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David J. Hill

I've been writing for Singularity Hub since 2011 and have been Editor-in-Chief since 2014. My interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but I'll always be a chemist at heart.

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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.
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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.

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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Six Of The Best Robot Videos Of Lego Mindstorms NXT

The success of Lego's Mindstorms NXT has been one of the main contributing factors to the widespread interest in robotics. NXT enthusiasts of all ages have created some of the coolest designs, even capturing the attention of engineers who develop industrial robots. Now, Lego has announced that the third generation of its NXT bot, dubbed EV3, will be available this August and will be easier than ever for anyone to get into building new bots. To celebrate, we thought we'd take a look at the best NXT bots to come out in the last few years.

Google Fiber Expands In Kansas City, Heads To Austin Next

If you suffer from Google Fiber envy, which delivers close to gigabit speeds, there's good news: you don't have to move to Kansas anymore. It was only last November when Google Fiber launched in Kansas...

Breathometer — A Breathlyzer For Your Smartphone

A California-based company wants to take the guesswork out of the rhetorical question, "Did I drink too much to drive?" The Breathometer is a small $20 device that plugs into a smartphone's audio jack, much the way that the popular credit card reader Square does, and measures the relative quantity of alcohol in breath as accurately as other consumer breathlyzers. Using the accompanying app, a smartphone can then display BAC or blood alcohol concentration level, which is the legal measure used to assess when someone is driving under the influence.

Distributed Weather Network On Smartphones Crowdsources Data Meteorologists

A startup called Cumulonimbus Inc launched an Android app called PressureNET that displays barometric pressure and allowed users to submit their data. The latest version of the app goes a step further with a way for the 18,000+ users to not only visually display data but also opt-in on data sharing features. The startup wants to transform their app into a distributed, crowdsourced scientific platform that's open source using devices that people already carry around with them.

Mobile Technology Milestone: First Cellular Call Made 40 Years Ago

Martin Cooper, former VP at Motorola, likely didn't appreciate the full significance of making the world's first cell phone call in 1973, but 40 years later, mobile technology is an unstoppable force, poised to transform just about everything that makes up modern living. The famous call made by Cooper to a colleague at rival telecom Bell Labs (who was actually heading the AT&T program) is the stuff of legend and forged the path to the first cellular phone, the 2.2-pound DynaTAC, made commercially available a decade later for a whopping cost of about $4,000.

Voice Ads Let You Speak With Mobile Advertisements

The number of conversations you have with your smartphone is about to go way up, for better or worse. Nuance, the company whose speech recognition technology helped bring Apple's Siri to life, is now taking its technology into a new frontier: mobile advertisements. The program is called Voice Ads and enables advertisers to embed voice recognition into ads, so smartphone users can respond with speech.

Our Sci-fi Future: Robotic Multicopters Follow Golfers With cameras

Not since last year's TacoCopter fiasco has there been such a vague and ominous potential use for multicopters to hit the web. Last week, the golf company Titleist tweeted a photo of a rather monstrous multicopter with a camera hovering over the shoulder of pro golfer Scott Stallings.

Futuristic Predictions From 1988 LA Times Magazine Come True…Mostly

In 2013, a day in the life of a Los Angeles family of four is an amazing testament to technological progress and the idealistic society that can be achieved...or at least that's what the Los Angeles Times Magazine was hoping for 25 years ago. Back in April 1988, the magazine ran a special cover story called "L.A. 2013" and presented what a typical day would be like for a family living in the city.

Patient Receives 3D Printed Implant To Replace 75 Percent Of Skull

At the beginning of March of this year, a radical surgery was performed on an American patient: 75 percent of his skull was replaced with a 3D printed implant. The company that produced the implant, Oxford Performance Materials, made the announcement though offered little detail about the patient or the procedure. The surgery was given the green light by the Food and Drug Administration in February.

Amphibious Salamander-Like Robot Swims In Water, Crawls On Land

A next generation version of a salamander-like bot that has four legs and an actuated spine was recently unveiled. The Salamandra Robotica II is faster and more robust than the previous version, advances that came as the team pursued a better understanding of locomotion systems by comparison to animal movements.

