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Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Singularity University And Fox Studios Hosting ‘Backstage Pass To The Future’ Event On June 1

This Saturday night, June 1st, Singularity University and FOX Studios are putting on quite a show with an event titled 'Backstage Pass To The Future.' Located on the film set of 'Mulberry Street,' the...

Oculus Rift Is Breathing New Life Into the Dream of Virtual Reality

Palmer Luckey wasn’t exactly a household name this time last year. He’s a young guy from Long Beach, California, smart as a whip, and obsessed with virtual reality. After building a massive collection of the day’s top virtual reality tech, he realized nothing came close to the experience he wanted. So, he decided to build it himself. Say hello to the Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset causing quite a stir in the tech and gaming communities.

Bladderwort Study Adds To The Debate On “Junk” DNA

Only about two percent of the human genome contains genes. The other 98 percent has been likened to cosmology’s dark matter that fills the space between stars – there’s a lot of it, but nobody really know what it does.

Diamandis And Planetary Resources To Build First Crowdfunded Space Telescope For Public Use

How do you get kids interested in science? Strike that. How do you get kids and adults interested in science? One: Involve them in it. Two: Awaken awe. Asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources’ new Kickstarter aims to accomplish both by giving the public control over one of the firm’s ARKYD space telescopes—to snap a selfie or two with its camera arm or to plumb the cosmic depths with the scope’s optics.

Injected Nanoparticles Maintain Blood Sugar Levels In Diabetic Mice For Ten Days

A new device comprised of nanoparticles monitors blood sugar levels and releases insulin when sugar levels get too high.

78,000 Apply for A One-Way Ticket to Colonize Mars

Ever dream of living out your days on a hostile desert world, exiled from the garden planet of your youth? Who do you think you are? Paul Atreides? Well, maybe it’s not so strange. 78,000 other Earthlings (and counting) share your dream of exile. Since late April, the not-for-profit organization, Mars One, has been flooded with applications for a one-way ticket to colonize Mars in 2023.

Drones Close In On Farms, The Next Step In Precision Agriculture

Drones continue their steady approach into the different aspects of our lives. But while controversy rages over drone devastation over foreign soil and prying surveillance over US soil, experts are beginning to point our attention to the real future of unmanned aerial vehicles: farming.

SnapChat, Self-Destructing Message Service, Tries To Reverse Permanence Of Modern Digital Life

You would think that it would be a terrible idea for a company accused of helping teenagers send each other sexually explicit images to feature bikini-clad young girls in their marketing. Most would avoid...

Another Alzheimer’s Drug Fails, Disease Still Confounds Researchers

Humans are living longer, but for many, longevity doesn’t equal quality of life. Increasingly, the final years are marked by a steady cognitive decline where memory and personality are swallowed in dementia. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is on the rise, and there is no treatment. Worse, researchers and drug companies wrestling with the disease seem to have hit a wall.

Orbital Trash a Problem With No Immediate Solution, Growing Exponentially

Our technology can get us to space, but once there, we still aren’t too flexible. Earth orbit is clogged with debris because we simply don't have an easy way to clean it up. According to the European Space Agency (ESA) there are 17,000 tracked objects in orbit (and a total of 29,000 objects greater than 10 cm) of which only 7% are working satellites. About ten objects a week pass within two kilometers of each other, and ESA initiates three collision avoidance maneuvers yearly.

Are Fingerprints a Secure Way to Pay?

You may have heard Google wants to absorb your wallet into your smartphone. But these days, slimmer is better. So how about making the wallet disappear altogether? Paytouch wants to link credit cards to fingerprints. What’s the advantage of a fingerprint payment system? No more carrying around cards. No more losing cards. No more worrying about identity theft. Fingerprints are unique and therefore secure (maybe). The world is your oyster, and your oyster alone.

Air Force Jet X-51A Goes Hypersonic, Zooms Five Times Speed Of Sound

The United States Air Force has a serious need for speed. On May first their X-51A Waverider zoomed to an amazing Mach 5.1 – more than five times the speed of sound.

