Beyond Human. “Abandoning your own world for a made-up one is an ever larger part of adult life. For the futurist Ray Kurzweil, this is only the beginning. According to his new book “The Singularity Is Near,” we are approaching the age of “full-immersion virtual-reality.” Thanks to innovations in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics, you’ll be able to design your own mental habitat. You’ll be able to sleep with your favorite movie star – in your head. (It is not lost on Kurzweil that you can already do that, but he insists it will be really, really realistic.) Those same technologies will help us “overcome our genetic heritage,” live longer and become smarter. We’ll learn how brains operate and devise computers that function like them. Then the barrier between our minds and our computers will disappear. The part of our memory that is literally downloaded will grow until “the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will predominate.””
New York Times (may require free subscription)
Parents Fret That Dialing Up Interferes With Growing Up. “In interviews and surveys many parents say that their children spend too much time in front of computers and on cellphones. Some parents worry that long, sedentary hours spent at a computer may lead to weight gain, or that an excess of instant and text messaging comes at the expense of learning face-to-face social skills. Some complain of having to compete for their childrens’ attention more than ever. “
New York Times (may require free registration)
Jacket therapy. “A robotic jacket that helps stroke victims recover from partial paralysis has been developed in Japan.
Four pressure sensors in the jacket-like device detect the muscle movements in the healthy arm and wrist, the jacket analyzes this data and sends compressed air to the affected arm, where eight artificial muscles expand and contract in the same way as the movement in the healthy arm. Researchers hope repeated therapy will bring back the regular functioning of the damaged limb.”
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Spanish ISP wants its customers to share WiFi. “Fon, a new Spanish company, is offering to build a service based on P2P principles for people to be able to access the Internet through other people connection using wireless networking. The system is based on 2 categories of users; — Bill who resell their connection to other members of the service — Linus who offer to share for free and in exchange can benefit from roaming on the whole network. the whole transaction is managed by the company (Fon) “
Bingo Game For Shoppers. “A customer first need to sign up for the service, then she receives a QR code from a server. After shopping, she can display the QR code on her mobile phone and show it to a reader device. Then, she receives an SMS message that notifies her about the points she earned. Now she can open her home page on her phone to check the current status of her ongoing bingo game.
Everytime she earns some points, she gets an additional symbol and when she gets three identical symbols in row, she is rewarded with coupons. “
RFID in Japan
Digital Medical Records on the Go. “Global Care Quest is working in conjunction with the UCLA Medical Center to eliminate paper trail problems. The system they are installing is a patient retrieval system accessible wirelessly. There are two optional ways in which the hospital staff would be able to receive information; the first of which being through PDA’s and smartphones. It is done all real time to help eliminate room for updating error. For those staff who do not carry PDA’s or smartphones, there would be desktops, laptops, and wall-mounted machines scattered throughout the hospital for patient information access immediately and quickly.”
Flock: First Look. “Flock is a new collaborative browser built on top of open source Firefox code. It integrates with del.icio.us, with blogging, with RSS management and with Flickr. It’s also very pretty.”
Kodak announces 39 megapixel CCD. “much will 39 megapixels run you? No pricing is out yet, but Phase One’s current top model, the 22 megapixel P25, goes for about $30,000. That puts it at over $1,300 per megapixel, so don’t be surprised to see the P45 going for as much as $50K.”
Smart sheets make your bed interactive. “WestPoint Home is shipping out this interactive Cinderella-themed comforter that lights up and makes fairy godmother sounds as the first offering in its line of washable interactive bedding. Conductive threads woven into the fabric of your sheets or comforter are designed to communicate wirelessly with your lights and appliances.”
Creating the Global Hot Spot. “The I-4 satellites will serve as switchboards in the sky for Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network, or BGAN, service, scheduled for rollout in 2006. Instead of cruising for a Starbucks, BGAN subscribers can hit the road with a portable terminal as small as their laptop computer and surf the web — or connect with the office LAN — at broadband speeds of up to 492 Kbps. “