March 31, 2013

Quality control opens path to synthetic biology's Ikea

THE next industrial revolution could be biological. Think living machines that produce energy from landfill
waste, biological sensors that detect dirty water or bacterial production lines that churn out drugs.
These are just some of the applications that synthetic biology – applying engineering principles to biological parts – could make possible. That goal is looking more likely now that, for the first time, researchers have established a set of rules that could allow parts to be assembled with industrial rigour. Libraries of these standardised high-quality parts will let engineers pick components knowing how they will behave.
The behaviour of all living matter is governed by gene expression, the process by which biological materials such as proteins are made. So synthetic biology's "parts" are the DNA sequences that contain certain manufacturing instructions. When these parts are stuck together, the genes are expressed and the required protein is made.
Researchers have been building one-off biological machines by combining several of these parts for years. But, because there is little quality control, producing them on an industrial scale has so far been impossible. To change this, Drew Endy, co-director of the BIOFAB facility in California, and his colleagues have developed a mathematical framework to show how each part interacts with others and whether this results in the right amount of the right product being made. The work involved physically testing out hundreds of combinations of common biological components and using the results to create a scoring system, effectively establishing a standard of excellence that should let engineers build their most reliable devices yet (Nucleic Acids Research,
The team found that bundling parts together according to their specific function gave more reliable results than considering them separately. This is how nature does it, says Endy, but the dogma had been that all parts should be clearly separated and assembled in a more modular way, which was the principle used to set up the BioBricks registry, an existing library of parts, in 2003. It was a case of "let's change our religion on how you assemble things", says Endy.
This realisation enabled the team to design hundreds of combinations of DNA segments from the Escherichia coli genome – one of the most commonly used source of parts – to build up a library of parts with a reliability of around 93 per cent.
"It's really great to have honest metrics for the performance of parts," says Christopher Voigt at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who four years ago developed components that worked about 50 per cent of the time. It should help remove the element of trial and error that synthetic biologists have so far had to live with. "It's normally done in an ad-hoc way," says Voigt. "You just drop in the part and hope you get what you want."
For the BIOFAB group, whose aim is to mass-produce their standardised parts and ship them to researchers around the world, this is just the start. The scoring system should apply to a wide range of organisms and there are many more families of parts that need to be catalogued, such as those from other commonly used bacteria like salmonella and Rhodobacter. "It's a slow, hard slog but it's essential," says Voigt.
One thing is for sure: biology is undergoing developments that parallel the industrial revolution, says Richard Kitney at Imperial College London. Only recently, for example, it might have taken 10 bioengineers more than 10 years to build something that produced a single drug. This is akin to the cottage industries of the 18th century in the UK, Kitney says, where master craftsmen like George Hepplewhite would labour to create one-off pieces of furniture.
"But we went from Hepplewhite to Ikea," he says. "That's what we're trying to achieve in synthetic biology."

This article appeared in print under the headline "Welcome to the Ikea of synthetic biology" for New Scientist

What can synthetic biology do for us?

From the first living photos taken with an "E. coli camera" to antimalarial drugs made by yeast, there are many uses for "living programmable matter", as Drew Endy, co-director of BIOFAB in California, likes to call it.
Richard Kitney at Imperial College London has developed a biosensor that detects urinary tract infections in people with catheters. The biosensors latch on to the molecules released by a growing bacterial colony, triggering the production of green fluorescent proteins.
For Christopher Voigt of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the field's promise lies in copying nature. Sea sponges, for example, contain molecules that make powerful antibiotics, he says, but we are not going to destroy reefs to get them. Instead, there should be a blueprint of 100 genes that could be used "to set up a manufacturing pipeline".

Current Events Calendar

Sacramento, CA

Neurosky Game Jam Saturday, May 11 12:00p Hacker Lab 

Read more here: apps with Neurosky's biosensor technologies. Accelerate your project towards innovation and monetization. Meet fellow devs in the community and learn new skills from the Neurosky team.
NeuroSky's Developer Tools make it easy to create innovative apps that respond to a user's brainwaves and mental states. Their new release expands capabilities across iOS, Android, as well as PC/Mac. Neurosky is coming to Sacramento! They're bringing mindsets and technical reps so we have all the resources necessary.
You can get more information here

Read more here:

Tucson Arizona 
6-9pm april 19-2013

Tucsonn Life Extension Club Meeting

Held at Sinbad's Mediterranean restaurant 810 e univeristy

Toronto Ontario Canada 4:00pm   Cryonics Toronto meetup group through Hazelton Lanes 87 Avenue Road Toronto, ON M5R 3L2.

