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Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ category

Jul 22, 2014

Tiny 3D-Printed Bio-Bots Are Propelled by Muscle Cells

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Written By: — Singularity Hub
muscle-powered-3d-printed-bio-bots 1
Robots come in all shapes and sizes—some are mechanical, and some aren’t. Last year, a team of scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made a seven-millimeter-long 3D printed robot powered by the heart cells of a rat.

The device, made of 3D printed hydrogel—a water-based, biologically compatible gel—had two feet, one bigger than the other. The smaller, longer foot was coated in heart cells. Each time the cells contracted, the robot would crawl forward a few millimeters.

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Jul 19, 2014

New Super-Black, Light-Absorbing Material Looks Like a Hole in Reality

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

Written By: — Singularity Hub
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/07/13/article-2690424-1F9C527700000578-723_634x489.jpg
UK nanotechnology company, Surrey NanoSystems, has created what they say is the darkest material known to man. Vantablack consists of a dense forest of carbon nanotubes—single atom carbon tubes 10,000 times thinner than a human hair—that drinks in 99.96% of all incoming radiation.

First announced last year, the material is a deep, featureless black even when folded and scrunched. “You expect to see the hills and all you can see…it’s like black, like a hole, like there’s nothing there. It just looks so strange,” Ben Jensen, the firm’s chief technical officer, told the Independent.

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May 10, 2014

What to make of the film ‘Transcendence’? Show it in classrooms.

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, augmented reality, bionic, computing, cyborg, disruptive technology, existential risks, fun, futurism, homo sapiens, human trajectories, innovation, nanotechnology, philosophy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, singularity, transhumanism

transcendenceI recently saw the film Transcendence with a close friend. If you can get beyond Johnny Depp’s siliconised mugging of Marlon Brando and Rebecca Hall’s waddling through corridors of quantum computers, Transcendence provides much to think about. Even though Christopher Nolan of Inception fame was involved in the film’s production, the pyrotechnics are relatively subdued – at least by today’s standards. While this fact alone seems to have disappointed some viewers, it nevertheless enables you to focus on the dialogue and plot. The film is never boring, even though nothing about it is particularly brilliant. However, the film stays with you, and that’s a good sign. Mark Kermode at the Guardian was one of the few reviewers who did the film justice.

The main character, played by Depp, is ‘Will Caster’ (aka Ray Kurzweil, but perhaps also an allusion to Hans Castorp in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain). Caster is an artificial intelligence researcher based at Berkeley who, with his wife Evelyn Caster (played by Hall), are trying to devise an algorithm capable of integrating all of earth’s knowledge to solve all of its its problems. (Caster calls this ‘transcendence’ but admits in the film that he means ‘singularity’.) They are part of a network of researchers doing similar things. Although British actors like Hall and the key colleague Paul Bettany (sporting a strange Euro-English accent) are main players in this film, the film itself appears to transpire entirely within the borders of the United States. This is a bit curious, since a running assumption of the film is that if you suspect a malevolent consciousness uploaded to the internet, then you should shut the whole thing down. But in this film at least, ‘the whole thing’ is limited to American cyberspace.

Before turning to two more general issues concerning the film, which I believe may have led both critics and viewers to leave unsatisfied, let me draw attention to a couple of nice touches. First, the leader of the ‘Revolutionary Independence from Technology’ (RIFT), whose actions propel the film’s plot, explains that she used to be an advanced AI researcher who defected upon witnessing the endless screams of a Rhesus monkey while its entire brain was being digitally uploaded. Once I suspended my disbelief in the occurrence of such an event, I appreciate it as a clever plot device for showing how one might quickly convert from being radically pro– to anti-AI, perhaps presaging future real-world targets for animal rights activists. Second, I liked the way in which quantum computing was highlighted and represented in the film. Again, what we see is entirely speculative, yet it highlights the promise that one day it may be possible to read nature as pure information that can be assembled according to need to produce what one wants, thereby rendering our nanotechnology capacities virtually limitless. 3D printing may be seen as a toy version of this dream.

Now on to the two more general issues, which viewers might find as faults, but I think are better treated as what the Greeks called aporias (i.e. open questions):

Continue reading “What to make of the film 'Transcendence'? Show it in classrooms.” »


May 1, 2014

Flowing salt water over graphene generates electricity

Posted by in categories: energy, nanotechnology

Yogi Patel - ArsTechnica

Hydroelectricity is one of the oldest techniques for generating electrical power, with over 150 countries using it as a source for renewable energy. Hydroelectric generators only work efficiently at large scales, though—scales large enough to interrupt river flow and possibly harm local ecosystems. And getting this sort of generation down to where it can power small devices isn’t realistic.

In recent years, scientists have investigated generating electrical power using nano-structures. In particular, they have looked at generating electricity when ionic fluids—a liquid with charged ions in it—are pushed through a system with a pressure gradient. However, the ability to harvest the generated electricity has been limited because it requires a pressure gradient to drive ionic fluid through a small tube. But scientists have now found that dragging small droplets of salt water on strips of graphene generates electricity without the need for pressure gradients.

