Monthly Archives: April 2010

A Map for the Programmable World

by Chris  Arkenberg,

IFTF recently published the map for When Everything is Programmable. I did the research & forecast for Neuroprogramming and contributed to Combinatorial Manufacturing. For Neuroprogramming, I focused on brain-computer interface technology in medical, military, and futuretainment. I was, frankly, amazed at just how much rapid development is happening in the field (and how much money is moving through it, as well).

Perhaps surprisingly, Neuroprogramming looks much closer than the molecular construction I researched for Combinatorial Manufacturing. The promise of Drexler et al still seems to be a ways off but Claytronics offers a really compelling path towards programmable matter.

Delivering babies, treating heart attacks, scanning brains – There’s an app for that

from Singularity Hub:

AirStrip Technologies is setting your doctor free. The Texas based company is developing a suite of hardware/software solutions that allow physicians and nurses to monitor important vital signs from their smart phone.

Now, your doctor can use her iPhone to keep track of heartbeats, nurse’s notes, exams results, and drug doses even when she is out of the hospital.

You can check out a free demo of AirStrip OB at the App Store, or watch a local news segment …

Researchers develop new brain-like molecular processor

from ZDnet:

An international research team from Japan and Michigan Technological University have demonstrated a molecular circuit that can evolve continuously to solve complex problems that challenge today’s supercomputers.

The massively parallel circuit contains a layer of molecular switches (monolayer) that simultaneously interact in a manner similar to the information processing performed by the neurons in the human brain. That is, they can evolve to tackle complex problems. That’s because information processing circuits in digital computers are static, and operate serially.

Nanotechnology’s road to artificial brains

from Nanowerk:

If you think that building an artificial human brain is science fiction, you are probably right – for now. But don’t think for a moment that researchers are not working hard on laying the foundations for what is called neuromorphic engineering – a new interdisciplinary discipline that includes nanotechnologies and whose goal is to design artificial neural systems with physical architectures similar to biological nervous systems.

One of the key components of any neuromorphic effort is the design of artificial synapses. The human brain contains vastly more synapses than neurons – by a factor of about 10,000 – and therefore it is necessary to develop a nanoscale, low power, synapse-like device if scientists want to scale neuromorphic circuits towards the human brain level.

Schrödinger’s cash: Minting quantum money

from NewScientist:

Now the theoretical foundations are almost in place that could one day allow quantum cash to become a reality.

Since quantum money is just information, it can be stored and transmitted just like a digital picture or a text file. But because it has quantum properties too, it cannot be copied.

It is this combination that makes quantum cash so attractive: whoever is in possession of it has exclusive and unequivocal ownership of it, just as with hard, physical cash and unlike a credit card.

Brain-controlled exoskeletons advance with MindWalker


A team of European experts is working on a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton that could enable people currently confined to wheelchairs to walk again and also help astronauts rehabilitate to Earth gravity after prolonged periods in the weightlessness of space.

The MindWalker system, which is being developed as part of a three-year, 2.5 million euro project, consists of a brain-computer interface (BCI), a virtual reality training environment and a robotic exoskeleton attached to the legs.

Australian CSIRO analysis of the Megatrends and Megashocks of Our Future World

from Next Big Future:

CSIRO has a new report describing the outcomes from a global foresight project. It presents five megatrends and eight megashocks (global risks) that will redefine how the world’s people live.

The report identified eight megashocks relevant to Australian science:

1. asset price collapse
2. slowing Chinese economy
3. oil and gas price spikes
4. extreme climate change related weather
5. pandemic
6. biodiversity loss
7. terrorism
8. nanotechnology risks