“Keep Calm And Rape A Lot” T-Shirts Show Automation Growing Pains

An inadvertent computer error leads to a string of offensive T-shirts, including "Keep Calm and Rape A Lot", but you can bank on one thing for sure: this will happen again and again, in one form or the other. Why? Because computers have no way of knowing what upsets people unless they are programmed to.

‘Net-Zero’ Energy Store Being Built By Walgreens

Could a large American retail store produce as much energy as it consumes? Walgreens is going all 'green' to find out. The company recently announced a plan to erect a 'net-zero' energy store to replace an older one located in Evanston, Illinois. Through thoughtful and innovative design, the prototype store is specially designed to utilize various renewable energies technologies, such as wind, solar, and geothermal, in order to produce as much or potentially even more energy than it actually needs to operate.

Exclusive Interview: Ray Kurzweil Discusses His First Two Months At Google

In another exclusive interview with Singularity Hub, Ray Kurzweil provides an update about his first two months as Director of Engineering at Google as he builds his team to collaborate with other groups at Google in order to tackle natural language processing.

A 3D Printed Spaceship On The Scale Of A Human Hair? Hello Nanoscribe 3D Printer

3D printing has become one of the most exciting and talked about technologies of 2013. Last year, a group of researchers at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria refined a 3D printing technique that allowed the construction of sophisticated structures (a F1 racecar and a cathedral) smaller than dust mites in about 4 minutes. Now, a company called Nanoscribe GmbH that emerged from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany has made 3D printer called the Photonic Professional GT which can produce detailed structures on a similar scale but faster.

Why Wait For Google Fiber? UK Farmers Want Faster Internet, Build Their Own

Last November, neighborhoods in Kansas City became the first to enjoy the 1Gbps Internet speed made possible through Google Fiber. As Google considers the possibility of bringing Fiber to other communities (some signs points to Canada as a possible spot), a group of remote farmers in the UK with sluggish Internet speeds decided they didn't want to wait on their ISPs, the government, or even Google to deliver an upgrade to their broadband speeds. They opted to build an ultrafast fiberoptic network themselves.

Before/After Of Pope Announcement Shows Incredible Proliferation Of Mobile In Just 8 Years

NBC's Today Show provided a little insight today about how mobile has changed society with a comparison of two images from St. Peter's Square: the announcement of Pope Benedict in 2005 and Pope Francis in 2013. At a celebration for a tradition that extends back nearly two millennia, the rapid proliferation of technology into everyday society is visually striking and telling.

Thalmic Labs Announces MYO Gesture Control Armband

Unlike other gesture control devices that rely on positioning through camera tracking, the MYO armband senses electrical activity in the muscles that control hand and finger motions. Its worn on the forearm and flexing of various muscles serve as gesture inputs. These inputs are communicated via Bluetooth, which are then translated into motions on the screen thanks to some machine-learning algorithms.

Bebionic Prosthetic Hand Continues To Amaze In Latest Video

Another video has been released profiling Nigel Ackland showing off some of the cool things he can do with his bebionic3 prosthetic arm, part of a series of videos from manufacturer RSLSteeper. This round, Nigel responds to some 'fan' requests of things he can do with the hand, but then shifts into more pragmatic daily uses that most of us take for granted, like tying a shoe or taking a dog for a walk. Clearly, the more he practices with the device, the more actions he is able to accomplish.
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Trailer For Futuristic Film ‘Project Kronos’ Explores Interstellar Space Travel Program

What cost would humanity be willing to pay to make contact with intelligent life in the universe? It's a question at the interface of technology and ethics, an area that a new film called 'Project Kronos' looks to explore at a deeper level. The film, scheduled to be released on April 15, is presented as a faux-documentary that takes place in the future, in which personnel involved in an interstellar space travel program describe what the project was and their involvement with it.