New York City April 6-2013-1:30pm. Transhuman meetup organized by the singularity NYC group. You can get more details here

Southfield Michigan (April 3-2013)— “Mind over Matter: Empowering the Paralyzed through Brain-Computer Interfaces” is the topic for the 2013 Walker L. Cisler Lecture, which will be delivered by Brown University neurologist and engineer Leigh Hochberg at 7:30 p.m. on April 3/2013 Wednesday at Lawrence Technological University, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road.
The free public event will be held in the Mary E. Marburger Science and Engineering Auditorium in the Science Building. A dessert reception will follow.
Activities like sending emails, playing computer games, and drinking coffee have been impossible for people who are “locked in” their bodies – awake and alert, but unable to move or communicate due to brainstem injuries, strokes, or illnesses like ALS. Until now.
Hochberg is co-director of BrainGate at Brown University. He and his fellow researchers are developing brain-machine interfaces that allow paralyzed people to accomplish these feats and much more.
For more information, call 248-204-3500.

March 29, 2013

Human Overlords and Their Robot Writing Slaves

How would you like your own robot writing slave? Well they are availble now. Obviously its still fairly new and pricey but with huge companies with mucho dinero investing in it hopefully its only a matter of time where we can each have our own. If you are in publishing digital or offline it would be a godsend. 

Today there is more market data collected than ever before. So much in fact that is impossible for a human to track any longer. This has led to AI tools to automate extraction of insights into categories like news, commentary, research or trading insights.

Over the years Companies have spent a great amount of money on generating,collecting and storage of that data but now they want to go the extra mile and get as much value out of it as possible. 

In late 2013 companies like Trade ideas is building a content generation tool—scheduled for release in the second half of this year—to turn its data tables into text commentary or bullet points that can be used in advisor research notes, to help maintain their relationship with customers through regularly-delivered, targeted content that would otherwise be time-consuming to produce on a frequent basis, says David Aferiat, managing partner of Trade Ideas.

This in turn helps clients to interpret the data quicker causing less confusion

“Companies are starting to collect their own data to give them an advantage in the market, and we’re helping them turn that proprietary data into something more useful than just the raw data itself.” —Stuart Frankel, CEO, Narrative Science

Another way to interpret the data would be in a visual format like in charts and graphs that could be automatically created from the datasets

Narrative science's Quill platform is now competing with companies like Reuters to deliver real time stock market analysis and news but they take it one step further interpreting the news into actionable investment analysis

Super computers like IBM's Watson supercomputer are being used to analyze data sets to assist in financial analysis by providing a view of key messages then arriving at a conclusion

If you are concerned robots may replace you one day fear not. In the end human analysis and personalization of the data will always be needed. At least until the singularity comes then all bets are off. Hell we might end up being the robot overlord's slave writing monkeys.

