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Analysis and insight on advancements from Google. Stay updated as Singularity Hub discusses the most important trends and research coming from Google.

Steve Jobs, Larry Page And Rush Limbaugh Walk Into A Bar: A Look At The Future of Truth

This is a tale of memory, truth, technology, and, well, the future of humanity—but it starts in high school. If you went to high school in America, there is a pretty good chance you learned...

Skully Motorcycle Helmet Not Quite Iron Man, But a Taste of Our Augmented Reality Future

If Tony Stark designed a motorcycle helmet, it might look a little like Skully. Sleek black (or white) with an aerodynamic fin. A visor that changes tint at the touch of a finger. A rear...

If the Body Is a Machine, Can It Be Maintained Indefinitely?

To Aubrey de Grey, the body is a machine. Just as a restored classic car can celebrate its hundredth birthday in peak condition, in the future, we’ll maintain our bodies' cellular components to stave off the diseases of...

Is Tech Unemployment Good or Bad?

Recently, in conversation with Vinod Khosla, Larry Page was asked what he thinks will happen to jobs in the future as technology begins to replace humans. His response was essentially, "everybody will work fewer hours." Similarly,...

We Don’t Have to Play Cosmic Russian Roulette With Asteroids Anymore

Forget Armageddon, says Ed Lu. Forget sci-fi space shuttles. Forget burying nuclear bombs in comets. Forget all that. Asteroids are a real and potentially existential threat. But if we find them early enough, they’re...

Around the World Without a Drop of Fuel — Solar Impulse 2 Logs Its First Flight

Its wingspan matches a Boeing 747, every square inch covered in solar panels. A quarter of its weight is dedicated to energy storage. It flies day and night without a drop of conventional fuel....

Basic Smartphones Now Cheap Enough to Replace Feature Phones Worldwide

Earlier this year, Mozilla announced their project to build and sell a $25 smartphone. The firm, maker of the Firefox web browser and mobile operating system, now says they’ll begin selling the device in...

Our Hyperconnected Future: Roundup of the 2014 MIT Tech Review Digital Summit

I recently attended the MIT Technology Review Digital Summit in San Francisco. The topics du jour? The disappearing computer interface, the Internet of Things, and security and privacy in our hyperconnected world. The overriding sense...

Google to Spend a Billion or More on Internet Satellites

Internet access is common in the developed world, but many in emerging markets are just now getting online. For Google, one of the most visited sites in the world, it's a massive growth opportunity. And...

Can Google Tango Make Off-the-Shelf Drones Autonomous?

Personal drones are all the rage. Though hobbyist RC helicopters and planes have been around for years, today’s multi-rotor vehicles are easier to pilot thanks to GPS and a suite of onboard chips and...

Singularity Surplus: New Uses for Hot Techs and New Tech for Unwanted Heat

Advances in exponential technology happen fast — too fast for Singularity Hub to cover them all. This weekly bulletin points to significant developments to keep readers in the know. Here’s a clever new use for...

Following the Solar Brick Road to Clean Energy and Smart Roadways

A proposal to power the entire United States with solar energy, without wires or solar farms, by using solar cells to pave roads and parking lots, is certainly a big idea. It comes from the Idaho couple, Scott and Julie Brusaw, yet it’s promising enough to have received finding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. Now their company, Solar Roadways, is looking for another $1 million in funding on Indiegogo to manufacture the product commercially.

Google Self-Driving Cars Are Learning to Navigate the Urban Jungle

Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Audi—major car companies say they’re working to make cars drive themselves. But all are lagging behind Google. The internet company recently said its self-driving fleet has now logged 700,000 miles...

Drones Overhead, Seeing Everything, Always: Inside Google and Facebook’s Latest Acquisitions

Imagine a fleet of drones, overhead, out of sight, tens of thousands of feet in the sky. Imagine those drones being powered by sunlight -- effectively aerial satellites that are orbiting constantly, never having...

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...

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...

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?

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...

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...

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...

Contact Lenses with Infrared Vision? Ultra-thin Graphene Opens Up The Possibilities

Researchers at the University of Michigan, led by electrical engineer Zhaohui Zhong, have devised a way to capture the infrared spectrum that is no longer dependent on the cooling that makes infrared goggles so cumbersome. The method uses the nanomaterial graphene and works on a device smaller than a pinky nail.
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Singularity Surplus: Put on Your Electric Thinking Cap!

Brain stimulation leads to faster learning; TED marks 30th anniversary with giant digital art display; flying wind turbine poised for test run in Alaska.

Facebook’s Oculus Acquisition Disheartens Some, But Won’t End Virtual Reality Rebound

Palmer Luckey, inventor of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, was literally hacking VR goggles in his garage 18 months ago. Now, he’s a billionaire. A little over a month after paying $19 billion...

