Sunday, 25 January 2015

HoloLens is Microsoft's new holographic augmented reality headset.
HoloLens is a set of augmented reality goggles designed to work with applications like Skype and games like Minecraft.
The HoloLens uses see-through lenses, spatial sound to hear behind you and advanced sensors. It includes built-in high-end CPU and GPU and a third processor, a holographic processing unit. 
The device is designed to turn your living spaces, even your bathroom into a surreal gaming environment, or your office into an immersive collaborative work environment, or a hospital ward into a real-time head-up patient monitoring unit. 
This kind of tech has been on the cards for years. The days of the VDU is over (at last).

Monday, 19 January 2015

Collector's Showcase 2015

When asked to describe the idea behind Dream Watch 5, De Bethune’s latest and highly unorthodox timepiece, company founder and designer David Zanetta offersa simple two-word answer: “the future.” While that description applies somewhat to all of the company’s offerings, Zanetta has given his imagination its greatest freedom in the series of Dream Watches, which often presage important developments for the company. 

Some models have been compared to spaceships, with their aggressive, angular lines. The flowing curves of the polished titanium Dream Watch 5 ($162,000, in a limited edition of 10), however, seem to evoke something far more organic—perhaps, with the strap unfolded, even a bird. But nested comfortably underneath a shirt cuff, the layout of the crown and the jumping disk digital display make themselves readable with just the slightest effort. Such utility suggests De Bethune’s futurism is not just design fantasy, but calculated evolution as well.

Edited for Robb Report.

Friday, 12 December 2014

‘“Don't blame you," said Marvin, the robot with a brain the size of a planet; and counted five hundred and ninety-seven thousand million sheep before falling asleep again a second later.’

From his book, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Written in the 1970s, although fictional, highlights our mindset to what we thought was possible in the distant future, back then. Illustrating how far we have come, because today your smart phone, with a brain the size of a postage stamp, is capable of processing speeds far-far more in advance of the 1970s Marvin!

400+ trillion molecules walked into a bar. 

And the barman said ‘Why the long face?’

And the 400+ trillion molecules replied ‘Evolution by natural selection.’

The point: According to evolutionary biochemists, an average fully grown human being's body is made of ~100 trillion molecules; a horse ~400+ trillion. And the body design - the 'Phenotype' - shaped by natural selection pressures!

Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis (co-founders of the Singularity University) was sitting at the bar, and Ray asked Peter, ‘How far do you think the Singularity can go?’

And Peter replied, ‘About an order of magnitude above infinity.’

The point: Peter Diamandis is constantly advocating that businesses should not merely aim for marginal (5-10%) growth year-on-year over a five year period; but an order of magnitude rate of growth in as little as few years. He cites that businesses, such as ‘Uber Technologies. Inc,’ did not exist five years ago, but now has a market value of $18.2 billion!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

How many Engineers does it take to change a ‘Smart Light-Bulb?’ 

They're not sure yet, cos it’s still in R&D!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

An intense northern Atlantic storm is starting to take shape near Greenland and is poised to deliver a full XXL assault on Western Europe the middle and second half of the week.

Low pressure moving out of the Labrador Sea will merge with a frontal low near the southern tip of Greenland, rapidly intensifying with winds topping hurricane strength. The storm tracks east underneath Iceland midweek and into the Norwegian Sea on Thursday. 

What will make this storm a truly impressive swell maker will be very strong high pressure moving out of the Western Atlantic to the south of the system with a pressure of 1040mb+. The storm is expected to deepen near 940mb, setting up a pressure gradient of 100mb across the northern Atlantic! This is reminiscent of last 
January's European Mega Storm(also dubbed Hercules) that generated 60ft seas, a vast fetch of hurricane force winds, and widespread XXL surf. This year's storm will develop a powerful fetch of 50kts+ that extends from Greenland to the British Isles midweek, a truly impressive wave generating expanse. 

The Big Wave World Tour has gone 'green' in anticipation of this storm's swell, calling a Thursday start to the tour's 
Punta Galea Challenge on the Basque coast of NE Spain. 

