Computerised glasses are, at this moment, the wearable computing technology that is most likely to herald the beginning of the end of the Smartphone era. Although they are each taking slightly different approaches to these technologies, Apple, Google and Microsoft are all striving to define the market for wearable computers of which computerised glasses are an integral part. The US military, especially the Special Forces units, already use wearable computers for communications and satellite navigation tasks. That technology hasnt yet reached consumer or business users, but it soon will. Smart glasses are due to be launched selectively in the New Year.
Jan 02 2013
Dec 20 2012
Details of an immersive video games display system that projects images of the title’s environment around a player’s room have been revealed in a US patent belonging to Microsoft.
The Xbox maker describes extending graphics beyond the edges of a TV to "make the experience more realistic".
A spokesman said he could not comment about when a product might be released.
Sony appears to be pursuing a different strategy. A video from the firm hints at a new augmented-reality headset.
Both firms are expected to announce details of their next-generation consoles in 2013.
Their rival, Nintendo, will provide more detail about the release of its Wii U games machine at a New York event on Thursday.
Scan and project
Microsoft’s patent suggests that current games console systems are constrained by their reliance on a single screen.
"Such displays are typically the only source of visual content, so that the media experience is bounded by the bezel of the display," it said.
"Even when focused on the display, the user may perceive architectural and decorative feature of the room the display is in… such features are typically out of context with respect to the displayed image, muting the entertainment potential."
Dec 20 2012
It’s the most famous corkscrew in history. Now an electron microscope has captured the famous Watson-Crick double helix in all its glory, by imaging threads of DNA resting on a silicon bed of nails. The technique will let researchers see how proteins, RNA and other biomolecules interact with DNA.
The structure of DNA was originally discovered using X-ray crystallography. This involves X-rays scattering off atoms in crystallised arrays of DNA to form a complex pattern of dots on photographic film. Interpreting the images requires complex mathematics to figure out what crystal structure could give rise to the observed patterns.
The new images are much more obvious, as they are a direct picture of the DNA strands, albeit seen with electrons rather than X-ray photons. The trick used by Enzo di Fabrizio at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy, and his team was to snag DNA threads out of a dilute solution and lay them on a bed of nanoscopic silicon pillars.
Once the robot figures out how to do that without all the wires, humanity is doomed.
DARPA was also hard at work this year making robots to track humans and run as fast as a cheetah, which seems like a great combination with no possibility of horrible side effects.
Dec 20 2012
At the University of Pittsburgh, the neurobiology department worked with 52-year-old Jan Scheuermann over the course of 13 weeks to create a robotic arm controlled only by the power of Scheuermann’s mind.
The team implanted her with two 96-channel intracortical microelectrodes. Placed in the motor cortex, which controls all limb movement, the integration process was faster than anyone expected. On the second day, Jan could use her new arm with a 3-D workspace. By the end of the 13 weeks, she was capable of performing complex tasks with seven-dimensional movement, just like a biological arm.
To date, there have been no negative side effects.
Dec 10 2012
Princeton researchers have found a simple and economic way to nearly triple the efficiency of organic solar cells, the cheap and flexible plastic devices that many scientists believe could be the future of solar power.
Dec 10 2012
Phys.org—IBM announced today a major advance in the ability to use light instead of electrical signals to transmit information for future computing. The breakthrough technology – called "silicon nanophotonics" – allows the integration of different optical components side-by-side with electrical circuits on a single silicon chip using, for the first time, sub-100nm semiconductor technology.
"In the future, our lives will be full of robots," he says.
Ishiguro’s lecture about the possibilities for the relationship between humans and robots attracted a packed audience. He compared the evolution of robots to the evolution of cars. "Once we have developed practical robots, we can spend more and more time building autonomy," he said.
Autonomous androids which look just like you could conduct your business, attend conferences, and go shopping on your behalf, while you sat in the comfort of your home. A camera would monitor your facial expressions and your android’s face would mirror your expressions. Ishiguro says there is even a psychological phenomenon whereby, if someone touches your android, you feel it. "It’s a very tactile sensation," he says.
Ishiguro has previously left his twin android, developed at a cost of $1 million, to deliver pre-recorded lectures at his place of employment, Osaka University in Japan, while he went overseas. He also – when doubled booked for a conference – emailed the conference organisers to say that he would have to send his android to one of the events. Both conferences replied: "We want the android!"