In Depth With Jason Silva: Brain Games, Trance States, and The Abomination of Death

It’d been awhile, so we contacted Jason Silva to find out what gets him up in the morning these days. Though he’s added a mainstream audience, Silva seems eager as ever to chase the “adjacent possible” and leap over it into even dreamier domains. To learn why, among other things, he’s slightly disappointed Google Glass isn’t Scarlett Johansson, why privacy is malleable and mostly overrated, and how femto-scale computing at black hole densities accounts for the eery silence of the universe—read on.

Self-Driving Cars Proposed as Solution to U.S. Highway Woes, Saving Money and Lives

Traffic congestion costs the U.S. economy $100 billion a year, according to Winston's research. Roughly 30,000 people die every year in car accidents, and many more are injured. Could self-driving cars bring those numbers down?

Expanded Google Fiber to Bring 10 Gigabit Internet in Coming Years

Google is on a mission to update the web's wiring—and they're not talking a decade or more to do it. The firm's CFO, Patrick Pichette, recently said his firm is working to boost internet speeds a thousand fold in the next three years. "That's where the world is going. It's going to happen." The project is called Google Fiber and, though it's in just three cities so far, an additional 34 cities in nine metro areas may be approved for Fiber by yearend.

Inside the Future of Healthcare With Singularity University’s Daniel Kraft

The benefits of modern medicine are clear. Lower infant mortality; longer life expectancy; a range of once killer diseases all but eradicated—fewer leeches. But challenges? Yes, there are still plenty of those too. In a recent conversation, Dr. Daniel Kraft, Medicine and Neuroscience Chair at Singularity University, told Singularity Hub that the US spends some 18% of gross domestic product on healthcare and yet, according to a 2013 report, ranks 17th on a list of 17 developed countries by outcome.

Google Adds Kinect-Like 3D Sensing to New Prototype Smartphones

How does a search firm keep its brand fresh and relevant? Not by talking about search. Google’s mastered the art of baiting the hook with exciting moonshot projects, and whether they pan out or...

Netflix Utilizing Amazon Cloud To Support Its Next-Gen AI For Recommendations

Netflix has tried a number of different ways to improve its recommendations, and it recently announced that it is increasingly using artificial intelligence to do so. But Netflix isn’t buying all the computing power to build an artificial intelligence system for itself. Instead, Netflix will host its efforts right on competitor Amazon’s cloud.

Google Partnering With Foxconn to Test Industrial Robots

Perhaps in hindsight we all should have seen Google’s turn to robotics coming when, under Andy Rubin, the company dubbed its mobile operating system Android. With Rubin now in charge of Google’s still mostly...

Do You Trust Internet-Connected Appliances Enough To Let Them Run Your Home?

The idea that household appliances need Internet-connected capabilities has always seemed over the top. Take the example of Samsung’s infamous “smart fridge.” Debuted at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show, its RF4289 model came...

Google’s AI Acquisition Blurs Lines Between Futuristic Visions and Business-as-Usual

Google continued a spree of recent acquisitions earlier this week with its £400-million acquisition of the London-based artificial intelligence company, DeepMind. There’s no doubt about it: Google is expanding its view of software’s role in the world, venturing into self-driving cars, humanoid robots and health care. But its DeepMind acquisition is, in many ways, just more business as usual.

Google Dips Into Med-Tech With Glucose-Monitoring Contact Lenses

In recent weeks, Google said it would acquire Nest — whose signature product is an Internet-connected, self-adjusting thermostat — before venturing even farther afield with its announcement that it will bring to market a glucose-measuring contact lens for diabetics.

IHS Automotive Report Says ‘Not If, But When’ for Self-Driving Cars

In Back to the Future, Doc Brown tells Marty McFly, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need…roads.” Where (or more precisely, when) were they going? Why, the year 2015. As you may have noticed, we’re nowhere near Mr. Fusion or flying cars. Robot cars, however, are likely coming to a road near you inside the next decade. And according to a recent IHS Automotive study, 54 million of them will hit the streets by 2035, and nearly all autos will be fully automated by 2050.

Facial Recognition App for Glass Challenges Google’s Ban on the Technology

FacialNetwork recently launched a facial recognition app for Glass, called NameTag, in the hopes of pushing Google to change its ban on facial recognition apps. Using a photo taken Glass or smartphone camera, NameTag compares it to its database of faces and returns the person’s name, additional photos and social media profiles.

Intel Aims For Post-Smartphone Era With SD Card-Sized Computer

At the annual Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, Intel, one of the weightiest firms in the tech industry, endorsed wearable computing with the launch of a new chip designed for it. The company unveiled Edison, a computer the size of an SD card that supports multiple operating systems and features a 400-megahertz Quark processor with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The Future of Search and the Internet of Everything According to Google’s Scott Huffman

In a recent interview with the Independent, Google engineering director, Scott Huffman, outlined the kind of future he thinks is right around the corner—a future when typing our queries into a little box will be seem downright archaic, and our interaction with technology will be more like a conversation. Instead of keyboards, we’ll have microphones and speakers in the ceiling recording conversations and giving answers to direct questions, like the Star Trek computer.

