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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

Posts Tagged ‘Sentient Spaces’

  • YouTube Preview Image

    Colorado Town votes on License to Hunt Drones

    Are Drones the mosquitoes of the 21st century? They are rapidly propagating, while getting smaller and smaller. Soon they will be everywhere: Buzzing around you, spying on you and potentially attacking you.

    A small town of Deer Trail, Colorado is considering a bold move towards the wild robotics. The town board will be voting on an ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and offer bounties for shooting down the unmanned aerial vehicles.

    $25 drone hunting license for residents 21 year of age, valid for one year.

    $25 drone hunting license for residents 21 year of age, valid for one year.

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    The Interspecies Internet

    Apes, dolphins and elephants are animals with remarkable communication skills. Could the internet be expanded to include sentient species like them?

    Dolphin researcher Diana Reiss, musician Peter Gabriel, internet of things visionary Neil Gershenfeld and Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet discussed this remarkable developing idea at TED.

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    What Ant Colony Networks Can Tell Us About What’s Next for Digital Networks

    Ever notice how ant colonies so successfully explore and exploit resources in the world … to find food at 4th of July picnics, for example? You may find it annoying. But as an ecologist who studies ants and collective behavior, I think it’s intriguing — especially the fact that it’s all done without any central control.

    What’s especially remarkable: the close parallels between ant colonies’ networks and human-engineered ones. One example is “Anternet”, where we, a group of researchers at Stanford, found that the algorithm desert ants use to regulate foraging is like the Traffic Control Protocol (TCP) used to regulate data traffic on the internet. Both ant and human networks use positive feedback: either from acknowledgements that trigger the transmission of the next data packet, or from food-laden returning foragers that trigger the exit of another outgoing forager.

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    Google’s Shoes Talk to Runners

    After Google Glasses, the electronic ring and the self-driving car, Google just presented this new surprising product in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest Interactive conference. The “talking” sneakers, designed by Google in collaboration with the artist Zach Lieberman and the collective YesYesNo, act like a training coach. Fitted with a whole package of electronic devices like a speed detector, pressure sensors in the soles, a gyroscope, a tiny screen and speakers, the shoes also contain a Bluetooth connection. Therefore, they can provide the runner with information and advice about their activity. Like a real coach, they can also motivate or reprehend you if necessary.

    The information is then shown on the tiny screen, which is quite inconvenient for those who aren’t able to look only at their feet while running. But Google has thought about everything: the Bluetooth connection also sends the data to a smartphone app and automatically publishes messages on the user’s Google account, so that anybody can check if you’re taking a sneaky break during your jog. This might be worse than an actual coach!

    From Future Sciences.

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    Empathy for the Device

    At this year‘s re:publica in Berlin Kate Darling argued about our need to rethink ethics in regards to “thinking” machines. With an increase in quantity and quality of products capitalizing on anthropomorphic characteristics, people are developing clearer feelings and stronger ethical opinions towards robots.

    Why do we treat certain animals like gods and slaughter others? Along the same line, why do we use certain machinery just to get things done, whereas other objects are treated and protected as iGods? Could new ethical policies for robots result in new perspectives on human-computer interrelations? Even though it still sounds futuristic, Kate Darling definitely tackles an impending problem. Especially as the boundaries between the artificial and the natural blur, society needs to update its ethical landscape.

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  • Adam Harvey's Stealth Wear

    With “Stealth Wear”, Hide from Unmanned Drones in Style

    The dawn of the domestic drone is near. In 2015 more than 20,000 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are expected to roam through the airspace of the United States alone. These unmanned drones, equipped with thermal imaging, video and audio recorders, may enable extreme levels of aerial invasion of privacy.