You can check out Narrative Science here 

This post by J5un for Emerging Tech Trends for Transhumanism

Iron Man meets HULC as Lockheed enters exoskeletons race

Hannifin are joining a handful of startups in finding practical uses and, more important, paying customers for bionic suits inspired by novelist Robert Heinlein's 1959 "Starship Troopers" and Stan Lee's Iron Man comic-book character.
Sales of mechanical exoskeletons cap decades of scientific tinkering that included a 1,500-pound (680-kilogram) General Electric clunker in the 1960s. Strapped to users' bodies and powered by lithium-ion batteries, the emerging technology has led to some models that sell for about $70,000, weigh less than 50 pounds and are nimble enough to dance the Macarena.
"We're now seeing a golden age in which we can produce this technology and derive benefit from it," said Keith Maxwell, the business development manager for Lockheed's program. "There's a host of industries where this works."
The first commercial sale of a medical unit — not for lab or hospital tests — came in September, pioneering a field that may produce $400 million in annual revenue by 2020, according to technology consultant ABI Research. Lockheed says it hasn't estimated the value of any contracts for its under-development military version, known by the acronym HULC, or for the nascent industrial market its Mantis device will enter this year.
The machines may follow a classic arc from Pentagon research project to fixture on an assembly line, similar to the development of lasers, said Paul Saffo, managing director of foresight at investment advisory firm Discern in San Francisco.
"The medical devices get the most attention, the military funds it and the first mass application is industrial," Saffo said in a telephone interview.
Developing technology for both civilian and military use would be a boost for Lockheed, the world's largest defense contractor, as it confronts reductions in U.S. arms spending. Parker Hannifin, the biggest manufacturer of motion and control devices, is seeking to expand into the medical industry.
Commercial exoskeletons are just echoes of Hollywood's take on Iron Man's bulletproof garb and the armor that Heinlein envisioned for his futuristic warriors.
Ekso Bionics' device for spinal patients looks like the lower half of a black metal skeleton able to stand by itself on foot pads. Parker Hannifin's medical model breaks into five pieces and resembles elongated, plastic football thigh pads worn on the sides of users' legs.
Electric motors amplify the strength in their wearers' limbs or, in the case of the wheelchair-bound, to supply motive power. Computers and sensors help provide balance and guidance.
"There's a huge wave of human augmentation coming," said Ekso Bionics Chief Executive Officer Nathan Harding, whose Richmond, Calif.-based company has devices in operation at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey and other spinal-cord injury centers. "It's in its infancy."
Argo Medical Technologies entered the market last year, with an exoskeleton to assist patients who have lost the use of their legs. Parker Hannifin's Indego model also targets those users, and will go on sale in 2014 at a price the company says is competitive with Argo's 52,000-euro ($67,230) unit.
In between those introductions will come Lockheed's Mantis, which the Bethesda, Md.-based company envisions as finding a home in any industry in which workers must hold heavy equipment that can cause fatigue and back injuries.
Mantis has a mechanical extension for a wearer's arm and absorbs the strain from hefting a grinder or sander, Maxwell said. Tests found productivity gains of more than 30 percent, he said, and wearers showed their Macarena footwork to demonstrate the suits' flexibility.
"It turns workers away from being a weightlifter and into a craftsman," Maxwell said.
While Ekso Bionics' Harding sees exoskeletons on an evolutionary path toward ever-greater sophistication — much as large portable phones of the early 1990s morphed into today's smartphones — it may not be that easy to cut costs, simplify the technology and ensure widespread adoption.
"Even though there are processors and sensors, there's still a lot of physical matter that has to be machined and built," said Discern's Saffo, who is also a consulting associate professor at Stanford University's engineering school.
The other limitation is battery life. Batteries can be made only so powerful before turning into a bomb, Saffo said. Boeing knows the risks in working with larger versions of the lithium-ion cells found in mobile phones and other electronic gadgets: It's still trying to figure out the cause of electrical faults that grounded its 787 Dreamliner.
"Until you have higher-density power storage, you're always going to be looking for a plug for your exoskeleton," Saffo said.
The exoskeleton industry is attractive because the potential is vast and the large competitors are few, according to Lockheed and Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin.
Lockheed envisions a leap forward in battlefield mobility with its Human Universal Load Carrier — whose HULC acronym evokes images of Marvel Comics' Incredible Hulk, a green, super- strong mutant and sometime-ally of Iron Man. HULC is intended to let a soldier lug a 200-pound pack with minimal effort over a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) hike, Maxwell said.
Back strain is the most common non-combat injury because of the heavy packs soldiers carry, Maxwell said. Lockheed licensed some technology from Ekso Bionics to produce the HULC, which is set to enter a second development phase this year as the system is refined so it can be worn under a uniform.
Exoskeletons hold "tremendous potential" to ease those burdens, said David Accetta, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts. A field demonstration is planned for May, he said by email. Lockheed said the program hasn't been affected by mandated budget cuts that began March 1.
Parker Hannifin, which has been working with Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., is targeting Indego at the estimated 700,000 Americans with spinal cord injuries, said Achilleas Dorotheou, the program's business unit manager. Another pool of potential users: the estimated 600,000 stroke survivors, many who are left with difficulties walking, he said.
Michael Gore, 42, who hasn't walked on his own since falling 11 years ago from the mezzanine of a North Carolina vinyl-siding factory, has used an Indego exoskeleton to traverse uneven terrain and climb stairs. He has been testing the model since 2010 at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, a private, nonprofit hospital specializing in spinal-cord injury treatment.
"It's just a big emotional high to be able to stand up and speak to people face-to-face, eye-to-eye, instead of having to look up all the time," Gore said in a telephone interview.
For now, the devices still require the use of crutches to maintain balance, and people probably will use them in combination with wheelchairs, Dorotheou said.
Parker Hannifin is playing catch-up with Argo Medical, which was founded by Amit Goffer, an Israeli who was paralyzed in a 1997 automobile accident. The Yokneam Illit, Israel-based company has sold about 65 medical exoskeletons, 20 of them to individuals in Europe.
Argo Medical still lacks federal clearance for U.S. sales to individuals, and the company may offer a product with fewer features to speed approval, CEO Larry Jasinski said.
Insurance companies eventually may cover part of the tab for medical exoskeletons because of the health benefits of greater mobility, Jasinski said. Ailments from sitting for prolonged periods include bone loss, urinary-tract complications, pressure sores, diabetes and obesity, he said.
Gore, who played sports in high school and worked on the family farm before his fall, is eager to see prices drop and insurers decide that the expense of an exoskeleton outweighs the medical costs of keeping the disabled in wheelchairs.
"If insurance would help out and I had to borrow $10,000 or $15,000, I would do that," Gore said. "I would love to have one."

