Moves to bring human-like senses to computers, i.e. incorporating the addition of touch, voice, facial recognition and other technologies into our information and communication devices, are gaining ground.
The future of robotics in surgery will involve an increasingly powerful virtual environment, where surgeons are able to see through the body and potentially work side by side with autonomous robotic assistants.
A network for robots being tested in the Netherlands, RoboEarth, is designed to help them with their attempts at self-improvement. Soon, our mechanical minions will be able to compare notes on how to best care for us.
"Yes! Success!" It wasn't quite "Mr. Watson. Come Here. I need you." but it could prove to be just as revolutionary: Researchers at the University of Washington have completed the first experiment demonstrating human brain-to-brain communication.
Electronics store Maplin has become the first major high-street store in the UK to sell 3D printers. The Velleman K8200 costs £700 and can print smartphone cases, toys and replacement parts out of plastic.
Small electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions. This technology could improve communication and daily life for a person who is paralyzed or has lost the ability to speak from a stroke or neurodegenerative disease. Now, University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that when humans use this technology – called a brain-computer interface – the brain behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball, typing or waving a hand. Learning to control a robotic arm or a prosthetic limb could become second nature for people who are paralyzed.