Monthly Archives: April 2010

Video: Your window to the world is whatever you want it to be with DIY Winscape

from PopSci:

Winscape is a DIY project for you: install two HD plasmas in faux window frames that display whatever scene you’d rather see out your window. Using a Wiimote, the setup even detects your position in the room and shifts the perspective screens’ high-resolution video to create the illusion of looking out a real window.

The kit, which will run $2,500-$3,000 from Rational Craft, aims to transport you to wherever you want to be, be it San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park or the view from the Space Shuttle. You can even collect your own footage of your favorite places and cycle through them throughout the day.

When your carpet calls your doctor

from The Economist:

Wireless health is “becoming omnipresent” in hospitals, according to Kalorama Information, a market-research firm; it estimates that the market for such devices and services in America alone will grow from $2.7 billion in 2007 to $9.6 billion in 2012.

A forthcoming report by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), a think tank, estimates that two-thirds of American physicians already have smart-phones. Over one-third of American doctors use Epocrates, a program for mobiles and laptops which offers instant information on drug-to-drug interactions, treatment recommendations and so on.

The software will soon be able to access electronic health records (EHRs) via mobiles—which the author of the CHCF’s report thinks could be “the killer application” of wireless health.

Video: GM’s self-driving pod cars of the future

from DVICE:

When we first saw GM’s EN-V (Electronic Networked Vehicles), they looked like yet another far-fetched design concept, but now the company’s rolled out a video that shows the prototypes in action.

‘Think-dial’ on your thought-controlled iPhone

from h+ Magazine:

Don your telepathic headset and plug into your iPhone. Want to call your friend? Just look at her picture and think about her.

A new iPhone app described in the MIT Technology Review blog developed by Tanzeem Choudhury, Rajeev Raizada, Andrew Campbell and others at Dartmouth College lets you “wink” or “think dial” your relative or friend when his or her photo appears on an iPhone.

The Smarter Electric Grid Of The Future

from InsideScience:

Here is a sampling of what home electricity might look like in the year 2020.

Roof shingles made of light-sensitive materials make electricity to help power the home. Twenty percent or even more of electricity sent by the local utility will be from renewable sources, such as wind or solar power.

Many homes will be equipped with “net metering,” which means that if you generate more electricity than you can use (from solar cells, say), it can be sent out and added to the general grid.

One of the main goals of an automated smart grid for the home is for appliances to know when to operate. For example, with a single small microchip a dishwasher will start up in the middle of the night, when the cost of electricity is much lower than in the late afternoon.

Hand-held device projects images that respond to the real world

from NewScientist:

The device – called Twinkle – projects animated graphics that respond to patterns, shapes or colours on a surface, or even 3D objects such as your hand.

It uses a camera to track relevant elements – say a line drawn on a wall – in the scene illuminated by the projector and an accelerometer ensures it can sense the projector’s rapid motion and position.

Video: New interface combines strength of touchscreen with precision of a pen

from MIT’s Technology Review:

The prototype for Manual Deskterity is a drafting application built for the Microsoft Surface, a tabletop touchscreen.

The interface’s most interesting features come out when the two types of interaction are combined. For example, a user can copy an object by holding it with one hand and then dragging the pen across the image, “peeling” off a new image that can be placed elsewhere on the screen. By combining pen and hand, users get access to features such as an exacto knife, a rubber stamp, and brush painting.

Intel guru says 3-D Internet will arrive within five years

from ComputerWorld:

Sean Koehl, a technology evangelist with Intel Labs, said technology is emerging that will one day change the way we interact with electronic devices and with each other.

That could come as soon as five years from now when, he predicted, there will be realistic-looking three-dimensional applications.”The Internet may never go fully 3-D, but making 3-D environments broadly accessible is probably capable within five years,” noted Koehl.

Auto-automobile research reducing need for human drivers

from NC State University:

Researchers from North Carolina State University have created a computer program that allows a car to stay in its lane without human control, opening the door to the development of new automobile safety features and military applications that could save lives.

Specifically, Snyder and his co-authors have written a program that uses algorithms to sort visual data and make decisions related to finding the lanes of a road, detecting how those lanes change as a car is moving, and controlling the car to stay in the correct lane.

MIT’s BiDi Screen: A thin depth-sensing LCD for 3D gesture interaction using light fields

from web.media.mit.edu: <- video, specs, & more at link

The BiDi Screen is an example of a new type of I/O device that possesses the ability to both capture images and display them. This thin, bidirectional screen extends the latest trend in LCD devices, which has seen the incorporation of photo-diodes into every display pixel.

Using a novel optical masking technique developed at the Media Lab, the BiDi Screen can capture lightfield-like quantities, unlocking a wide array of applications from 3-D gesture interaction with CE devices, to seamless video communication.

