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Monthly Archives: April 2014

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Can Elon Musk and SpaceX Take Space Travel From Evolutionary to Revolutionary?

Recently, off the coast of Florida, a 22-story rocket hurtled out of the upper atmosphere, fired its engines, and briefly hovered upright over a stormy Atlantic ocean. The Falcon 9 launch vehicle was built...

Beyond the Hype and Hope of 3D Printing: What Consumers Should Expect

The latest 3D printing Kickstarter smash hit, the Micro, raised its target $50,000 in eleven minutes. The Micro bills itself as the first truly consumer 3D printer—it plugs in with a USB cable, costs...

SCiO’s Handheld Scanner Aims to Detect Food Ingredients and Identify Pills

An Israeli company is offering a flash drive-sized scanner that can tell users what exactly is in the food or medicine on the table using near-infrared spectroscopy.

You Can Hear the Taste of Spices by Touching This Poster

If you have synesthesia, where one sensory input involuntarily stimulates another, the world is a symphony of color and a painting of sound. Taken from the Greek words "syn" (together) and "aisthesis" (perception), folks with...

The FBI’s Massive Facial Recognition Database Raises Concern

The Federal Bureau of Investigation plans to start using a facial database, according to papers obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a FOIA lawsuit. But facial recognition technology isn't very accurate yet.

The Surprising Medical Value of Poop

A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine and an FDA committee hearing suggest that a stool test called Cologuard will likely be approved as a non-invasive screening for colorectal cancer.

Singularity Surplus: Slithers, Sparkles and Stays

Artificial life worm available online; washable connected T-shirts; concrete that lasts 100 years.

Will the Military Get a Flying Car Before the Rest of Us?

If you build things, you may well have a truck—but does it fly? The Advanced Tactics Black Knight Transformer does, and it took to the air for the first time recently. The Transformer is basically...

64 Billion Messages in 24 Hours: Key Takeaways From WhatsApp’s Massively Disruptive Statistics

In February of this year, Facebook's $19B acquisition of mobile messaging platform WhatsApp set a record for the largest software acquisition of all time. It set the value of WhatsApp at more than Sony Corporation. Most recently, the...

Data Scientist Hacks Monitoring Device, Puts Heartbeat Online

Data scientist Jen Lowe’s put her heart online. Open her site, One Human Heartbeat, and a cyclopean red eye blinks in rhythm to yesterday’s heartbeat. Lowe wears a Basis Band fitness tracker. Like other fitness trackers...

Bionic Athletes With Exoskeletons, Robotic Limbs, and Brain-Control Devices to Compete in 2016 Cybathlon

While traditional sports only grudgingly accept technological augmentation, the 2016 Cybathlon, a kind of hybrid between the XPRIZE and Olympics, embraces it with both robotic arms. Disabled competitors (or pilots) will compete using assistance...

Google Glass Signals a Wearables Revolution

Google Glass is crazy fun, but don't worry if you missed your chance to buy a pair on Tuesday, when it went on sale to the public for $1,500. While the current generation of Google...

Electrical Stimulation Enables Paralyzed Patients to Move Legs and Stand Again

Four paralyzed men who received epidural electrical stimulation were able to regain some voluntary movement of their legs. The finding challenges everything doctors thought they knew about paralysis.

Can Blood Produced From Stem Cells Make Shortages a Thing of the Past?

Stem cell treatments are set to go mainstream as a UK consortium ramps up production of red blood cells from embryonic stem cells with plans to try it on human patients for the first time in 2016. Delivering blood transfusions through stem cells would push such therapies well into the medical mainstream. But it will also require industrial-scale production.

Researchers Record Young Neurons Making Connections, Exchanging Information

We don’t fully understand how neural networks form—that is, how neurons evolve from a few disconnected individual cells into the highly organized and closely related regions of the brain that control the body and...

Lab-Grown Vaginas Provide Normal Sex Lives for Women With Rare Condition

The work of scientists trying to manufacture major human organs like the brain and heart in the lab has generated a lot of buzz, even though it will most likely be decades before the...

Singularity Surplus: Nowhere to Hide

7 in 10 American consumers say privacy concerns will keep them from buying Google Glass; a startup sells a DIY cyborg kit, syringe included; UW researchers show off scary-good age-progression software; rare genetic mutation makes siblings immune to viruses -- can we get in on that?

New Method Points to Cheaper, More Flexible Wearable Computers

Flexible electronics guru John Rogers has developed a wearable electronic patch that incorporates standard silicon chips. The patch uses a microfluidic construction with wires folded to allow it to bend and flex around the rigid off-the-shelf chips.

From $2M to $2B in 18 Months: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Oculus VR

As I'm sure you've already read, Facebook recently acquired Oculus Virtual Reality for $2 billion. This is a huge deal... and here's why: Brief Company Timeline: August 2012 -- Oculus Rift raises $2.5M on Kickstarter June 2013 -- Oculus Rift raises $16M...

Raspberry Pi Keeps Wowing Us Even Two Years After Launch

With the Raspberry Pi, a programmable credit card-sized computer, British computer scientists sought to rekindle garage innovation. What would young students do with the power of computing if they could buy a computer for just $35 and access all of its parts?

Festo Unleashes a Robotic Kangaroo and a Swarm of Bubble Drones

In the world according to robotics firm, Festo, swarms of robojellyfish rule the air and mechanical elephant trunks take care of business on the ground. Festo’s day job is automating factories. On the side,...

