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Monthly Archives: January 2013

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Autonomous Healthcare Robot, RP-Vita, Gains FDA Approval

Bringing iRobot and InTouch Health's core technologies together gives medical telepresence robots more range, flexibility, and automation. Doctors need only note on an iPad where the robot should go, and RP-Vita takes it from there. It navigates the hall, avoiding humans and other obstacles, and enters the requested room to begin the session—where the doctor can talk to the patient and even plug in various monitoring devices to check their vitals in session.

Our Singularity Future: Overfished Bluefin Tuna Sells for Record $1.76 Million

In early 2013, a single 489 pound bluefin tuna sold in Japan for a record $1.76 million. That’s roughly two homes in San Francisco and a Ferrari for each driveway—two and half times last year’s record $736,000. It makes a shocking headline. But notably the price is not representative of the market. Buyers traditionally compete to attract headlines in the first auction of the new year. Although current prices aren’t anywhere near $3,500/lb, it is true bluefin tuna are getting more expensive. (See here for Tokyo fish market wholesale prices back to 1997.) Rising demand from sushi restaurants combined with diminishing supply has led to fewer fish and higher prices.

2.5 Million Computers Give PetaFLOP/s Power to Einstein@Home, Other Projects

As home computers have become near ubiquitous, unused computing power has risen in tandem. Just think how often your laptop is asleep on your desk. So, why let all those idle processors go to waste? Einstein@Home—a web of over 335,000 private personal computers—and other projects like it aim to put lazy machines to work.

Brain Pacemakers Used To Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

In an effort to alleviate the symptoms of a disease that has stubbornly resisted treatment, scientists are turning to a therapy that may appear more likely to be encountered on the sick bay of...

Ramez Naam Discusses Brain-Computer Interfaces At Google

Nexus author and Singularity Hub contributor Ramez Naam discusses the technology that will allow brain-computer interfacing at Authors@Google.

The Super Supercapacitor

What if you could charge your phone, tablet, or laptop in 30 seconds and have it work all day long? That's the promise presented in a short film titled The Super Supercapacitor that profiles the work of UCLA inorganic chemistry professor Ric Kaner, whose research focused on conductive polymers and next generation materials.

Can Twitter Tell You When to Buy and When to Sell?

For Twitter sentiment to be a useful barometer, you needn’t require Tweeters be professional investors. But you do need them to actually care enough about stocks, commodities, or currency trading to Tweet key words about them. How many actually do that isn’t clear. The number is far from zero—but is it enough to be meaningful?

Humanoid Robot In Development That Acts Like One Year Old

A university-led collaboration to develop social robots has publicly unveiled its work in progress: a robotic one-year-old boy. As reported by Gizmag, the android named Diego-san is larger than a typical one-year-old child at over four feet...

Deaths Due To Cancer Decreased 20 Percent In Last 20 Years

The rate of deaths due to cancer in the United States is dropping. Americans today have a 20 percent less chance of dying from cancer than they did nearly 20 years ago. The Annual Report...

Better Than The Borg: The Neurotech Era

What if you could read my mind? What if I could beam what I’m seeing, hearing, and thinking, straight to you, and vice versa? What if an implant could store your memories, augment them, and make you smarter?

Flu Vaccine Produced With Insect Ovaries Approved By FDA – The End To Shortages?

Amid a season in which the flu is spreading at an exceptional rate across the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine that can get to the people who need...

Tablet Sales to Trump Laptops in 2013 – That Was Fast!

After a few early-2000s misadventures in Microsoft tablet PCs—the tablet was effectively re-introduced by Apple’s iPad in early 2010. And just two years on, global tablet sales are projected to overtake laptop sales. That was fast!

Setback For Student In Fight Against RFID Chips

Andrea Hernandez is a student at John Jay School, a magnet school in Texas whose students were recently required to begin wearing Smart ID badges with radio-frequency identification (RFID) locator chips in them. She...

Spend The Summer Changing The World — Apply Now To Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program

The deadline to apply for the 2013 Graduate Studies Program (GSP) at Singularity University is fast approaching. If you're an entrepreneurial innovator, disruptive technophile, or aspiring futurist, be sure to fill out an application here by next Thursday, January 31.

New Gene Therapy Extends Lives Of Children With Rare Brain Disorder

Chalk up another victory for gene therapy. A recent clinical trial has shown that gene therapy can be used to extend the lives of children with a rare brain disorder that typically proves fatal in the first few years of life.

