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The journey of the e-book

December 22, 2010

Alan Kay with Dynabook (Wikimedia Commons)

In The Journey of the e-Book, Fast Company illustrates some of the forms that electronic reading has taken and might take.

The past:

The future?

The Key to Genius

January 13, 2004

Autistic savants are born with miswired neurons—and extraordinary gifts. Geneticists are starting to pinpoint the DNA anomalies found in savants. More than a dozen genes may contribute to autism. Several other forms of mental impairment also produce islands of startling ability—known as splinter skills—as if fragments of savant code are scattered throughout the genetic database.

The Kindle: Good Before, Better Now

February 24, 2009

Amazon’s new Kindle 2 e-book reader, now shipping, wirelessly offers a choice of 240,000 books to mobile readers for $10 a book or less.

The Knowledge

April 9, 2006

Biotechnology’s advance could give malefactors the ability to manipulate life processes, create biological weapons, and even affect human behavior.

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


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


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


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.

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