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ISSpresso: espresso in space
In a story that’s sure to bring to the surface the long-debunked myth of an over-elaborate NASA quest to create a pen to operate in space, Wired reports that the coffee situation aboard the International Space Station is set to improve.
The station will be getting a 20kg, custom designed Lavazza espresso machine, to be delivered along with Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
Among other differences from terrestrial espresso machines, the resulting beverage must be pumped into a straw-friendly bag rather than a cup.
All this means that I can finally head into space! Now where do I buy my spaceship?

ISSpresso: espresso in space

In a story that’s sure to bring to the surface the long-debunked myth of an over-elaborate NASA quest to create a pen to operate in space, Wired reports that the coffee situation aboard the International Space Station is set to improve.

The station will be getting a 20kg, custom designed Lavazza espresso machine, to be delivered along with Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Among other differences from terrestrial espresso machines, the resulting beverage must be pumped into a straw-friendly bag rather than a cup.

All this means that I can finally head into space! Now where do I buy my spaceship?

9 Notes

Computer becomes first to pass Turing Test in artificial intelligence milestone
Eugene Goostman, a computer program pretending to be a young Ukrainian boy, successfully duped enough humans to pass the iconic test.
The Turing Test - which requires that computers are indistinguishable from humans - is considered a landmark in the development of artificial intelligence, but academics have warned that the technology could be used for cybercrime.
Computing pioneer Alan Turing said that a computer could be understood to be thinking if it passed the test, which requires that a computer dupes 30 per cent of human interrogators in five-minute text conversations.
Full story on The Independent.

Computer becomes first to pass Turing Test in artificial intelligence milestone

Eugene Goostman, a computer program pretending to be a young Ukrainian boy, successfully duped enough humans to pass the iconic test.

The Turing Test - which requires that computers are indistinguishable from humans - is considered a landmark in the development of artificial intelligence, but academics have warned that the technology could be used for cybercrime.

Computing pioneer Alan Turing said that a computer could be understood to be thinking if it passed the test, which requires that a computer dupes 30 per cent of human interrogators in five-minute text conversations.

Full story on The Independent.

Notes

The future of space travel?

SpaceX has unveiled a seven-passenger space capsule designed for carrying astronauts to the International Station and other future destinations.

The Dragon V2 spacecraft looks like a sleek, modern-day version of the Apollo capsules that astronauts used in trips to the moon in the 1960s., but those capsules splashed down in the ocean and couldn’t be reused.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield says that for all its good points, the Dragon won’t eliminate the need for international cooperation in space -

"The United States cannot fly to the Space Station without Russia, and Russia can’t fly to the Space Station without the United States. It’s a wonderful thing to have. If you look at the whole life of the Space Station, think of all the tumult, with the fall of the Soviet Union, and the devaluation of the Ruble in 1998, and other countries backing out of it, the Columbia accident, which would have left us completely helpless if we hadn’t had the international commitment. It’s easy to have a one-month attention span, but that’s just not how you build spaceships, or how you explore the rest of the universe."

SpaceX builds its Dragon capsules and Falcon 9 rockets in a vast complex in Hawthorne, where fuselage sections for Boeing’s 747 jumbo jets once were built. The company is expanding its complex, near Los Angeles International Airport, and has more than 3,000 employees.

Notes

The future has arrived: solar panel roads
The future is now. An idea to replace our current roads and highways with high tech, energy sustainable solar panels has now raised over a million dollars on Indiegogo.
Imagine smart roadways that could fuel up to 3 x the amount of energy that’s currently being used in the United States? And roadways that could give warnings when an obstruction or animal is ahead, roadways that are resistant to snow and ice, and that even light up to create traffic patterns and configurations depending on flow.

Check it out.

The future has arrived: solar panel roads

The future is now. An idea to replace our current roads and highways with high tech, energy sustainable solar panels has now raised over a million dollars on Indiegogo.

Imagine smart roadways that could fuel up to 3 x the amount of energy that’s currently being used in the United States? And roadways that could give warnings when an obstruction or animal is ahead, roadways that are resistant to snow and ice, and that even light up to create traffic patterns and configurations depending on flow.

Check it out.

1 Notes

Scientists find method to reliably teleport data
Scientists at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience say they’ve managed to reliably teleport quantum information stored in one bit of diamond to another sitting three meters away (abstract, pre-print).
Their goal is to extend the range over a distance of a kilometer.
Reliability of quantum teleportation has been elusive. For example, in 2009, University of Maryland physicists demonstrated the transfer of quantum information, but only one of every 100 million attempts succeeded, meaning that transferring a single bit of quantum information required roughly 10 minutes. In contrast, the scientists at Delft have achieved the ability “deterministically”, meaning they can now teleport the quantum state of two entangled electrons accurately 100 percent of the time.
They did so by producing qubits using electrons trapped in diamonds at extremely low temperatures. According to Dr. Hanson, the diamonds effectively create ‘miniprisons’ in which the electrons were held. The researchers were able to establish a spin, or value, for electrons, and then read the value reliably.
No, I don’t really understand either. Still, Star Trek!

