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Oct 5, 2016

Google’s Pixel phones make their debut

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, virtual reality

The first ‘Made by Google’ phones are here, meet the Pixel.

It has Google Assistant built-in, the “best smartphone camera,” unlimited photo storage and is Daydream VR compatible. The price starts at $649.

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Oct 5, 2016

Hacking Our Senses Will Transform How We Experience the World

Posted by in category: neuroscience

For millennia the human experience has been governed by five senses, but advances in neuroscience and technology may soon give us a far broader perspective.

What counts as a sense in the first place is not clear cut. Sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch make up the traditional five senses, but our sense of balance and the ability to track the movement of our own body (proprioception) are both key sensory inputs. While often lumped in with touch, our temperature and pain monitoring systems could potentially qualify as independent senses.

These senses are also not as concrete as we probably believe. Roughly 4.4% of the population experiences synesthesia — where the stimulation of one sense simultaneously produces sensations in another. This can result in people perceiving colors when they hear sounds or associating shapes with certain tastes, demonstrating the potential fluidity of our senses.

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Oct 5, 2016

Driverless Electric Minibuses Have Hit the Roads in France

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

A driverless, electric public transport service is now making its way onto the streets of Lyon, France. Unveiled in an announcement made earlier this month, two Navya ARMA minibuses have embarked on a year-long trial. The purely battery-powered vehicles travel at an average speed of 10 kph (6 mph) and are able to carry 15 passengers at a time.

The ARMA shuttles along a circular route 1,350 meters (0.8 miles) long in the Confluence district of Lyon’s 2nd borough. Unlike other roads, this route does not have crosswalks, stoplights, or intersections. Though pretty advanced, the minibuses are not able to weave in and out of traffic due to restrictions based on the current level of technology, as well as legislative issues.

According to Navya chief executive Christophe Sapet in an interview with The Telegraph, the buses are “equipped with a range of detectors that allow them to know exactly where they are and to detect everything happening around them and to manage it intelligently to avoid collisions.” Human operators are present within the vehicle at all times as an added precaution.

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Oct 5, 2016

Researchers say 2-D boron may be best for flexible electronics

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics, wearables

Though they’re touted as ideal for electronics, two-dimensional materials like graphene may be too flat and hard to stretch to serve in flexible, wearable devices. “Wavy” borophene might be better, according to Rice University scientists.

The Rice lab of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and experimental collaborators observed examples of naturally undulating, metallic , an atom-thick layer of boron, and suggested that transferring it onto an elastic surface would preserve the material’s stretchability along with its useful electronic properties.

Highly conductive graphene has promise for flexible electronics, Yakobson said, but it is too stiff for devices that also need to stretch, compress or even twist. But borophene deposited on a silver substrate develops nanoscale corrugations. Weakly bound to the silver, it could be moved to a flexible surface for use.

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Oct 5, 2016

New “Interscatter Communication” Could Let Your Implants Talk via Wi-Fi

Posted by in categories: internet, mobile phones, neuroscience, wearables

In Brief.

Interscatter communication has enabled the first Wi-Fi communication between implanted devices, wearables, and smart devices.

Researchers from the University of Washington have created a new form of communication that allows devices like credit cards, smart contact lenses, brain implants, and smaller wearable electronics to use Wi-Fi to talk to everyday devices like watches and smartphones. It’s called “interscatter communication,” and it works by using reflections to convert Bluetooth signals into Wi-Fi transmissions in the air that can be picked up by smart devices.

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Oct 4, 2016

Earth’s Untapped Resources

Posted by in category: futurism

The Earth is rich and the untapped clean resources are abundant.

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Oct 4, 2016

Legally Blind Man Sees Clearly For The First Time Ever, Thanks to Virtual Reality

Posted by in category: virtual reality

In Brief.

  • Jamie Soar suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that has rendered him legally blind and which affects some 100,000 people in the U.S. alone.
  • Because of the dual-screen projection method used in virtual reality, Soar was able to see normally for the first time in his life.

With the rise of specialized hardware such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung Gear VR, virtual reality (VR) is at its most accessible point ever. It provides an immersive and realistic simulation of an environment, one which is created entirely through software and hardware. And notably, this environment can be experienced or controlled by the movements of your body. To this end, VR opens up an entirely new world (literally) of possibilities.

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Oct 4, 2016

Color copying pen

Posted by in category: futurism

This pen copies the colors around you and lets you draw with them.

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Oct 4, 2016

Doctors Can Now 3D-Print Bones On Demand, Thanks to a New “Hyperelastic” Material

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

In Brief.

  • New 3D printed bones are ‘hyperelastic,’ making them more malleable during procedures.
  • 3D printers in hospitals could provide the hyperelastic bone ink, so surgeons could make implants in 24 hours.


This best describes the new bone-mending technology developed at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois by Ramille Shah and her colleagues. They used ink made from a natural bone mineral called hydroxyapatite, mixed with PLGA, a mineral-binding polymer that makes the implants elastic.

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Oct 4, 2016

Optical forces used to make rewritable 3D holographic materials

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, nanotechnology, tractor beam

(—Researchers have used the pressure of light—also called optical forces or sometimes “tractor beams”—to create a new type of rewritable, dynamic 3D holographic material. Unlike other 3D holographic materials, the new material can be rapidly written and erased many times, and can also store information without using any external energy. The new material has potential applications in 3D holographic displays, large-scale volumetric data storage devices, biosensors, tunable lasers, optical lenses, and metamaterials.

The research was conducted by a multidisciplinary team led by Yunuen Montelongo at Imperial College London and Ali K. Yetisen at Harvard University and MIT. In recent papers published in Nature Communications and Applied Physics Letters, the researchers demonstrated the reversible optical manipulation of nanostructured materials, which they used to fabricate active 3D holograms, lenses, and memory devices.

The key to creating the 3D holographic material with these advantages was to use optical forces to reversibly modify the material’s properties. The optical forces are produced by the interference of two or more laser beams, which creates an optical pressure capable of moving nanoscale structures. So far, optical forces have mainly been used for just one application: optical tweezers, which can hold and move tiny objects and are mostly used in biological applications.

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