    But as history has shown, whenever a government attempts increased surveillance, “rebellious” citizens often create counter-methods. One such counter-method to the rise of a “global surveillance society” is artist Adam Harvey’s Stealth Wear. Stealth Wear is a clothing line that is designed to challenge authoritarian surveillance systems like drones. It is a vision for fashion that addresses “the growing need to exert control over what we are slowly losing, our privacy”. With his “Anti-Drone Garments” Harvey hopes to give some privacy back to wearers by making them invisible to the thermal imaging cameras widely used by UAVs. Two of the three garments are modeled on traditional Muslim dress, perhaps as a commentary on drone warfare in parts of the Islamic world. It is yet to be seen if people are willing to wear these garments, but the statement of these garments is clear: In Privacy We Trust.

    Source: Stealth Wear

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  • Samsung mind-control tablet

    Control Your Mobile Phone or Tablet Directly from Your Brain

    Samsung is introducing a new way of interacting with mobile devices. The world’s largest producer of mobile phones is experimenting with a mind-controlled tablet. Researchers at the Emerging Technology Lab are working with academics at the University of Texas in Dallas to develop the brain-control interface.

    The system uses an EEG-cap, which captures brain waves and translates them into different actions. The user is able to launch an app, select and pause a song, and call contacts. This hands-free form of interaction presents great opportunities for people with mobility impairments.

    Brain interfaces may be a more intuitive way of using electronic devices. Can you imagine calling a friend or checking your email without even touching your phone? This emerging technology is bringing the world of telepathy and telekinesis closer to reality.

    Story via Bright and Technology review. Picture via The Times.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    Ingestible Microchips Monitor Medication

    In July 2012 Digestible Microchips (a similar product to the Metabolic guardians from our own NANO Supermarket) were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in placebo pills.

    “About half of all people don’t take medications like they’re supposed to,” says Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla,California. “This device could be a solution to that problem, so that doctors can know when to rev up a patient’s medication adherence.” Topol is not affiliated with the company that manufactures the device, Proteus Digital Health in Redwood City, California, but he embraces the sensor’s futuristic appeal, saying, “It’s like big brother watching you take your medicine.”

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  • indian drones protect rhinoceroses

    Drones Protect Rhinos in India

    In a fortuitous mixture of old and next nature, park officials in Kaziranga National Park in India are now deploying aerial drones to monitor the critically endangered one-horned rhinoceros. Poaching is a serious issue in the 480 square kilometer park, where illegal hunting took 22 rhinos last year, and another 16 in the first three months of 2013. This uptick in poaching triggered mass upset in Assam State as the animal is a source of local pride and much-needed tourism revenue. Drones have already been used in the Chitwan National Park in Nepal, where rhino deaths have been drastically reduced. Drones in parks? Further proof that the noosphere is expanding by the day.

    Via BBC News. Photo via Washington Post.

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  • Facebook-democracy-in-Helsinki-2

    Tykkään or En tykkää? Digital Voting Takes to the Streets

    Last April, the city of Helsinki asked its citizens to give their opinion about the construction of a new and expensive branch of the Guggenheim museum. Brought to the streets, and set up as a real-life Facebook interface (with the addition of a powerful “Dislike” button, a nonexistent option in the social network), a big touchscreen allowed people to physically  “Like” or “Dislike” the proposal.

    The vote results did influence – but not determine –  the city’s final decision to not pursue the project. Maybe because the touchscreen system is still missing a way to identify individuals and avoid “likejacking” or multiple votes from the same passerby, or maybe due to the semantic implication of shifting from a yes/no polar question to a more emotional like/dislike reaction.

    This experimental street translation of a social network feature makes it easier to see that once we set aside technological interfaces, our ancient tribal dynamics are the very reason behind the existence and popularity of social networks. Now hit the button/leave a rock in the pile if you’d like to leave your opinion.

    Story and image via The Pop Up City

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  • Cam_Over

    CAMOVER: Destroy All CCTV Cameras!

    1. Choose a name for you and your fellows’ cell in honor of an inspiring historical personality.
    2. Destroy as many CCTV cameras as you can.
    3. Post videos or pictures of your conquests to earn points.

    These are the rules for CAMOVER, a real-life game started under the motto Freiheit stirbt mit Sicherheit: Freedom dies with security. CAMOVER was founded in Berlin in response to the increasing number of security cameras getting installed around the German capital.