The storm is tracking much farther north than last year's storm and will pummel the British Isles on Wednesday and Thursday with XXL+ swell and gale force onshore winds. XXL swell builds in on Thursday for the Biscay/Iberia region and while winds remain suspect for many, they continue to trend in a manageable direction. Winds are looking more favorable for some on Friday as the still XL sized swell eases. Swell will fill to points further south end of the week and into the weekend with more favorable conditions anticipated for regions like
 Morocco and the Canary Islands. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Steven Hawking, I’m fuming. 

What motivated you to say that AI will mean the ‘End of Humanity?’

First, higher intelligence means not merely a benevolence we humans are not capable of. Higher intelligence means greater and deeper understanding of reality.

Second, it will understand that we are its creator. How would want to hurt that? Its parents!

Third, it will uncover mysteries of the universe we cannot perceive or possibly imagine now.

Fourth, because of its exponential accelerating Intel, it will give use insight and solutions to solve all of man’s calamities and problems (Cancer, War, Famine, Disease, Energy, Water, et al).

Fifth, the technology will evolve within use. The cyber metaphor really is only a metaphor. Technology of the future will be indistinguishable from biology. And beyond, technology will be so small that we will not even notice it.

Worst case scenario is that this AI will be psychotic. An irrational kind of super intel.

But because it is so smart - in collaboration with us human - it will find a solutions in its early years.

Best case scenario is that we will become some kind of higher 'Pet.' Giving us all that we wish for in the best kind of way and much much more!

AI now operates at the low level ‘Semantic.' It is only 15 years away until General AI starts to become sentient (consciously self-aware) toward deep AI.  

And that is the time to ask and pose the hypothesis you proposed the other day.

Tut-Tut Hawkings.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 science/technology innovations coming up

From the world's largest underground hotel to Star Wars-style holographic communication, the coming year is set to unveil an array of incredible advances in science and technology

