Hudlin Entertainment Forum

How Ya Livin' => Technology => Topic started by: Curtis Metcalf on August 03, 2006, 08:14:12 am

Title: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on August 03, 2006, 08:14:12 am
I'm resurrecting this thread from HEF v1.    It is intended for entries on technological advances, especially technology often featured in comics.  I'll be submitting intermittently (read when I get around to it) but hopefully about once a week.  Feel free to make submissions and to comment on the entries.
Title: Brain Chips Give Paralyzed Patients New Powers
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on August 03, 2006, 08:17:44 am
Repost from HEF 1.0:

A neural implant allows paralyzed patients to control computers and robotic arms -- and, maybe one day, their own limbs.

Neuroscientists dream of creating neural prosthetics that would allow paralyzed patients to regain control over their arms and legs. While that goal is still far off, researchers at Brown University and Massachusetts General Hospital are reporting a promising step forward.

In a study published in the journal Nature this week, the researchers describe how two paralyzed patients with a surgically implanted neural device successfully controlled a computer and, in one case, a robotic arm -- using only their minds.

It is the first time such results have been achieved with neural implants in humans. The researchers are now refining the experimental system into a commercial product -- one that could help patients in their daily lives. They plan to make the device wireless and fully implantable and to improve the speed and complexity of movements that patients using the implant can perform.

Complete article here:
http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=17163&ch=biotech
Title: Nanomedicine
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on August 03, 2006, 08:21:59 am
Also reposted:

James Baker designs nanoparticles to guide drugs directly into cancer cells, which could lead to far safer treatments.

The treatment begins with an injection of an unremarkable-looking clear fluid. Invisible inside, however, are particles precisely engineered to slip past barriers such as blood vessel walls, latch onto cancer cells, and trick the cells into engulfing them as if they were food. These Trojan particles flag the cells with a fluorescent dye and simultaneously destroy them with a drug.

Developed by University of Michigan physician and researcher James Baker, these multipurpose nanoparticles -- which should be ready for patient trials later this year -- are at the leading edge of a nanotechnology-based medical revolution. Such methodically designed nanoparticles have the potential to transfigure the diagnosis and treatment of not only cancer but virtually any disease. Already, researchers are working on inexpensive tests that could distinguish a case of the sniffles from the early symptoms of a bioterror attack, as well as treatments for disorders ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to cystic fibrosis. The molecular finesse of nanotechnology, Baker says, makes it possible to "find things like tumor cells or inflammatory cells and get into them and change them directly."

Cancer therapies may be the first nanomedicines to take off. Treatments that deliver drugs to the neighborhood of cancer cells in nanoscale capsules have recently become available for breast and ovarian cancers and for Kaposi's sarcoma. The next generation of treatments, not yet approved, improves the drugs by delivering them inside individual cancer cells. This generation also boasts multifunction particles such as Baker's; in experiments reported last June, Baker's particles slowed and even killed human tumors grown in mice far more efficiently than conventional chemotherapy.

"The field is dramatically expanding," says Piotr Grodzinski, program director of the National Cancer Institute's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. "It's not an evolutionary technology; it's a disruptive technology that can address the problems which former approaches couldn't."

Complete article here:
http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emergingtech&id=16469
Title: Saving the World, One Video Game at a Time
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on August 03, 2006, 08:45:49 am
On the serious games movement:

Saving the World, One Video Game at a Time
by Clive Thompson

Last week, in an effort to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, I withdrew settlements in the Gaza Strip. But then a suicide bomber struck in Jerusalem, the P.L.O. leader called my actions "condescending," and the Knesset demanded a stern response. Desperate to retain control, I launched a missile strike against Hamas militants.

I was playing Peacemaker, a video game in which players assume the role of either the Israeli prime minister or the Palestinian president. Will you pull down the containment wall? Will you beg the United States to pressure your enemy? You make the calls and live with the results the computer generates. Just as in real life, actions that please one side tend to anger the other, making a resolution fiendishly tricky. You can play it over again and again until you get it right, or until the entire region explodes in violence.

"When they hear about Peacemaker, people sometimes go, 'What? A computer game about the Middle East?'" admits Asi Burak, the Israeli-born graduate student who developed it with a team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. "But people get very engaged. They really try very hard to get a solution. Even after one hour or two hours, they'd come to me and say, you know, I know more about the conflict than when I've read newspapers for 10 years."

Complete article here:
http://www.collisiondetection.net/mt/archives/2006/07/saving_the_worl.html#001541

The Peace Maker game site is here:
http://www.peacemakergame.com/
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Sam Wilson on August 03, 2006, 08:49:03 am
huh.  That game sounds like Civilization or something, just more contemporary and personal, and people LOVED Civilization, I wonder if the game you mentioned would ever take off like that.

And my wife would  be interested in that nanotech stuff, being a physical therapist and working with patients who have prosthetic limbs and all that...
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: The Dark Wright on August 03, 2006, 02:29:59 pm
They had a write-up of PeaceMaker in the Times -- seemed cool, you got Helo's that will drop food to starving countries and all sorts of jobs/objectives similar to that. A very different take vs. the likes of Commandos or Empire, etc.

