Last year, scientists managed to use the bacteria Escherichia coli to solve a mathematical problem, described in this research. This year, the building blocks of a computer are made.
Researchers at the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, led by Christopher A. Voigt have just published a paper which promises to get your circuits moving. This team has been working with the same bacteria to build logic gates like the ones found in computers directly into cells, making it possible to rewire and program them. The simple logic gates used in the experiment were built into genes then inserted into E. coli cells. The logic gates then acted as the communicator between the separate strains, allowing them to be connected together. Via engadget.com
At Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station visitors can now select beverages from a 47-inch touch panel.
An embedded camera will recognize your gender and age, allowing the machine to recommend a beverage suitable to whatever stereotype is attached to your particular circumstances. It will store your purchasing history too, so you can be freaked out by tailored ads every time you use it. 500 more of these units are planned to be installed in and around Tokyo over the next two years, with operating company JR East expecting them to tally up 30 percent more sales than their analog brethren. Via engadget.com
Smart vending machines in the streets show that Big Brother is being naturally accepted in a pixel consuming society.
Urban intervention, naughty boy-style! The public media interventionists of VR/Urban have designed a cool tool to intervene into next nature: the SMSlingshot. A wooden, embedded interaction device –equipped with an ultra-high frequency radio, a hacked Arduino board, laser and batteries – to shoot your own message directly onto a building or media facade. With some tucked away beamers, it works like magic. Reclaim the screens!
Man is a flexible species. We tend to adapt quite rapidly to new environments. But how fast can these adaptations turn to new evolutionary traits? For instance: to what extent is the internet changing our cognitive capabilities?
Back in the day, the story goes, we could remember whole bible stories. We could even sing entire newspapers. Because there weren’t any, we had to remember it all. That changed with the invention of book printing. Remembering became less important and instead, as philosopher Walter Ong claimed, our brains could focus more on comparing and analyzing. So our analytical skills grew.
The ‘Decay’ project explores how traces of time and use can be embedded in textile. By wearing a carbon fibre suit over a white blouse, textile designer Marie Ilse Bourlanges captured the gestures of the body bending, stretching, scratching and rubbing. The transfer imprint on the blouse was then translated into a pattern of lines that ebb and flower across the textile.
As neuroscience progresses, we gain access to previously inaccessible and unexplored areas of the human mind. Consequentially the intricate processes in our brain are cultivated and transferred into explicit information. Soon after, they become a commodity.
In his forthcoming film Inception, director Christopher Nolan – renowned from blockbusters like The Prestige and The Dark Knight – explores the notion of people entering and sharing a dream space. If you had the ability to access somebody’s unconscious mind, what would that be used and abused for? The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cob, an expert in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable.
“What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind, can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.”
Although the technologies presented in the film are vastly speculative and assume a level of info-neuroscience that might never be realized – if only because the fundamentally distributed architecture of the human brain would turn out principally incompatible with digital information technology – the thought experiment of having shared dream spaces and being able to steal thoughts directly from someones mind, has a certain luster nonetheless.
Besides the obvious implications on governmental, corporate and personal espionage – I know where you slept last night – , there could be serious ramification on our copyright & patent system as well. While one currently has to materialize an idea to a certain extend when filing a patent, the technology to share and record your dream space allows you to have witnesses that can prove you did indeed already have that certain brilliant idea, long before someone else filed the patent, in your dreams… Yet another step in the materialization of the virtual.
The human body is increasingly recognized as a biometric source of information for a wide spectrum of issues, including security, psychopathology, personality and health. Earlier we reported that job interviews might be replaced by brain scans within five years and denoted this news as a modern technological incarnation of occult palm reading. Now it turns out that palm reading itself has found a new incarnation – it’s in the ratio of your fingers.
John T. Manning, emeritus professor in psychology of the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Liverpool, has developed a new theory about how finger length relates to human biology and behavior. In the BBC series ‘Secret of The Sexes’, Manning successfully uses finger length ratio as a predictor for athletic ability.
A significant part of theory is focused on the so-called: ’digit ratio’, which concerns the full length ratio of only two fingers: index finger (2D) vs. ring finger (4D). In women the length of both fingers is usually about equal (2D:4D digit ratio = 1.00), while in men the ring finger is usually slightly longer (digit ratio = 0.98): a tiny sex difference.
Protection is the fundamental purpose of the helmet. This helmet, a conceptual design project by Seungjoo Lee, enables the storage and protection of memories. Plug in your USB to share ideas on this weeks peculiar image.
