IEET Fellow Russell Blackford (author Humanity Enhanced) and Nicholas Agar (Author, Truly Human Enhancement) discuss enhancement technologies on ABC’s The Body Sphere, hosted by Amanda Smith. What will human bodies be like in a hundred year’s time? Will we be as much technological as flesh and blood, with things like cybernetic implants and modified DNA? Is a post-human future desirable..?
From super-light cars to smarter drugs, the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has identified the top 10 emerging technologies of 2014 that could reshape the society of the future
Urban Media Aesthetics is an ongoing curatorial research project that investigates subject matters relevant to artistic and curatorial practices with digital art forms in urban environments.
The notion of urban media aesthetics as a curatorial subject relates to the presentation and integration of artistic, visual digital content in urban contexts. This materializes in various contemporary examples, such as digital art installations, media facades, pervasive and mobile displays, big screens, projections of moving images, architectural mapping and animation, responsive architecture, and other types of “exhibition forms,” which take the urban environment as their exhibition space while integrating digital content, infrastructure and digitally-inspired forms into the urban ecology.
While urban media aesthetics as a research area might reflect a history of technologies, with relations between developments in screen and projection technology and developments in artistic expression and presentation, this initiative is not looking for a historical narrative or line of progress or development. There is no ‘one’ history of this discourse and no archive laying the ground for it either. There is no established framework for grasping, approaching and critiquing the emerging artistic and curatorial practices with media aesthetics in urban public contexts. Perhaps we can look towards principles of nomadicism, interdisciplinarity and emphasis on cultural and social situations, which we find in an archeological approach, to avoid relying on historicity that would tell us about technological “progress” without questioning what progress even means.
With each new generation of microchips, transistors are being placed closer and closer together. This can only go on so long before there’s no more room to improve, or something revolutionary has to come along to change everything. One of the materials that might be the basis of that revolution is none other than graphene. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley are hot on the trail of a form of so-called nanoribbon graphene that could increase the density of transistors on a computer chip by as much as 10,000 times.
The age of bioengineering is upon us, with scientists' understanding of how to engineer cells, tissues and organs improving at a rapid pace. Here, how this could affect the future of our physical bodies.
"As the regular General Assemblies are where all constituents gather to listen and contribute to the discussions using the methodology of the ‘stack’, which allows anyone seeking to propose a group or report on current activities, joins a queue and takes their turn to speak. This allows each their turn to vocalise and articulate for all to hear and vote on. In a ‘leaderless’ holarchic society, the necessity for a self organising infrastructure to support the intrinsic momentum, and the forum to voice the fomenting processes of each, are both vital components. What is being revealed here is the desire for a new manner of building community, responsive to those who have been inspired to collaborate, as working groups become the lifeblood of the movement."
Penn State University chemists and engineers have, for the first time, placed tiny synthetic motors inside live human cells in a lab, propelled them with ultrasonic waves, and steered them magnetically.
The Penn State nanomotors are the closest so far to a “Fantastic Voyage” concept (without the miniature people).
The nanomotors, which are rocket-shaped gold rods ~300 nanometers in diameter and ~3 microns long, move around inside the cells, spinning and battering against the cell membrane.
The nanomotors are activated by resonant ultrasound operating at ~4 MHz, and show axial propulsion as well as spinning.
Dutch scientists have developed the world's smallest autonomous flapping drone, a dragonfly-like beast with 3-D vision that could revolutionise our experience of everything from pop concerts to farming.
"This is the DelFly Explorer, the world's smallest drone with flapping wings that's able to fly around by itself and avoid obstacles," its proud developer Guido de Croon of the Delft Technical University told AFP.
Weighing just 20 grammes (less than an ounce), around the same as four sheets of printer paper, the robot dragonfly could be used in situations where much heavier quadcopters with spinning blades would be hazardous, such as flying over the audience to film a concert or sport event.
The Explorer looks like a large dragonfly or grasshopper as it flitters about the room, using two tiny low-resolution video cameras—reproducing the 3-D vision of human eyes—and an on-board computer to take in its surroundings and avoid crashing into things.
And like an insect, the drone which has a wingspan of 28 centimetres (11 inches), would feel at home flying around plants.
"It can for instance also be used to fly around and detect ripe fruit in greenhouses," De Croon said, with an eye on the Netherlands' vast indoor fruit-growing business.
"Or imagine, for the first time there could be an autonomous flying fairy in a theme park," he said.
Scientists have successfully used computer chips to link two monkeys together, allowing one monkey's brain to control the other's body movement. Researchers say they hope their work - partly inspired by Hollywood blockbuster Avatar - will lead to the development of implants for patients who have nerve or spinal cord paralysis.
Harvard neurosurgeon Ziv Williams, who co-authored the study published in the journal Nature Communications, says the paper aimed to find possible ways to treat people with cervical spinal cord injuries and are quadriplegic or have had brain stem strokes.
"What we basically did was create a functional cortical to spinal bypass where we're able to record neural signals in the brain, extract information about what the monkey is intending on doing and then basically stimulating the spinal cord to produce movements in their paralysed limb to those same intended target locations," Dr Williams said.
"For example, if the monkey is intending on moving upwards, we would select specific electrode contacts in the spinal cord to stimulate a movement that reaches that exact same target location. "In some cases actually the first monkey just needed to think about what they wanted to do and then the other monkey would make the movement."
Dr Williams said the "master monkey" was implanted with a microchip in the area of their brain responsible for thinking about movement and the neurons were recorded, based on the patterns of activity.
"We could figure out what the monkey was intending on moving or intending on doing - for example you know, moving up, down, left, right - and then at the same time we implanted a microchip in the spinal cord of the avatar and then we stimulated those areas based on what the other monkey was thinking," he said.
"So the hook-up was basically a computational link where we basically matched everything that the monkey, that the master, was thinking about and then matched that with movements produced in the avatar.
In an increasingly complex world, how do we know what is 'good'? Everything is shifting: political situations, financial structures, ecological strategies. How do we design for a complex and contradictory world? How should we equip designers to deal with change and uncertainty - not just for survival, but to flourish?
3D Printing has been used for rapid prototyping designs like the outer shell for recent XBox One desigs, but some vendors are offering their latest concept designs for public review and in order to build interest in new concept products.
Experts from Switzerland are combining experimental data with the core principles of brain organization in order to create a detailed computer model which will allow them to conduct supercomputer-based simulations of the brain’s inner workings.