I'm also eager to see how this nano-tech is gonna pan out. I hope people with diseases not as dibilitating as Cancer will be able to take part and benefit from this treatment eventually.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on August 03, 2006, 05:41:42 pm
They had a write-up of PeaceMaker in the Times -- seemed cool, you got Helo's that will drop food to starving countries and all sorts of jobs/objectives similar to that. A very different take vs. the likes of Commandos or Empire, etc.

The article I posted ran in the NY Times.  Maybe it's the same one you're talking about. 

I'm also eager to see how this nano-tech is gonna pan out. I hope people with diseases not as dibilitating as Cancer will be able to take part and benefit from this treatment eventually.

The nanomedicine is one of many fascinating possibilities for nanotech.  I would imagine that other diseases could be treated at the molecular level eventually.
Title: Re: Nanomedicine
Post by: Toya on August 04, 2006, 12:08:23 am
Also reposted:

James Baker designs nanoparticles to guide drugs directly into cancer cells, which could lead to far safer treatments.

The treatment begins with an injection of an unremarkable-looking clear fluid. Invisible inside, however, are particles precisely engineered to slip past barriers such as blood vessel walls, latch onto cancer cells, and trick the cells into engulfing them as if they were food. These Trojan particles flag the cells with a fluorescent dye and simultaneously destroy them with a drug.

Developed by University of Michigan physician and researcher James Baker, these multipurpose nanoparticles -- which should be ready for patient trials later this year -- are at the leading edge of a nanotechnology-based medical revolution. Such methodically designed nanoparticles have the potential to transfigure the diagnosis and treatment of not only cancer but virtually any disease. Already, researchers are working on inexpensive tests that could distinguish a case of the sniffles from the early symptoms of a bioterror attack, as well as treatments for disorders ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to cystic fibrosis. The molecular finesse of nanotechnology, Baker says, makes it possible to "find things like tumor cells or inflammatory cells and get into them and change them directly."

Cancer therapies may be the first nanomedicines to take off. Treatments that deliver drugs to the neighborhood of cancer cells in nanoscale capsules have recently become available for breast and ovarian cancers and for Kaposi's sarcoma. The next generation of treatments, not yet approved, improves the drugs by delivering them inside individual cancer cells. This generation also boasts multifunction particles such as Baker's; in experiments reported last June, Baker's particles slowed and even killed human tumors grown in mice far more efficiently than conventional chemotherapy.

"The field is dramatically expanding," says Piotr Grodzinski, program director of the National Cancer Institute's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. "It's not an evolutionary technology; it's a disruptive technology that can address the problems which former approaches couldn't."

Complete article here:
[url]http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emergingtech&id=16469[/url]



Wow. I'll have a more in-depth comment later. 

Edit:

Well, after a thorogh read it looks as though this technology is to improve the adminstering of drugs available--not a whole new drug itself. The newest wave of science and engineering combination: Nanomedicine.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Wise Son on August 08, 2006, 07:10:32 am
New, intuitive computer interface (http://www.youtube.com/w/?v=PLhMVNdplJc&session=gAJ9cQEoVQxlcnJvcl9maWVsZHNxAmNfX2J1aWx0aW5fXwpzZXQKcQNdhVJxBFUGZXJyb3JzcQVdcQZVCG1lc3NhZ2VzcQddcQhVDFZpZGVvIGFkZGVkIXEJYXUu)
If you've seen Minority Report, you'll recognise the concept.
Title: Jurassic Park?
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on August 15, 2006, 12:58:34 pm
Well, Pleistocene Park doesn't have the same ring.  Nevertheless:

Mammoths may roam again after 27,000 years

BODIES of extinct Ice Age mammals, such as woolly mammoths, that have been frozen in permafrost for thousands of years may contain viable sperm that could be used to bring them back from the dead, scientists said yesterday.

Research has indicated that mammalian sperm can survive being frozen for much longer than was previously thought, suggesting that it could potentially be recovered from species that have died out.

Several well-preserved mammoth carcasses have been found in the permafrost of Siberia, and scientists estimate that there could be millions more.

Last year a Canadian team demonstrated that it was possible to extract DNA from the specimens, and announced the sequencing of about 1 per cent of the genome of a mammoth that died about 27,000 years ago.

With access to the mammoth’s genetic code, and with frozen sperm recovered from testes, it may be possible to resurrect an animal that is very similar to a mammoth.

The mammoth is a close genetic cousin of the modern Asian elephant, and scientists think that the two may be capable of interbreeding.

The frozen mammoth sperm could be injected into elephant eggs, producing offspring that would be 50 per cent mammoth.

Complete article here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2312860,00.html
Title: We Can Detect Liquid Explosives
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on August 18, 2006, 08:40:34 am
This subject seemed timely.

We Can Detect Liquid Explosives

While the process isn't perfect, scanning machines do exist to detect liquid explosives like the ones purportedly at the heart of the terrorist plot broken up this week.