GravityLight — Using Gravity To Bring Light To The Developing World

On the simplest level, GravityLight converts gravitational energy into light, just like its name promises. That's right, you lift a bag filled with 20 pounds of stuff (sand, earth, whatever) and attach it to a cord. As gravity pulls the bag down, an LED light is illuminated, working kind of like those hand-cranked flashlights. A braking mechanism causes the weight to drop slowly, producing about 30 minutes of light, and returning the bag to its original height "restarts" the light.

Robot Serves Up 360 Hamburgers Per Hour

UPDATE: To read more about how workers will be affected by automation technology, check out Hub's follow up post Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry No longer will they say, “He’s going to...

Khan Academy Update — It’s Hard To Imagine How Much Hotter This Tech Can Get

As a sort of highlight reel of all that has happened at the Khan Academy in 2012, let's take a look at its progress and hopefully you'll agree that its as hot as ever.

Exclusive Interview With Doug Wolens, Director of “The Singularity”

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” If you watch Doug Wolens’ latest documentary, “The Singularity,” the quote from Arthur C. Clarke is the first thing you see. It aptly prepares you for the...

Mercedes and Other Carmakers Are Building Increasingly Autonomous Autos

While Google and Stanford build robot cars from the top down, mainstream automakers are building autonomous autos from the base up. Before too long, the two will meet—at the least, relieving humans from an hour of stop-and-go traffic and maybe even taking over the entire commute.

Stanford Group Successfully Fabricates ‘Peel and Stick’ Solar Cells

In a December paper published in Nature’s preliminary research online publication, Scientific Reports, Stanford researchers announced a fabrication process that makes thin-film solar cell (TFSC) stickers. The resulting TFSCs are thinner and lighter than today’s solar panels. And according to the researchers these “peel-and-stick” solar cells can be stuck just about anywhere—no surface is too curvy or uneven.

The Democratization Of Filmmaking — Riveting Sci-Fi Short Film “R’ha” Created By A Single Person

Digital filmmaking is transforming Hollywood, no doubt, but for independent filmmakers, it is nothing short of a revolution. Case in point: 22-year-old German student Kaleb Lechowski. After seven months of writing, designing, and editing as well as reporting his progress on his blog, Kaleb recently posted his short sci-fi film R'ha on Vimeo. The six-minute film, which does not include a single human being, was completed as part of his first-year studies in digital film design in Berlin.

Kamen and Coca-Cola Take On World’s Clean Water Shortage With Slingshot Purifier

Singularity Hub chatted with Paul Lazarus about his award-winning short film "Slingshot" and the film's namesake invention. Lazarus told us about the agony of condensing a grand challenge and potential solution to three minutes—and what he thinks the future promises for both.

Our Polluted Singularity Future? Beijing Smog Hits Record Levels

Industrialization has its price. This past weekend Beijing, the epicenter of one of the world’s fastest growing and largest economies, reached the highest smog levels on record. The World Health Organization standard for air quality...

Scientists Work To Unravel Mystery Behind Woman Who Doesn’t Grow

For the last 15 years mystified doctors have been unable to explain the cause for Brooke’s disorder that has kept her aging in check.

Misfit Shine – A Sleek, New Activity Tracker

Shine reached its goal of raising $100,000 in under ten hours.

Does Passing A Small Current Through Your Brain Really Make You Smarter?

Want to be smarter, solve difficult puzzles, learn the piano in half the time? All you need is a little shock. A growing number of scientists are claiming that passing a small current through...

Blueseed Secures Initial Funding for Visa-Free Tech Center of the Sea

Want to bring international expertise to Silicon Valley without the hassle of getting a visa? You may soon get that chance. Tech startup Blueseed wants to open a floating office park for non-US tech entrepreneurs off the California coast. And while the idea has its naysayers—it also recently secured a $300,000 infusion of capital from respected Silicon Valley investor, Mike Maples.

UV Light Emitting Machine Disinfects Hospital Rooms In Minutes

It's a staggering modern-day irony that the most common complication for hospital patients is acquiring an infection during their visit, affecting 1 in 20 patients in the US. It's a problem estimated to cause millions of infections with 100,000 or so leading to death per year and a whopping $45 billion annually in hospital costs. If this isn't bad enough, the tragedies from deadly superbugs within healthcare facilities are on the rise and will likely continue as the last lines of antibiotics fail without any new drugs moving fast enough up the pipeline to help.

Stem Cells Used To Bolster Body’s Cancer Fighting Cells

The researchers behind the current study seek a new tactic from stem cell pluripotency: instead of making one thing from another, they seek to take a good thing and simply make more of it.

