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The Lab Animal

January 19, 2004

Elite athletes always have and always will pursue every competitive advantage — health and the law be damned. Is genetic manipulation next?

The Language of Pattern Recognition

May 13, 2004

Scientists and businesspeople may inhabit different cultures, but they’re looking for the same thing: patterns.

The trick is in reading the data points better or faster — or gathering more data — than anyone else. The winner is the one who needs the fewest clues to make out the big picture. They can extract more insight from a set of facts or generate data that reveal more about how… read more

The laser-powered bionic eye that gives 576-pixel grayscale vision to the blind

July 18, 2012

nano_retina

Bionic eye implants are finally hitting the market — first in Europe, and hopefully soon in the U.S., ExtremeTech reports.

These implants can restore sight to completely blind patients — though only if the blindness is caused by a faulty retina, as in macular degeneration.

Second Sight

The first of these implants, Argus II, developed by Second Sight, is already available in Europe.… read more

The last days of cash

June 1, 2012

biometric wallet

Cash’s role is waning, as mobile, encryption, and other technologies let us plug directly into the digital economy, covered in an IEEE Spectrum special report on the future of money*. Here are a few excerpts….

The Biometric Wallet

Palm vein scanners could eventually replace your wallet with your hand.

Dealing with an extimated $1 billion in ATM loses, major banks in Brazil,… read more

The latest artificial heart: part cow, part machine

June 3, 2013

carmat_artificial_heartx299

A French company is preparing to test a complex artificial heart that combines biology with machinery, MIT Technology Review reports.

If the “bioprosthetic” device, made by the Paris-based Carmat, proves to be safe and effective, it could be given to patients waiting for a heart transplant. [...]

The latest nanotech device: Venetian blinds

October 28, 2005

A molecule, polyguanidine, that flips its arms like the slats on a Venetian blind might in future find uses in computer displays, computer memory, or even windows that become tinted at the flick of a switch.

The leading ‘edge’: plastic fibre slashes network costs

January 10, 2008

A new European project using plastic fiber and off-the-shelf components could make optical networking so cheap and simple that in the future, anyone could install it, bringing ultra-high speed (1 to 10 gigabits/sec) telecom lines into every home.

The library of Utopia

November 19, 2012

The_Reading_Room_at_the_British_Museum

Google’s ambitious book-scanning program is foundering in the courts. Now a Harvard-led group is launching its own sweeping effort to put our literary heritage online, MIT Technology Review reports.

Robert ­Darnton. A distinguished historian, prize-winning author, and director of Harvard’s library system, has an ardent desire to see a universal library established online, a library that would, as he puts it, “make all knowledge availableread more

The lie detector you’ll never know is there

January 5, 2006

THE US Department of Defense has revealed plans to develop a lie detector that can be used without the subject knowing they are being assessed.

The Remote Personnel Assessment (RPA) device will also be used to pinpoint fighters hiding in a combat zone, or even to spot signs of stress that might mark someone out as a terrorist or suicide bomber.

The Lifeboat Foundation: Battling Asteroids, Nanobots and A.I.

July 21, 2010

The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit that seeks to protect people from some seriously catastrophic technology-related events. It funds research that would prevent a situation where technology has run amok, sort of like a pre-Fringe Unit.

The organization has a ton of areas that it’s looking into, ranging from artificial intelligence to asteroids. A particular interest for the group revolves around building shields and lots of them, such… read more

The Little Engine That Could

June 1, 2004

Robert X. Cringley predicts the coming demise of the landline telco monopolies from VoIP (voice over Internet) and Linux running on the latest generation of WiFi routers connected to local subscribers via a mesh network.

“The result is a system with economics with which a traditional local phone company simply can’t compete,” he says.

The Liver Chip

March 5, 2003

Researchers are building a miniature human liver on a silicon chip as a realistic model of the natural organ. Mass produced, such a chip could be a boon to companies developing drugs for hepatitis and other diseases, and for scientists investigating liver cancer and gene therapy and chemical firms testing the toxicity of new materials.

The living dead

May 18, 2001

A cybernetic definition of “life” has been proposed by Bernard Korzeniewski of the Institute of Molecular Biology at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland: “A network of inferior negative feedbacks subordinated to a superior positive feedback.”

In other words, life is a system that tries to regulate itself to preserve its identity. Uner this definition, ants, prions, and infertile humans are not alive, but parasitic DNA is, he says.

The ‘living’ micro-robot that could detect diseases in humans

March 30, 2012

CyberplasmVehicle

A tiny prototype robot that functions like a living creature is being developed that one day could be safely used to pinpoint diseases within the human body.

Called “Cyberplasm,” it will combine advanced microelectronics with latest research in biomimicry (technology inspired by nature). The aim is for Cyberplasm to have an electronic nervous system and “eye” and “nose” sensors derived from mammalian cells, as well as artificial… read more

The loneliness scare — isolation isn’t a growing problem

May 11, 2012

Loneliness

Many commentators believe new technologies have made us lonelier, with headlines likes “Sad, Lonely World Discovered in Cyberspace”; “Alone in the Vast Wasteland”; and “The Lonely American Just Got a Bit Lonelier”; and books such as Bowling AloneThe Lonely American, and Alone Together..

On the contrary, people use new media to enhance their existing relationships, suggests Claude S. Fischer,… read more

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