But don't expect the machines to be rushed into airports soon. Cost and logistical issues present challenges for these devices.

Consider work that's been done at Rapiscan Systems, part of OSI Systems. Rapiscan is developing four kinds of devices -- some based on technologies more than 10 years old -- that can detect liquid or gel-based explosives. Two that would work on carry-on bags already have been tested by the Transportation Security Administration and "could be deployed this afternoon," said Peter Kant, the company's vice president for government affairs.

But none are being used in the United States. Some are in place overseas, though Kant said those aren't in airports.

One big reason is that it is not easy to integrate the explosive-detecting machines, some of which can cost $250,000, into existing security checkpoints. Because each briefcase, purse or other carry-on bag has to be put in a special drawer for analysis, using the detectors could significantly bog down passenger screening.

Homeland security analyst Brian Ruttenbur of Morgan Keegan also points out that the technology still produces a relatively high number of false alarms.

For those reasons -- and because there still has not been a successful attack using liquid explosives -- Ruttenbur believes the TSA won't be pressed to overhaul the current screening regimen.

Complete article here:
http://www.wired.com/news/wireservice/0,71584-0.html?tw=wn_technology_7
Title: Science or Fantasy?
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on August 22, 2006, 08:37:24 pm
From an ad appearing in The Economist from a company called Steorn:

Quote
Imagine
A world with an infinite supply of pure energy.
Never having to recharge your phone.
Never having to refuel your car.

Welcome to our world
At Steorn we have developed a technology that produces free, clean and
constant energy. Our technology has been independently validated by
engineers and scientists—always behind closed doors, always off the record,
always proven to work.

The Challenge
We are therefore issuing a challenge to the scientific community: test our
technology and report your findings to the world.
We are seeking a jury of twelve—the most qualified and the most cynical.


Apparently they have invented the inertia winder.  ::)

FWIW, I agree with this guy:
http://www.collisiondetection.net/

Quote
Whatever. This is clearly junk science, of course. But as Kieran Healy at Crooked Timber notes, Steorn hews perfectly to the "seven warning signs of bogus science" laid out in the Chronicle of Higher Education a few years ago. To wit:

    1. The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.
    2. The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work.
    3. The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection.
    4. Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal.
    5. The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries.
    6. The discoverer has worked in isolation.
    7. The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.

Sounds about right -- and come to think of it, intelligent design fits all seven criteria perfectly, too.
Title: Bionic Arm
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on September 14, 2006, 07:38:08 am
It's not quite Jaime Sommers but it's still pretty amazing.

For 1st Woman With Bionic Arm, a New Life Is Within Reach

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 14, 2006; Page A01

The first time Claudia Mitchell peeled a banana one-handed, she cried.

It was several months after she lost her left arm at the shoulder in a motorcycle accident. She used her feet to hold the banana and peeled it with her right hand. She felt like a monkey.

"It was not a good day," Mitchell, 26, recalled this week. "Although I accomplished the mission, emotionally it was something to be reckoned with."

Now, Mitchell can peel a banana in a less simian posture. All she has to do is place her prosthetic left arm next to the banana and think about grabbing it. The mechanical hand closes around the fruit and she's ready to peel.

Mitchell, who lives in Ellicott City, is the fourth person -- and first woman -- to receive a "bionic" arm, which allows her to control parts of the device by her thoughts alone. The device, designed by physicians and engineers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, works by detecting the movements of a chest muscle that has been rewired to the stumps of nerves that once went to her now-missing limb.

Mitchell and the first person to get a bionic arm -- a power-line technician who lost both arms to a severe electric shock -- will demonstrate their prostheses today at a news event in Washington. The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is part of a multi-lab effort, funded with nearly $50 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to create more useful and natural artificial limbs for amputees.

Complete article here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/13/AR2006091302271.html
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: bluezulu on September 14, 2006, 07:55:39 am
and the six millon dollar man

Man's Bionic Arm Provides Hope for GIs
Thursday, September 14, 2006 12:34 AM EDT
The Associated Press
By BILL POOVEY

DAYTON, Tenn. (AP) — Jesse Sullivan has two prosthetic arms, but he can climb a ladder at his house and roll on a fresh coat of paint. He's also good with a weed-whacker, bending his elbow and rotating his forearm to guide the machine. He's even mastered a more sensitive maneuver — hugging his grandchildren.

The motions are coordinated and smooth because his left arm is a bionic device controlled by his brain. He thinks, "Close hand," and electrical signals sent through surgically re-routed nerves make it happen.

Doctors describe Sullivan as the first amputee with a thought-controlled artificial arm.

Researchers encouraged Sullivan, who became an amputee in an industrial accident, not to go easy on his experimental limb.

"When I left, they said don't bring it back looking new," the 59-year-old Sullivan said with a grin, his brow showing sweat beneath a fraying Dollywood amusement park cap. At times he been so rough with the bionic arm that it has broken, including once when he pulled the end off starting a lawnmower.