Under Armour Unveils Wearable Athletic Monitoring Device Armour39

A new system scheduled to be released this spring aims to take heart monitoring for athletes to the next level. Under Armour has announced Armour39, a chest-strap monitor that sits near the base of the sternum, measures heart rate, and syncs up to 16 hours of stored data via Bluetooth with a mobile devices or a separate display watch. On the surface, this appears to be just another heart monitor; however, the company claims that the difference is the introduction of a new metric: WILLpower.

Another Legend Brought Back To Life With Technology — This Time It’s Audrey Hepburn

The late Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn personified grace and elegance, and today, her iconic status still carries on strong. With her panache and discerning tastes, she serves almost as an archetype of quirky style in modern culture. Naturally, anything that can be connected strongly with the film legend associates some of those same qualities to itself...even something as trite as chocolate. That's right -- Galaxy (also known as Dove) has put out a commercial showing a virtual Hepburn in a 1960s Mediterranean backdrop enjoying a piece of chocolate.

Animations Made Entirely By Computers? Algorithm Generates Cartoon Faces, Shows The Future

A montage of scribbly cartoon faces, each imbued with distinct personality, would make any parent proud of their child's artistic creation...except a child didn't produce these faces; a computer algorithm did. Meet the randomly-generated caricatures that are part of the Weird Faces Study, the product of a computer algorithm developed by media artist Matthias Dörfelt. Surprisingly, each face is not only recognizable, but has human qualities conveyed through the rudimentary sketches.

Ohio Man Charged With Shooting Robot

In what is sure to be only the beginning of human vs. robot confrontations, a surveillance robot belonging to the police was recently shot after a six-hour standoff with a 62-year-old heavily inebriated man. A camera-equipped robot entered the home to locate the man and the guns. A second larger bot was then sent in, but when the owner spotted it, he opened fire with a small caliber pistol damaging it.

CEO Of Educational Robot Company: “Robots Belong In The Classroom”

Graham Ryland believes that robots belong in the classroom. As the CEO of Barobo, the maker of modular robots called Mobots, he has witnessed firsthand the enthusiasm students get for math and science when they can learn the subjects in the context of robots. He gave a recent talk at TEDxSacramento to share his enthusiasm for what tobots can do for education.

3D Printing On The Frontlines — Army Deploying $2.8M Mobile Fabrication Labs

Throughout history, war and innovation have gone hand in hand, whether it's breakthroughs out of heavily funded R&D programs or makeshift contraptions thrown together with spare parts. Soldiers are trained to use the technology on hand to get the job done, one way or the other.

High-Tech Clothing Store Hointer Employs Robots And Mobile Tech Instead Of Salespeople

Hointer is a startup selling men's designer jeans that launched in Seattle last November and offering customers a 21st century shopping experience. The store has no salespeople, confusing signs, or stacks of clothes to riffle through to find the right size. Instead, lines of clothes in hundreds of styles hang for you to browse through. When you find something you like, you scan the QR code on the tag, pick your size on the Hointer app with your smartphone, and your selection automatically drop into a chute in a changing room from the robot-operated stockroom. Once you find everything you want, you put your items in a bag, checkout by swiping your credit card at a station, and walk out the door...just like that.

Tech Giants Promote Video With A Simple Message: Kids Need to Learn Programming

What kind of movement would Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Gabe Newell of Valve, and Microsoft's Bill Gates all back enthusiastically? A call for more computer programmers, specifically really young ones. The nonprofit organization Code.org recently commissioned a short film titled What Most Schools Don't Teach that profiled some of the most recognizable names in technology, along with musician will.i.am and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, to put out a call to get kids excited about something that is shrouded in geekitude: computer programming. The film strongly drives home two main messages: coding is not as hard/geeky/foreign as you think and it's as vital to your future career as any subject in school (perhaps more so).

Google Glass Drops “Project” Status, Opens Testing To The Public

The time has come for Google Glass to drop its "Project" moniker and move into the hands of the public. No, the wirelessly connected eyewear hasn't hit the shelves just yet, but Google has taken the next step in bringing the device to market. The company has announced the "If I Had Glass" promotion allowing members of the public the opportunity to get their hands on the Explorer prototype that few have been able to test. Additionally, a sleek Glass-devoted website has launched with a new commercial called "How It Feels" that helps to better define exactly what the device can and can't do.

