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Robot Skin Can Feel Touch, Sense Chemicals, and Soak Up Solar Power

Robot Skin Can Feel Touch, Sense Chemicals, and Soak Up Solar Power
When you meet your robot overlord, it may be wearing super-intelligent skin designed by a Stanford researcher--a solar-powered, super-sensitive, chemical-sampling covering that makes your meatbag covering look pathetic. Zhenan Bao is behind the advances, and the recent development centers on a stretchable solar cell system that can expand and shrink along two different axes, making it perfect for incorporation into artificial skin for robots, human prosthetic limbs, or even clothing. Bao's earlier successes with artificial skin have resulted in a highly flexible and durable material, which is part of a flexible organic-chemistry transistor, built on a thin polymer layer. When the skin is subjected to pressure, the current flowing through the transistors is modified as tiny pyramid shapes molded into the polymer layer compress, resulting in a super-sensitive transducer that can apparently detect the pressure from a house-fly's feet. Related:  Cyborgenic Reengineering the Human Body

Cyborgs – scientists create biological tissue with embedded wiring Under its human skin, James Cameron’s Terminator was a fully-armored cyborg built out of a strong, easy-to-spot hyperalloy combat chassis – but judging from recent developments, it looks like Philip K. Dick and his hard-to-recognize replicants actually got it right. In a collaboration between Harvard, MIT and Boston Children's Hospital, researchers have figured out how to grow three-dimensional samples of artificial tissue that are very intimately embedded within nanometer-scale electronics, to such an extent that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It could lead to a breakthrough approach to studying biological tissues on the nanoscale, and may one day be used as an efficient, real-time drug delivery system – and perhaps, why not, even to build next-generation androids. So far, our attempts at creating an intimate blend of lab-grown tissues and nanoscale electronics have led to mediocre results at best. Source: Boston Children's Hospital Share

Snowflakes Up Close: A Small, Fragile World If you’re one of those people who likes to ponder things while looking out a frosty window on a cold winter day, these pictures will clear up one of those long standing wonders: each snowflake really IS unique. Some look like roman columns, others circuit boards or spaceships. Taken under high magnification using a microscope, these images bring a fragile and beautiful world into view. See Also HARMFUL VIRUSES MADE OF BEAUTIFUL GLASS They say that every snowflake is different. Source: Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea.

Anybots QB robotic avatar spotted out in public after engineer gets hankering for a scone WHAT do you do with a rumbling tummy and a robotic avatar? Go on a virtual snack run. A California photographer spotted something very strange while walking down a street in Mountain View last week. On the other side of the road, a tall, thin robot — just a white head on wheels — rolled down the footpath and into a coffee shop. Stranger still, it was carrying a colourful cloth bag around its neck. Aaron Blumenstein grabbed his camera, hit record and followed the robot into the store, where it lined up with other customers and ordered a scone. The transaction went like this: BARISTA: I'm not giving you coffee. WAITRESS: I don't want you to short-circuit. ROBOT: Can you tell me what kind of scones there are? WAITRESS: Let's see. ROBOT: The berry one sounds good. WAITRESS: Alright. ROBOT: To go please. Cue laughter from the other customers in the store. The robot then asked the waitress to put the scone in its bag and to keep the change from a five dollar note tucked into the side of its head.

Google X labs confirms augmented reality glasses project, releases video demo Google's Project Glass hopes to deliver an augmented reality heads-up display Google X (Google's futuristic technology development lab) has pulled back the curtain on Project Glass, its program to develop truly useful augmented reality "Google glasses." Project Glass aims to design and refine augmented reality technology to help a user explore and share their world armed with a wealth of relevant information - not at their fingertips, but rather at the end of their nose. Augmented reality describes a view of the real world that includes superimposed graphics. Instead of interrupting your activities to use a smartphone to search for information - get directions, remain in touch, find out if an item is on sale, translate a tourist's note evaluating a restaurant, and the like - Google's Project Glass intends to provide glasses with real-time heads-up displays and intelligent personal assistant software to enable a seamless user experience. Source: Google X About the Author