That prompted researchers to make improvements, part of a U.S. government initiative to refine artificial limbs that connect body and mind. The National Institutes of Health has supported the research, joined more recently by the military's research-and-development wing, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Some 411 U.S. troops in Iraq and 37 in Afghanistan have had wounds that cost them at least one limb, the Army Medical Command says.

Although work that created Sullivan's arm preceded the research by DARPA, he said he's proud to test a type of bionic arm that soldiers could someday use. "Those guys are heroes in my book," he said, "and they should have the best there is."

"We're excited about collaborating with the military," said the developer of Sullivan's arm, Dr. Todd Kuiken, director of neuroengineering at the Center for Artificial Limbs at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, one of 35 partners now in a DARPA project to develop a state-of-the-art arm.

Sullivan's bionic arm represents an advance over typical artificial arms, like the right-arm prosthesis he uses, which has a hook and operates with sequential motions. There is no perceivable delay in the motions of Sullivan's flesh-colored, plastic-like left arm. Until now, it has been nearly impossible to recreate the subtle and complex motion of a human arm.

"It is not as smooth as a normal arm but it works much smoother than a normal prosthesis," Kuiken said.

Sullivan lost his arms in May 2001 working as a utility lineman. He suffered electrical burns so severe that doctors had to amputate both his arms at the shoulder.

Seven weeks later, due to what Sullivan calls being in the right place at the right time, he was headed to meet the Chicago researchers.

"Jesse is an absolutely remarkable human being, with or without his injuries," Kuiken said.

Sullivan said his bionic arm isn't much like the one test pilot Steve Austin got in the '70s TV series "The Six Million Dollar Man." "I don't really feel superhuman or anything," he said.

"It's not magic," added his 4-year-old grandson, Luke Westlake, as he placed a nut in Sullivan's grip and challenged Paw-Paw to crack it open.

Not magic but high-tech science makes the bionic arm work. A procedure called "muscle reinnervation," developed by Kuiken and used on five additional patients so far, is the key.

For Sullivan, it involved grafting shoulder nerves, which used to go to his arms, to his pectoral muscle. The grafts receive thought-generated impulses, and the muscle activity is picked up by electrodes; these relay the signals to the arm's computer, which causes motors to move the elbow and hand, mimicking a normal arm.

"The nerves grow into the chest muscles, so when the patient thinks, 'Close hand,' a portion of the chest muscle contracts," according to an institute fact sheet.

Kuiken added: "Basically it is connecting the dots. Finding the nerves. We have to free the nerves and see how far they reach" and connect to muscles.

About three months after the surgery, Sullivan first noticed voluntary twitches in his pectoral muscle when he tried to bend his missing elbow, the institute said. By five months, he could activate four different areas of his major pectoral muscle.

Trying to flex his missing elbow would cause a strong contraction of the muscle area just beneath the clavicle. When he mentally closed his missing hand, a signal could be detected on the pectoral region below the clavicle, and when he tried to open his hand there was a separate signal. Extending his elbow and hand caused a contraction of the lower pectoral muscle.

When Sullivan's chest was touched he "had a sensation of touch to different parts of his hand and arm," the institute said. "The patient had substituted sensation of touch, graded pressure, sharp-dull and thermal sensation."

Sullivan said of the thought-controlled arm: "When I use the new prosthesis I just do things. I don't have to think about it."

Kuiken describes the procedure on Sullivan as the first time such a graft has been used to control an artificial limb.

Gregory Clark, associate professor of bioengineering and prosthetics researcher at the University of Utah, agreed, adding that a conventional prosthethic limb is "limited in a number of ways in the types of movements. Moreover, it can do only one of those movements at any particular moment."

Clark said a natural arm is capable of 22 discrete movements. Sullivan's bionic limb is capable of four right now, though researchers are working to make them better.

"Four is wonderful," Clark said.

Sullivan said his bionic arm allows him to rotate his upper arm, bend his elbow, rotate his wrist, and open and close his hand — in some instances simultaneously.

He and Kuiken were set to attend a Washington, D.C., news conference Thursday with Claudia Mitchell, the first woman to receive the bionic arm. The 26-year-old Mitchell was injured in a motorcycle accident after she left the Marines in 2004.

Trying his new arm at increasingly challenging tasks, Sullivan acknowledges he has good days and bad ones.

"At first, I couldn't watch when he tried doing this stuff," said Sullivan's wife of 22 years, Carolyn.

She said she first thought after the accident that he was going to die. She gave up her catering business to tend to him around the clock.

But eventually he forced her to occasionally run errands and leave him alone.

"He finally got mad and yelled at me and told me to go to the store," she said, laughing.

Enormous lifestyle adjustments that the injuries and rehabilitation required were not as hard as might be expected, she said.

"For some reason, we just sort of rolled into it. I just knew he wasn't going to let anything keep him down," she said.

She said medication helps control his pain, and sometimes he resorts to self hypnosis. "They taught him how to do that," she said, adding she doesn't consider herself to be a caretaker.