2013 in Review: The Eight Biggest Stories In Exponential Tech

It’s been a fast-moving year, so before diving headlong into 2014, we thought we'd take stock and revisit some of the year’s most notable stories in exponential technology.

Meta Launches Its AR Eyeglass Hologram Computer To Compete With Glass

Meta, a Silicon Valley startup with an Israeli Defense Forces veteran at the helm, has opted to try to out-perform Glass in functionality, even if it means a significantly less lightweight product. The company recently opened pre-ordering for its first consumer product, Mega Pro glasses.

Google Buys Boston Dynamics in Sensational Eighth Robotics Acquisition

Google just acquired Boston Dynamics. It’s the eighth robotics company the California tech titan has purchased in six months and, by far, the biggest deal. For two decades, Boston Dynamics has been nearly synonymous with robotics.

Will Advanced AI Be Our Final Invention?

There’s plenty of tech fear out there thanks to Hollywood, but there’s also the tendency to imagine we’re immune to AI risk because it’s been in a movie, so, ipso facto it’s fantasy. While it’s tempting to seek solace in this line of reasoning, the experts who are actually working on artificial intelligence have something else to say. Many point to a suite of looming problems clustered around the complexity of real-world software and the inherent uncontrollability of intelligence.

Google Officially Enters the Robotics Business With Acquisition of Seven Startups

Last year, I visited a warehouse behind a typically fashionable San Francisco café where two startups, Bot & Dolly and Autofuss, were busy making the insanely immersive visuals for the film Gravity (among a host of other projects) using naught but assembly line robots, clever software, and high-def cameras. A few months later, I found myself in another warehouse—this time some forty minutes south of the city—where robotic arms, built and programmed by Industrial Perception, used advanced computer vision to sort toys and throw around boxes. What do these companies have in common? According to the New York Times, they were just secretly acquired by Google—along with five other robotics firms over the last six months—to design and build a fleet of super-advanced robots under the direction of Andy Rubin, the man behind Google’s mobile operating system, Android.

IBM to Offer App Developers Access to Resident AI and Jeopardy Champ Watson

The age of the pocket AI is imminent. IBM recently announced they’re opening their supercomputer, Watson, and its natural language powers to developers. The hope is apps drawing on Watson might soon reside on smartphones everywhere.

Google Glass Makes Its Way Into Operating Rooms

Hands-free devices like Google Glass can be really transformative when the hands they free are those of a surgeon. And leading hospitals, including Stanford and the University of California at San Francisco, are beginning to use Glass in the operating room.

Chefs, Guitar Heroes, Even Doctors Now On Demand With Google Helpouts

Telemedicine and online education aim to connect great teachers and skilled doctors to thousands or millions using video. Google’s latest experiment expands that list to place experts, from chefs to yoga teachers, on call for anyone, anytime.

New Chip to Detect Gestures in Front of Tiny Wearable Screens

It has proven difficult to design a rich, easy-to-use interface for devices whose screens are only a few finger widths across. But for every problem there's a startup, and this one's no exception. A fledgling company, Chirp Microsystems is developing a gesture-based operating system to work with a new chip that uses sound, rather than vision, to track the user's movements.

Google’s Motorola and Dutch Designer Developing Open Source, Modular Smartphone Hardware

Google's Motorola recently joined forces with viral sensation, Phonebloks, to develop open source, modular devices. They hope to provide a single universally compatible base (or endoskeleton) onto which every other component, from battery to camera, attaches and can be easily swapped out. Components may be made by a giant corporation or a maker on a shoestring budget—users will be free to choose.

Docomo Shows Glasses That Translate Foreign Languages Right In Front Of Your Eyes

If Star Trek or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy have the right of it, language will be a negligible barrier when we begin fraternizing with aliens. But before jumping to extraterrestrial translators, it might behoove us to work on the terrestrial sort first—and Japanese telecommunications firm, Docomo, is doing just that.

CastAR Augmented Reality Glasses Blow Up on Kickstarter

There are all kinds of companies experimenting with augmented and virtual reality right now. Google Glass projects a screen onto your retina. Oculus Rift straps a display to your face. Meta SpaceGlasses beam a hologram out in front of you. Now you can add another player to the game—castAR. CastAR is a headmounted augmented reality engine that projects a 3D image on a surface and allows users to interact with it—while playing virtual games like Dungeons and Dragons or Risk, for example.

US Army to Build Armored Talos Suit That Merges Man and Machine

The US Army recently put out a call for proposals to build a futuristic climate-controlled suit of armor that would make soldiers smarter, stronger, and tougher.

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