Scientists find method to reliably teleport data

Scientists at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience say they’ve managed to reliably teleport quantum information stored in one bit of diamond to another sitting three meters away (abstract, pre-print).

Their goal is to extend the range over a distance of a kilometer.

Reliability of quantum teleportation has been elusive. For example, in 2009, University of Maryland physicists demonstrated the transfer of quantum information, but only one of every 100 million attempts succeeded, meaning that transferring a single bit of quantum information required roughly 10 minutes. In contrast, the scientists at Delft have achieved the ability “deterministically”, meaning they can now teleport the quantum state of two entangled electrons accurately 100 percent of the time.

They did so by producing qubits using electrons trapped in diamonds at extremely low temperatures. According to Dr. Hanson, the diamonds effectively create ‘miniprisons’ in which the electrons were held. The researchers were able to establish a spin, or value, for electrons, and then read the value reliably.

No, I don’t really understand either. Still, Star Trek!

Notes

Oculas

The recent acquisition of Oculus by Facebook sparked many debates on the future of both companies and the intentions of the Social Media network, who only a month ago was announcing the $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp messenger.

Outraged gamers and developers voiced concerns about the future of the Oculus and it’s innovative virtual reality headgear, questioning what Zuckerberg’s enterprise could bring to the platform and why the market leader didn’t carry on riding the wave of growth without external intervention.

Although the technology behind the flagship Oculus Rift has proven exciting for the future of virtual reality devices, the history of the concept has a history of failure, stretching decades, perhaps this is the reason the California-based tech visionaries (excuse the pun) took the decision to look up the food chain for a helping hand.

Check out this wonderful, not exactly timeless 1985 feature on the development of the VR headset. When three decades later the market remains small, is a money-splashing tech giant going to be the push that VR needs to finally make this ageing dream a reality?

@Mingard is a regular contributor to Found Things.

1 Notes

Google unveils Android Wear and Motorola the Moto 360
Motorola Mobility is trying to bring the sexy back to wearables with the Moto 360. And you know what? It looks pretty cool.
Motorola confirmed in a blog post Tuesday that it will join the ranks of hardware partners who have lined up to use Google’s Android Wear, a modified operating system designed for wearables. The company had previously disclosed at a press conference in Mobile World Congress that it had plans to build a smartwatch.
That watch is the Moto 360, which the company said would launch in the summer, starting in the US. Motorola only offered a small glimpse, but the device looks like an actual timepiece. The company bragged that it would use a round face and premium materials.

"The wristwatch has been through several evolutions since it first became a popular fashion accessory more than a 100 years ago," the company said in the post. "Our vision for Moto 360 was to celebrate that history as we re-imagined the wristwatch for the future."

Motorola said that you would be able to get alerts on emails, missed calls, and calendar appointments with the twist of the wrist. Like other devices running on Android Wear, it responds to the “Ok Google” command.
Check it -

More on Motorola.

Google unveils Android Wear and Motorola the Moto 360

Motorola Mobility is trying to bring the sexy back to wearables with the Moto 360. And you know what? It looks pretty cool.

Motorola confirmed in a blog post Tuesday that it will join the ranks of hardware partners who have lined up to use Google’s Android Wear, a modified operating system designed for wearables. The company had previously disclosed at a press conference in Mobile World Congress that it had plans to build a smartwatch.

That watch is the Moto 360, which the company said would launch in the summer, starting in the US. Motorola only offered a small glimpse, but the device looks like an actual timepiece. The company bragged that it would use a round face and premium materials.

"The wristwatch has been through several evolutions since it first became a popular fashion accessory more than a 100 years ago," the company said in the post. "Our vision for Moto 360 was to celebrate that history as we re-imagined the wristwatch for the future."

Motorola said that you would be able to get alerts on emails, missed calls, and calendar appointments with the twist of the wrist. Like other devices running on Android Wear, it responds to the “Ok Google” command.

Check it -

More on Motorola.

2 Notes

As the Web turns 25, Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for a web Magna Carta
Happy belated birthday to the world wide web.
Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s “Information Management: A Proposal”, containing the ideas that led to the World Wide Web.
From its humble beginnings as a way to store linked documents at CERN to… well, you’re reading this now.