Caltechs Killer Idea: Artificial Leaves That Turn Sunlight Into Fuel - Derek... We asked the California Institute of Technology (Caltech, as it's commonly known) for its smartest new innovation. This is what they gave us. Caltech The problem: Human beings have a big appetite for energy. Meanwhile, the sun is the largest source of power in the solar system, but it doesn't play a big role in our energy diet. The idea: Caltech is creating artificial leaves that can produce fuels directly from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to fuel cars and heat homes. The awesomely named project, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP). is a $122 million energy hub established by President Obama and the Department of Energy. The potential: A cheaper and cleaner energy future. Want to share your company's best idea -- or your own! The Best Ideas Series Caltech: Artificial Leaves That Turn Sunlight Into Fuel IBM: The $100 DNA-Sequencing Machine GE: A Real-Time Energy Dashboard For Your House Google: A Personal Translator on Your Phone Under Armour: The World's Smartest Shirt

Interview: Bruce Sterling on the Convergence of Humans and Machines Bruce Sterling is a prominent science fiction writer and a pioneer of the cyberpunk genre. His cyberpunk novels Heavy Weather (1994), Islands in the Net (1988), Schismatrix (1985), The Artificial Kid (1980) earned him the nickname “Chairman Bruce”. Apart from his writings, Bruce Sterling is also a professor of internet studies and science fiction at the European Graduate School. In the interview below, we had the honor of hosting Bruce Sterling in our Next Nature Network headquarters to talk to him about the concept of the convergence of humans and machines. Lots of people are actually talking about and also investing a lot of money in this idea of convergence of the machine and humans. The result is the unbundling of those metaphysical ideas and their replacement by actual products and services That convergence will not happen, because the ambition is basically metaphysical. This is the history of artificial intelligence. You do not want Siri to be more like Alan Turing.

Line Block Cable by Junbeom So, Lee Ji Eun, Yi-Seo Hyeon, Heo-Hyeoksu & Jeong Minhui Line Up The Tangles The problem addressed in the Line Block Cable is so true to home, it’s the one most of us face when we hook up too many gadgets in one area. Not that we can help it, it’s ideal to have the TV, CD player and the music housed together. As a result, their cables leading up to the socket can get messy and unsightly. Designers: Junbeom So, Lee Ji Eun, Yi-Seo Hyeon, Heo-Hyeoksu & Jeong Minhui DARPA's Brain-Controlled Robotic Arm Fast-Tracked, Could Be Available in Just Four Years Usually when we report on DARPA's robotic, brain-controlled prosthetic arm, we're reporting on news from the lab. Soon we'll be reporting from clinical trials. On Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration said it would fast-track the DARPA device, pushing it through the approval process with priority assistance in order to get it to amputees—many of which are returning from combat zones—as soon as four years from now. There are really two headlines here; first, the DARPA arm is a modern marvel that's taken several years, $100 million, and some of the best minds in prosthetics design, robotics, and brain-machine interfaces to develop. It marks a technological leap—a prosthetic arm that is robotically controlled via a chip in the brain, making it more like a real limb than any approved prosthesis before it. In the FDA's defense, its job is not easy. For DARPA's arm, that means four or five years rather than a decade spent in the FDA approval pipeline. [LA Times]

The 5 Creepiest Unsolved Crimes Nobody Can Explain The Glico Morinaga Case aka the Monster With 21 Faces In the 1980s, the Japanese food giant Ezaki Glico was blackmailed by a mysterious group of apparent super villains, calling itself the Monster with 21 faces. It started with two armed men who broke into the home of the president of Glico, kidnapping him in front of his family. The men held the executive in a warehouse, calling the company and demanding 100 million Yen and 100 kilos of gold bullion. The victim escaped the warehouse before he could find out whether or not his company was willing to pay to ransom his ass. None of the bad guys were caught and that's too bad, because the "Monster" wasn't through. Artist's rendition. A couple of weeks later, several cars in the company parking lot were set on fire. "Dear Glico, How have you been? In the first letter (sent in a plastic container along with hydrochloric acid because why the hell not?) "We forgive you!" It Gets Weirder: Warning: Contains Bomb. We are bad guys. P.S.

Physicists Offer Mundane Explanations for Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos |... Faster-than-light neutrinos mean Einstein is wrong! At least, that’s what some popular press articles have suggested since researchers with the OPERA experiment in Italy presented evidence of neutrinos arriving 60 nanoseconds earlier than thought possible. But scientists, quite intrigued by the anomalous results, have since been busy generating more measured responses. In the three weeks after the announcement, more than 80 explanations have been posted to the preprint server arxiv. One of the earliest objections to the faster-than-light interpretation came from an astrophysical observation. Other scientists have taken the faster-than-light results to task using the Standard Model of physics, which describes all known subatomic particles and their interactions. Theoretical physicist Matt Strassler also noted on his blog that the Standard Model’s properties suggest that making neutrinos go faster than light requires electrons to do the same. Image: OPERA experiment

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