March 28, 2013

What is Price You Would Pay to Become Transhuman?

With the advent of new technologies allowing us to gain incredible superhuman strength and speed like Oscar
pistorius (blade runner).

A New video released by FWthinking asks the question what would you give to gain superhuman abilities? If history is any indicator with performance enhancing substances (The baseball steroid scandal, Lance Armstong) this may turn into a problem. They would likely be easy to detect so they could be restricted to something like the Transhuman Paralympic Games.

For many people in the military that lost a limb in combat they were promised the most up-to-date prosthetic limbs available. Some received bionic limbs as replacements. All they need now is skin-in-a-can ala Will Smith in "I Robot"

If you had the choice to become someone exceptional. Would you be willing to trade bone for bionics?


Oscar Pistorius

Transhuman Paralympic Games

This post by J5un for Emerging Tech Trends for Transhumanism

March 27, 2013

Neurowear-Mico headphones read your mind

If shuffle is too random for you, let the Mico brainwave-reading headphones read your mood and pick the right music to soothe the savage beast.

t's late afternoon. It's warm out and you're ready for a nap. You put on your Mico headphones and, as your eyelids droop, your headphones select a soothing mix of Kenny G, Enya, and Air Supply. An electroencephalograph sensor sits on your forehead to help the device scan your brainwaves and interpret your mood. Soon, you're off to la-la land.
Mico works with an app. The headphones relay your mood to the app, which then selects songs from its database of mood-tagged songs. It would be really cool if you could think "Spinal Tap" and then have Nigel Tufnel rip off a guitar solo, but that's out of the technological realm for Mico -- for now at least. Currently, it can only figure out if you're stressed, sleepy, or focused.
The built-in forehead sensor looks a lot like a microphone that's in the wrong place. There a little bit of an air-traffic-control aesthetic to these headphones. Whatever mood Mico detects is also shown on an indicator on the outside of the headphones. This could be a good warning for people to leave you alone when you're stressed out and listening to Yanni to try to cool down.

So far, Mico is an interesting novelty that could have a much more interesting future if the technology can amp up the sophistication level. Wouldn't it be sweet to hook something like this up with Pandora and discover new songs to match your mood? The prototype Mico headphones made their debut at SXSW, joining Neurowear's unusual product line, which already includes wearable cat ears that respond to how you're feeling. Maybe mood-ring style headphones aren't all that far after all.

