Check out this stunning video of inventor JoAnn Kuchera-Morinis demonstrating the Allosphere at the last TED conference. The Allosphere is a 3 story high chamber that allows researchers to stand in the middle of incredible visual and sonic representations of their data. Complex algorithms are powered by a super-computer to bring data to life in breakthrough fashion.
This baby allows you to navigate all of your content, both locally stored and cloud based, with a 3D immersive application. It also includes a recommendation app that suggests related content (natch).
Visual search and browsing applications are starting to come fast and furious as the days of static, 2D text-based as sole option fade in the rearview mirror. The interface revolution is afoot. Should be a fun ride.
Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment is making its way into the sports medical profession. It's pretty straight-forward and basically takes a person's own blood, separates the red blood cells and the plasma and takes the resultant concentration of platelets and injects them back into an injury site to promote quicker healing. Hines Ward's (Pittsburgh Steelers) recovery from a sprained medial collateral ligament in time to play in last month's Super Bowl brought attention to this new technique.
This type of treatment bodes well for faster healing from injury and possibly greater performance too but raises ethical questions in the world of professional sports.
Juan Enriquez' recent presentation at TED juxtaposes the accelerating world financial crisis against the backdrop of the longer term, more profound changes in robotics, biology and genetics. For the former, he suggests that we work longer before receiving social security and not get too tied up in the current morass that we lose track of the incredible advances in the latter. With regard to this he says we are beginning to evolve into a new species - "Homo Evolutis - Hominids that take direct and deliberate control over the evolution of their species...and others." This is not a new meme though it seems to be gaining traction and is popping up more frequently these days. Our ability to manipulate and integrate technology into our very beings will no doubt be one of the hot button issues of the next decade.
Here are two cool examples of augmented reality apps/prototypes that are already out. The first is a really fun one from GE's futuristic Ecoimagination campaign. By making a print-out from their site and holding it in front of your monitor it brings the animation out of the box and into your room. Here's the Future is Awesome's Duncan Rawlinson demonstrating it with the print out attached to his mobile.
Here are some other DIY examples that illustrate it further 1. 2. 3.
Another very cool, though early incarnation technology that gives us a hint of how we'll be interacting with information in our physical environments comes to us from the MIT Media Lab - demoed at the recent TED conference (via Wired).
It's "a wearable computer system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen." Definitely has some of that early stage Minority Report feel to it and I think when looking at these two examples it's pretty obvious that this world will be here sooner than most people think.
The Singularity University, which our own Alvis Brigis got an early scoop on, was made official today. The venture has the support of Google, NASA and an All-Star team of the singularity cognoscenti. The announcement received widespread coverage in the media from the likes of Businessweek, AP and Forbes, which demonstrates just how far this meme has come over the years.
I'll never forget a great night owl session at the first Accelerating Change Conference held by John Smart's Accelerating Studies Foundation in 2003 with Ray Kurzweil holding court and about 20 of his most ardent fans (many of whose works I had read) in attendance. Eliezer Yudkowsky, Ben Goertzel, John Smart et al were listening in earnest to what Ray had to say and it was pretty cool. I heard sometime later that it was also a treat for Ray to have been in such an intimate setting with such a knowledgeable and passionate crew.
Well, it looks like you might get your personal jetpack pretty soon after all. The advantages of the water-powered variety vs. the rocket fuel type are that it is way less likely to explode or burn you to a crisp and gets much higher gas mileage (not to mention probably takes regular). The downside is that you'll be restricted to traveling over bodies of water.
Seems like this might have some use in water patrol. Gives you that birdseye view and would be a lot less expensive and more practical than a helicopter over smaller spaces. Either way, it's pretty cool.
Wonder when we'll see the first English Channel crossing with one of these?
There's no actual change in policy from the Obama administration on the stem cell front yet but some exciting things are happening and you can feel the pace picking up. In the past week Geron Technologies announced that they have received FDA clearance to put their GRNOPC1 into clinical human trials and researchers in Spain also announced that they had had success in treating lab rats with significant spinal injuries. While both studies have achieved impressive results in lab animals, a primary difference is that Geron uses embryonic stem cells to derive their hESC oligodendrocyte progenitor cells while the Spanish team used adult stem cells from tissue in the injured rats themselves to get their progenitor cells. Miodrag Stojkovic, who headed up the study done in Spain, said that "we need both adult and embryonic stem cells to understand our body and apply this knowledge in regenerative medicine."
It's worth noting that the success has come with injuries where the spinal cord has been traumatically compromised but not entirely severed. Also, the success in the rat recovery process has been demonstrated in injuries treated within 7-14 days of occurrence. Though there is hope that treatments will be derived for those whose injuries are older, rapid application seems to be key and has also been found effective in treating a variety of neural injuries including stroke and brain trauma.