May 31, 2006

Dear Lazyweb (DVR Question)

I'm thinking about buying the Archos AV 700 with a 100GB drive for wearable video recording. Does anyone have experience with this? Can you recommend another unit that's reasonably priced?


Posted by nym at 10:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2006

Steve Mann's Glogger Released!


I'm pleased to announce that, Cyborg, Steve Mann and his crew of students are hard at work on a new project that embraces the gargoyle community at large called Glogger. Glogger in their words is "A web service and program that allows people to instantaneously share content from their camera phones (Nokia or Sony Erricsson) or manually from their digital camera.", but I see it as being more ambitious than just another textamerica. This project really aims to bring together the ubiquitious computing community with a service to help enable people in sharing their cyborg experiences.

I'm working with James Fung to create a series of API's that will really empower this service, and I'm already making feature requests. The big benefit of having strong APIs is that, like flickr, people will be able to incorporate glogger into their own personal home pages and create other open source mashups. Already James has a simple way to include a person's feed onto a website using an IFRAME, like this:

James has been really great about getting code underway, and I encourage anyone else out there with a wearable camera to sign up and start uploading. More infomation to come, I'm sure. This is really exciting stuff!

[ Link via James Fung. Thanks James! ]

Posted by nym at 01:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dorkbot OpenHack in LA


If you don't know dorkbot, you should. It's geeks doing very geeky things, or as igargoyle reader Ro Bo puts it, 'Dorkbot is an international umbrella for creating flesh-and-bone networks of “people doing strange things with electricity.”'. I'm totally facinicated with creativity and engineering that comes out at these meetings, so I'm really pleased that socal has a dorkbot of it's own now.

Like Burning Man, dorkbot melds techology with art. On that vein, here's Ro Bo's account of dorkbot LA's OpenHack, a kind of anything goes hardware hacking session:

In the spirit of interrogating the manufactured reality rising around us, May’s OpenHack got back to basics with some olde fashioned deconstruction. Falling under the screwdrivers and inquisitive, scavenging minds were consumer electronics, their test equipment, and some not-so-household gear. Normally used for diagnosing other circuits, a Tektronix Type 321A oscilloscope and a Model F-29 volt-ohmmeter were reduced to sheet metal, coils, and their own circuit boards. Apparently Silicon Valley and the Aerospace industry provide for decades of dumpster diving dementia to come. Since surplus radiation dosimeters don’t charge themselves, we had the opportunity to stare down a ruggedized Kelekey “charger radiac detector” unit model K-125. Then we gutted it. We learned that radioactive mystique is sometimes more interesting than a few decades-old battery blocks. However, there were many more objet’s d’art liberated from their boxy shells and scattered around the multiple operating tables. They included a cylindrical, translucent, phosphor-free picture tube from an oscilloscope, the lightweight metal heat pump from a victimized Sony Vaio laptop, the electromagnetic nubs from a cupric neck massager, and the cold cathode and fluorescent light tubes from two flat lined flatbed scanners. The picture tube was like a hollow but durable glass billy club, or “CyberCudgel”. We left eviscerated laptop entrails strewn across the dais to warn upcoming presenter's machines to behave, but they rebelled nonetheless. A young woman even tried to fix her cell phone, and we all hope that worked out well for her. Those who just sought advice on a project had to be careful where they set something down, lest they look away, only to find it lying in pieces seconds later. I appreciate everyone who not only brought in items for the group to dissect, including Tom Jennings, and for their personal restraint in allowing the items to arrive in one piece. This allowed the group to share the anticipation of what may spring out from behind every turn of the screw.

Ro Bo is excited to be contributing to igargoyle, and has more to come, including some stuff on space and cyborgs. For more information on dorkbot, visit LA's next meetup is on June 3rd. Information on dorkbot in southern california can be found here.

[ Link to more images from the day. Thanks Ro Bo! ]

Posted by nym at 01:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 26, 2006

Methanol-fueled artificial muscles 100x stronger than the original

University of Texas nanotechnologists have developed two different chemically powered artifical muscles.
The first type of muscle is made from a nickel-titanium shape-memory wire coated in a platinum catalyst. When fumes of methanol, hydrogen and oxygen pass over the platinum coating, they react, releasing heat that warms the wire, making it contract. When the flow of fuel is stopped, the wire expands and returns to its original length. The wire muscle can generate 100 times the force of a natural muscle of the same size, says Baughman.

The team's second artificial muscle is made from sheets of carbon nanotubes, coated in a catalyst. It is not yet as powerful as the wire muscle, but could potentially overtake it, he says.
As the fuel reacts with oxygen above the surface of the nanotube sheet, it releases a charge that make the sheet expand. The big advantage of the nanotube muscle is that it can also act as a capacitor, storing up electric energy it does not immediately need for later use, Baughman explains.