Microsoft Researchers Developing Wrist-Worn Sensors That Track Finger Movements

Microsoft developers in the UK working with researchers from Newcastle University have recently announced an intriguing project: a wrist strap sensor that tracks finger motions in real time. Appropriately called Digits, the wireless system allows...

Exclusive Interview With Ray Kurzweil On Future AI Project At Google

In an exclusive with Singularity Hub, Ray Kurzweil gave one of his first interviews since the December announcement that he joined Google full time as Director of Engineering. Speaking with Singularity Hub Founder Keith Kleiner,...

LG’s 55” OLED Television Is Thin As a Pencil and First to Market

To kick off 2013, South Korean electronics firm LG launched the world’s first commercially available 55” OLED (organic light-emitting diode) television. And according to LG, it’s “as thin as three credit cards.” Which is both jaw dropping and an entirely appropriate unit of measurement. If you want thin, expect to pay. The model’s $12,000 US price tag will have you handing over those credit cards in short order.

IBM Predicts Computers Will Touch, Taste, Smell, Hear and See In 5 Years

IBM's 2012 "5 in 5" list is all about the senses. Computers can already see and hear by way of microphone and camera. And plenty of apps use these senses for fun, like recording music, and more serious purposes, like monitoring moles for skin cancer. But why not go further? The “5 in 5” visionaries predict we’ll have touch screens that not only sense our fingers but give back subtle vibrations to simulate how certain items feel—from a silk shirt to a cotton pillow. Or devices that will smell our breath to see if we have diabetes, cancer, or a cold.

Drones Draw More Controversy As Berkeley Tries To Keep Them Out Of Their Skies

Rather than wait for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take action, Berkeley, California is attempting to take the lead and proclaim the sky above their city a ‘No Drone Zone.’

Jason Silva’s Latest Video Shows How The Social Function Of Our Brains Has Changed

Jason Silva, a 21st-century version of a beat poet (if that'a real thing), kicked off 2013 with a video titled "A Mind Made For Mating!" that's 90 seconds of pure "tech ftw" goodness. Rattling off connections between human sexuality, the brain, and internet technology, Jason delivers a stream-of-conscious epiphany about how the social function of the human brain has evolved from a courtship instrument intended to assist in the spreading of genes to a digitally connected device aimed at the propagation of memes.

Go With The Flow — Captive Media Raises $700k For Its Urinal Video Games

The urinal video game console delivers ads and promotes engagement with interactive games (five currently including a racing game and trivia) all within the approximate 1-minute window of time it takes for a man to empty his bladder. And apparently, it helps men keep their aim too, which could make restrooms cleaner.

Television Declining Rapidly As Shift To Online Entertainment Consumption Grows

If you haven't been watching television lately, you're not alone. Television viewership continues to decline, especially among younger viewers. While new shows come out every year, it doesn't look like anything save a fundamental...

German Military Laser Destroys Targets Over 1Km Away

A German company has brought us one step closer to the kinds of shootouts only seen in Sci-Fi films. Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Defense recently tested a 50kW, high-energy laser at their proving ground facility in...

Forecasting the Future: Ray Kurzweil, Nate Silver, and—the Market?

If you're a futurist, chances are you have a favorite oracle or uncanny prediction. Maybe it was John Paulson’s bet against the housing market in 2007-08, or Nate Silver’s spot on election call in...

Toyota And Audi To Unveil Their Driverless Cars Next Week At CES

Given that California recently became the third state in the US to legalize driverless cars, it should come as no surprise that automakers are attempting to jockey for the lead in what promises to...

Obama Signs “Fiscal Cliff” Bill From Hawaii With Autopen – Here’s How

The end of 2012 was a rocky ending for US lawmakers. While their citizenry was popping corks, they were desperately trying to stave off the “fiscal cliff” and thus spare us at least one...

Leap Motion ‘Minority Report’ Computer Interface Preps For Big 2013

Mid-2012, Leap Motion unveiled the most accurate motion sensing technology on the market to date. The Leap detects every subtle finger flick and hand gesture with up to 1/100th of a millimeter precision and...

FDA Approval For Genetically Modified Salmon That Grow Super Fast

One particular genetically modified salmon is on the verge of successfully navigating the treacherous regulatory waters of the FDA. The agency just issued a draft environmental assessment of the genetically engineered salmon in which...

Swarm Robots Called ‘Droplets’ The Size Of A Golf Ball

Robots that look more like ping pong balls could one day help to colonize Mars, so thinks their developer. The robots would work together in swarms of thousands to construct habitats for humans and...

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