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Apr 23, 2014

Book Review: The Human Race to the Future by Daniel Berleant (2013) (A Lifeboat Foundation publication)

Posted by in categories: aging, alien life, asteroid/comet impacts, biotech/medical, business, climatology, disruptive technology, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, ethics, evolution, existential risks, food, futurism, genetics, government, habitats, hardware, health, homo sapiens, human trajectories, information science, innovation, life extension, lifeboat, medical, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear, philosophy, policy, posthumanism, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, space travel, sustainability, transhumanism

From CLUBOF.INFO

The Human Race to the Future (2014 Edition) is the scientific Lifeboat Foundation think tank’s publication first made available in 2013, covering a number of dilemmas fundamental to the human future and of great interest to all readers. Daniel Berleant’s approach to popularizing science is more entertaining than a lot of other science writers, and this book contains many surprises and useful knowledge.

Some of the science covered in The Human Race to the Future, such as future ice ages and predictions of where natural evolution will take us next, is not immediately relevant in our lives and politics, but it is still presented to make fascinating reading. The rest of the science in the book is very linked to society’s immediate future, and deserves great consideration by commentators, activists and policymakers because it is only going to get more important as the world moves forward.

The book makes many warnings and calls for caution, but also makes an optimistic forecast about how society might look in the future. For example, It is “economically possible” to have a society where all the basics are free and all work is essentially optional (a way for people to turn their hobbies into a way of earning more possessions) (p. 6–7).

Continue reading “Book Review: The Human Race to the Future by Daniel Berleant (2013) (A Lifeboat Foundation publication)” »


Apr 15, 2014

Nanoelectronic circuits that operate more than 10,000 times faster than current microprocessors

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, nanotechnology

Kurweil AI
nus-focused-electron-beamCircuits that can operate at frequencies up to 245 terahertz — tens of thousands times faster than today’s state-of-the-art microprocessors — have been designed and fabricated by researchers at National University of Singapore and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

The new circuits can potentially be used to construct ultra-fast computers or single-molecule detectors in the future, and open up new possibilities in nanoelectronic devices. For example, by changing the molecules in the molecular electronic device, the frequency of the circuits can be altered over hundreds of terahertz.

The invention uses a new physical process called “quantum plasmonic tunneling.” Plasmons are collective, ultra-fast oscillations of electrons that can be manipulated by light at the nanoscale.

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Apr 1, 2014

The White Swan’s Beyond Eureka and Sputnik Moments! [Treatise Excerpt] By Mr. Andres Agostini

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, aging, alien life, astronomy, augmented reality, automation, big data, biological, bionic, bioprinting, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, climatology, complex systems, computing, cosmology, counterterrorism, cybercrime/malcode, cyborg, defense, disruptive technology, driverless cars, drones, economics, education, energy, engineering, environmental, ethics, evolution, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, food, futurism, genetics, geopolitics, government, habitats, hardware, health, homo sapiens, human trajectories, information science, innovation, internet, law, law enforcement, life extension, lifeboat, medical, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, open access, open source, philosophy, physics, policy, posthumanism, privacy, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, space, supercomputing, surveillance, sustainability, transhumanism, transparency, transportation

Buy the White Book Treatise on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/White-Beyond-Eureka-Sputnik-Moments-eb.….white+swan

Mar 20, 2014

Graphene smart contact lenses could give you thermal infrared and UV vision

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, nanotechnology

By - ExtremeTech
Google's smart contact lens, for detecting glucose levels (diabetes)
A breakthrough in graphene imaging technology means you might soon have a smart contact lens, or other ultra-thin device, with a built-in camera that also gives you infrared “heat vision.” By sandwiching two layers of graphene together, engineers at the University of Michigan have created an ultra-broadband graphene imaging sensor that is ultra-broadband (it can capture everything from visible light all the way up to mid-infrared) — but more importantly, unlike other devices that can see far into the infrared spectrum, it operates well at room temperature.

As you probably know by now, graphene has some rather miraculous properties — including, as luck would have it, a very strong effect when it’s struck by photons (light energy). Basically, when graphene is struck by a photon, an electron absorbs that energy and becomes a hot carrier – an effect that can be measured, processed, and turned into an image. The problem, however, is that graphene is incredibly thin (just one atom thick) and transparent — and so it only absorbs around 2.3% of the light that hits it. With so little light striking it, there just aren’t enough hot carrier electrons to be reliably detected. (Yes, this is one of those rare cases where being transparent and super-thin is actually a bad thing.)

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Feb 22, 2014

Ask Ray | Question about molecular assemblers

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

Kurzweilai.net
Hello Ray,
I finished reading your book not long ago, and I had a question regarding your opinion of molecular assemblers.

Suppose molecular assemblers are indeed proven to be feasible on a large scale and we are given an infinite abundance to produce as much as we want — limited only by the amount of matter in our vicinity — with minimal effort.

If this scenario comes to fruition, how will humans be able to cope with the lack of challenges in their lives? It seems like with assemblers there will be very little incentive to do anything.

Since everything could be obtained effortlessly through assemblers, there appears to be little purpose to hold a job, since all possessions could be obtained for free.

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Feb 20, 2014

Wait, There’s Nanotechnology in My Food?

Posted by in categories: food, nanotechnology

By Christina Ortiz — Popular Mechanics

For a little more than a decade, the food industry has been using nanotechnology to change the way we grow and maintain our food. The grocery chain Albertsons currently has a list of nanotech-touched foods in its home brand, ranging from cookies to cheese blends.

Nanotechnology use in food has real advantages: The technology gives producers the power to control how food looks, tastes, and even how long it lasts.

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