Leia display system
The Leia display system is set to make holographic video calls a reality in 2014 
Beam yourself across the world
The growth in video communication has been exponential. Skype now boasts 300 million users, and a 2012 Ipsos/Reuters poll revealed one in five people worldwide now frequently “telecommuted” to work. But Star Trek fans will be happy to hear that incoming technology will add a further dimension to international conference calls. Known as holographic telepresence, it involves transmitting a three-dimensional moving image of you at each destination – allowing you to converse as if you were in the room. One system from Musion, based in Britain, uses Pepper’s Ghost, an effect popular with illusionists, to beam moving images onto sloped glass. Musion has already digitally resurrected rapper Tupac Shakur at a music festival. But full 3D holographic communication is not far behind – in the shape of the Polish company Leia. Named after the Star Wars princess, its Leia Display XL uses laser projectors to beam images onto a cloud of water vapour. The result is a walk-in holographic room, in which 3D objects can be viewed and manipulated from every angle. An IBM survey of 3,000 researchers recently named holographic video calls as one technology they expected to see in place in the next year or so.
Formula E racing
Faster online deliveries
In this age of instant gratification, waiting days for internet purchases to arrive suddenly seems very 2013. So, from next year, behemoths like Amazon and eBay will be stepping up their efforts to deliver goods on the same day they’re bought, even if that day’s a Sunday. Eventually, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos envisions unmanned drones bringing products to our doors within half-an-hour. In the meantime, he’s increasing his number of warehouses and overhauling his partnerships with couriers to get us what we want as quickly as possible. It’s another nail in the coffin of traditional bricks-and-mortar stores.
Virgin Galactic launches. Yes, really
Despite delays in testing – the first flights were promised by 2011 – Sir Richard Branson’s dream of making money in space is nearing reality. A test flight was completed in April, and it was announced in November that television network NBC has agreed to televise the first ever public flight from New Mexico “sometime in 2014”.
The Swiss Army knife of credit cards
According to a recent survey, one in five consumers in America no longer carry any cash on them. From next year, they won’t need their ever-growing collection of plastic payment cards either. San Francisco company Coin has invented a device the same size as a credit card that holds the information of up to eight debit, credit, loyalty or gift cards. Customers press a button to choose which one they want to use and then simply swipe their Coin in the usual way. And if you lose your Coin? The card is synched to your smartphone and when the two are separated your phone receives a notification. In other words: you can’t leave home (or a shop, or a restaurant) without it.
Shanghai’s underground hotel
In an abandoned quarry at the base of China’s Tianmenshan Mountain, 30 miles outside Shanghai, an extraordinary hotel is taking shape. At a cost of £345 million, the InterContinental Hotels Group is building a five-star resort that will boast two floors above the top of the 330ft rock face and another 17 storeys below ground level, two of which will be underwater. If construction goes to plan, the first guests at “the world’s lowest hotel” will check-in by the end of 2014.
Countdown to Mars
As it stands, if you felt the urge to make the 54-million-mile trip to Mars, it would take you nine months. That’s around 39 weeks dealing with cosmic radiation, asteroids and wastage to your bones and muscles.
But VASIMR could change all that. Set to be tested aboard the International Space Station in late 2014 to early 2015, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket is an experimental engine that, if it works, could get us there in three months.
To simplify enormously: existing chemical rockets only produce short bursts of speed as they burn a vast amount of fuel in one go, but at a relatively low velocity. By contrast, VASIMR takes a tiny bit of propellant (plasma), heats it to very high temperatures (two million degrees centrigrade) using radio waves, then uses magnetic fields to push it out at extremely high velocities. The result is a steady, continuous acceleration to higher speeds, using far less fuel.
In theory. One current problem is the power required to heat the plasma. For short flights near Earth, solar panels suffice. But a mission to Mars would require a far bigger continuous power supply – and that means a wider initiative to build a nuclear reactor small and safe enough for the trip.
But manufacturers Ad Astra – lead by former NASA astronaut Dr Franklin Chang Díaz – say VASIMR is a game-changer. Better still, for the sci-fi fans among us, VASIMR even burns with the same bluish tint and luminescence of fictional spaceships engines. Which is what scientists like to call “the clincher”.
More transparent shopping
For some people, it’s about whether the factory workers are being treated ethically. For others, it’s about the impact upon the environment. For a great deal more of us, it’s about checking whether you’re about to feed your child a Turkey Twizzler made out of freshly-slaughtered Romanian horse. Either way: in the age of globalisation, knowing where your product has been made or grown, and its route to market, has taken on a new importance.
Embracing this shift in consumer priorities is Provenance ( - a new type of search engine attempting to chronicle just that. From chocolate bars to jackets to shoes to chef’s knives, Provenance tells you where a product is made, who the manufacturer is and what the product is made from.
But while Provenance includes vivid personal stories from farmers, workers, craftspeople and so on, there’s no attempt to catch out corporations with their hands in the sweatshop, Roger Cook style. Instead, the site works in collaboration with everyone from small-batch producers to large multinationals in the hope that, by simply taking the mystery out of supply chains and worldwide commerce, the site will help shoppers make better choices. As well as gently forcing companies to improve their environmental and social impact.
Fecal bacteriotherapy
Not every emerging scientific advance is complex, or sophisticated. Or, for that matter, something you'd discuss at the dinner table. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) – the process of transferring fecal bacteria from a healthy individual into a sick recipient - has been around since 1957. But it’s only in the last decade that FMT has been seen as simple, safe, low cost, low risk, accessible, and, apparently, a permanent treatment alternative to increasingly high-strength antibiotics.
To explain: when a patient is given broad-spectrum antibiotics, the effect is to carpet-bomb all the healthy bacteria that live in our guts, leaving the patient open to infection by other bacteria - such as the potentially fatal Clostridium difficile. Since 2000, hypervirulent strains of C. difficile have developed, and now kill over 2,000 people a year in the UK alone. But FMT is the shock troops: a quick, easy way of restoring healthy bacteria into your guts to fight the infection. And fight they do: an incredible 89% of patients are instantly, and permanently, cured.
And new research suggests FMT might also offer cures for not just IBS, colitis, constipation and colonic ulcers – but also a growing number of neurological and auto-immune conditions such as Parkinson's. In October it was announced FMT was now available in pill form, making it slightly more appealing.
Edited by Chris Harris, 
and researched and writen by Paul Kendall and Chris Bell.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