Beyond the Maker Movement: How the ChangeMakers Are the Future of Education

In Silicon Valley, there’s a lot of talk about  The Maker Movement. After all, over 195,000 people attended Maker Faire events around the world last year alone. Makers are tech-savvy tinkerers. They build robots,...

Don’t Have Google Glass Yet? Now’s Your Chance!

Google must get more free advertising than any firm on the planet. When they recently announced they’d briefly open their Glass Explorer Program to everyone in the US on April 15, major publications ran...

Network of 75 Million Neurons of the Mouse Brain Mapped for the First Time

A new atlas of study results related to the mouse connectome offers the equivalent of a highway map, with local roads to be filled in later. The atlas, described in a recent paper in Nature, represents more than four years of work undertaken at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. It’s the most detailed information we have on the brain of any animal other than that of the roundworm C. elegans, which has just 302 neurons.

Two-Way Communication With Dolphins Begins With ‘Sargassum’

A human researcher floats near her ship recording a series of whistles from a nearby grey-skinned creature with great dark eyes. Amid the chatter, the computer recognizes a waveform and whispers a word into...

Clean Energy Growth Stalls With Loss of Incentives

In 2013, the addition of renewable capacity slowed slightly compared to the previous year as a result of shrinking governmental incentives and investment, according to a new report from The Pew Chartiable Trusts. While the survey found that renewable energy still relies on public incentives, it also suggested that at least parts of the industry are not as dependent as they once were on such incentives, thanks to falling prices.

Singularity Surplus: Counting Coup and Calories

Military uses drones as mobile hotspots; sponge injection helps heal gunshot wounds; calorie-counting device questioned; robotic surgeon designed to operate in space.

New App Offers Chat Without an Internet Connection

A San Francisco startup called Open Garden has a use for mesh networking that has drummed up excitement: a chat app that works even when there's no phone or internet service available.

Check Out This Futuristic 3D Printed Car Body

German auto firm, EDAG, made a stir at this year's Geneva Motor Show with a fully 3D printed auto body called Genesis. And why not? Its smooth grey curves and futuristic honeycomb ooze sex appeal....

First Balloons and Drones, Now Dirigibles: The Race for a Truly ‘World Wide’ Web

Facebook wants to be as cool as Google. Google wants to be the most innovative tech firm in history. Both are aiming to deliver internet access to the world’s offline billions—one with balloons, the...

The Dutch Are 3D Printing a House

My first article here at Singularity Hub was on a plan to 3D print houses in under 24 hours. What on the surface appeared to be an exciting new idea was, in fact, an...

Air Pollution Killed 7 Million in 2012, According to WHO

Air pollution claimed 7 million lives in 2012, according to a report just released by the World Health Organization, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. One out of every eight premature deaths in 2012 was attributable to air pollution, the numbers reveal — a rate double that reported in previous years due to more accurate measures of pollution in both outdoor and indoor environments and in a broader range of rural areas.

Singularity Surplus: Smile, You’re on Candid Camera!

Computers' EQ rises; lab-grown muscles get stronger; Texas goes big in wind power; and researchers create real-time video game interface of the human brain.

Fruits and Vegetables Do More to Reduce Cancer and Extend Life Than Many Prescription Drugs

Those who eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day cut their risk of death at any age by more than half, compared to those who don’t get a full serving of the foods. The study was able to document the death-defying benefit of each additional daily portion of fruits and vegetables.

Cheap Mobile Eye Exams For Rural Poor Made Possible With Smartphones

The World Health Organization estimates some 90% of the world’s visually impaired folks live in the developing world. Most suffer from correctible but undiagnosed refractive errors like cataracts. Opthalmic equipment is big, heavy, expensive and...

Why Farmers Are Connecting Their Cows to the Internet

A Wi-Fi-connected collar called Silent Herdsman monitors cows' movements to determine, with the help of artificial intelligence software, when they are in heat. It may sound absurd, but the name of the game in milk production is impregnating cows as soon as possible after they’ve had their last calf.

Facebook Will Expand Global Internet Access And Reach With Drones and Satellites

Echoing Google's Project Loon, Facebook is now looking to connect those would-be users. Facebook will use drones, along with satellites and the emerging free-space optical communications protocol, to connect the unconnected.

New ‘Smart’ Gel Tags Aim To Prevent Leftovers From Becoming Science Experiments

Most of us aren’t scientists, but every once in awhile, nearly everyone unintentionally runs a science experiment in their refrigerator. If left long enough, for example, milk turns into a foul smelling yogurt analog....

Robotic Telescope Searches Full-time for Habitable Planets

The first robotic telescope has shown early success scouring the universe for planets likely to support life.

Jason Silva’s Latest: To Be Human Is to Be Transhuman

The term ‘transhuman’ inevitably (for me) summons grotesque visions of humans and machines merging into a Borg-like race bent on eradicating biological imperfection. These creatures’ cold rationality calls it an evolutionary improvement, but to...

Will Virus Particles Meet Their End In These Tiny Death Traps?

Nanotechnology is gradually turning its hypothetical promise into real applications. Some see nanotech-based medicines as an entirely new set of tools in a doctor’s medical bag. Among commercial companies, Vecoy Nanomedicines is most bullish on the promise of nanotechnology to combat viruses.

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