You can see a demo of it in action at the SXSW here

Original article written by  

March 26, 2013

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Intel's Neuromorphic Chip Design Mimics the Way the Human Mind Works

Intel's goal is to build chips that work more like the human brain. Now their engineers think they know how.
The brain is the most extraordinary of computing machines. It carries out tasks as a matter of routine that would fry the circuits of the most powerful supercomputers on the planet: walking, talking, recognising, analysing and so on.
And where supercomputers require enough juice to power a small town, the human brain does all its work using little more than the energy in a bowl of porridge.
So its no surprise that computer scientists would like to understand the brain and copy its ability. There’s a problem, however. The brain is built from neurons and these work in a rather different way from the silicon transistor-based circuits that lie under the bonnet of conventional chips.
Of course, computer scientists can simulate the behaviour of neurons and how they link together on conventional computers. But this is a profoundly wasteful process that is unable to exploit the partallel processing and network effects that the brain clearly makes use of and that eats power in the process.
So the race is on to develop a different kind of chip that more accurately mimics the way the brain works. So-called neuromorphic chips must be built from devices that behave like neurons—in other words they transmit and respond to information sent in spikes rather than in a continously varying voltage. 
(One reason the brain is so power efficient is that neural spikes charge only a small fraction of a neuron as they travel. By contrast, conventional chips keep each and every transmission line at a certain voltage all the time.)
Today, Charles Augustine at Intel’s Circuit Research Laboratory in Hillsboro, Oregon, and a few pals unveil their design for a neuromorphic chip.
They base their design on two technologies: lateral spin valves and memristors. Lateral spin valves are tiny magnets connected via metal wires that can switch orientation depending on the spin of the electrons passing through them.  We’ve looked at memristors many times on this blog. These are fundamental electronic devices that act like resistors with memory.
Augustine and co argue that that the architecture they’ve designed works in a similar way to neurons and can therefore be used to test various ways of reproducing the brain’s processing ability.
The icing on the cake, they say, is that spin valves operate at terminal voltages measured in milliVolts, that’s significantly less than conventional chips. 
They claim this translates into a dramatic energy saving. “We show that the spin-based neuromorphic designs can achieve 15X-300X lower computation energy,” they say. (What they actually mean is that they ‘tell’ us that this kind of saving is possible since there is little in the way of a demonstration in their paper.)
They also say the new design is ideally suited for the kind of processing tasks that brains do rather well: analog-data-sensing, cognitive-computing, associative memory and so on. 
Intel’s new chip design certainly looks to be an improvement over existing ones but it is still orders of magnitude away from the computational efficiency that real neurons achieve.
Clearly, recent advancements in memristor technology and spintronics are making possible entirely new ways to design chips. However, there’s a long way to go before synthetic systems can begin to match the capability of natural ones.
Ref: Proposal For Neuromorphic Hardware Using Spin Devices

March 25, 2013

Under the skin, a tiny blood-testing laboratory

EPFL scientists have developed a tiny, portable personal blood testing laboratory: a minuscule device implanted just under the skin provides an immediate analysis of substances in the body, and a radio module transmits the results to a doctor over the cellular phone network.

 This feat of miniaturization has many potential applications, including monitoring patients undergoing chemotherapy.

 Humans are veritable chemical factories — we manufacture thousands of substances and transport them, via our blood, throughout our bodies. Some of these substances can be used as indicators of our health status. 

A team of EPFL scientists has developed a tiny device that can analyze the concentration of these substances in the blood. Implanted just beneath the skin, it can detect up to five proteins and organic acids simultaneously, and then transmit the results directly to a doctor’s computer.

 This method will allow a much more personalized level of care than traditional blood tests can provide. Health care providers will be better able to monitor patients, particularly those with chronic illness or those undergoing chemotherapy. The prototype, still in the experimental stages, has demonstrated that it can reliably detect several commonly traced substances. The research results will be published and presented March 20, 2013 in Europe’s largest electronics conference, DATE 13.

 Three cubic millimeters of technology 

 The device was developed by a team led by EPFL scientists Giovanni de Micheli and Sandro Carrara. The implant is only a few cubic millimeters in volume but includes five sensors, a radio transmitter and a power delivery system. Outside the body, a battery patch provides 1/10 watt of power, inductively coupled through the patient’s skin — no need to operate every time the battery needs changing.

 Information is routed through a series of stages, from the patient’s body to the doctor’s computer screen. The implant emits radio waves over a safe frequency. The patch collects the data and transmits them via Bluetooth to a mobile phone, which then sends them to the doctor over the cellular network.