"In the following quarter-century, the Web has changed the world in ways that I never could have imagined.
"There have been many exciting advances. It has generated billions of dollars in economic growth, turned data into the gold of the 21st century, unleashed innovation in education and healthcare, whittled away geographic and social boundaries, revolutionised the media, and forced a reinvention of politics in many countries by enabling constant two-way dialogue between the rulers and the ruled.
"It’s time for us to make a big communal decision.
“In front of us are two roads - which way are we going to go? Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control - more and more surveillance? Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the world wide web and say, actually, now it’s so important, so much part of our lives, that it becomes on a level with human rights?”
- Tim Berners-Lee
How has the rise of the web affected your life?

As the Web turns 25, Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for a web Magna Carta

Happy belated birthday to the world wide web.

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s “Information Management: A Proposal”, containing the ideas that led to the World Wide Web.

From its humble beginnings as a way to store linked documents at CERN to… well, you’re reading this now.

"In the following quarter-century, the Web has changed the world in ways that I never could have imagined.

"There have been many exciting advances. It has generated billions of dollars in economic growth, turned data into the gold of the 21st century, unleashed innovation in education and healthcare, whittled away geographic and social boundaries, revolutionised the media, and forced a reinvention of politics in many countries by enabling constant two-way dialogue between the rulers and the ruled.

"It’s time for us to make a big communal decision.

“In front of us are two roads - which way are we going to go? Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control - more and more surveillance? Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the world wide web and say, actually, now it’s so important, so much part of our lives, that it becomes on a level with human rights?”
- Tim Berners-Lee

How has the rise of the web affected your life?

2 Notes

Up, up and down: the ephemerality and reality of the jetpack

Born out of sci-fi cinema, pulp literature and a general lust for launching ourselves into the wild blue yonder, the real-world Rocket Belt began to truly unfold once the military industrial complex opened up its wallet.

In the late 1950s, the US Army’s Transportation Research Command (TRECOM) was looking at ways to augment the mobility of foot soldiers and enable them to bypass minefields and other obstacles on the battleground by making long-range jumps. It put out a call to various aerospace companies looking for prototypes of a Small Rocket Lift Device (SRLD).

Bell Aerospace, which had built the sound-barrier-breaking X-1 aircraft for the Army Air Forces, managed to get the contract and Wendell Moore, a propulsion engineer at Bell became the technical lead.

The most viable design at Bell’s Buffalo, NY, facility was a hydrogen peroxide rocket-propulsion system, which offered a relatively stable fuel with no combustion. It was dubbed the Rocket Belt and was essentially a three-tank system mounted onto a fiberglass corset molded to fit the operator.

Full article on Engadget.

Notes

Ray Kurzweil on Google’s big plans for artificial intelligence
Ray Kurzweil, the technologist who’s spent his career advocating the Singularity, recently discussed his current work as a Director of Engineering at Google with The Guardian.
Google has big plans in the artificial-intelligence arena and recently acquired DeepMind, self-billed ‘cutting edge artificial intelligence company’ for $400 million. That’s in addition to snatching up all sorts of startups and research scientists devoted to everything from robotics to machine learning.
Thanks to the massive datasets generated by the world’s largest online search engine (and the infrastructure allowing that engine to run), those scientists could have enough information and computing power at their disposal to create networked devices capable of human-like thought.

"IBM’s Watson is a pretty weak reader on each page, but it read the 200m pages of Wikipedia. And basically what I’m doing at Google is to try to go beyond what Watson could do. To do it at Google scale. Which is to say to have the computer read tens of billions of pages."

Science fiction? Kurzweil’s predictions go much further still. He believes, for example, that a significant portion of people alive today could end up living forever, thanks to the ministrations of ultra-intelligent computers and beyond-cutting-edge medical technology.
Full article on The Guardian.

Ray Kurzweil on Google’s big plans for artificial intelligence

Ray Kurzweil, the technologist who’s spent his career advocating the Singularity, recently discussed his current work as a Director of Engineering at Google with The Guardian.

Google has big plans in the artificial-intelligence arena and recently acquired DeepMind, self-billed ‘cutting edge artificial intelligence company’ for $400 million. That’s in addition to snatching up all sorts of startups and research scientists devoted to everything from robotics to machine learning.

Thanks to the massive datasets generated by the world’s largest online search engine (and the infrastructure allowing that engine to run), those scientists could have enough information and computing power at their disposal to create networked devices capable of human-like thought.

"IBM’s Watson is a pretty weak reader on each page, but it read the 200m pages of Wikipedia. And basically what I’m doing at Google is to try to go beyond what Watson could do. To do it at Google scale. Which is to say to have the computer read tens of billions of pages."

Science fiction? Kurzweil’s predictions go much further still. He believes, for example, that a significant portion of people alive today could end up living forever, thanks to the ministrations of ultra-intelligent computers and beyond-cutting-edge medical technology.

Full article on The Guardian.

