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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The new Halo Sport 2 from Halo Neuroscience has the potential to change the world by dramatically improving human capabilities, enabling us to achieve peak performance whether we’re working out or learning a new skill.  That is, so long as you don’t mind wearing a device designed to shock your brain into working harder.

As Tech Radar explains, “The idea is to use this device for 20 minutes before an activity to create a state of ‘hyper-learning’ by neuropriming. This means exciting the tissue in your brain artificially before an activity, basically improving your capability to learn and embed new movements.”

Basically, it’s like the plot of Limitless come to life except with a headband instead of a magic pill. But don’t worry.  The headband won’t look too dorky.

As Sports Illustrated describes, “From afar, Halo Sport looks just like a pair of noise-canceling headphones, the silicone electrodes both ideally located over the brain’s motor cortex and discretely hidden by the headband. The latter design feature is a nice one for any athlete not confident enough to get stared at in a public gym environment, or reluctant to have to explain that, Yes, I’m electrifying my brain to get stronger.

High performance athletes will obviously be drawn to this technology as it enables them to run faster, lift more, and generally perform at a higher level.  But regular folks may wind up being drawn to it as well if it’ll help them learn to play an instrument or acquire new skills in no time at all.

So, what do you think?  Would you be willing to shock your brain into performing better?

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Is the Halo Sport 2 the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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#1,481 – Synchron

I think it’s inevitable that we’ll live in a future where people augment their natural abilities with brain implants that enhance their intelligence or let them surf the web just by thinking about it.  Elon Musk’s Neuralink and Bryan Johnson’s Kernal are at the forefront of this movement to turn Iain M. Banks’ fictional neural lace into a reality adding a certain level of credibility to the endeavor.  But at the same time I have my reservations.  Finding it hard to believe that we’ll willingly allow our precious brains to be cut into when there’s so much risk involved with such an invasive procedure.  A psychological roadblock that could ultimately derail any brain enhancement movement before it can ever get off the ground.

Thankfully there’s now another way to implant neural devices, one that will bypass any of our concerns.  A non-invasive procedure where implants are inserted through the jugular vein, delivering similar results with none of the risk.

As Futurism puts it, “For the first time, doctors are preparing to test a brain-computer interface that can be implanted onto a human brain, no open surgery required…By leaving the skull sealed shut, patients could receive their neural implants without running as great a risk of seizures, strokes, or permanent neural impairments, all of which can be caused by open-brain surgery.”

This is a game-changing technology, one that could fast track neural implants into mainstream society.  Making it so that we can control exoskeletons with our minds or communicate telepathically.  Possibly even use these devices to constantly monitor and analyze our brains, giving us unprecedented insights into how the brain works, why we dream, and what makes us tick.  Insights that could revolutionize society, ushering in a new golden age for neuroscience along the way.

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Is Synchron the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I made a lifestyle change a few months back, eschewing late night television in favor of reading in bed, part of a personal challenge to read 50 (!) books this year.  But in so doing I noticed that my indoor lighting options sucked.  I tried to support my overhead lighting with a handheld portable torch device.  And when that didn’t alleviate the problem I opted to replace my light bulbs with industrial strength artificial suns that give off enough light to land a plane.  But I am still not satisfied with my setup.  When push comes to shove there is nothing that beats natural lighting.  Which is a shame considering that we don’t get enough of it.

As Fast Company puts it, “Research has shown that your body clock and your circadian rhythm, which help regulate your sleep, are tied to the cycles of natural light. But these days, people spend 90% of their time indoors.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, until you start to factor in the adverse affects of spending so much time under artificial lights. Natural light starts soft and warm in the mornings, turns cooler and brighter as the sun peaks in the sky, then becomes warm and dim again as the sun sets. Artificial light, on the other hand, is always the same–and at night, it can throw off your sleep hormone levels if you get too much blue light (a problem since so many of us go to bed with our phones).”

The solution? A new lamp from famed appliance maker Dyson that will get you as close as possible to being able to experience natural light indoors.

“The lamp, called LightCycle, is powered by an algorithm that mixes three cool LED lights and three warm LED lights to replicate the natural light of any GPS location on the planet during a specific time of day and year. The algorithm understands your precise location through the accompanying app. That means that using the same lamp in Iceland in winter at noon will yield a dramatically different color and type of light than in New York City on the same day and at the same time.”

But, that’s not all.  The fully customizable lamp will also take into account the natural light already present in the room and adjust accordingly.  And best of all, it would even take into account how old you are and make sure that you are getting enough light for your particular age demographic.  At the end of the day ensuring that no matter who you are, where you are, or what you’re doing that you’ll always have enough light for all of your indoor needs.

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Is the LightCycle the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Digital layers built on top of reality that create a sort of spatial internet could soon revolutionize society, ushering in a new era for mankind.

Referred to as a “Magicverse” or “Mirrorworld” these AR layers would enable people to control their own digital data while they communicate, conduct business, and navigate their lives in entirely new ways that we can’t even imagine yet.  A move that could completely alter the balance of power as socio-economic disparity and political biases are done away with, replaced by an open and transparent system that mirrors reality in form but not function.

As Wired explains, “The mirrorworld doesn’t yet fully exist, but it is coming. Someday soon, every place and thing in the real world—every street, lamppost, building, and room—will have its full-size digital twin in the mirrorworld. For now, only tiny patches of the mirrorworld are visible through AR headsets. Piece by piece, these virtual fragments are being stitched together to form a shared, persistent place that will parallel the real world.”

Adds Futurism:

“Essentially, Magic Leap envisions a future in which any location — ranging from a room to a whole country — has not only a physical presence, but also a digital one that takes the form of various layers. One layer might focus on health and wellness, for example, and another on entertainment, and still another on mobility.”