 A system that can detect numerous substances 

 To capture the targeted substance in the body – such as lactate, glucose, or ATP – each sensor’s surface is covered with an enzyme. “Potentially, we could detect just about anything,” explains De Micheli. “But the enzymes have a limited lifespan, and we have to design them to last as long as possible.” The enzymes currently being tested are good for about a month and a half; that’s already long enough for many applications. “In addition, it’s very easy to remove and replace the implant, since it’s so small.” (credit: EPFL)

 Towards personalized chemotherapy 

 The implant could be particularly useful in chemotherapy applications. Currently, oncologists use occasional blood tests to evaluate their patients’ tolerance to a particular treatment dosage. In these conditions, it is very difficult to administer the optimal dose.

 De Micheli is convinced his system will be an important step towards better, more personalized medicine. “It will allow direct and continuous monitoring based on a patient’s individual tolerance, and not on age and weight charts or weekly blood tests.”

 In patients with chronic illness, the implants could send alerts even before symptoms emerge, and anticipate the need for medication. “In a general sense, our system has enormous potential in cases where the evolution of a pathology needs to be monitored or the tolerance to a treatment tested.”

 The prototype has already been tested in the laboratory for five different substances, and proved as reliable as traditional analysis methods.

 The project brought together eletronics experts, computer scientists, doctors and biologists from EPFL, the Istituto di Ricerca di Bellinzona, EMPA and ETHZ. It is part of the Swiss Nano-Tera program, whose goal is to encourage interdisciplinary research in the environmental and medical fields. Researchers hope the system will be commercially available within 4 years.

You can see a video of it here

March 22, 2013

How would like to have a tail? Tailly has one for you

The other day I was searching around facebook and i came upon a company Indiegogo that has created another appendage like the Necomimi(cat ears that move) which works with a brain computer interface. As it turns out Tailly is the creation of the same creator of Necomimi; Shota Ishiwatari.

Tailly is a tail that moves on its own which uses sensors on the inside of the belt to measure the user’s heart rate. The tail normally hangs limp when calm but when their heart rate increases due to excitment then the tail begins to wag until their heart rate drops

Uses for Tailly include a toy , fashion accessory or adult toy. Great for parties or dates if they can get over how weird you are for wearing it.

Its still currently in prototype stage and is trying ot raise money at Indiegogo. They currently have it in white,black, fox and pink.

Their goal is to raise 50,000$

If  you are interested in getting one or more check it out here

March 20, 2013

Superhuman Vision With Ioptik Contact Lenses

AT this years CES show in Las Vegas one product stood out to me amongst them all. The iOptik contact lens by Innovega.They describe themselves as a developer of transparent compact wearable HUD displays. They are in effect Transhumanism Eye Contacts.

Innovega’s mobile eyewear accessory will deliver the equivalent of a 240 inch, HD, 3D experience. Currently the glasses and lens wearers could view content from their mobile devices while still looking at the scenery around them.

Innovega was founded to solve a problem that is frustrating consumers:
The quality of digital media accessible by mobile devices is now exceeding the performance of conventional mobile displays. Consumers prefer big displays and are purchasing ever-larger flat-panel televisions and monitors.

CEO of Innovega Steve Willey added, “The display industry is working to fill this product gap by supplying head-worn, ‘virtual image’, glance-able displays. While these solutions are exciting, the small size of glance-able displays may fail to satisfy consumers’ desire for a truly high-performance, mobile display accessory. Innovega will provide to its strategic partners a 2nd generation, compact eyewear platform which fully deliver high performance media overlaid onto the wearers’ surroundings. By eliminating the usual magnifying optics from the eyewear and integrating them into a nano-tech contact lens, Innovega designers have been able to deliver high-performance imagery from compact and stylish eyewear.

 The Innovega eyewear system is thus comprised of two elements:
1) micro-projectors or flat-panels that are integrated into eyewear and provide a media gateway, and
2) novel iOptik contact lenses that deliver a crisp view of both near-eye rich media and of the environment.

The lenses are based on modern fabrication methods and can be worn in the usual fashion with or without the Innovega eyewear. When the eyewear is worn, any accessible media is instantly available and is overlaid onto or blended with the environment. An interesting benefit of the iOptik lenses is that they include the wearer’s prescription and therefore improve their normal view of their real-world surroundings.