You can now place your order for a burger grown entirely in a lab

It may take some time before in vitro burgers replace old fashioned farmed burgers, but the feat is a delicious victory for environmentalists and scientists alike in search for alternate ways to feed the world’s addition to meat.

Singularity University Announces Fundraising Campaign To Support Graduate Studies Program

It's almost June and that means that the launch of the 2013 Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University is right around the corner. To provide tuition support to the 80 international students who've been selected...

Scientists Able To Slow Aging In Mice By Modifying The Brain’s Hypothalamus

Researchers have now uncovered an area in the brain about the size of almond in humans that wields powerful control over the body’s aging process.

Matternet Building Quadcopter Drone Network To Transport Supplies

Last summer, drones took to the skies over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. These flying bots weren’t on a military mission, nor were they conducting police surveillance. They belonged to audacious Singularity University Labs startup, Matternet. Matternet wants to leapfrog road infrastructure in developing countries by building a futuristic Pony Express—with drones.

FDA To Decide Whether Antibacterial Soap Is Safe – After Four Decades

But research now shows that the active ingredient in the soap, triclosan, alters hormonal balance in animals, is possibly harmful to the immune system, and possibly contributes to the rise of antibiotic resistant germs.

Virtual And Real Objects Meet And Become Smarter Objects At MIT

Smarter Object combines the adaptability of digital interfaces with the ease of use of real world devices.

iRobot’s RP-Vita Telepresence Robots Start Work At Seven Hospitals

Now seven hospitals across North America have enlisted the services of RP-Vita, bringing us one step closer to robotics-augmented healthcare.
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Rod Roddenberry — Fireside Chat At The 2012 Graduate Studies Program

Rod Roddenberry is the CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment and founder of the Roddenberry Foundation, which funds "funds paradigm-changing solutions to critical global issues in science and technology, the environment, education and humanitarian advances." As...

DARPA’s Robotic Hand Can Unlock and Open Your Door

Engineers often turn to nature for inspiration, but working from evolutionary blueprints isn’t always necessary. The Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) recently showed off a dexterous robotic hand that uses three rotating fingers, instead of a human-inspired four fingers and opposable thumb configuration. And the thing can unlock and open doors. Yikes.

Cara Face Recognition Transforms Standard Webcams Into Intelligent Sensors

The human face is a treasure trove of information. A millisecond after meeting someone, we’ve guessed their general age bracket, gender, mood, and more. With tech startup IMRSV’s new face detection software Cara—released for the first time May 15th—your home PC and webcam will learn to recognize some of the same subtleties. Using this information, IMRSV hopes to make analog business and advertising as detailed, data-driven, and personalized as online business and advertising.

With Latest Tech, Can Doctors Treat Us Before We Fall Sick?

We visit a doctor when something feels wrong. We routinely receive care too late -- millions die because of delayed diagnosis. Future of healthcare delivery flips this equation. Can we be treated before we fall sick?

Smartphone App Lets You Carry Human Experts Around In Your Pocket

Imagine if you could bring a slew of virtual experts around with you and ask them for advice whenever the need arose. Although that sounds like futuristic technology, a new app from Esquire magazine shows that it's a world right around the corner. The aim is to create the impression of holding a conversation with the virtual experts through the combination of speech recognition, artificial intelligence, and lots of video.

Moshe Vardi: Robots Could Put Humans Out of Work by 2045

Robots began replacing human brawn long ago—now they’re poised to replace human brains. Moshe Vardi of Rice University thinks that by 2045 artificially intelligent robots may be capable of "if not any work that humans can do, then, at least, a very significant fraction of the work that humans can do." So, he asks, what then will humans do?

US Takes Gold in Bot Hockey at RoboGames 2013

Gentleman, some ground rules first. No caltrops, spike strips, cattle prods, or stun guns. No spears, hammers, saw blades, lasers, or flame weapons. We’ll play three 3-minute periods. If all players die in any given period and cannot be resuscitated by the next period, the team with the highest score wins. Okay? Let’s play some robot hockey.
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Video Shows Robo Raven Diving, Spiraling, Flipping—and Getting Attacked by a Hawk

Robo Raven is a truly clever robot flier—it can dive, spiral, even back flip. Although up close, Robo Raven's reflective body doesn’t look very hawk-like, its wing motion and silhouette are realistic enough to...