OLED wallpaper coming in 2012

from DVICE:

OLED lighting is tremendously efficient, 2.5 times more so than energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. That means a wallpaper panel like this can operate at an astonishing 150 lumens per watt, requiring just 3 to 5 Volts to power the OLED film that can function as anything from light-emitting wallpaper to a road sign.

This is all made possible by a breakthrough from British company called LOMOX, saying it’s solved the main drawback of OLED lighting up until now: longevity. The company claims its OLED lighting will last longer than a compact fluorescent bulb. Better yet, it emits more lifelike light. The future looks bright.

Video: ‘Building of the Future’ has swarm-robotic guides, AR, touchscreen walls & more

from Singularity Hub:

Set on the massive 16 hectare compound of Santander Bank outside of Madrid, El Faro awes its guests with technology that transforms their surroundings into a interactive mesh of the physical and digital worlds.

Integrated technologies providing humans with an enhanced environment – welcome to the future, boys and girls.

‘Mind-reading’ brain-scan software showcased in NY

from Physorg:

Software that uses brain scans to determine what items people are thinking about was among the technological innovations showcased Wednesday byIntel Corp., which drew back the curtain on a number of projects that are still under development.

The software analyzes functional MRI scans to determine what parts of a person’s brain is being activated as he or she thinks. In tests, it guessed with 90 percent accuracy which of two words a person was thinking about, said Intel Labs researcher Dean Pomerleau.

Eventually, the technology could help the severely physically disabled to communicate. And Pomerleau sees it as an early step toward one day being able to control technology with our minds.

Utopia or Dystopia? “Control technology with our minds”? – or controlling our minds with technology?

By 2020: 20 million chips implanted into living cells with computer controlled movement

from NEXT BIG FUTURE:

What looks possible by 2020 if the research from five different research groups can be combined ?

Here is the five things to combine-

1. Montreal researchers have created computer controlled bacteria to make nanopyramids.

Magnetic nanoparticles under computer control – determine how the cilia operate.

2. Other researchers have placed 3 micron X 3 micron by half a micron chips inside living cells and

3. in the same article as number 2 other researchers have used magnetized nanoparticles to control cells and hold them in desired positions and shapes

4. From the exclusive nextbigufuture interview with an executive from Tilera, a company that makes One hundred core CPUs that use 7 times less energy for the same processing power as Intel chips.

Tilera forecast making 3D cube chips with 1000 cores by 2020.

5. Memristor-CMOS hybrid chips are close – probably first one commercial within 3 years.

Read on…

Self-powered nanotechnology closer to reality

from MIT’s Technology Review:

[...] Wang has been developing devices based on nanowires that exhibit piezoelectricity. That is, they generate a voltage when they’re bent.

He has been integrating these nanowires into devices that can harvest energy from biomechanical motion–including the running movements of a hamster on a wheel or the tapping of a finger–and use it to power a small sensor.

Video: Virtual Reality in a box

from Singularity Hub:

pCubee is a small cube with five LCD screens on its sides. Stare at pCubee and it feels like you’re looking a 3D environment inside the box – a Fish Tank Virtual Reality (FTVR).

Users wear a head tracking device, allowing pCubee to correctly present you with depth perception and motion parallax on each of its sides – it’s a personalized experience (hence the ‘p’ in pCubee).

Augmented Human International Conference wraps up

from Discovery News:

Over two days, engineers and scientists gathered in the French Alps ski resort of Megeve unveiled cutting-edge research on boosting human perception with information from the Internet, customized databases, or even biofeedback from our own brains.

A team of researchers from the Telecommunications Research Center in Vienna decided to take a state-of-the-art eye tracker designed for web-use analysis out of the laboratory and onto the street…. [Read on]

Are we zeroing in on the hard problem of explaining consciousness?

from h+ Magazine:

Consciousness is the “hard problem” in mind science: explaining how the astonishing private world of consciousness emerges from neuronal activity.

Recent research using EEG (brain-wave sensing) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) measurements by Steven Laureys of the University of Liege offers evidence for the “global workspace theory,” and may also offer clues to the “hard problem” of how patterns of electrical activity give rise to our complex internal lives.

The global workspace model of consciousness, proposed by Bernard Baars, an Affiliated Research Fellow of The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California, proposes that perceptions below the threshold of consciousness are processed in relatively small, local areas of the brain. Broadcasting this pre-conscious information to the global workspace — a network of neural regions — results in conscious experience.

Japanese scientists unveil female android

from dailymail.co.uk:

Japanese professor Hiroshi Ishiguro yesterday unveiled a female android that can laugh and smile as it mimics human expressions.

Using a motion-capture system, the robot, called Geminoid TMF, can move its rubber face to imitate a smile, a toothy grin, and a grim-looking frown.

The developers said they expected the robot to be eventually used in real-life situations, such as in hospitals.’We’ve already got some data showing that the robot gave patients psychological security by nodding and smiling at them, when patients were checked on by doctors,’ Satoko Inoue, spokeman for Kokoro, told Dawn.com.