more on this breach of the uncanny valley here
bonus thready goodness from the Bad Science crowd
thanks be to matt
Part of the device will be surgically implanted in the eye, is designed for people suffering from degenerative vision loss caused by the genetic condition retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration.
It consists of a miniature camera, mounted on glasses, that captures images and sends them to a processor the wearer keeps in their pocket.
The processor then transmits a signal wirelessly to electrodes implanted in the retina – the part of the eye that normally processes visual information. The signals zip up the usual nerve pathways to the brain to provide information about what is happening in real time.
Those using the bionic eye will not have perfect vision restored, but it is hoped they will be able to perceive points of light in their field of vision, which the brain can then reconstruct into an image…
Hipsters are tooo cute!
Also, exactly how far behind on the trends are The Guardian? Bless their little cotton socks! You’d think with all the blogs they’ve got going they’d be a little more in touch…
“I grew up listening to tapes,” says Canadian Al Bjornaa, who set up his label Scotch Tapes in 2008. “It was kind of cool how each tape sounded different depending on what cassette deck you used.” Bjornaa even reuses old cassettes as well as fresh blanks. “You can sometimes still hear the original music playing behind the new tracks. It adds a certain something that makes each cassette unique.” And unlike MP3s, which encourage the listener to dismantle albums into their constituent tracks, the cassette “helps preserve the notion of ‘the album’ as a complete work of art.”
Bjornaa admits that nostalgia plays a part. People old enough to remember the importance of cassette labels in the post-punk years (one indie genre, C86, even took its name from a tape sold via the NME) are aligning themselves with a long DIY tradition. They are also the home-taping generation. An iTunes playlist, easily burned on to multiple CDs, can never be a labour of love in the same way as a mix tape brought to life through hours hunched over the pause button, perfecting clunk-free segues.
Children of the 80s, too, are affectionately revisiting the format on which they first discovered music. “What you grew up with just sounds right,” says 22-year-old Brad Barry, a student at the University of Texas who hosts a weekly cassette-only radio show called C60 Radio. Meanwhile, people who sport cassette-themed Urban Outfitters‘ T-shirts or iPhone cases are just using it as a retro prop in the never-ending 80s revival.
Ah, the importance of hard copy…
I forsee a future where small legions of knowledge-guardians, like mad priests or wise old men in caves, stoop over cobbled together PCs running off of rusting generators, print bits of the internet off using dot-matrix printers, pulling their material from incomplete backups, to be dissemated to the local population. I really do.
Whatever the cause, if the power was cut off to the banks of computers that now store much of humanity’s knowledge, and people stopped looking after them and the buildings housing them, and factories ceased to churn out new chips and drives, how long would all our knowledge survive? How much would the survivors of such a disaster be able to retrieve decades or centuries hence?
a few weeks ago i blogged an article by a friend of mine about the possible ways in which gaming and poetry could interact. Now he’s finished the second part, which includes his reflections on several comments that he received (a few of which are mine), and it’s up on Santiago’s Dead Wasp for your edification, reflection and commentation:
How poetry is written covered several aspects. First is how technology impacts on the way poets write, or create their visual and audio works, in terms of making marks or recording sounds, but also in terms of editing. This is in itself quite broad but I will not define it more closely here. Second is how poets think about the structure of their work. It should be clear that there are several aspects to this. I have chosen three broad areas of greatest interest to me. First are the formal concerns of poetry – metre and verbal/written devices like rhyme. Second is the question of how arguments/ideas are presented, which would mainly seem to consist of rhetoric. I have chosen to combine this with related but distinct concerns such as how the reader is guided (or misguided) through the poem. This is distinct because poems can guide readers through their lay-out, alignment, line-breaks etc. But I am joining it to rhetoric because the effects of rhetoric and the shaping of poems can broadly be taken as ways of guiding the reader. Third is one of the main concerns of poetry, the rewards and pleasures the reader derives, which also clearly includes the challenges and difficulties they face.
By ‘gaming’ I again had two areas in mind, how games are played and how games are created. While I know something about how games are played, what I know about how games are created could be written on a gnat’s cock. I am not going to define either of these two areas any further here, but will look at them in greater detail as they arise. This is because the main concern I had related to ‘playability’, how intuitive and easy a game is to play, how enjoyable it is, and how challenge and reward are balanced. These are mainly the realm of games design, but obviously the player has a role within that process.
Cory Doctorow’s latest piece for the guardian:
My latest Guardian column, “The BBC’s digital rights plans will wreak havoc on open source software,” describes how the BBC’s plan to add DRM to its high-def broadcasts will exclude free/open source software from use in digital television applications, slowing down innovation, raising costs, and harming the public interest. The BBC’s regulator, Ofcom, will soon hold a second consultation on the Beeb’s plan to add DRM to high-def broadcasts, and I’m urging them to get the BBC to answer for this consequence of the DRM plan.
Massive and massively interesting article on Robotician and mathematical genius-type Rodney Brooks, the inventor of the Roomba.
FOR RODNEY BROOKS, the path to becoming one of the world’s foremost roboticists began in the backyard shed of his childhood home. It was Glenelg, Adelaide, in the 1960s, the space race was in full swing and Brooks and Scott Johnston, his mate from around the corner, spent endless hours in that shed trying to blow things up.
Brooks’ father, a former telephone technician who worked at Woomera, Australia’s long-range missile testing facility in the desert 500 km north of Adelaide, brought home leftover rocket equipment to aid their childhood fantasies.
Their aim was to make solid fuel rockets, but mostly they made smoke bombs. Using their own recipe, they produced vast quantities of hydrogen and learnt that a garbage bag full would rattle the windows of the neighbours’ house when exploded.
They spent all their pocket money buying junk from a local equipment recycler, built a hovercraft that didn’t hover and an oscilloscope – a shock from which once caused Brooks to pass out, requiring his brother to revive him.
MPEG-4 part 2 compression was “when the internet truly became a viable A/V platform/medium. This is when storing hours of video that looked good enough to watch and keep became viable to store online locally i.e. on your hard disks, not on external discs, etc. on personal computers. No other single aspect of the evolution of entertainment has done more to change how I consume it.”
America’s battlefield robots may be leaking military secrets. The same security hole that allowed Iraqi insurgents to capture video from unmanned aerial surveillance drones may also have let them spy on ground ‘bots.
Now, I don’t usually gush about gadgets because, well, frankly i can’t afford them. Between my £200 a day jelly tots habit and having fresh adrenal glands extracted from feral children and shipped over weekly from Agentina there’s not alot of spare money about. This pen runs on pure cool fuel though. It’s a pen (obviously) but with a build in camera that tracks your movements and creates digital copies of what you write! How awesome is that? Not only that but it doubles as a pretty good audio recorder! The things i could do with this pen….