Anjan Contractor’s 3D food printer might evoke visions of the “replicator” popularized in Star Trek, from which Captain Picard was constantly interrupting himself to order tea. And indeed Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, just got a six month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype of his universal food synthesizer. But Contractor, a mechanical engineer with a background in 3D printing, envisions a much more mundane—and ultimately more important—use for the technology. He sees a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store.
Waiting hours for a cellphone to charge may become a thing of the past, thanks to an 18-year-old high-school student’s invention.
The new NASA Sustainability Base was designed by William McDonough + Partners to embody the spirit of NASA while fostering collaboration, supporting health and well-being, and exceed the requirements of LEED® Platinum with systems that will eventually use only renewable energy and closed-loop water maintenance facilities. An exoskeleton approach provides for structural stability during seismic events, facilitates glare-free daylighting and shading, natural ventilation and connection to the outdoors, and flexibility of the workspace with its column-free interior.
An aluminium water filter embedded with silver nanoparticles is being tested in India in the hope of reducing waterborne diseases.
A Sandia National Laboratories-supported workshop in Albuquerque called NICE, for Neuro-Inspired Computational Elements workshop, discussed ways to use the brain’s superior ability to send electrical signals along massively parallel channels, with multiple intersections at downstream nodes, to handle rapidly changing, high-volume information.
The hope is that rather than using the limited “if this, then that” logic of conventional computer architectures to absorb steadily increasing yet often incomplete data, cognitive systems will be able—like the brain—to learn, adapt, hypothesize, and then suggest answers.
This is a big moment for the deaf, many of whom haven’t been to the movies in a long time. The new glasses display closed captions just for the wearer, and they’re headed for 6,000 theaters across the country.
It’s not a ‘Star Trek’ tricorder, but by hooking a variety of gadgets onto a smartphone you could almost get a complete physical - without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor’s office.
This may seem like something out of a science fiction movie: researchers have designed microparticles that can be injected directly into the bloodstream to quickly oxygenate your body, even if you can’t breathe anymore. It’s one of the best medical breakthroughs in recent years, and one that could save millions of lives every year.
Lab-grown livers have come a step closer to reality thanks to a 3D printer loaded with cells (see video). Created by Organovo in San Diego, California, future versions of the system could produce chunks of liver for transplant.
Anxious Google searches precede market declines.
On Tuesday, Kurzweil moderated a live Google hangout tied to a release of the upcoming Will Smith film, “After Earth,” presumably tying the film’s futuristic concept to actual futurists. The discussion touched on the necessity of space travel and the imminent resolution of the world’s energy problems with solar power. After the hangout, Kurzweil got on the phone with me to explore a few issues in more detail.
The nation’s premier young brainiacs were honored today at the annual White House Science Fair. Every spring, the White House invites children to show off life-changing innovations that have mostly been constructed in MacGyver-like fashion from commercially available materials. Even though I cover this story every year, it’s hard not to be inspired by brilliant young kids motivated to tackle the world’s problems. “Let me just say in my official capacity as president, this stuff is really cool,” said President Obama.
Here is what happens.
Humans invent technology.
Then technology re-invents humans.
According to NewScientist, most humans were pretty lousy at using hand tools when they were first invented 1.7 million years ago.
The reason: primitive wrists that were “good for hanging from branches, but too weak to grasp and handle small objects with much force.”
But by 800,000 years ago, humans had great hands for using tools.
What happened between those years?
A newly discovered set of bones – from between those eras, 1.4 million years ago – gives us a clue.
The 1.4 million-year-old bones reveal human hands that were better for using tools than the ones from 1.7 million years ago, but not as good as hands from 800,000.
The 1.4 million year-old-hand had “a small lump at its base – the styloid,” that allowed helped stabilize wrists, allowing the hand to grip smaller objects.
The newly-discovered bones reveal that, over time, human hands progressed along an continuum of evolution.
Human bodies evolved to better use human-invented technology
It merited just one line in U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address back in February, but it could change the very nature of manufacturing, alter the global trade balance, and potentially spark a new industrial revolution. It — as Obama noted — is something known as 3D printing, which the president claimed “has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.”
So what exactly is 3D printing? The term is actually a colloquial phrase for something called “additive manufacturing” — a process of assembling products by sending a digital file to a machine that stacks layers of plastic, resins, ceramics, metal, or other materials on top of each other.
Engineers and designers in the automotive and aerospace sectors have been using the process for decades to build prototypes. Many complex parts manufactured by 3D printing are now present on aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and satellites. And in the medical industry, three-dimensional printing has also been used to make hip implants out of titanium and dental prosthetics out of ceramic material.
But, just as was the case in the computing industry a generation ago, 3D printing technology is advancing rapidly and its cost is falling dramatically. And this means something that was once restricted to a few elite industries is quickly becoming more widely available and affordable.
The Internet is only 8000 days old. 2.5 billion people and 37 billion things will join the Internet by 2020. And Cisco believes this is just the beginning. 99 percent of things in the physical world are still unconnected, ready to be woken up.