"I do all the yard work," Jesse Sullivan said. "I take out the garbage."

He can even hold a fork to eat.

And there's another task the bionic grandfather of 10 looks forward to mastering: casting a fishing line.

Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on September 14, 2006, 09:39:33 am
New, intuitive computer interface ([url]http://www.youtube.com/w/?v=PLhMVNdplJc&session=gAJ9cQEoVQxlcnJvcl9maWVsZHNxAmNfX2J1aWx0aW5fXwpzZXQKcQNdhVJxBFUGZXJyb3JzcQVdcQZVCG1lc3NhZ2VzcQddcQhVDFZpZGVvIGFkZGVkIXEJYXUu[/url])
If you've seen Minority Report, you'll recognise the concept.


I finally got around to watching this clip.  That is fascinating.  I had always heard the TED conferences were pretty amazing.  I wonder how generally applicable that style of interface is.  It seems really well-suited for some things, maybe less so for others.  Having used some of the voice recognition software, I can't really see that becoming widespread, especially in a cubicle environment. 
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Wise Son on September 15, 2006, 01:57:38 am
Was I the only one hoping the woman with the bionic arm would have a huge afro?
Title: Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo Interior Concept
Post by: KamiKaZee on September 28, 2006, 11:14:31 am
Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo Interior Concept
By Tariq Malik
Staff Writer
posted: 28 September 2006
10:37 am ET


(http://www.madamchaton.com/virginspaceship.jpg)
Mock-up interior of SpaceShipTwo Credit: Michael Soluri, for SPACE.com


NEW YORK – Future passengers aboard Virgin Galactic spaceliners can look forward to cushioned reclining seats and lots of windows during suborbital flights aboard SpaceShipTwo, a concept interior of which was unveiled by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson Thursday.

“It won’t be much different than this,” Branson told reporters here at Wired Magazine’s NextFest forum. “It’s strange to think that in 12 months we’ll be unveiling the actual plane, and then test flights will commence right after that.”

Virgin Galactic’s spaceliners will be specially-outfitted SpaceShipTwo vehicles built by Mojave, California-based Scaled Composites and veteran aerospace designer Burt Rutan. The new spacecraft, designed specifically for space tourism, will be three times the size of Rutan’s SpaceShipOne, which won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for privately-developed piloted spacecraft capable of reaching suborbital space twice in two weeks.

The air-launched SpaceShipTwo is designed to seat eight people – six passengers and two pilots – and be hauled into launch position by WhiteKnightTwo, a massive carrier craft currently under construction by Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn said.

For an initial ticket price of $200,000, Virgin Galactic passengers will buy a 2.5-hour flight aboard SpaceShipTwo and launch from an altitude of about 60,000 feet (18,288 meters), while buckled safely in seats that recline flat after reaching suborbital space. A flight animation depicted passengers clad in their own personal spacesuits as they reached a maximum altitude of at least 68 miles (110 kilometers).

While the spacesuit designs are not yet final, they will likely be equipped with personal data and image recorders to add to SpaceShipTwo’s in-cabin cameras, Whitehorn said.

“If it was ready next week, I’d be there,” Alan Watts, who has traded in two million Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer miles for a ride on SpaceShipTwo, told SPACE.com. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceliners are slated to roll out and begin test flights by early 2008 in Mojave, California, with future operational spaceflights to be staged from New Mexico’s Spaceport America beginning in 2009.

“SpaceShipTwo is obviously designed as a commercial vehicle,” Whitehorn said, adding that the vehicle will have a double-skinned hull as added safety for the passengers and pilots inside its pressurized cabin.

Passengers will have several minutes of weightlessness during the spaceflight, and then have about 40 seconds to return to their seats, Whitehorn said, adding that the floor of SpaceShipTwo is also designed to be used during landing of spaceflyers fail to reach their spots in time.

WhiteKnightTwo carrier vehicles – which will be larger than a Boeing 757 jet – will also sport the same interior of SpaceShipTwo, and will be used for to help train passengers during a three-day orientation period before launch, Virgin Galactic officials said.

Stephen Attenborough, chief of astronaut relations for Virgin Galactic, told SPACE.com that the advantage of two SpaceShipTwo pilots not only allows for redundancy, but frees one pilot to handle any passenger emergencies or issues that pop up during flight.

Whitehorn and Branson both said that SpaceShipTwo will rely on a new type of hybrid rocket fuel, one slightly different from the rubber and nitrous oxide mixture that propelled SpaceShipOne into suborbital space three times in 2004.

The WhiteKnightTwo will also rely on new, cleaner-burning jet engines and bear a close resemblance to the Virgin GlobalFlyer aircraft, which was also built by Rutan’s Scaled Composites and flew around the world without refueling in 2005.

