Archive for the ‘media & arts’ category

Jan 29, 2017

LSD alters perception via serotonin receptors

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, media & arts, neuroscience

Interesting study on brain receptors.

Researchers from UZH have discovered how the perception of meaning changes in the brain under the influence of LSD. The serotonin 2A receptors are responsible for altered perception. This finding will help develop new courses of pharmacotherapy for psychiatric disorders such as depression, addictions or phobias.

Humans perceive everyday things and experiences differently and attach different meaning to pieces of music, for instance. In the case of psychiatric disorders, this perception is often altered. For patients suffering from addictions, for instance, drug stimuli are more meaningful than for people without an addiction. Or patients with phobias perceive the things or situations that scare them with exaggerated significance compared to healthy people. A heightened negative perception of the self is also characteristic of depressive patients. Just how this so-called personal relevance develops in the brain and which neuropharmacological mechanisms are behind it, however, have remained unclear.

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Jan 28, 2017

Will Robots Be the Solution to a Growing Demand for Assisted Living?

Posted by in categories: media & arts, robotics/AI

Actually, I have began looking seriously into an at home robot for my home; still not where I want them to be why I began looking closer and more seriously at building my own line.

One of the coming great challenges of senior care is facilitating assisted living, according to experts. The so-called Baby Boomer generation that is now entering retirement age lives longer, expects the world from its twilight years, and insists on staying independent for as long as possible. Most Boomers don’t even think about going out quietly, withering away in homes that offer little more than warehousing. Instead, they want to stay active and engaged until the very end, and they welcome all the help they can get to achieve that goal. And when they cannot do it anymore on their own, futuristic technology like robots for personal use may just be the ticket.

If you have seen the 2012 movie “Robot & Frank,” you already had a – albeit comical – glimpse of how the future of assisted living might look like. In a nutshell, the story is about the “relationship” between an elderly gentleman (played by Frank Langella), who just retired from a lifetime career as a cat burglar, and a humanoid robot given to him by his children as a home caretaker. Of course, the film’s particular angle on robotic technology is not to be taken too seriously. But the fact is that intelligent machines are progressively affecting every aspect of life as we know it, and will do so much more in coming years.

On a recent trip to Tokyo, I had the chance to see for myself how far we have already moved in that direction. Here, robots designed for personal assistance are readily available in department stores, just like any other household appliances. Although, many of the existing models have only limited capabilities like finding information on the Internet or compiling music playlists, or even less useful features like responding with a cute smile and offering a handshake when approached, it is clear that these creatures of our own making will eventually be the ones we partner up with on countless tasks, both at work and in our homes.

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Jan 22, 2017

Singularity CGI

Posted by in categories: media & arts, robotics/AI, singularity

Carrie Fisher just died but she will likely come back to life because the Singularity is Near and is bringing Singularity CGI with it!

Bringing the dead back to life

In the latest Star Wars movie, Rogue One, five characters were brought back as they would have looked between episodes 3 and 4 of Star Wars. They were Princess Leia, Grand Moff Tarkin, Dr. Cornelius Evazan (who said “I have the death sentence on twelve systems” in episode 4), General Dodonna, and Mon Mothma. General Dodonna and Mon Mothma were brought back with the traditional method of using actors who looked similar to the original actors. The other three were brought back with CGI (computer-generated imagery), more specifically CGI enhanced with motion capture.

Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) created by computer in Rogue One (credit: Lucasfilm)

Grand Moff Tarkin created by computer in Rogue One (credit: Lucasfilm)
(He looks better because he had more screen time so they spent more money on him.)

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Jan 15, 2017

The Copenhagen Wheel official product release

Posted by in categories: media & arts, mobile phones, transportation

Pre-order at This is the first commercial version of the Copenhagen Wheel. Now available for sale.
Own a limited edition, hand-crafted Copenhagen Wheel, invented and built in Cambridge, MA.

The Copenhagen wheel Technical specifications:
MOTOR US: 350W / EU: 250W
WEELE SIZE 26″ or 700c rim
BATTERY Removable 48Volt Lithium
CONNECTIVITY Bluetooth 4.0
BATTERY LIFE 1000 cycles
COMPATIBILITY Single Speed or 9/10 Speed Free Hub (email us your bike specs if you have doubts: [email protected])
TOP SPEED US: 20 mph
EU: 25 km/h
BRAKE TYPE Rim brake and regenerative braking (downhill and back-pedal)
RANGE Up to 50 km / 31 mi
WEIGHT 5.9 kg / 13 lbs
DROPOUT 135 mm

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Jan 8, 2017

Can Silicon Valley cure cancer? Napster founder Sean Parker says yes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, media & arts

No surprises here. We all have known that with tech in medical research and development would and will continue to solve many diseases such as cancer as we are already seeing with gene and cell circuitry technology.