Innovega believes that its new personal display interface will become an essential social media and entertainment accessory in the future for immersive 3D gaming, video, and of emerging high-performance AR which requires a see-through and panoramic wearable display interface. Additional uses would include persons with low vision issues of course and for Defense and covert ops through simulation and training as well as field operations for war fighters.

This technology is similar to up and coming Google glasses in that in it can project a 3d interface in air that you can then interface with your hands. I was reading on Mashable that the Pentagon has already ordered a supply from innovega and plans to use the technology to develop display screens akin to what Arnold Schwarzenegger's character wore in the movie Terminator.

The technology is supposed to be available to the public in 2014. I can't wait to get a pair for myself. 

March 14, 2013

Zeo Sleep Manager Review

Ever had one of those nights that you got eight hours of sleep but still didn't feel quite right or all that well rested. The Zeo has 2 has a sleep management system that tracks quality of sleep. It evaluates it to tell you how good it was.Then gives you expert advice on how to improve it

The first thing you do when opening it is figure out what your ZQ is.

Your ZQ is based on
1)Number of times you rolled over
2)Number of times you woke up
3)Your age-your sleep patterns actually change with age
4)How many hours you are in a deep sleep

The headband when i first saw it looked uncomfortable. Once i tried it on my concerns went away as its pretty comfortable. Besides you wont have to wear it every night. I plan on only wearing mine on the days when I'm having sleep problems. The main benefit of buying a device like this is that it can give you greater energy during the day and improve your productivity. There are many stats around the net linking quality of sleep to health. Its hard to put a price on that and its a lot cheaper than going to see a sleep specialist.

There are 3 systems they offer.The Zeo Bedside, Zeo Pro and Zeo Pro+.
All of the systems include a headband and way of analyzing the data.

The Zeo Bedside includes a sheik looking alarm clock that comes with a 2GB SD card to save your data. You can analyze your data on the clock or on another device like your computer or tablet. Retails for around 380$.

The Zeo Pro and Zeo Pro + send the data to your smart phone app. The Zeo Pro and Pro + retails for around 270$.

I opted for the Zeo Pro as its a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the Zeo Beside. A couple years ago I couldn't sleep for 3 days and had insomnia as a result shift changes at work. I had to go see a sleep specialist . I don't want to go through that again and the investment is worth it in hindsight.

Zeo Bedside

Zeo Plus

March 12, 2013

Atari Mindlink: I'll bet you didn't know how long Brain Computer Interfaces have been around

Way back in 1984 when Megadeth was releasing their first album and the first ford temp was been introduced and Atari dominated the video game industry they actually had a prototype that never got released for a Brain Computer Interface controller called the Atari Mindlink.

It was slated to be released sometime in 1984 for the 2600 vcs system, Atari 7800 and Atari home computers. which obviously never happened.

This type of BCI controller was a little different but still used biofeedback. For this system one had to move the muscles in one's head to control the game. These movements would be read by the headband which detect and read signals at the myo neuronal level which are in the muscles in ones head and interpret them into commands for the infrared sensors then transferred as movement in the game.

At the time there were 2 games to be released for the mindlink controller. Bionic Breakthrough and Mind Maze. Bionic Breakthrough was basically Breakout controlled with the Mindlink, while Mind Maze was an attempt to use ESP through the Mindlink to predict what is printed on cards, which admittedly didn't work.

A couple reason's why it never got released point to the video game industry which wasn't what it is now and was dying. Adding to Atari's woes was that testing showed that users reported having frequent headaches and moved their eyebrows around to play the game. There were problems with the metal sensors and headband design issues.

Is too bad Atari didn't keep going as they were far ahead of their time. Apparently there was an ad that ran for it on TV and the day after  Rafer Johnson, the Olympic Champion and the then president of Special Olympics proposed that Atari develop sports software for the next Special Olympics.
The Rose Kennedy Foundation was going to foot the total development cost. This would have opened a door to development of computer control for the handicapped.

March 10, 2013

The Transhumanist Reader

The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, edited by Max More and Natasha Vita-More, will be published April 29, 2013.

It is the “first authoritative and comprehensive survey of the origins and current state of transhumanist thinking, according to the editors, and the anthology includes a roster of leaders in transhumanist thought.

“The rapid pace of emerging technologies is playing an increasingly important role in overcoming fundamental human limitations,” say the editors.