Unsure whether this video by Patrick Jean should be interpreted as an allegorical vision of the utterly transmuting effect the digital has on the physical, or that it is just an awesome video. It certainly is the latter.
Thanks: Elise van den Hoven – Speaking of bringing atoms and bits together!
Do you also have that feeling sometimes that your dentist is undertaking all kinds of activities in your mouth that aren’t really necessary? Yet, you usually just trust the dentist on its expertise as you realize the prospect of an all organic natural mouth just isn’t an viable alternative – at least, not one your environment will appreciate.
Dentistry is technological by definition, but when to say enough? Perhaps one day when your dentist proposes to implant a Tooth Phone? Although it might be handy to silently listen to your voicemail, chew SMS with your friends and have your insurance company continuously monitor your health levels and food intake – feeling paranoid already? Don’t worry, the Tooth implant from Motorola is science fiction (still).
Rendering created by Sean Hamilton Alexander. Same guy who photoshopped the Google lens.
Doctor gets chip. Chip gets virus. Virus infects other devices… Dalek shoots doctor?
Dr. Mark Gasson of Reading University implanted a RFID chip under his skin last year. It is used to allow him secure access to University labs without a security card, and to use his mobile phone without fear of others gaining access to it. But recently he decided to infect it with a computer virus. The result was the virus being passed to other devices that scanned the chip, showing how a person in future could be a virus carrier for technology.
Bitquid is an installation by Jeroen Holthuis which shows digital information transferring in an analogue way, through the use of fluorescent liquid.
Nowadays the use of internet is so common, that people don’t realize what low level communication is going on between two different places in the world. The Bitquit installation, which was presented at the STRP Festival 2009, shows what it takes to communicate one single image, very effectively. It is interesting to see that there is a shift of “coolness” between digital and analog. It seems like we want to go back to analog features again.
Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro (Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaska University) has done it again! This time in coöperation with robot-maker Kokoro Co. Ltd. Objective: to create a realistic-looking remote-control female android (actroid) that mimics the facial expressions and speech of a human operator. Result: “Geminoid F”.
Coughing into your cell phone could soon save you a trip to the doctor’s office. Thanks to software currently being developed by Star Analytical Services, people may soon be able to install an app that can diagnose cold, flu, pneumonia or other respiratory diseases by analyzing the sound of your cough.
The premises of the software is simple: Trained health workers are already able to distinguish cough types by sound, so why not create software that does the same?
If the idea is successful, it could save patients across the world a trip to the doctor’s office. Instead, they could simply cough into their cell phone and receive a diagnosis a few seconds later.
Martin Heidegger and Marshall Mcluhan already described people’s tendency to extend their identities in the animate objects when interacting with them. When for instance, driving a car the vehicle seems to become an extension of our body. It absorbs our sense of identity and when two cars hits another in traffic, the driver of the vehicle being struck is more likely to say: “Hey! You hit me!”, than “You hit my car” or “Your car hit my car”, to be accurate.
I wonder what these thinkers would have made of the Hitachi’s vein authentication system, which identifies individuals based on the unique pattern of blood vessels inside their fingers. While providing an extra layer of security against car theft, Hitachi’s steering wheel finger vein authentication system also works to improve in-vehicle comfort when used with seats, mirrors and air conditioners that auto-adjust according to the preferences of the driver touching the wheel. Just another small step in the thinning of the border between people and products? Once you enter, you are the car.
Mud tub is an experimental tangible interface that allows people to control a computer while playing in the mud. By sloshing, squishing, pulling, punching, etc, in a tub of mud (yes, wet dirt), users control games, simulators, and expressive tools; interacting with a computer in a new, completely organic, way.
The installation was developed by Tom Gerhard in an attempt to further close the gap between our bodies and the digital world, allowing humans to use their highly developed sense of touch, and creative thinking skills in a more natural way. The current applications are merely demonstrators, but we expect to see some digitally enhanced sandboxes in the neighborhood soon.
If you feel like getting dirty: Mudtub is on display at the lustrous Transnatural exhibition in Amsterdam until 19 March 2010.
Samsung has released the results of a consumer study that indicated nearly a third of Denver–area residents would sooner give up sex for a year that go without a cell phone for the same amount of time.
From the Samsung press release:
“The September 2009 research study found 29 percent of men and women in Denver would rather forgo sex for an entire year rather than give up their cell phones for the same amount of time. When it came to the battles of sexes, Denver women (33 percent) were more willing than men (20 percent) to lose their libidos versus missing their mobile phones.”
We leave it up to you, good readers, to contemplate the long term evolutionary consequences of these results.