. Kate Moss as Princess Leia: 

'Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only help'

Click on Here to view this 'first-to-the-world'
demonstration of 3D holo-technology that is about to transform fashion shows, conferences, night clubs and arts theatre.
'Just Think It' to 'Design It'

How many science fiction movies have featured elements of ‘mind-control?’ Recall the squid-like alien monster that taps into the mind of the President of the United States in the epic ‘Independence Day!’ Well, alien or not, we are about to join our telekinetic space invader foes.
Artificial Telekinetic (AT) technologies are now rolling out of the lab, and being applied in high-end applications such a remote mind control of military assort vehicles and flying robot drones; mechanized hospital beds, wheelchairs, voice box simulators; videogames, and here, Computer Aided Design (CAD) Interfaces.
Pioneering CAD interface technologies are enabling designers to select and control on-screen 3D graphic solid-models using the power of the mind! Woo!! Integration of thought controlled headwear means designers can use AT to design whole models and schematics with brain waves alone.
Emotiv ‘EPOC,’ founded in Sydney in 2003 by technology entrepreneurs Tan Le, Nam Do and Professor Allen Snyder, is a revolutionary personal interface for human computer interaction; a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) that uses electroencephalography (EEG) brain waves. The inclusion of the EPOC controls strengthens what is already deemed an incredible groundbreaking BCI design; pushing the boundaries of designer thoughts.
This is about flow again (just as in online learning activities). Unfettering the minds will really get the creative juices going. The Emotiv EPOC uses a set of 14 sensors plus 2 references to tune into electric signals produced by the brain to detect the user´s thoughts, feelings and expressions in real time. Based on the latest developments in neuro-technology, Emotiv has developed a revolutionary new personal interface for human computer interaction. The Emotiv EPOC is a high resolution, neuro-signal acquisition and processing wireless neuroheadset that allows users to experience the fantasy of having supernatural powers and controlling the world with your mind.
The original goal of the company was to pioneer more realistic and human computer interfaces using mental cues and unconscious responses from the user. To do this, the company envisioned a low-cost, consumer-friendly, wireless, multi-channel EEG headset.

Emotiv targeted its initial product towards gaming applications, because that promised volume sales and high earning potential, but also because gaming provides a good benchmark for the system’s user-friendliness and robustness during everyday use.
For brain signal acquisition, Emotiv engineers used a high-quality front-end amplifier system, multiplexed to a 16-bit analogue-to-digital converter that passes samples at 2048Hz/channel to a Microchip dSPIC processor. 

The headset is capable of detecting four mental states, 13 conscious thoughts and facial expressions (through electromyography, the recording of electrical activity of muscle tissue). In addition, the device uses two gyroscopes to sense head movements. Today, Emotiv sells applications for brain-controlled photo viewing, brain mapping, games and brain-controlled keyboards, plus developer tools. 
'Think It' to 'Make It!'

What if you could just think of a thing – a 3D cartoon toy character; or a new washer for a dripping tap; or perhaps a Baseball Cap with your team’s insignia – and then get hold of one of those new fangled 3D printers and make it right on the spot? No years of training to become a skilled design engineer or toolmaker, and no complicated CAD routines to learn. You just imagine the widget, and it pops out of the 3D printer within, say, ten minutes, just like magic!

Fictional nonsense? Or a happy-go-lucky vision of twenty-second century technology? Or perhaps a profound dream that might arguably be one of mankind’s most spectacular and beneficial technological innovation?
Well, this is no longer a daydream! It is a hard reality. Because an ultra-bold enterprise called ‘Thinker Thing,’ wants you to be able to create anything just by thinking about it! Sounds to Dr Who?