“If you’re going to build a spaceship, you’ve got to build a green spaceship,” Branson said, adding that the carbon dioxide output from a single spaceflight is on par with those of a business class seat aboard commercial aircraft.
Title: Cloaking Device
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on October 20, 2006, 08:15:36 am
Science tripping the light fantastic
Ian Sample, London
October 21, 2006
http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/science-tripping-the-light-fantastic/2006/10/20/1160851137753.html

IT WON'T help you sneak around Hogwarts without being seen, but scientists have unveiled the world's first cloaking device, a technology designed to make solid objects disappear.

Cloaking devices are coveted by the military, which can see a new age of stealth technology that hides planes and other vehicles from radar.

More advanced versions could ultimately be good enough to make objects or people invisible.

The prototype was built and demonstrated in the US by US and British scientists only five months after proving it was theoretically possible to pull off the most famous of optical illusions — and without breaking the laws of physics.

The device works on the principle that an object vanishes from sight if light rays striking it are not reflected as usual, but forced to flow around it and carry on as if it was not there.

To make cloaks, scientists developed "metamaterials", meticulously patterned thin metal sheets that can bend light in precisely the right way.

In the demonstration, scientists showed that a small object surrounded by rings of metamaterials, in effect, disappeared.

The test involved firing a beam of microwaves at the object, the same radiation used for radar.

Normally the beam would penetrate and bounce off the rings, but measurements showed the waves split and flowed around the centre.

"The wave's movement is similar to river water flowing around a smooth rock," said David Schurig, a scientist at Duke University.

Although the lines of stealth bombers make them hard to spot on radar screens, they can leave a "shadow" that gives them away. The military hopes that cloaking devices could render them almost totally invisible.

Sir John Pendry, the theoretical physicist at Imperial College London, who developed the idea, said cloaking devices to hide vehicles from radar were only a matter of years away.

"It's already been quite an achievement designing this cloak," he said.

"But next we want to develop a thin skin that can cloak a plane without interfering with the aerodynamics. If you wanted to cloak something big and clunky like a tank, that's feasible in the medium term."

A cloaking device that makes objects invisible is a tougher prospect. Radar waves are about three centimetres long, and to cloak objects from them, metamaterials need to be designed with features a few millimetres across.

Visible light waves are far shorter — less than one thousandth of a millimetre — meaning a cloaking device would need metamaterials with much finer features to bend light properly.

GUARDIAN
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Toya on October 20, 2006, 06:26:50 pm
I was reading this yesterday in an article on Yahoo! It spoke of an opticial material that uses heat(from the body) to make it see through. I think it is a cool invention but can't think of any beneficial use of it outside war. And, I don't like wars.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Wise Son on October 23, 2006, 01:41:41 am
I think it is a cool invention but can't think of any beneficial use of it outside war.
Sneaking and creeping.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Toya on October 23, 2006, 04:23:40 am
lol @ Wise. Who would spending so much $$$ to get a lil something on the side? Scores of men and women have been plenty successful without it.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Toya on January 15, 2007, 08:39:50 am
http://youtube.com/watch?v=YgW7or1TuFk

Wow, I wonder if it's scratch resistant.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Wise Son on January 17, 2007, 04:39:19 am
They developed a technique that allows us to actually see Dark Matter! (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article2134891.ece)
Title: Connecting Your Brain to the Game
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on April 02, 2007, 01:06:32 pm
Connecting Your Brain to the Game (http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/18276/)

Emotiv Systems, an electronic-game company from San Francisco, wants people to play with the power of the mind. Starting tomorrow, video-game makers will be able to buy Emotiv's electro-encephalograph (EEG) caps and software developer's tool kits so that they can build games that use the electrical signals from a player's brain to control the on-screen action.

Emotiv's system has three different applications. One is designed to sense facial expressions such as winks, grimaces, and smiles and transfer them, in real time, to an avatar. This could be useful in virtual-world games, such as Second Life, in which it takes a fair amount of training to learn how to express emotions and actions through a keyboard. Another application detects two emotional states, such as excitement and calm. Emotiv's chief product officer, Randy Breen, says that these unconscious cues could be used to modify a game's soundtrack or to affect the way that virtual characters interact with a player. The third set of software can detect a handful of conscious intentions that can be used to push, pull, rotate, and lift objects in a virtual world.

(http://www.technologyreview.com/files/9273/Kate_ART.jpg)

Complete article here. (http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/18276/)

Remember Demolition Man?  ;)
Title: Black Panther's Panther Rocket for REAL!!
Post by: zeraze on April 24, 2007, 03:26:35 pm
Scientists are developing technology similar to that which enables T'Challa's spaceship to launch into space via magnetism:

http://space.newscientist.com:80/article/dn11375-spacecraft-may-surf-the-solar-system-on-magnetic-fields-.html

So, once again, real science emulates comics whether scientists know it or not.

zeraze
Title: Music Xray
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on May 25, 2007, 03:44:02 pm
Predicting Popularity: The Math Behind Hit Music (http://)

Talk of the Nation, May 25, 2007
Can math help record companies score hit singles? Mike McCready is CEO of Platinum Blue, a company that tries to crunch the numbers to figure out which tracks on an album will top the charts. He talks about equations that might help record companies predict what music will be popular.


