December 26, 2012

Disguised Electronic Circuits integrated with your skin

A team of engineers today announced a discovery that could change the world of electronics forever. Called an “epidermal electronic system” (EES), it’s basically an electronic circuit mounted on your skin, designed to stretch, flex, and twist — and to take input from the movements of your body.
EES is a leap forward for wearable technologies, and has potential applications ranging from medical diagnostics to video game control and accelerated wound-healing. Engineers John Rogers and Todd Coleman, who worked on the discovery, tell io9 it’s a huge step towards erasing the divide that separates machine and human.
Coleman and Rogers say they developed EES to forego the hard and rigid electronic “wafer” format of traditional electronics in favor of a softer, more dynamic platform.
Breakthrough: Electronic circuits that are integrated with your skin
To accomplish this, their team brought together scientists from several labs to develop “filamentary serpentine” (threadlike and squiggly) circuitry. When this circuitry is mounted on a thin, rubber substrate with elastic properties similar to skin, the result is a flexible patch that can bend and twist, or expand and contract, all without affecting electronic performance.
This video demonstrates the resilience of the EES patch, and how easily it can be applied. The patch (comprised of the circuitry and rubber substrate) is first mounted on a thin sheet of water-soluble plastic, then applied to the skin with water like a temporary tattoo.
How Will We Wear Our Second Skin? So what can an EES really do for us? The short answer is: a lot. In the paper describing their new technology, published in this week’s issue of Science, the researchers illustrated the adaptability of their concept by demonstrating functionality in a wide array of electronic components, including biometric sensors, LEDs, transistors, radio frequency capacitors, wireless antennas, and even conductive coils and solar cells for power.
Breakthrough: Electronic circuits that are integrated with your skin
We asked Rogers what he thought were the most promising applications for the new technology. He said medicine was the most compelling:
Our paper demonstrates our ability to monitor ECG (as a monitor of heart disease and metabolism), EMG (as a measure of, among other things, gait during walking) and EEG (as a measure of cognitive state and awareness).
We have also shown that these same devices can stimulate muscle tissue to induce contractions. When combined with sensing/monitoring, such modes of use could be valuable in physical rehabilitation. We also have interest in sleep monitoring (for sleep apnea), and neo-natal care (monitoring premature babies, in particular).
According to Rogers, the electronic skin has already been shown to monitor patients’ health measurements as effectively as conventional state-of-the-art electrodes that require bulky pads, straps, and irritating adhesive gels. “The fidelity of the measurement is equal to the best existing technology that is out there today, but in a very unique skin-like form,” he explained.
Breakthrough: Electronic circuits that are integrated with your skin
What’s more, the electronic skin’s unique properties allow it to do things that existing biometric sensors simply can’t touch. Todd Coleman, who co-led the project with Rogers, told io9 how an EES could be applied to a person’s throat to serve as a communication aid:
Within the realm of biomedical applications, one can imagine providing benefits to patients with muscular or neurological disorders like ALS. For example, in the Science article, our research group used the device…to control a computer strategy game with muscles in the throat by speaking the commands.
In principle, the same function could have been achieved by simply mouthing commands rather than speaking them out loud. As such, this capability could be provided to ALS patients so that they could “speak” through an epidermal electronics system that is un-noticeable to them, and invisible to other observers.
Breakthrough: Electronic circuits that are integrated with your skin
Eroding the Distinction Between Machine and Human Outside the context of biomedicine, the EES’s inconspicuous nature opens up a whole world of possibilities. The patches are already barely noticeable, but when mounted directly onto a temporary tattoo, for example, any evidence of electronic circuitry disappears. Coleman said:
[This technology] provides a huge conceptual advance in wedding the biological world to the cyber world in a manner that is very natural. In some sense, the boundary between the electronics world and the biological world is becoming increasingly amorphous. The ramifications of this are mind-blowing, to say the least.
I envision endless applications that extend beyond biomedical applications. For example, we could use the exact same technology – and specifically its discrete tattoo-like appearance – to perform covert military operations where an agent could communicate to the command station with these electric signals without ever speaking a word.
Breakthrough: Electronic circuits that are integrated with your skin
Coleman’s statement touches on what is perhaps this most important thing about today’s announcement, namely the precedent it sets for future technologies that aim to combine the organismal with the synthetic.
“The blurring of electronics and biology is really the key point here,” said Northwestern University’s Yonggang Huang, with whom Rogers and Coleman collaborated. “All established forms of electronics are hard, rigid. Biology is soft, elastic. It’s two different worlds. This is a way to truly integrate them.”
Looking to the future, Rogers echoes his colleague’s sentiments. Describing what he envisions for his research group in the coming years, he said:
We would like to expand the functionality such that the devices not only seamlessly integrate with the human body in a mechanical sense, but that they also communicate and interact with the tissue in modes that go beyond electrons and photons (the ‘currency’ of semiconductor device technologies), to the level of fluids and biomolecules (i.e. the ‘currency’ of biology). We are hoping, in this way, to blur the distinction between electronics and the human body, in ways that can advance human health.
Additional Reading Visit the Rogers Research Group at The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign Visit the Coleman Lab at UC San Diego
Rogers and Coleman’s research is published in tomorrow’s issue of Science and is also available online.
All images courtesy of John Rogers

December 23, 2012

Top 10 Fictional Transhumanism Books

My current top ten list of fictional books with transhuman related topics and characters. Some are newer and have become instant favorites while others have been around for more than 10 years and still love to this day. There is a mixture of hard and soft sci-fi.(Hard-lots of techie talk, Soft-non techie talk). So I hope you enjoy my list. If you have an favorites of your own let me know.