This could be really exciting combined with robotic exoskeletons reported earlier. "Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound..."

[ Link ]

Posted by xander at 12:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Future Sign Holding Jobs

I'm not sure if there's a bleaker look into the future than this:


"yes. and if a genuine ufo lands in japan, nobody will even care. : )"

[ Link to flickr image via wemakemoneynotart ]

Posted by nym at 10:48 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Talking to Your Kids About Mitochondrial DeAging


"A Short History of Blogging (and why it flamed out)"
"7 Habits of Highly Effective Cyborgs"
"What to Expect When You're Expecting a Clone"
"Our Hive Mind, Ourself"
"Look Young Forever" [Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen]
"The Easy Way to Stop Playing World of Warcraft - A 12 Step Guide"
"Grilling Vat-Bread Meats the Bobby Flay Way!"
"Dianetics Revisited - The Truth About Scientology"
"The Home Depot Do-It-Yourself Guide to 3-D Printing and Nano-Fabrication"
"THE HOMO SPAIANS SUPERIOR DIET - Why Post-Humans Don't Get Fat"
"The Way to Program Poker - Training Your Celebrity Poker-Bot to Beat Other Celebrity Poker-Bots"
"Coping with Post Singularity Depression"
"The End of History: This time for sure"
"Trendspotting for Fun and Profit"
"Is Your Smartphone Codependent?"

[ Link to full version. Via Rich Gibson. Thanks Rich! ]

Posted by nym at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 23, 2006

Do Cyborgs Deserve Human Rights?

ordaos writes:

look what I found on the coffee table in the middle of my engineering building.


Only two days away. Should be an interesting event if you're in Santa Cruz.

Posted by nym at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 22, 2006

Pentagon's Cyber Insect Army

The BBC reports that DARPA is investigating the use of cybernatically-enhanced insect swarms for scouting and surveillance.
Micro-systems would be inserted at the pupa stage, when the insects -such as dragonflies and moths- can integrate them into their body, so they can be remotely controlled later or sense certain chemicals, including those in explosives.

The invasive surgery could "enable assembly-line like fabrication of hybrid insect-Mems interfaces", Darpa says.

This is when those African killer bee hybrids are finally going to pay off.

[ Link via We Make Money Not Art ]

Posted by xander at 09:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 17, 2006

New Kopin Display Next Week

According to DisplayDaily, a South Korean company called Kowon Technology, which is a subsidary of Kopin is going to unveil a new video eyeware next week.

Indeed, the new MSP-209 is already on Kowon’s website. The lightweight MVS - for mobile video spectacles - weigh only 62 grams, making them the world’s lightest, says Kowon. The light weight is due in part to the lightweight Kopin microdisplays, which measure 4.2×4.8mm and weigh only 2 grams each.

The QVGA displays are incorporated in Kopin’s BDM, or Binocular Display Module, which makes it much easier for customers to produce video eyewear since display mounting and alignment issues are already taken care of. A separate power control kit, which weighs about 40 grams, contains a lithium-polymer battery that lasts for 8 hours.

By the end of the year, Kowon plans to launch an upgraded version that provides TV-quality resolution, Asia Pulse Businesswire said.

Expect to see a lot more entertainment video devices over the next year, this trend isn't slowing down anytime soon.

[ Link ]

Posted by nym at 03:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

Military Sousveillance

The Military is delving into the world of sousveillance, trying out some high tech wearable recording tools. I've always thought that point of view (POV) video recording would be great for the police to deter coruption and help with gathering evidence, and the military is just one step away from that.

A soldier’s after-action mission report can sometimes leave out vital observations and experiences that could be valuable in planning future operations. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is exploring the use of soldier-worn sensors and recorders to augment a soldier’s recall and reporting capability. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is acting as an independent evaluator for the “Advanced Soldier Sensor Information System and Technology” (ASSIST) project. NIST researchers are designing tests to measure the technical capability of such information gathering devices.

This week NIST is testing five different sensor systems* at the United States Army Aberdeen Test Center in Aberdeen, Md. The tests, ending May 12, involve sensor-clad soldiers on unscripted foot patrol through simulated Iraqi villages populated with “bystanders,” “shopkeepers,” and “insurgents.” The sensors are expected to capture, classify and store such data as the sound of acceleration and deceleration of vehicles, images of people (including suspicious movements that might not be seen by the soldiers), speech and specific types of weapon fire.

A capacity to give GPS locations, an ability to translate Arabic signs and text into English, as well as on-command video recording also are being demonstrated in Aberdeen. Sensor system software is expected to extract keywords and create an indexed multimedia representation of information collected by different soldiers. For comparison purposes, the soldiers wearing the sensors will make an after-action report based on memory and then supplement that after-action report with information learned from the sensor data.

From the looks of the picture though, it really doesn't appear all that high tech, more like a bunch of random generic cameras glued to some embeded reporter's uniform and helmet.