Dec 06 2012
(Phys.org)—Is Samsung getting ready to release a line of flexible displays made of glass-replacing plastic? The right words in response may be "well, finally," or "well, maybe." The Wall Street Journal has talked to a source who said that Samsung, in the words of the WSJ subheading, "Plans to Mass Produce Flexible Mobile-Device Screens" in the first half of next year. The source was not named and was only described as "a person familiar with the situation." Samsung has tantalized techies and consumers with its futuristic videos showing a beautiful-life day using wearable wrist computers, auto dashboard display screens, location-finding smartphones, and wall mounted computer screens of plastic rather than glass.
Dec 06 2012
Unlike LED-based contact lens displays, which are limited to a few small pixels, imec’s innovative LCD-based technology permits the use of the entire display surface. By adapting the patterning process of the conductive layer, this technology enables applications with a broad range of pixel number and sizes, such as a one pixel, fully covered contact lens acting as adaptable sunglasses, or a highly pixelated contact lens display.
The first prototype presented today contains a patterned dollar sign, depicting the many cartoons that feature people or figures with dollars in their eyes. It can only display rudimentary patterns, similar to an electronic pocket calculator. In the future, the researchers envision fully autonomous electronic contact lenses embedded with this display. These next-generation solutions could be used for medical purposes, for example to control the light transmission toward the retina in case of a damaged iris, or for cosmetic purposes such as an iris with a tunable color. In the future, the display could also function as a head-up display, superimposing an image onto the user’s normal view. However, there are still hurdles to overcome for broader consumer and civilian implementation.
Australian computer scientists in Adelaide are electronically tagging and tracking movement of common household objects as a way to track what elderly people are doing. A computer system can track which objects are getting used and how those objects are moving around to flag developing health problems in the elderly.University of Adelaide computer scientists are leading a project to develop novel sensor systems to help older people keep living independently and safely in their own homes.The researchers are adapting radio-frequency identification RFID and sensor technologies to automatically identify and monitor human activity; to be able to determine if an individuals normal routine is being maintained so that timely assistance can be provided if it is needed.
Dec 05 2012
Imagine a string that can assemble itself into just about anything wherever and whenever you need it — a wrench to adjust your child’s bike seat or a hammer to pound a nail into the wall, for example. That future may be distant, but researchers have built a robot that already hints at the possibility.
“The robot is just a continuous strip, it is a one-dimensional thing,” Neil Gershenfeld, director of the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told NBC News, speaking of the concept behind the device.
“It is a continuous strip that … gets folded into the shapes you want it to make. This is a kind of robot that you can produce in a continuous process. You can produce it by the mile; it is not assembling a bunch of separate parts.”
Dec 05 2012
A team led by Princeton‘s Associate Professor of Physics Jason Petta has developed a new method that could eventually allow engineers to build a working quantum computer consisting of millions of quantum bits (qubits).
Quantum computers take advantage of the strange behaviors of subatomic particles like electrons. By harnessing electrons as they spin, scientists could use the particles to form the basis for a new type of computing.
The problem, though, is that these incredibly tiny electrons are hard to control. So far, scientists have only been able to harness extremely small numbers of them.
“The whole game at this point in quantum computing is trying to build a larger system,” said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering at Princeton who is part of the research team.
Dec 05 2012
Supposing a technological Singularity or something like it does occur later in this century – what’s likely to be the main technology pushing it forward?
Like Ray Kurzweil and many others, I believe the answer is: Artificial General Intelligence. Other technologies will surely play large roles, but what will really push us over the threshold and radically transform our world, will be the emergence of engineered minds with general intelligence significantly greater than our own.
Nobody fully understands AGI yet – but there’s an active community of researchers hammering away at the problem every day. And while this community shares a passion for AGI and a belief in the tractability of the problem, it’s also characterized by a wild diversity of perspectives on nearly every relevant technical and conceptual issue.
A disembodied human face hangs atop a robot chassis next to a Redmond, Oregon hospital bed (not pictured). The doctor on the screen is 20 miles distant, in Bend. But from there he is able to assess the patient and determine whether she should be moved to a better equipped hospital in Bend or further afield.
The doctor’s name is Dr. Kevin Sherer, the volunteer patient Anita Boucher, and together they recently performed a test run using an InTouch Health RP-7i telepresence robot nicknamed Roda (robotic office diagnostic assistant).
Dr. Sherer can pilot Roda down the hall with a joystick, turn its camera to check vitals, and interact with the patient by way of the screen atop Roda’s chassis. In addition to telepresence capabilities—and with the help of a nurse placing a special stethoscope—he can remotely check the patient’s heart beat over headphones.