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From a Poet’s Failing Sight, a Novel ‘Seeing Machine’ Emerges

May 25, 2006

A poet and artist has enlisted the help of scientists and engineering students to create a “seeing machine” that may eventually help people like her, with severely impaired vision, to read, look at pictures and explore landscapes and buildings.

The $4000 system consists of a projector, computer, monitor, eyepiece and a joystick for zooming in and out, and light-emitting diodes, and uses a “visual language” that combines letters and… read more

The Great Woz Tells All

May 24, 2006

“I’m looking forward to the day when a computer can be a teacher,” says Apple computer inventor Steve Wozniak. “We’re not there yet, since we haven’t yet conquered artificial intelligence. Once we’ve made a robot that can make a cup of coffee, then we’ve probably got enough artificial intelligence. Then we can have 30 teachers in a class of 30 kids, and the computers can go at different rates with… read more

DSL Prime: Free Nationwide Wireless

May 24, 2006

One company has applied to the FCC for 20 MHz of spectrum in return for providing 95 percent of U.S. customers free high speed wireless Internet coverage.

Synthetic biologists reject controversial guidelines

May 24, 2006

Researchers in the new field of synthetic biology have pledged to develop better tools to identify anyone trying to order the DNA needed to make deadly pathogens. But at the Synthetic Biology 2.0 meeting in Berkeley, California, they decided against adopting a controversial code of conduct intended to prevent their technologies being used to make new bioweapons.

Web inventor warns of ‘dark’ net

May 24, 2006

Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee warned that if the US decided to go ahead with a two-tier Internet, the network would enter “a dark period.”

vCJD may lurk in more people than realised

May 22, 2006

The deadly human form of mad cow disease, vCJD, may have infected far more people than previously thought, suggests a new study in the British Medical Journal.

Variant Creutzfelt-Jakob disease is linked to eating meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad-cow disease. A rogue version of a prion protein proliferates in the brain, leading to distressing mental deterioration, loss of motor control, and eventually death.

Scientists build a world of ‘software beings’

May 22, 2006

Politicians could one day determine the results of elections before they take place, thanks to a European research project that will study social interactions between millions of virtual human beings.

A Meeting Of The Metal Minds

May 22, 2006

This year’s theme at the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation is “Humanitarian Robotics.”

A primary role of these lifelike robots is not to advance human mimicry but rather human understanding. Scientists formulate theories about how various systems of the human body work, and roboticists believe that some of these theories can be verified or rejected by building robots.

How our body’s defences aid computers in distress

May 22, 2006

The way the body’s immune system responds when its cells are under attack has inspired a new way of protecting computer networks from viruses and hackers.

Software has been developed that behaves like dendritic cells, scouring the network looking for danger signals such as sudden increases in network traffic or unusually high numbers of error messages, triggering an immune response when they increase above a preset threshold.

MIT’s Speech Recognition Baby

May 19, 2006

MIT may be on the verge of a revolutionary development in speech and video algorithmic technology. Their test subject: a 9 month-old baby boy, who is the center of a project called “The Human Speechome Project.”

Associate Professor Deb Roy, head of the MIT Media Lab’s Cognitive Machines research group, has wired his home with 11 overhead, omni-directional fisheye video cameras and 14 ceiling-mounted microphones. It will record all… read more

Engineered Evolution

May 19, 2006

‘Historian of the Future’ Charles Ostman will discuss “nanotechnology, AI, and the intersection of the Singularity, engineered evolution and the Endtimes” on the syndicated CoastToCoastAM radio network on Saturday night May 20.

Charles Ostman is chair of the Technology Development Committee of NanoSig and a senior fellow at the Institute for Global Futures.

Redesigning life: Meet the bio-hackers

May 19, 2006

For the new breed of synthetic biologists, creatures are a collection of parts for constructing living machines, as New Scientist discovers.

The turning point for Samantha Sutton came in the second year of her electrical engineering degree, while testing antilock car brakes. “There was something missing,” she says. “I felt the average engineer in my division wasn’t really hacking and constructing as I wanted to. They were fine-tuning, refining.… read more

FDA Asked to Better Regulate Nanotechnology

May 18, 2006

A coalition of consumer and environmental groups petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to beef up its regulation of nanoparticle-containing sunscreens and cosmetics and recall some products.

Last chromosome in human genome sequenced

May 18, 2006

Scientists have reached a landmark point in one of the world’s most important scientific projects by sequencing the last chromosome in the Human Genome.

‘Fly-by-wireless’ plane takes to the air

May 18, 2006

A plane with no wires or mechanical connections between its engine, navigation system and onboard computers — only a Bluetooth wireless network — has been built and flown by engineers in Portugal.

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