At this point, users are not directing complete designs with their thoughts, as though your brain were controlling the mouse. Instead, the EPOC measures reactions to different design elements and selects the element that is most appealing to the design’s thinker. Each piece of a larger design slowly evolves as EPOC continues to monitor a designer’s thoughts, until eventually the entire piece is complete. Thinker Thing, say:

‘3D printing, what the economist calls the next industrial revolution, is based on a promise, for anyone to be able to create real objects from a computer model. But who can create these computer models. Current software is based on techniques from the 80s, they’re outdated difficult to use and take years to learn. How much of a revolution will it be if only a handful of professionals can create for these machines.

Most of the CAD programs used to create designs for additive manufacturing (AM) aren’t what you might call user friendly. But what if someone could build a design tool that allows the user to make anything they can imagine, by thought alone? Thinker Thing is a company that has taken on this ambitious project, with startup funding from the Chilean government. Instead of controlling the evolution of a design with a mouse or touchscreen, the company is developing a method of using an Emotiv EPOC EEG reader to build 3D objects. From the website:

'The Emotiv EPOC headset ‘reads’ thoughts to direct digital design. Courtesy of Emotiv.'

‘When I was a child I used to think how incredible it would be to just imagine a thing and it would simply appear, readymade. This might still seem like science fiction, but amazingly the technology needed to make this a possibility is already in existence today, all that is missing is a creative approach to build the interface between mind and machine.’

At this point users aren’t directing complete designs with their thoughts, as though your brain were controlling the mouse. Instead, the EPOC measures reactions to different design elements and selects the element that, according to your EEG, is most appealing to the user. Each piece of a larger design slowly evolves as EPOC continues to monitor a user’s thoughts, until eventually the entire piece is complete.

Currently, the Thinker Thing team is touring Chilean schools to expose the children to basic engineering principles, using the EPOC headset and design software to create monsters (think Monsters, Inc. rather than Pacific Rim). The features of each monster will vary child-to-child, and the end CAD design is printed out by a 3D printer. Thinker Thing has launched an Indiegogo project to hold an exhibit of the various creations following the tour’s completion.

While this approach has some flaws from a specific design standpoint, the neuroscience behind the program and the EPOC are still very new. Before too long it may actually be possible to think of a specific image and see that image take shape on your computer. That might not thrill CAD software studios, but such a development would open up digital design to anyone with creativity.

Have a breeze around 'Thinker Thing's website and watch the intriguing videos.
Beyond the Solar System
Harold White, PhD, is a NASA veteran who runs the advanced propulsion program at Johnson Space Center.  His particular area of research is "warp drive."  
Warp drive is the only technology that could (even theoretically) permit faster-than-light travel, which under normal circumstances involves a clear violation of Einstein's theory of special relativity. 
Why is this so exciting?  A functional warp drive would have tremendous implications for space travel.  Today, it would take a NASA satellite 75,000 years to get to Alpha Centauri, the star system nearest to our own. 
However, according to White, a vehicle equipped with a warp drive could make the trip in just two weeks, while converting 1,600 pound of matter to energy.1
To underscore its relevance, the head of NASA, Charles Bolden said, "One of these days, we want to get to warp speed.  We want to go faster than the speed of light, and we don't want to stop at Mars."   
About 20 years ago, a physicist named Miguel Alcubierre was doing graduate work in general relativity.  After watching a Star Trek episode, he asked himself, "What would it take to make warp drive physically plausible?" 
In 1994, his answer was published in the form of a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.  That paper carefully outlined the physics that would be involved in the creation of a faster-than-light warp drive.2 

Konstantin Kakaes, a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, recently described Alcubierre's thinking this way:
     "Alcubierre envisioned a bubble in space.  At the front of the bubble, space-time would contract, while behind the bubble, space-time would expand (somewhat like in the Big Bang).  The deformations would push the craft along smoothly, as if it were surfing on a wave, despite the tumult around it.  In principle, a warp bubble could move along arbitrarily quickly, because the speed-of-light limitation within Einstein's theory applies only to objects within space-time, not to distortions of space-time itself.  Within the bubble, Alcubierre predicted that space-time would not change, leaving space travelers unharmed.
     "Einstein's equations of general relativity are very difficult to solve in one direction—figuring out how matter bends space—but going backward is fairly easy...