Polytron, Maker of Switchable Privacy Glass Aims For Transparent Smartphone

Taiwan’s Polytron Techologies, a subsidiary of US firm Polytronix, wants to change the way we look at (and through) glass, one of mankind’s oldest inventions. Polytron makes giant touchscreens, selectively opaque glass, projection glass, holographic glass, LED-impregnated glass, color-changing glass, rainbow glass, glowing glass, and the mysterious Polyheat glass.

Hunters In Louisiana Build Thermal Camera Carrying Drone to Hunt Hogs

Drones are notorious for their grim military and law enforcement uses. But as the cost of UAV technology has plummeted in recent years, non-government use of DIY drones is on the up and up. Take feral hogs, for example. Too wily for traps, wild pigs breed like rabbits and devastate crops. But there’s a drone for that. James Palmer and Cy Brown’s “Dehogaflier” Skywalker UAV conducts flyovers of local fields, peering through dense foliage in the dark with a FLIR thermal imaging camera to pinpoint marauding packs of pigs.

Ingestible, Implantable, Or Intimate Contact: How Will You Take Your Microscale Body Sensors?

Computer chips and silicon micromachines are ready for your body. It’s time to decide how you’ll take them: implantable, ingestible, or intimate contact. Every flavor now exists. Some have FDA approval and some are seeking it. Others are moving quickly out of the research lab stage. With the round one Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize entries due in one year, we’re soon to see a heavy dose of sensors tied to the mobile wireless health revolution.

Google Partners With Singularity University To Crowdsource Book About Women Innovators

Singularity University and Google recently announced the launch of a campaign to crowdsource a book titled Innovating Women: Past, Present, and Future. The project is being crowdfunded on Indiegogo with a dollar-for-dollar contribution from Google for Entrepreneurs up to $50,000. The book aims to collect stories from women around the global and bring together their perspectives about a variety of factors that are shaping the innovation economy. By incorporating their unique perspectives and personal stories, the tome will both record the contributions women are making in the world today as well as provide an inspiration to female entrepreneurs around the world.

The Future of Gaming — It May All Be in Your Head

Neurogaming is riding on the heels of some exponential technologies that are converging on each other. Many of these were on display recently in San Francisco at the NeuroGaming Conference and Expo; a first-of-its-kind conference whose existence alone signals an inflection point in the industry. Conference founder, Zack Lynch, summarized neurogaming to those of us in attendance as the interface, “where the mind and body meet to play games.”
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Louise Leakey — Fireside Chat At The 2012 Graduate Studies Program

Dr. Louise Leakey is a paleoanthropologist and a National Geographic explorer in residence who is the third generation of Leakeys to fossil hunt in East Africa. Her lecture probes how accelerating technologies like 3d...

NAO Robot Has Learned To Write

Robot developer Franck Calzada has brought us one step closer to creating an assistant scribe for the common man in his new program with which NAO can write any word.

Beyond Banks? Peer-to-Peer Lending Is On the Upswing, Google Dives In

Lending Club, the peer-to-peer loan firm, recently announced a big investment in the firm’s stock by Google and Foundation Capital. Google and Foundation bought $125 million in shares of the firm’s outstanding equity on secondary markets (that is, from previous investors—not newly issued stock) for three times the stock's valuation a little less than a year ago. Lending Club says their system has funded $1.7 billion in loans since inception and, according to Tech Crunch, Lending Club hopes to take the firm public by 2014.

What It’s Like To Be A Student At Singularity University — An Insider’s Story

The best way to describe the experience of being a student at SU is to say that it is an Ivy League university from the future: the admissions process is from the year 2012, but the curriculum is from the year 2020.