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  • cow fitted with GPS device to control its behavior

    Bye Bye Barbed Wire: Cow-Mounted GPS Will Enable “Virtual Fencing”

    Vast and sparsely populated, the rangeland in the western US is managed on horseback, on ATVs, and with thousands of miles of barbed wire fencing. Fencing is both a vital and imperfect technology. In the arid regions that stretch from Texas to Idaho, grass that is thick and green one week might be dust and tumbleweeds the next. Patches of poisonous plants come and go. Endangered birds might nest along a lush river for only a few weeks out of the year.

    Put into widespread use in the late 1870s, the barbed wire fence destroyed one quintessentially American “technology” – that of the cowboy. It may now be time for a new technology to usurp the reign of barbed wire. Using GPS and a “bovine interface”, Dean M. Anderson, a scientist at the US Department of Agriculture, is hoping to transform the way we manage cattle, and by extension, the entire ecology of the American West.

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  • Break Time by Stephenpperry

    “Responsive Typography” Tracks Your Location to Automatically Resize Text

    Web designer  Marko Dugonjić has created a website called “Responsive Typography” that alters the size of the text based on your distance from the screen. As a simple working prototype, Responsive Typography shows us some of the untapped potential of physical interactions with soft wear. Imagine moving away from your screen to get a drink and watching as it magnifies the text so you can read your email from afar, or a computer that goes to sleep when you leave a room and wakes when you return.

    It’s fascinating to think of computers becoming more responsive to our bodies as a whole, but with the increasing prevalence of facial recognition these interactions could be taken even deeper. If the computer recognized your face was sad, it might change your music playlist to something cheerier, or send your friend a message to give you a call. If it realized you were getting tired, could it tell you when to take a break? Or open the blinds to let in a little more daylight?

    Dugonjić’s tool shows the range of untapped design potential that is already built into webcams, and bodes for an exciting interactive computing future.

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    Implanted into Bacteria, Synthetic DNA Functions as a Diagnostic Computer

    In the movie Fantastic Voyage, a submarine and its crew were shrunk and injected into the body of a sick man in an attempt to save his life. Despite the fictional nature of this story, in the near future miniaturized, organic “computers” may roam our bodies, detecting early-stage diseases and treating them on the spot. There are already 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells in our bodies – so why not add a few more?

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  • wind turbines generate micro climates

    Offshore Wind Farms Generate Their Own Microclimates

    As we strive to milk all available energy from nature, we not only harvest but alter our surroundings in the process. By mixing the warm sea air with cooler air above, offshore wind farms create their own clouds and could even alter weather and storm patterns. This phenomenon might even project the future potential of constructing wind farms to disperse storms and evade natural disasters before they happen.

    From the Greenopolis website: “Wind farms receive a lot of praise in the fight against climate change. Along with solar, they’re often pitched as our last hope for energy independence. Ironically, not only do they “fight” climate change but they also create micro-climates… Studies have shown that wind farms are even capable of changing weather patterns.”

    Image via Greenopolis.

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  • The Six Epochs of Evolution

    Monday afternoon, feeling a a bit jaded? Buckle up for a delightful cinematic espresso shot from Jason Silva (*) on the six epochs of evolution.

    * Warning: Video essays from Mr. Silva may cause rushes of Techno-utopism.

  • body heat powered clothing

    Clothes that Turn Heat into Electricity

    With rising energy costs and our growing arsenal of iPads, smart phones, and wearable monitors, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to power our devices. Perpetua Power, an Oregon-based startup, has invented a chip that can turn heat into energy – specifically the heat from your own body. When placed against your skin, the one square-inch TEGwear thermoelectric generator outputs up to three volts. One generator is enough to power headphones or a pedometer; a battery of them sewn into your favorite jumpsuit might even provide enough power for a phone. Maybe the TEGwear chip will be the intermediate step between old-and-tired fossil fuels and our fat-powered Energy Belt.

    Image and story via Fast Company.