Silicon Valley thrives on disrupting the traditional ways we do many things: education, consuming music and other media, communicate with others, even how we stay healthy. Bill Gates and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong know a few things about how to spend a lot of money to disrupt mainstream research while searching for cures in medicine.

Sean Parker hopes to join their ranks. In 1999, he co-founded the file-sharing service Napster, and in 2004, he became the first president of Facebook. Today, Parker announced his latest endeavor: a $250 million bet on eradicating cancer. Through the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, he says his plan is just a matter of time until it works.

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Dec 22, 2016

The sound of quantum vacuum

Posted by in categories: media & arts, quantum physics

Quantum mechanics dictates sensitivity limits in the measurements of displacement, velocity and acceleration. A recent experiment at the Niels Bohr Institute probes these limits, analyzing how quantum fluctuations set a sensor membrane into motion in the process of a measurement. The membrane is an accurate model for future ultraprecise quantum sensors, whose complex nature may even hold the key to overcome fundamental quantum limits. The results are published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Vibrating strings and membranes are at the heart of many musical instruments. Plucking a string excites it to vibrations, at a frequency determined by its length and tension. Apart from the fundamental frequency — corresponding to the musical note — the string also vibrates at higher frequencies. These overtones influence how we perceive the ‘sound’ of the instrument, and allow us to tell a guitar from a violin. Similarly, beating a drumhead excites vibrations at a number of frequencies simultaneously.

These matters are not different when scaling down, from the half-meter bass drum in a classic orchestra to the half-millimeter-sized membrane studied recently at the Niels Bohr Institute. And yet, some things are not the same at all: using sophisticated optical measurement techniques, a team lead by Professor Albert Schliesser could show that the membrane’s vibrations, including all its overtones, follow the strange laws of quantum mechanics. In their experiment, these quantum laws implied that the mere attempt to precisely measure the membrane vibrations sets it into motion. As if looking at a drum already made it hum!

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Dec 18, 2016

Google’s DeepMind develops creepy, ultra-realistic human speech synthesis

Posted by in categories: media & arts, robotics/AI

We all become accustomed to the tone and pattern of human speech at an early age, and any deviations from what we have come to accept as “normal” are immediately recognizable. That’s why it has been so difficult to develop text-to-speech (TTS) that sounds authentically human. Google’s DeepMind AI research arm has turned its machine learning model on the problem, and the resulting “WaveNet” platform has produced some amazing (and slightly creepy) results.

Google and other companies have made huge advances in making human speech understandable by machines, but making the reply sound realistic has proven more challenging. Most TTS systems are based on so-called concatenative technologies. This relies upon a database of speech fragments that are combined to form words. This tends to sound rather uneven and has odd inflections. There is also some work being done on parametric TTS, which uses a data model to generate words, but this sounds even less natural.

DeepMind is changing the way speech synthesis is handled by directly modeling the raw waveform of human speech. The very high-level approach of WaveNet means that it can conceivably generate any kind of speech or even music. Listen above for an example of WaveNet’s voice synthesis. There’s an almost uncanny valley quality to it.

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Dec 17, 2016

Headphones that Listen

Posted by in categories: media & arts, mobile phones

Tune In, Take Control.

With OV, your day becomes more productive, enjoyable, and just a whole lot easier. Use your voice to play a song, order groceries and check the news. Switch seamlessly between the best music and calls, voice commands and real world conversations, without missing a beat and without touching your phone.

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Nov 11, 2016

IMAX To Spend Millions To Spread Virtual Reality — By Jonathan Varian | Fortune

Posted by in categories: media & arts, virtual reality

France, Paris, La Defense, Dome Imax, Grande Arche

“The big-screen cinema company said Thursday that it and several partner companies created a $50 million investment fund focused on virtual reality media projects like films and video games.”

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Nov 11, 2016

BBC to debut virtual reality film The Turning Forest | BBC News

Posted by in categories: media & arts, virtual reality


“The fairy tale will be made available for free on Daydream, Google’s mobile virtual reality product.”

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