FDA Approves Eye Implant Enabling The Blind To Partially See

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Argus II artificial retina to restore partial sight to patients who are blind. The device, sometimes dubbed a bionic eye, was designed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to help people who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary degenerative disease that causes degradation of retinal function. Although it does not restore full sight to the visually challenged, those with the disease are able to once have limited, low-resolution vision.

Crowdfunding Star Wars — Kickstarter Campaign For Death Star Construction Aims To Raise $30M

The folks at Kickstarter have given the green light to two projects near-and-dear to the hearts of geeks, techies and futurists alike: the construction of a Death Star and a desperate call to fund X-wing fighters for the Rebel Alliance.

Will You Soon Be Able To Buy Used Ebooks And Digital Music? Amazon Moves In That Direction

A showdown over the meaning of ownership in the digital world between online retailers and content creators is on the horizon. The US Patent and Trademark Office recently awarded Amazon a patent titled Secondary Market For Digital Objects, wherein the mega-retailer describes a marketplace for the transfer of used digital objects, whether ebooks, audio, images, video, and even apps. As stated in the patent, "transfers may include a sale, a rental, a gift, a loan, a trade, etc."

Neil Harbisson Is A Cyborg Who Hears More Of The World Than We See

What would your world be like if you couldn't see color? For artist Neil Harbisson, a rare condition known as achromatopsia that made him completely color blind rendered that question meaningless. Not being able to see color at all meant that there was no blue in the sky or green in grass, and these descriptions were merely something to be taken on faith or memorized to get the correct answers in school. But Neil's life would change drastically when he met computer scientist Adam Montandon.

Toy-Size Helicopter Drones Now On Surveillance Duty In Afghanistan

A swarm of helicopter drones are being deployed to British soldiers in Afghanistan thanks to the UK's Ministry of Defence. Dubbed the PD-100 "Black Hornet" Personal Reconnaissance System, the Norwegian-developed drones are finding utility and praise among the Brigade Reconnaissance Force as they are being used by the British military to identify "insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing."

Glass Sculptures Of Bacteria And Viruses Brings Microbiology World To Human Scale

Phrases like "viral art" or "infectious sculpture" only begin to provide vague impressions of what British artist Luke Jerram has created: human-scale glass sculptures of viruses, bacteria, and other organisms from the microbiological world. The sculptures aren't just creative interpretations, but derive from scientific images and models and created at approximately a million times larger scale.

Sifteo Builds New Gaming Platform Using Interactive Cubes

Love video games but want the kind of physical and social interactivity that board games deliver? That's the motivation behind the development of Sifteo Cubes, the touchscreen cubes that communicate wirelessly and have sensors on each of their four sides.

Virtual Grocery And Toy Stores On The Rise Thanks To QR Codes

The next big thing in shopping may be to walk away empty handed. That's because an increasing number of companies are putting up virtual stores that have no physical merchandise; instead, posters display products with quick response (QR) codes. Customers scan the matrix barcodes with their smartphones, pay for the items in their virtual cart, and items are delivered to their doors within hours to days, depending on the items. It's the advantage of window shopping without the hassle of standing in line to check out.

Netflix Showing What Television 2.0 Will Look Like

The video streaming service Netflix is advancing the line in the battle for the future of television. CEO Reed Hastings recently indicated in a letter to stockholders to mark February 1, 2013 as a "defining moment in the development of Internet TV." Why? Because that is the day that its much hyped original program House of Cards was not only released, but the entire 13 episodes were made available all at once.

Team Of Doctors Successfully Perform Double Arm Transplant On Veteran

The most extensive bilateral arm transplant to date has been successfully achieved thanks to an interdisciplinary team of doctors and nurses at John Hopkins Hospital. The operation, which was performed on December 18, lasted 13 hours and involved 16 physicians from orthopedics, vascular medicine, plastic surgery, and other disciplines from five hospitals.
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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.

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...

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.

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.
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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.

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.

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,...

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.

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