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The Man Who Made Gmail Says Real-Time Conversation is What’s Next

May 4, 2009

A startup called FriendFeed has created what they hope to be the next big form of communication online: flowing, multi-person, real-time conversations.

The man who saves Stephen Hawking’s voice

January 9, 2012

Stephen Hawking’s rate of speech is down to about one word per minute, and the nerve decay has now reached the point where he needs to move to some new technology, says Sam Blackburn, who has been responsible for the technology which allows Stephen Hawking to communicate for the past five years (he has recently resigned).

“Steven has a stubborn attitude towards this sort of thing. He feels that… read more

The man who wants to translate the Web

January 9, 2012

Most of the Web is inaccessible to most people in the world. This problem is pressing, now more than ever, with millions of people from China, Russia, Latin America and other quickly developing regions entering the Web.

In this TED talk, Luis von Ahn introduces his new collaborative project, called Duolingo, which aims at breaking the language barrier and making the Web truly “world wide.”

The many maps of the brain

December 11, 2012


Your brain has at least four different senses of location — and perhaps as many as 10 — and each is different, according to new research from the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The brain has a number of “modules” dedicated to self-location, they found. Each module contains its own internal GPS-like mapping system that keeps track… read more

The Matrix Makers: virtual cinematography

December 25, 2002

The two sequels of “The Matrix” will feature photorealistic virtual actors that are impossible to tell from real ones, say the producers. “The Matrix Reloaded” arrives in theaters on May 15, “Matrix Revolutions” in early November.

Actor performances are captured on five high-resolution digital cameras; a complex algorithm calculates the actor’s appearance from every angle the cameras missed and allows for creating scenes with virtual actors.

The Matrix Reloads

May 6, 2002

Warner Bros. is producing two sequels to the Matrix, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, both scheduled for 2003. The films continue the scenario of the human race imprisoned in a computer-generated reality and include the underground city of Zion, inhabited by the few hundred thousand humans who have escaped.

The measured life

June 22, 2011

Sleep Cycle iPhone app (credit: Maciek Drejak Labs AB)

Do you know how much REM sleep you got last night?

New types of devices that monitor activity, sleep, diet, and even mood could tell us, and also make us healthier and more productive.

Quantified Self enthusiasts believe that collecting detailed data can help them make better choices about their health and behavior.

Self-trackers are using an expanding selection of smartphone apps and various consumer… read more

The measured man

June 25, 2012


Dr. Larry Smarr, Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), is charting his every bodily function in minute detail. What he’s discovering may be the future of health care: a patient-centric, computer-assisted world of medical care.

At 63, he is engaged in a computer-aided study of the human body — specifically, his body. It’s the start of a process that he believes will help lead,… read more

The mechanism that gives shape to life

October 17, 2011

hox genes

Researchers at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and the University of Geneva (Unige) have solved the mystery of how genes determines the shape that many animals take.

During the development of an embryo, everything happens at a specific moment. In about 48 hours, it will grow from the top to the bottom, one slice at a time — scientists call this the embryo’s segmentation.… read more

The megaquake connection: Are huge earthquakes linked?

March 17, 2011

Ring of fire (image credit: UNAVCO)

The recent cluster of huge quakes around the Pacific Ocean has fueled speculation that they are seismically linked.

The December 2004 Sumatra quake, the February 2010 Chile quake, and now, Sendai have struck in just over six years. This presents a horrifying possibility: that there is a link between these megaquakes and that, as a result, more could strike.

What is clear is that for the 6.2 years… read more

The Memory Hacker

April 8, 2007

USC’s Center for Neural Engineering researchers have developed a chip that can communicate with brain cells, a first step toward an implantable machine that could restore memories in people with brain damage or help them make new ones.

The chip can receive analog signals from live brain tissue, convert them to digital signals, and then reconvert them to an analog signal relayed to healthy neurons on the other side.… read more

The Methuselah Manifesto

November 23, 2009

Maximum Life Foundation president David Kekich gathered a group of scientists, entrepreneurs, and visionaries to meet for three days with the goal of developing a scientific and business strategy to make extreme human life extension a real possibility within a couple of decades, dubbed the Manhattan Beach Project.

The Military — DARPA’s New Supersoldiers

January 13, 2004

DARPA-funded researchers have recently begun to crack the brain’s neural codes. This research provides glimpses into a future when people will be able to manipulate complicated machinery or remote-controlled weapons just by thinking. They are also testing the viability of storing human memories on implantable microchips, an advance that would eliminate the need for training by allowing soldiers to upload someone else’s technical know-how or combat experience.

The Millennium Project’s 2006 State of the Future published

August 20, 2006

The Millennium Project–a global participatory think tank–has released its 10th annual State of the Future report.

The report distills the collective intelligence of over 2,000 leading scientists, futurists, scholars, and policy advisors who work for governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations, universities, and international organizations.

Among its findings:

  • Dramatic increases in collective human-machine intelligence are possible within 25 years. It is also possible that within the
  • read more

    The Mind of an Inventor

    October 2, 2005

    Applied Minds, led by inventor Danny Hillis, is developing such imaginative inventions as “touch tables”: the surface of each is a high-resolution computer display showing a satellite-camera view of the world. By putting your hands on the table and spreading them, you zoom into a region, a city, a neighborhood. You can also slide your hand over the table to expose the view as captured at an earlier time.

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