Category: Singularity/Transhumanism


Does it seem believable that the wars of the future will be fought entirely with robots while humans are safely miles away, monitoring and controlling? The US military is certainly making a case for such a scenario. The latest installation is a JUH-60A Blackhawk helicopter that flies, lands, and avoids threats – all without a pilot.

The autonomous Blackhawk’s official name is Rotorcraft Airscrew Systems Concept Airborne Laboratory, or RASCAL, and it has just completed its first test flight at the Diablo Mountain Range in San Jose, California. Pilots were actually aboard during the two-hour test flight for an emergency takeover, but turned out they weren’t needed.

Read the complete article at Singularity Hub.

How Videogames Could Help Train the Next Generation of Robotic Surgeons


Dr. Sami Kilic oversees doctors training to become surgeons at a hospital in Galveston, Texas, and he’s also the parent of a teenage boy. Like many parents, Kilic is concerned about how much time his son spends playing videogames. But now he’s also worried that his resident physicians aren’t playing them enough.

According to a study by Kilic and others at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, doling out death in the virtual world of first-person-shooter games might help the next generation of surgeons save lives in the real world. The study, presented at a meeting of the American Gynecologic Laparoscopists in Las Vegas in November, used simulators to compare the robotic surgery skills of med school residents against college and high school students who spend a lot of their time playing videogames — and the videogamers won.

Robotic surgery — where robotic machinery helps surgeons perform certain tasks through very small incisions — is growing rapidly, despite the criticism that these procedures are expensive and may not be any more safe than traditional minimally invasive operations. In recent years, around 75 percent of all prostate cancer surgeries are now done with Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Surgical Systems machines, according to the company (.pdf).

Intuitive Surgical – which currently enjoys a monopoly on robotic surgery equipment — also reports (.pdf) that there was a 29 percent increase in robotic-assisted surgeries from 2010 to 2010, and the number climbed another 24 percent from 2011 to 2012. For better or worse, the next generation of surgeons will likely need to learn to operate robotic equipment.

Read the complete article at Wired.

Augmented reality contact lenses may be in the not too distant future

Curved LCD technology may be opening up a whole new world of technology
Augmented reality, combined with the latest in curved LCD technology, may be bringing concepts that had previously been available only in science fiction into reality.

This is the idea of combining a head up display with contact lenses for a whole new level of gadget.

This could become possible as a result of the latest announcement from the Centre of Microsystems Technology, which has said that curved LCD has now been successfully embedded onto a contact lens, for an important step closer to a glass-free augmented reality experience.

Read the complete article at QR Code Press.

Text messages direct to your contact lens

New technology that will allow information, such as text messages from a mobile phone, to be projected onto a contact lens worn in the human eye has been developed by Belgian researchers.

Ghent University’s centre of microsystems technology has developed a spherical curved LCD display which can be embedded in contact lenses and handle projected images using wireless technology.

“Now that we have established the basic technology, we can start working towards real applications, possibly available in only a few years,” said Professor Herbert De Smet.

Unlike previous contact lens displays, which are limited to a few small pixels to make up an image, the new technology allows the whole curved surface of the lens to be used.

Read the complete article at The Telegraph.

Doctors implant first ‘brain pacemaker’ to treat Alzheimer’s

For heart patients, signing up to implant a pacemaker in your chest isn’t casual choice. Nevertheless, the technology has saved numerous lives over the years. This week a new development was unveiled that uses a similar device to treat to Alzheimer’s patients with what’s essentially a pacemaker for the brain.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have announced the first successful implantation of a pacemaker-like device that delivers deep brain stimulation (DBS) as a means for reversing cognitive degeneration and memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s. The treatment is more commonly used on patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Read the complete article at DVice.



Having been modeled after a variety of organisms (or their parts), robots come in all shapes and sizes but researchers at MIT now report that they’ve designed their robots after the very structures that make up living cells: proteins. Dubbed the Millimeter-Scale Motorized Protein or Milli-Motein, the tiny robots are able to change from extended chains to various 3D folded shapes in seconds.

But the really impressive feature is that the robots keep their shape even after power has been removed, thanks to a new kind of motor the team developed.

Each chain consists of 1-cm units that connect together, just as amino acids link up to make a protein, with a continuous flex circuit that controls power and communication to the device. Currently, the motor in each segment is able to lift only one other segment, but the researchers are already working on extending this to two segments.

The video put out by MIT shows how the snake-like robot can adopt and hold different configurations:

Read the complete article at Singularity Hub.

Robotic Autobot Transformer Shows Other 3D-Printed Gear Who’s Boss

Forget scale models of the Aston Martin DB5 or personalized action figures. This is what 3D printers were meant to do: create real, robotic Transformers.

Or at least a version of a Transformer that would actually fit in your living room.

Brave Robotics developed a 1/12 scale Autobot transformer using a custom 3D printer, and it will be on display at Maker Faire Tokyo next week.

Read the complete article at Wired.

Active Auto Safety Gets in Your Face

Cars are getting smarter and beginning to react on their own, but the gray matter manning the helm is still the vehicle’s Achilles heal. So to really get inside a driver’s head, automakers are going through their faces, analyzing expressions and muscle movements to determine whether the person at the wheel is too distracted, too tired or even too angry to safely control their ride.

In conjunction with PSA Peugeot Citroën, scientists at the Transportation Center and Signal Processing 5 Laboratory of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland are developing a technology that uses a camera to capture facial expressions and software to look for telltale signs of distraction as well as emotions that could indicate that the driver is not up to the task at hand. Think of it as a concerned co-pilot who can not only read your mood, but also take action before your mental condition clouds your driving decisions.

Read the complete article at Wired.

Bionic Prosthetic Arm

A Talking Teddy Bear With Artificial Intelligence? ToyTalk Raises $16 Million For Toy Wonder

When you’re a San Francisco startup looking to raise millions in funding and your secret weapon is a talking teddy bear, you better come ready to impress. Apparently, ToyTalk did just that.

Though little is known about the talking teddy bear, the interactive iPad app, whatever artificial intelligence is involved, or even the company itself, it recently put out a teaser trailer while raising $11 million in Series A funding, bringing it’s total raised to $16 million, according to Venturebeat.

The trailer suggests way more than it actually reveals as well as being a bit heavyhanded with how much a child will love spending free time with Toy Talk instead of other technology options:

Read the complete article at Singularity Hub.