Tag: Physical-computing

Digital-Presence

Hug & Pay

The rise of digital currencies reduces the need for physical interaction and communication between people. At the same time every payment method still leans on trust. But how can we trust what…

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Design-for-debate

3D Print Your Thoughts

How incredible would it be to imagine a thing and have it magically appear in concrete form? After food, organs and virtuality, here comes the thought printer! Thinkerthing, a start-up based in…

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news machine
Hyperreality

“News Machine” Illustrates the Effects of Media Distortion

The News Machine is a contraption that explains the news distortion that happens when a message is broadcast through different media. The starting point is a tweet sent from a tablet, then the 140 character sentence is echoed through different media filters and into print. The transmission alters the original tweet slightly through slight mistranslations between the filters. The final result is a twisted version of the original source.

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Video_Braille_Phone
Augmented-Bodies

What You Feel Is What You Get – Smartphone for the Blind

In the sacred Hindu epic Mahabharata, a character called Sanjaya is entrusted with the duty of narrating the stories unfolding on the battleground to his blind king, Lord Dhritraashtra. It is said he was blessed with an ability to see events at a distance. So, in essence, the king had found himself an alternate pair of eyes who envisioned and reported live news events.

One might think such magical stories don’t come true in our real lives. However in the world where technology and culture are a byproduct of each other, there is indeed one visionary with a revolutionary design goal in mind to affect the lives of the visually-deprived. Sumit Dagar, an interaction designer from the National Institute of Design in India, was awarded a Rolex Award for Enterprise for his work on the concept of a braille phone. This smartphone for the blind is based on haptic rather than visual or auditory feedback.

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Image from Shutterstock.com
Augmented-Bodies

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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Genetic-surprises

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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rhesus monkey brain implant
Augmented-Bodies

Brain Implant Restores Memory to Cocaine-Addled Monkeys

A team of researchers from three universities have succeeded in creating the first device that boosts the brain power of primates. In the study, five rhesus macaques were trained to complete an image-matching task. Each was shown one photo, and then asked to select the same photo from a larger pool of images. Using a tiny probe inserted into the monkey’s cerebral cortex, a computer recorded and analyzed the neural signals being sent when the primate was studying the first photo and when it made the “right” decision in the game. Over the course of two years, the monkeys acquired a 75% proficiency in this task.

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mycoplasm genitalium computer simulation
Digital-Presence

Complete Computer Simulation of a Bacterium Holds Hope for Medicine

Researchers at Stanford and the J. Craig Venter Institute recently created the first complete computer model of an organism. The simulation models the genome and life processes of Mycoplasma genitalium, an aptly-named bacteria that makes its home in human genitals. The team’s leader, Markus W. Covert, hopes that similar simulations may eventually allow for more medical experiments than is currently possible, and at faster rates. One day we may be able to bypass lab rats entirely and plug new drugs directly into a model of a cancer cell.

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