Category: Toys & Tools


From iPhone to iBrain: Ben Goertzel Chats with (Humanity+ Director and Mobile App Designer) Amy Li about the Transhuman Future

The 80s brought us the personal computer, the 90s brought us the Internet and the ubiquitous mobile phone.  Following up these wonders, one of the breakthroughs of the 00’s has been the smartphone.  Bringing the mobile phone and the Net together yields something more than the sum of its parts – for many users the smartphone is almost an extension of the mind and body, an extra organ dealing with computing and connecting in a manner that feels almost indispensable.


Humanity+ @ CalTech, Dec 4-5 2010: Redefining the Future of Humanity

It’s been my privilege, over the last month, to help out with organizing the next Humanity+ conference, which will be at CalTech’s Beckman Institute Dec 4-5.  So I wanted to take the chance, in this article, to introduce just a handful of the extraordinarily interesting talks that we’ll be bringing you.

Of course all the talks and demonstrations we have planned for the conference are awesome, and I can’t do justice to them all in a short article, so if you want to get a fuller picture please see the conference website.  Also see the H+ magazine blog entry I recently wrote, that pertains to my own presentation at the conference, about my work on AI for video games.


A Step Towards Idoru?

Hatsune Miku is a completely virtual Japanese pop star. She began as a piece of music software powered by Yamaha’s VOCALOID technology that takes text input and converts it into synthesized singing. Developed by Crypton Future Media, the virtual singer with a cartoon face began to take on new life as fans remixed her music, created videos, and propagated their own drawings of the anime-ish idol.


More Famous than Lady Gaga

Since winning the Loebner prize, Suzette has donned sun glasses and become increasing reclusive. Not that she completely shuns the paparazzi – as virtual worlds reporter Hamlet Au (James Wagner Au) recently discovered.  


High Performance MIM May Revolutionize Electronics

“This is a fundamental change in the way you could produce electronic products, at high speed on a huge scale at very low cost, even less than with conventional methods,” said Douglas Keszler, a distinguished professor of chemistry at Oregon State University. “It’s a basic way to eliminate the current speed limitations of electrons that have to move through materials.”


Is Blio the 800-pound Gorilla of the eBook Reader Market?

The proverbial 800-pound gorilla is the monster in the room that you just can’t ignore, although you might want to.  With this week’s debut of the long awaited Blio – Ray Kurzweil’s tablet-friendly eBook reader – the eBook reader market may have found just such a game changer.


Exoskeletons Advance Human-Robotic Augmentation

Medical & military R&D are major drivers for emerging technologies. Both have big budgets and life-or-death motivations with frequently overlapping goals. These massive interconnected sandboxes churn out an abundance of tech hardware that eventually ends up on the street. Two announcements this week highlight how these industries are driving the ongoing convergence of human and robotic augmentation.


Five Ways Machines Could Fix Themselves

As I see cooling fans die and chips fry… as I see half the machines in a laundry room decay into despondent malfunctioning relics… as my car invents new threats every day along the theme of catastrophic failure, and as I hear the horrific clunk of a "smart" phone diving into the sidewalk with a wonderful chance of breakage, I wonder why we put up with it.  And why can’t this junk fix itself?


Nanotechnology Breakthrough: Single-Spin Transistors?

The joke goes:
Q: “Why is a mouse when it spins?”
A: Because the higher, the fewer.

But this is no joke:
Q: “Why is an electron when it spins?”
A: Because it may also allow development of single-spin transistors for coherent spintronics, and solid-state devices for quantum information processing.


Hey, DARPA. Give Us Your Helmet!

PopSci reports: "DARPA has been trying to crawl inside the minds of soldiers for a while now, but a new ultrasound technology could let them get deeper inside than ever. Working under a DARPA grant, a researcher at Arizona State is developing transcranial pulsed ultrasound technology that could be implanted in troops’ battle helmets, allowing soldiers to manipulate brain functions to boost alertness, relieve stress, or even reduce the effects of traumatic brain injury."

Point #1:  We want these helmets.