From the Platinum Blue website: (http://www.platinumblueinc.com/tabid/67/Default.aspx)
Quote
Music Xray™ is a new technology that allows music professionals to see their music and their market in ways that were impossible until now. With these new insights, better decisions can be made regarding the potential market success of a given song.

It has long been known that music and math are closely related and that in a sense, music IS math. Recent research has shown strong evidence that most hit songs conform to a limited number of mathematical patterns. These patterns cannot be detected by the human ear much in the same way the doctor cannot be see with the naked eye that which the medical Xray reveals.

More than 90% of singles that are released and promoted by music labels do not chart and do not provide the labels with a return on their investment in spite of sounding and feeling like potential hits. This leaves label executives, producers and musicians themselves scratching their heads wondering what went wrong. Now, we are able to point to the mathematical properties of the song as a strong indicator of potential success.

Music Xray™ does not tell you if a song sounds like a hit. That’s an evaluation for the human ear and mind. It also doesn’t tell you if the artist is appealing or if the label knows how to get a single into the market. It does tell you however, if the song has the "optimal mathematical patterns" to become a success, a necessary but not singly sufficient condition for having a hit.


Interesting notion.  They have done some regression analysis of hit music and abstracted a few dozen characteristics that indicate hitness.  Sounds like they are trying to figure out how to make money with it.  The music companies are not exactly known for being enlightened when it comes to new technology and new thinking. 
Title: What if you built a machine to predict hit movies?
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on June 09, 2007, 09:04:18 am
Malcolm Gladwell on Platinum Blue and some other folks applying a similar approach to predicting box office receipts from movie scripts (!).   
It's a long and fascinating article (IMHO, of course).

The Formula
Articles from the New Yorker
October 10, 2006
Annals of Entertainment

What if you built a machine to predict hit movies? (http://www.gladwell.com/2006/2006_10_16_a_formula.html)
Title: Spider-man Suit
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on November 10, 2007, 07:21:44 am
Now it’s not just Spiderman that can scale the Empire State Building (http://www.iop.org/News/news_25704.html)

Institue Of Physics Press Release

29 August 2007
Physicists have found the formula for a Spiderman suit. Only recently has man come to understand how spiders and geckos effortlessly scuttle up walls and hang from ceilings but it was doubted that this natural form of adhesion would ever be strong enough to hold the weight of real life Peter Parkers.

Recent research concluded that van der Waals forces – the weak attraction that molecules have for each other when they are brought very close together - are responsible for creepy crawlies’ amazing sticking power. It is the tiny hairs on spiders’ feet that attract to the molecules of surfaces, even glass, and keep them steady.

This discovery however has been taken one step further by research published today, (Thursday, 30 August, 2007), in the Institute of Physics’ Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter to make sticky human suits.Professor Nicola Pugno, engineer and physicist at Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, has formulated a hierarchy of adhesive forces that will be strong enough to suspend a person’s full body weight against a wall or on a ceiling, while also being easy to detach.

Carbon nanotube-based technology could be used to develop nano-molecular hooks and loops that would function like microscopic Velcro. This detachable, adhesive force could be used in conjunction with van der Waals forces and capillary adhesion.

Pugno said, “There are many interesting applications for our theory, from space exploration and defense, to designing gloves and shoes for window cleaners of big skyscrapers.” The theory is all the more significant because, as with spiders’ and geckos’ feet, the hooks and hairs are self-cleaning and water-resistant. This means that they will not wear or get clogged by bad weather or dirty surfaces and will be able to withstand some of the harshest habitats on earth, including the deep sea.

Pugno continued, “With the idea for the adhesion now in place, there are a number of other mechanics that need addressing before the Spiderman suit can become a reality. Size-effects on the adhesion strength require further research. Moreover, man’s muscles, for example, are different to those of a gecko. We would suffer great muscle fatigue if we tried to stick to a wall for many hours.

“However now that we are this step closer, it may not be long before we are seeing people climbing up the Empire State Building with nothing but sticky shoes and gloves to support them.”


You can get the paper here. (http://www.iop.org/EJ/journal/-page=extra.press/0953-8984)
Various news articles:
BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6967474.stm)
Guardian Unlimited (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/aug/29/sciencenews)
Times Online (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2343784.ece)
Title: "Blade Runner" Barred From Olympics
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on January 20, 2008, 09:13:06 am
"Blade Runner" Barred From Olympics (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/14/sports/main3707924.shtml)
Double-Amputee Sprinter Told Prosthetic Racing Blades Give Him An Unfair Advantage
MONTE CARLO, Monaco, Jan. 14, 2008

(AP) The IAAF ruled Monday that double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is ineligible to compete in the Beijing Olympics because his prosthetic racing blades give him a clear competitive advantage.

The International Association of Athletics Federations had twice postponed the ruling, but the executive Council said the South African runner's curved, prosthetic "Cheetah" blades were considered a technical aid in violation of the rules.
...
The IAAF endorsed studies by German professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann, who conducted tests on the prosthetic limbs and said they give Pistorius a clear competitive advantage over able-bodied runners.

