Nature, makes it possible to store at least 100 million hours of high-definition video in about a cup of DNA.

There is a lot of digital information… read more

Light from self-luminous tablet computers can affect evening melatonin, delaying sleep

New research can aid in the development of “circadian-friendly” electronic devices
August 29, 2012

Study participants viewed the tablets without goggles, through orange-tinted goggles capable of filtering out radiation that can suppress melatonin, and through clear goggles fitted with blue LEDs to suppress melatonin (credit: Wood et al, RPI)

Exposure to electronic devices with self-luminous displays causes melatonin suppression, which might lead to delayed bedtimes, especially in teens, a Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute study has found.

The study showed that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent.

Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to… read more

Transhuman week: exploring the frontiers of human enhancement

September 5, 2012

Ekso exoskeleton

Wired U.K.‘s Transhuman Week seeks to navigate transhumanist issues through a series of features, galleries and expert guest posts from September 3 to 7.

Transhumanism explores the application of technology and science to enhance human bodies and minds regardless of whether they are perceived to have any disabilities, and extending human life. It  may include low-level biohacking, physical augmentation, performance-enhancing drugs and even genetic modification.

The London 2012… read more

How telecom convergence may widen the digital divide

May 18, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Technology is helping communication companies merge telephone, television and Internet services, but a push to deregulate may leave some customers on the wrong side of the digital divide during this convergence, according to a Penn State telecommunications researcher.

“Moving away from copper lines is an example of abandoning obsolete technology and embracing technology that is faster, better, cheaper and more convenient,” said Rob Frieden, Pioneers Chair in… read more

World’s most human-like android head

April 26, 2013

GF2045

Dr. Dmitry Itskov, founder of the 2045 Initiative and Global Future 2045 congress (GF2045), announced Thursday that he will unveil Dr. David Hanson’s latest android, the Dmitry Avatar-A head — the “world’s most human-like android head” — at the GF2045 congress, scheduled for June 15–16 at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The new android, a robotic replica of Itskov’s head, is being created by… read more

Brain signals from a primate directly move paralyzed limbs in another primate ‘avatar’

February 24, 2014

Neural activity signals recorded from pre-motor neurons (top) are decoded and played back to control limb movements in a functionally paralyzed primate avatar (bottom) --- a step toward making brain-machine interfaces for paralyzed humans to control their own limbs using their brain activity alone (illustration adapted) (credit: Maryam M. Shanechi et al./Nature Communications)

Taking brain-machine interfaces (BMI) to the next level, new research may help paralyzed people move their own limb just by thinking about it.

Previous research has been limited to controlling external devices, such as robots or synthetic avatar arms.

In a paper published online Feb. 18 in Nature Communications, Maryam Shanechi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University, working with Ziv Williams,… read more

Researchers prove that memories reside in specific brain cells

March 23, 2012

Mouse Hippocampus

In a new MIT study, researchers used optogenetics to show that memories reside in very specific brain cells, and that simply activating a tiny fraction of brain cells can recall an entire memory — explaining, for example, how Marcel Proust could recapitulate his childhood from the aroma of a once-beloved madeleine cookie.

“We demonstrate that behavior based on high-level cognition, such as the expression of a specific memory, can… read more

Could synthetic fuels eliminate entire US need for crude oil, create ‘new economy’?

December 7, 2012

Graphical representation of the locations of selected facilities for 50% replacement of petroleum fuels. The facilities are represented by dark brown circles with corresponding sizes. The amounts of coal, biomass, and natural gas feedstock in the United States are represented by the proposed color scheme in the map legend. (Credit: Josephine A. Elia, Richard C. Baliban, and Christodoulos A. Floudas/Princeton University)

The U.S. could eliminate the need for crude oil by using a combination of coal, natural gas, and non-food crops to make synthetic fuel, a team of Princeton researchers has found.

Besides economic and national security benefits, the plan has potential environmental advantages. Because plants absorb carbon dioxide to grow, the United States could cut vehicle greenhouse emissions by as much as 50 percent in… read more

Scientists and bankers — a new model army

April 12, 2012

450px-New_York_City_Stock_Exchange_NYSE_03

Bankers must surrender more information on their activities to scientists to use it to build better system-wide financial models, says John Liechty, director of the Center for the Study of Global Financial Stability and Professor of Marketing and Statistics at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Existing financial models failed to predict the crisis of 2008 and the follow-on crisis of 2011–12. They missed the huge system-wide risks that… read more

Eureka! When a blow to the head creates a sudden genius

May 20, 2012

Stephen Wiltshire

How can we explain “acquired savants” — people with extraordinary talent who’ve miraculously developed artistic, musical, or mathematical abilities as a result of a brain injury, or temporarily from a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) session — since they weren’t born with the talent and didn’t learn it later?

For example, how is it that somebody like Derek Amato (video below), who’d never demonstrated any musical talent before hitting his head at the… read more

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