Featuring core writings by seminal thinkers in the speculative possibilities of the posthuman condition, essays address key philosophical arguments for and against human enhancement, explore the inevitability of life extension, and consider possible solutions to the growing issues of social and ethical implications and concerns.

The book is edited by the internationally acclaimed founders of the philosophy and social movement of transhumanism,  The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future
 is “an indispensable guide to our current state of knowledge of the quest to expand the frontiers of human nature,” the editors say.

“We are in the process of upgrading the human species, so we might as well do it with deliberation and foresight. A good first step is this book, which collects the smartest thinking available concerning the inevitable conflicts, challenges and opportunities arising as we re-invent ourselves. It’s a core text for anyone making the future,” according to Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick for Wired.

Table of Contents

Part I Roots and Core Themes
1 The Philosophy of Transhumanism, Max More
2 Aesthetics: Bringing the Arts & Design into the Discussion of Transhumanism, Natasha Vita-More
3 Why I Want to be a Posthuman When I Grow Up, Nick Bostrom
4 Transhumanist Declaration (2012), Various
5 Morphological Freedom – Why We Not Just Want It, but Need It, Anders Sandberg

Part II Human Enhancement: The Somatic Sphere
6 Welcome to the Future of Medicine, Robert A. Freitas Jr.
7 Life Expansion Media, Natasha Vita-More
8 The Hybronaut Affair: A Ménage of Art, Technology, and Science, Laura Beloff
9 Transavatars, William Sims Bainbridge
10 Alternative Biologies, Rachel Armstrong

Part III Human Enhancement: The Cognitive Sphere
11 Re-Inventing Ourselves: The Plasticity of Embodiment, Sensing, and Mind, Andy Clark
12 Artificial General Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, Ben Goertzel
13 Intelligent Information Filters and Enhanced Reality, Alexander “Sasha” Chislenko
14 Uploading to Substrate-Independent Minds, Randal A. Koene
15 Uploading, Ralph C. Merkle

Part IV Core Technologies
16 Why Freud Was the First Good AI Theorist, Marvin Minsky
17 Pigs in Cyberspace, Hans Moravec
18 Nanocomputers, J. Storrs Hall
19 Immortalist Fictions and Strategies, Michael R. Rose
20 Dialogue between Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler

Part V Engines of Life: Identity and Beyond Death
21 The Curate’s Egg of Anti-Anti-Aging Bioethics, Aubrey de Grey
22 Medical Time Travel, Brian Wowk
23 Transhumanism and Personal Identity, James Hughes
24 Transcendent Engineering, Giulio Prisco

Part VI Enhanced Decision-Making
25 Idea Futures: Encouraging an Honest Consensus, Robin Hanson
26 The Proactionary Principle: Optimizing Technological Outcomes, Max More
27 The Open Society and Its Media, Mark S. Miller, with E. Dean Tribble, Ravi Pandya, and Marc Stiegler

Part VII Biopolitics and Policy
28 Performance Enhancement and Legal Theory: An Interview with Professor Michael H. Shapiro
29 Justifying Human Enhancement: The Accumulation of Biocultural Capital, Andy Miah
30 The Battle for the Future, Gregory Stock
31 Mind is Deeper Than Matter: Transgenderism, Transhumanism, and the Freedom of Form, Martine Rothblatt
32 For Enhancing People, Ronald Bailey
33 Is Enhancement Worthy of Being a Right?, Patrick D. Hopkins
34 Freedom by Design: Transhumanist Values and Cognitive Liberty, Wrye Sententia

Part VIII Future Trajectories: Singularity
35 Technological Singularity, Vernor Vinge
36 An Overview of Models of Technological Singularity, Anders Sandberg
37 A Critical Discussion of Vinge’s Singularity Concept, David Brin, Damien Broderick, Nick Bostrom, Alexander “Sasha” Chislenko, Robin Hanson, Max More, Michael Nielsen, and Anders Sandberg

Part IX The World’s Most Dangerous Idea
38 The Great Transition: Ideas and Anxieties, Russell Blackford
39 Trans and Post, Damien Broderick
40 Back to Nature II: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century, Roy Ascott
41 A Letter to Mother Nature, Max More
42 Progress and Relinquishment, Ray Kurzweil

You can get a copy of  The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future at Amazon here