RoboBee Robot the Size of a Quarter Shows Off New Flight Skills

A tiny biomimetic robot, dubbed RoboBee, recently took wing under controlled flight for the first time. The robot is part of Harvard’s “Micro Air Vehicles” program led by principal investigator Robert Wood, and the controlled flight, years in the making, is no small feat. Wood hopes these tiny robots may one day be so cheap they are all but disposable. Swarms will fly reconnaissance, search and rescue, or research missions. They may even one day pollinate crops.
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First Movie Trailer For Ender’s Game Clocks 1.3 Million Views On YouTube On First Day

The first trailer for Ender's Game, the sci-fi film based on the classic novel by Orson Scott Card, was released yesterday and it promises to be one of the biggest sci-fi movies of 2013. The Hugo award-winning story, which focuses on a young boy named Ender Wiggin who is recruited to become a military commander, has been both influential and controversial since it was first published in 1985. It has been followed by numerous sequels and spin offs, crafting an enormous universe that has been begging to be turned into film for decades.

Our Singularity Future: Humanity’s Trash Piling Up In Great Lakes

Technology allows us to achieve great things – so many goods are made affordable, for example, by mass production. But when mass production is not responsibly planned out and regulated, trash starts piling up.

Next Step For Glowing Plant Kickstarter Campaign? Glowing Rose

If the campaign raises more than $400,000, they’ll not only complete the Arabidopsis work, but bring illumination to the already beautiful rose as well.

Girl Receives Engineered Trachea Treated With Her Own Stem Cells

In a medical breakthrough, South Korean doctors have successfully implanted an artificial trachea into a toddler who had been born without the windpipe.

Google Glass Becoming The Definitive Tech Story of 2013

Ahh, Google Glass. Even before the masses have had a chance to get a good look at you in the wild, tech enthusiasts are enamored with you, speculating about all that you can do and how society won't be the same after your arrival. The lucky few who've welcomed you into their lives seem to gush about your awesomeness and become overnight evangelists, even though all your potential has yet to be fully realized.
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A Box With A Hidden Video Camera Documents Journey Through The Mail

Ever wondered what it was like to be a parcel? No? Silly you. Ruben van der Vleuten thinks you should know.
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Jay Rogers — Fireside Chat At The 2012 Graduate Studies Program

John (Jay) Rogers is CEO and co-founder of Local Motors, a car company that co-creates its vehicles online through an open-source, virtual community consisting of 30,000 designers, engineers, and auto enthusiasts around the world....

Scientists Create Sensor As Sensitive As Real Skin

While prosthetic limbs continue to improve, tactile feedback is one feature that many are keen to incorporate into the prosthetics but it remains a very difficult technology to develop. But now scientists have developed...
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Allan Savory to Reverse Desertification, Solve Global Warming, Feed World’s Poor

As a young biologist in Africa, Alan Savory helped set aside national park lands. His organization removed indigenous “hunting, drum-beating people” to protect animals. However, burgeoning herds of elephants were soon identified as causing desertification by overgrazing. Savory theorized as much in a paper and sent it to his peers for review. Other scientists corroborated the report and the government killed 400,000 elephants. Instead of improving, desertification worsened.

Samsung’s (Very) Early Attempts At Thought-Controlled Mobile Devices

Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones can be controlled by touch, gesture, eye movement—and your mind. Well, not exactly. Not yet. Not even close. Perhaps half in the name of science, half in the name of publicity, Samsung’s teamed up with Roozbeh Jafari—University of Texas, Dallas assistant professor and expert in wearable computing—to translate thoughts into common computing tasks using an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap.
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Spectacular Video Of First Virgin Galactic Rocket Test Going Supersonic Ten Miles High

In October 2004, Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize when their spacecraft SpaceShipOne achieved suborbital flight—the first private organization to do so. Now, eight and a half years later, the commercial version of SpaceShipOne, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, achieved supersonic speeds after its pilots successfully fired the rockets at 47,000 feet. The video speaks for itself.

Moore’s Law Is No Joke — Pile Of Electronics From 1993 Fits In Your Palm Today

There’s nothing like a well-conceived picture to drive a point home. You know the point, right? Sure you do. (Hint: It's in the title.) Shall we run through these items? (I don’t know if I can ID them all perfectly—feel free to leave details/corrections/reminiscences in the comments!) Far right first. Easy. That’s a top-of-the-line Walkman. You could take it with you running, which accounts for the sporty lemon yellow hue. (It plays cassette tapes, kids.)

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