Notes

Zero Point: the first 360-degree movie made for the Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift has carved out a sizable reputation for itself among gamers, but virtual reality has many applications beyond playing video games. Now one production studio is preparing to release the first movie shot specifically to be watched through the VR headset.
The upcoming film, called Zero Point, will focus on the history and development of virtual reality technology, while allowing viewers the freedom to look around each scene as the movie progresses.
Produced by Condition One, a start-up company devoted to innovative visual technology, Zero Point will be watchable in 3D and with a complete 360-degree viewpoint. The full movie will immerse players in a variety of locations, including a military training camp, the bustling E3 conference, a research lab at Stanford, and the workshops of different VR developers.
Full article on gizmag.

Zero Point: the first 360-degree movie made for the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift has carved out a sizable reputation for itself among gamers, but virtual reality has many applications beyond playing video games. Now one production studio is preparing to release the first movie shot specifically to be watched through the VR headset.

The upcoming film, called Zero Point, will focus on the history and development of virtual reality technology, while allowing viewers the freedom to look around each scene as the movie progresses.

Produced by Condition One, a start-up company devoted to innovative visual technology, Zero Point will be watchable in 3D and with a complete 360-degree viewpoint. The full movie will immerse players in a variety of locations, including a military training camp, the bustling E3 conference, a research lab at Stanford, and the workshops of different VR developers.

Full article on gizmag.

Notes

3D print show, 2014

In a decade that has seen 3D printing go from the pastime of rich hobbyists to a technology that sparked debate about ethics behind home printed weaponry, what better time to showcase some of the more beautiful examples of what can be achieved when artist meets innovative technology.

Last week the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York played host to the 2014 3D print show, hosted by Adobe and Shapeways where 18 artists from around the world displayed sculptures and installations created entirely with 3D printers.

From the intricate architecture of Serge Ecker to the intriguing forms of Joshua Harker, the exhibition showcases some of the most fascinating media artefacts to come out of this young, fresh art form.

We may not be at the point of affordable accessible home printing, but these thought provoking pieces may just inspire you to break the bank and get creating.

You can check out all of the artists here.

@Mingard is a regular contributor to Found Things.

Notes

Can this app make you a better driver?

The Dash app connects your phone to your car and translates data about your driving habits. But the most interesting thing may be what it could do to the future of driving.

The app, which rolled out on Google Play for Android at the end of January (and is coming soon for iOS), connects your phone to your car and relays detailed, real-time data about your driving habits back to you. It is a Techstars New York-backed startup, and its investors include Foursquare cofounder and CEO Dennis Crowley and Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis.

Inspired by existing smart data technology like the Jawbone Up wristband and the Nest thermostat, Jamyn Edis and his cofounder, Brian Langel, saw an opportunity to bring data analysis to cars.

"We were viewing cars as a platform, and we really hadn’t seen anything in the market in summer of 2012 that was really creating interesting new experiences based off the data around driving"

- Jamyn Edis

The idea is that, by making people aware of their driving habits, they will take the necessary steps to improve those habits, leaving us with safer roads and lower fuel emissions.

You can read much more on Fast Company.

4 Notes

Build an Open Source, road legal electric car in about an hour

Like what Elon Musk has done and want to go all Etsy and build your own electric car?

Well, it’s apparently now possible now thanks to the OSVehicle Tabby - dubbed the first “Open source vehicle” (it’s not), the OSV guys are taking pre-orders for the Tabby starter kit, with both the two-seater or four-seater configurations available.

The lack of frivolous luxuries like a windshield makes the Tabby very cheap. The basic chassis is available for £415. Add in the battery pack, electric motor, associated hardware, seats and wheels, and you can be on the road for £2,600.

OSV sends the parts to your home, you download the plans and start building.

The Urban Tabby is apparently road legal. How very awesome.

3 Notes

Russia bans Bitcoin outright
Russia has banned digital currency Bitcoin under existing laws and has dubbed the use of the crypto-currency as ‘suspicious’.
The Central Bank of Russia considers Bitcoin as a form of ‘money substitute’ or ‘money surrogate’ (here’s statement, in Russian) which is restricted under Russian law.
However, unlike the use of restricted foreign currencies, Bitcoin has been banned outright.
Surprised? No. After all, this is the country that believes homosexuality and pedophilia to be interchangeable.

Russia bans Bitcoin outright

Russia has banned digital currency Bitcoin under existing laws and has dubbed the use of the crypto-currency as ‘suspicious’.

The Central Bank of Russia considers Bitcoin as a form of ‘money substitute’ or ‘money surrogate’ (here’s statement, in Russian) which is restricted under Russian law.

However, unlike the use of restricted foreign currencies, Bitcoin has been banned outright.

Surprised? No. After all, this is the country that believes homosexuality and pedophilia to be interchangeable.