Eventually, we may even get to the point where we’ll be able to search this mirrorworld, hyperlinking real-world objects the way we’ve hyperlinked words to search for things on the web. Traveling to a new city and want to know all of the best places to watch the sunset? Search the mirrorworld to find out!

But as with any new platform it won’t all be sunshine and rainbows.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  There will be plenty of positives to come out of this emerging technology.  That’s for sure.  But there will also be plenty of drawbacks.  Mostly notably of all the inevitable gold rush and power grab as people from all walks of life race to secure a foothold in this brave new world.

As Wired explains:

“The first big technology platform was the web, which digitized information, subjecting knowledge to the power of algorithms; it came to be dominated by Google. The second great platform was social media, running primarily on mobile phones. It digitized people and subjected human behavior and relationships to the power of algorithms, and it is ruled by Facebook and WeChat.

We are now at the dawn of the third platform, which will digitize the rest of the world. On this platform, all things and places will be machine-­readable, subject to the power of algorithms. Whoever dominates this grand third platform will become among the wealthiest and most powerful people and companies in history, just as those who now dominate the first two platforms have. Also, like its predecessors, this new platform will unleash the prosperity of thousands more companies in its ecosystem, and a million new ideas—and problems—that weren’t possible before machines could read the world.”

Personally, I love the idea of a mirrorworld.  Places that you could never travel to in real life may not be accessible virtually.  Deeply personal information tied to a physical location that you never would have had access to could now be at your fingertips.  This could be a game-changing technology.  One that fundamentally changes what it means to be human.

But I also think it will be years before we see a fully functional mirrorworld. Mapping the entire world at a 1:1 scale would seem to be a massive undertaking.  But I have no doubt that we’ll get there eventually.  The groundwork has already been laid.  Society is already shifting towards VR and AR.  At this rate it’s only a matter of time before we’re living in the mirrorworld, whether we like it or not.  So we might as well get on board with it…

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Is a Mirrorworld the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I have a new all-time #1 favorite invention.  An acoustic meta-material capable of blocking all sound.  No more 6 am wake up calls from garbage trucks, car alarms, jackhammers, woodpeckers, or noisy neighbors.  No more need for ear plugs, sound machines, or sleeping pills either.  Once the entire world is blanketed in this material we’ll have Heaven on Earth, peace and quiet for all for the rest of eternity.

Fast Company explains how this miracle invention came to be:

“A team of Boston University researchers recently stuck a loudspeaker into one end of a PVC pipe. They cranked it up loud. What did they hear? Nothing.

How was this possible? Did they block the other end of the pipe with noise canceling foams or a chunk of concrete? No, nothing of the sort. The pipe was actually left open save for a small, 3-D-printed ring placed around the rim. That ring cut 94% of the sound blasting from the speaker, enough to make it inaudible to the human ear.

Dubbed an ‘acoustic meta-material,’ the ring was printed from a mathematically modeled design, shaped in such a way that it can catch certain frequencies passing through the air and reflect them back toward their source. Typical acoustic paneling works differently, absorbing sound and turning the vibrations into heat. But what’s particularly trippy is that this muffler is completely open. Air and light can travel through it–just sound cannot.”

Lock it up.  Championship.

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Is an acoustic meta-material the Greatest Idea Ever?

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One of the holy grails of science is to create a room temperature superconductor, a breakthrough that could have far-reaching implications.

As Futurism explains, “Plenty of materials conduct electricity — copper, steel, water — but each introduces some level of resistance, meaning you lose a bit of the energy as it moves from point A to point B.  [However] some materials can become ‘superconductors,’ meaning they don’t lose any energy during the transmission process, but only if cooled to very low temperatures. The ‘warmest’ superconductor still can’t work above -70 degrees Celsius (-95 degrees Fahrenheit), and that’s not very useful for practical applications.”

Practical applications such as transporting solar energy from the desert to an urban city, creating Maglev trains, or designing longer lasting batteries.  But thanks to a new design from Navy scientist Salvatore Cezar Pais all that may soon be possible.

So how does this amazing theoretical technology work?!

According to Futurism, “Pais’ application describes a wire consisting of a metal coating over an insulator core. An electromagnetic coil surrounds the wire, and when activated by a pulsed current, this coil causes a vibration that allows the wire to act as a superconductor at room temperature, according to the application.”

Now this isn’t the first time that a design for a room temperature superconductor has been put forth but it is still existing nonetheless.  Because if it works out, it could change everything.

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Is a room temperature superconductor the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Like most people, I’m constantly plagued by the annoyance of the charge in my cell phone not being able to make it through the whole day.  Even with minimal to moderate use.  I always wondered why the Energizer Bunny couldn’t solve this age-old problem of cell-phone battery life.  If it just keeps going and going why can’t our phones do that too.  Well, now they can.

As Futurism explains, “According to Avenir, the Energizer smartphone features an 18,000 mAh battery, enough to last for 50 days in stand-by mode. The iPhone X contains a 2,716 mAh battery, for comparison — giving the P18K Pop more than six times the capacity.”

But that’s not all!  The article adds that:

“If you want to actually use the P18K Pop, you could spend 90 hours making calls, listen to 100 hours of music, and watch 48 hours of videos on just one charge…Beyond this long-lasting battery, the phone also includes 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage, and five cameras, two of which are front-facing.”

There’s just one problem.  The Energizer Phone is a massive brick that only Zach Morris could appreciate.  In fact, it’s over twice as thick as the iPhone X or most other standard smart phones.  If sleekness appeals to you then this is not the phone for you.  But if you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail then this phone would be perfect for you!

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Is the Energizer Phone the Greatest Idea Ever?

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