-I first found this book while getting my degree in molecular biology in university. Strange as it seemed it was
a favorite among my classmates like star trek. We like our sci-fi very close to the way science really works otherwise it just seems ridiculous. The Culture trilogy is definitely hands-down my favorite.
54 reviews give it an avg rating of 4.2 of 5 at amazon
You can buy "Consider Phlebas (Culture)" at Amazon now

The second book by Iain M Banks.  The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many
 great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor
 117 reviews give it an 4.5 of 5 at amazon
 You can buy "The Player of Games (Culture)" at Amazon now

It is the first in a planned trilogy. Just recently came out in 2010. Definitely one
of the most complex sci-fi books I've read in a while. This one you will have to pay  lots of attention to. There are so many inventive original ideas it may take you a while to fully grasp the ideas within.
114 reviews on amazon gave it a 3.5?
 You can buy "The Quantum Thief" at Amazon now

4)ECLIPSE PHASEThe best sci-fi RPG ever as far as I am concerned  
You can buy Eclipse Phaseat Amazon now

The final book in the takeshi kovacs trilogy. The cyberpunk series is still my favorite to date although the Quantum thief trilogy may give it a run for its money
83 reviews on amazon gave it a 4 of 5 stars

You can buy Woken Furies here at Amazon now

Sometime in the mid 21st century an artificial intelligence arises out of Earth's computer networks. This intelligence scatters the land with strange structures, causes nine tenths of the population to disappear and issues three commandments. Flash forward a few centuries, the missing nine tenths of earth's population were transmitted via wormholes to star systems up to 3000 light years away, travelling one year back in the past for every light year travelled. Earth has recovered from the events of this singularity and is now a sort of central clearing house for trade and information under a reconstituted United Nations.
92 reviews on amazon gave it a 3.5 of 5 stars
Buy "Singularity Sky" at Amazon now

The second book in this series with the featuring the character Rachel Mansour dives right in the story line and focusing much less on setting the background and assumes you have had experience reading the first volume. It's a little more complex read with multiple story lines which eventually lead back to the main plot. Rachel Mansour is an interesting heroine
Buy "Iron Sunrise" at Amazon now

My favorite (comic book)graphic novel series. The is the first in the series by Warren Ellis who has a futuristic,dark,funny sense of humor in the writing.Essentially its about a journalist similar to hunter thompson all drugged out that has to return to a crazy futuristic city to gain inspiration to finish writing some books he owes to a publisher. He finds his inspiration from a group of halfhuman/half alien transients that want to start a rebellion.
Buy "Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street" at Amazon now

Another great outing from Charles Stross. The censorship wars"during which the Curious Yellow virus devastated the network of wormhole gates connecting humanity across the cosmos"are finally over at the start of Hugo-winner Stross's brilliant new novel, set in the same far-future universe as 2005's Accelerando. Robin is one of millions who have had a mind wipe, to forget wartime memories that are too painful"or too dangerously inconvenient for someone else. To evade the enemies who don't think his mind wipe was enough, Robin volunteers to live in the experimental Glasshouse, a former prison for deranged war criminals that will recreate Earth's "dark ages" 
Buy Glasshouse at Amazon now

interesting and sometimes very funny book from an editor at "boing boing" blog. Interesting in that the main location of the story taking place is in the Disney land and that he is being murdered over an amusement park ride.
Avg rating 3.5 of 5 at amazon
Buy "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" at Amazon now

Ok so there is an eleventh entry here, so sue me. Its hard to condense things you love into a top 10 list. I listed an Older book by charles stross that has tons of original ideas about how technology will impact our future. The book gets a little weirder as it goes on. Stross (Singularity Sky) explores humanity's inability to cope with molecular nanotechnology run amok in this teeming near-future SF stand-alone. In part one, "Slow Takeoff," "free enterprise broker" Manfred Macx and his soon-to-be-estranged wife/dominatrix, Pamela, lay the foundation for the next decade's transhumans. In "Point of Inflection," Amber, their punky maladjusted teenage daughter, and Sadeq Khurasani, a Muslim judge, engineer and scholar, try to escape the social chaos that antiaging treatments have wreaked on Earth by riding a tin can–sized starship via nanocomputerization to a brown dwarf star called Hyundai. The Wunch, trade-delegation aliens evolved from uploaded lobster mentalities, and Macx's grandson, Sirhan, roister through "Singularity," in which people become cybernetic constructs. Stross's three-generation experiment in stream-of-artificial-consciousness impresses, but his flat characters and inchoate rapid-fire explosions of often muzzily related ideas, theories, opinions and nightmares too often resemble intellectual pyrotechnics—breathtakingly gaudy but too brief, leaving connections lost somewhere in outer/inner/cyber space.
119 reviews on amazon gave it a rating of 4.5 of 5
 Buy "Accelerando" at Amazon now

Article by J5un for Emerging Tech Trends for Transhumanism

December 15, 2012

A techies dream home

Ever since I was a kid and I watched the Jetsons I've waited to have my own futuristic house with automation. I just found this video with current technologies for home automation

 The house in this video below shows technology for:

1)A kitchen that a

(a)automates home grocery list making and getting your groceries for you

(b)build in LCD tv

(c)touchscreen control panel allows you to pay your bills

(d)sets the mood with ambient colored lighting and music

(e)home security system with cameras around house

2)A bathroom has

(a)a mirror that doubles as a touchscreen that controls music,lighting,tv in the mirror

(b)towel hangers that dries the towel as well

3) A bedroom that

(a)has a push button to turn the shower on from the bed4

4)A living room with

(a)automated shades that retract and go down when you want them to

This article by J5un for Emerging Tech Trends for Transhumanism

December 1, 2012

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