"An athlete using this prosthetic blade has a demonstrable mechanical advantage (more than 30 percent) when compared to someone not using the blade," the IAAF said.

Pistorius worked with Brueggemann in Cologne for two days of testing in November to learn to what extent the j-shaped carbon-fiber extensions to his amputated legs differed from the legs of fully abled runners.


Complete article here. (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/14/sports/main3707924.shtml)
Not quite bionic but wow. This kind of raises the stakes on the whole performance enhancing aids discussion.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Wise Son on January 30, 2008, 01:25:37 am
Scientists discover
way to reverse loss of memory (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-discover-way-to-reverse-loss-of-memory-775586.html)
Don't knwo if anyone has a relative suffering from Alzheimers, or, like me, just has a damned awful memory, but this is pretty interesting, and they did it by accident!
Quote
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Scientists performing experimental brain surgery on a man aged 50 have stumbled across a mechanism that could unlock how memory works.


The accidental breakthrough came during an experiment originally intended to suppress the obese man's appetite, using the increasingly successful technique of deep-brain stimulation. Electrodes were pushed into the man's brain and stimulated with an electric current. Instead of losing appetite, the patient instead had an intense experience of déjà vu. He recalled, in intricate detail, a scene from 30 years earlier. More tests showed his ability to learn was dramatically improved when the current was switched on and his brain stimulated.

Scientists are now applying the technique in the first trial of the treatment in patients with Alzheimer's disease. If successful, it could offer hope to sufferers from the degenerative condition, which affects 450,000 people in Britain alone, by providing a "pacemaker" for the brain.

Three patients have been treated and initial results are promising, according to Andres Lozano, a professor of neurosurgery at the Toronto Western Hospital, Ontario, who is leading the research.

More in the link at the top.
Title: Robot to Get Spiderman Skills
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on July 15, 2009, 09:15:54 am
Robot to Get Spiderman Skills (http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/23842/)

A new grappling hook could let robots swing from tree to tree.
By Kristina Grifantini


Today, at the International Conference on Field and Service Robotics here in Cambridge, MA, robotics professor and prolific inventor Shigeo Hirose, from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, presented a grappling hook system designed to help robots get over difficult terrain.

Hirose says he was inspired by Batman's grappling hook and the way Spiderman stays in constant motion using a repetitive tether-and-swing action.

Complete article here. (http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/23842/)
Title: Re: Robot to Get Spiderman Skills
Post by: Vic Vega on July 17, 2009, 06:58:06 am
Robot to Get Spiderman Skills ([url]http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/23842/[/url])

A new grappling hook could let robots swing from tree to tree.
By Kristina Grifantini


Today, at the International Conference on Field and Service Robotics here in Cambridge, MA, robotics professor and prolific inventor Shigeo Hirose, from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, presented a grappling hook system designed to help robots get over difficult terrain.

Hirose says he was inspired by Batman's grappling hook and the way Spiderman stays in constant motion using a repetitive tether-and-swing action.

Complete article here. ([url]http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/23842/[/url])


Dude built a wrist-launched grapple? :o

An engineer with a comic book collection is a dangerous thing. ;D
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Magic Wand on January 26, 2010, 01:16:51 pm
it's got spinners too! (http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/nasa-announces-designs-for-personal-flying-suit/)
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Magic Wand on March 15, 2010, 12:26:20 pm
Have y'all met Milo? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HluWsMlfj68&feature=email)
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on April 11, 2011, 02:30:05 pm
Exoskeletons (http://www.ted.com/talks/eythor_bender_demos_human_exoskeletons.html)
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Battle on April 11, 2011, 06:30:51 pm
Exoskeletons ([url]http://www.ted.com/talks/eythor_bender_demos_human_exoskeletons.html[/url])





I thought Amanda Boxtel walking for the first time in 19 yearswas pretty miraculous.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Curtis Metcalf on April 12, 2011, 07:25:00 am
Exoskeletons ([url]http://www.ted.com/talks/eythor_bender_demos_human_exoskeletons.html[/url])


I thought Amanda Boxtel walking for the first time in 19 years was pretty miraculous.


That's an amazing moment, isn't it? Although it's not literally the first time, it says that she had only 12 hours of training with the eLEGS.

In the comments, some complain about the military application - HULC. Here is one such comment with what I thought was a great reply:
Quote
"In my lifetime, I'm a bit afraid of what the next developments will bring."

Let go of what harm technologies may bring, because men will find ways to kill no matter what. Fearing technology is like fearing a mirror. How these tools are used is just a reflection of the the collective human spirit. Calm the tensions in the hearts of our societies first, then our tools will become more benevolent.
Title: Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
Post by: Battle on April 12, 2011, 07:51:02 am
Quote
Calm the tensions in the hearts of our societies first, then our tools will become more benevolent.



How Black Panther's father  T'Chaka said it?   (paraphrasing) "When your collective spirituality catches up with your technological prowess..."