[ Link via boingboing ]

Posted by nym at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

i heart cyborgs


I admit it. I'm in love with cyborgs.

[ Link via Jess. Thanks Jess! ]

Posted by nym at 01:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 11, 2006

Top 15 Tips for Longer Life

If you're interested in the potential of emerging technologies, one of the key goals is to stick around long enough to see them fulfill their promise.

Here are the Top 15 Tips to Live Longer, from Forbes.

Then, if you want to get serious about it, I recommend checking out the book Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever by premier futurist Ray Kurzweil.

[ Link via Wired News ]

Posted by xander at 08:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2006

Rat Brain Controls Fighter Jet

A computer constructed from a hybrid of silicon chips and a culture of living rat brain cells has been trained to fly an F-22 fighter jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida.
One target is to install living computers in unmanned aircraft so they can be deployed on missions too dangerous for humans. It is also hoped that the research will provide the basis for developing new drugs to treat brain diseases such as epilepsy.
Under the microscope they looked at first like grains of sand, but soon the cells begin to connect to form what scientists are calling a "live computation device" (a brain). The electrodes measure and stimulate neural activity in the network, allowing researchers to study how the brain processes, transforms and stores information.

In the most striking experiment, the brain was linked to the jet simulator. Manipulated by the electrodes and a desktop computer, it was taught to control the flight path, even in mock hurricane-strength winds.

All I know is, if you work in a cheese factory, I'd consider getting the heck out of there.

[ Link via The Age ]

Posted by xander at 10:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 08, 2006

Robotic Tentacles

If it's your dream to have cyborg tentacles, than today is a good day for you. Maybe not for your significant other, or society at large, but hey, progress is progress, right?
Robotic "tentacles" that can grasp and grapple with a wide variety of objects have been developed by US researchers.

Most robots rely on mechanical gripping jaws that have difficulty grabbing large or irregularly shaped objects. Replacing these with tentacle-like manipulators could make robots more nimble and flexible, say the scientists.

The tentacle-like manipulators, known as "Octarms", resemble an octopus's limb or an elephant's trunk. They were developed through a project called OCTOR (sOft robotiC manipulaTORs), which involves several US universities and is funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

"An elephant's trunk can pick up a peanut or a tree trunk," says Ian Walker, a member of the project team from Clemson University in South Carolina. "This ability, inherent in the OCTOR robots, gives OCTOR arms a huge advantage over conventional industrial robots."

[ Link via /. Fixed copy errors thanks to Mr. No. ]

Posted by nym at 06:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights con, May 26-28

Author of Citizen Cyborg, James Hughes, is holding a conference on human rights in a post human age. The conference, called Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights on May 26th through the 28th. Hughes believes institutions should help support human enchancement technologies in order to help make people's lives better rather than just extending the gap between social classes. I can definately imagine a day that the poor are judged more on their lack of transhuman prosthetics than the clothes on their backs.
What, if any, limits should be considered to human enhancement? On what grounds can citizens be prevented from modifying their own genes or brains? How far should reproductive rights be extended? Might enhancement reduce the diversity of humanity in the name of optimal health? Or, conversely, might enhancements inspire such an unprecedented diversity of human beings that they strain the limits of liberal tolerance and social solidarity? Can we exercise full freedom of thought if we can't exercise control over our own brains using safe, available technologies? Can we ensure that enhancement technologies are safe and equitably distributed? When are regulatory efforts simply covert, illiberal value judgments?

Between the ideological extremes of absolute prohibition and total laissez-faire that dominate popular discussions of human enhancement there are many competing agendas, hopes and fears. How can the language of human rights guide us in framing the critical issues? How will enhancement technologies transform the demands we make of human rights?

With the Human Enhancement and Human Rights conference we seek to begin a conversation with the human rights community, bioethicists, legal scholars, and political activists about the relationship of enhancement technologies to human rights, cognitive liberty and bodily autonomy. It is time to begin the defense of human rights in the era of human enhancement.

[ Link via boingboing / del ]

Posted by nym at 02:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 05, 2006



There's a new blog on the lifestyle choice of getting implanted with an RFID tag. igargoyle reader Mikey Sklar is one of these guys, and after my brother met him, he started talking about getting tagged himself.

Even with all the talk about privacy and security, there seems to be a growing community of people who are implanting themselves with RFID chips. Being a developer myself, I am intrigued about building applications and solutions that will open my doors, unlock my car, log me on to my computer and control home automation. I'm seriously considering jumping into this head first, being on the bleeding edge, and going with an implant.

[ Link via del ]

Posted by nym at 03:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NanoPrism Glasses

These awfuly ugly looking glasses are made by a company named mirage innovations. Would I like them, sure, but they wouldn't be my first choice, that's for sure. I'm starting to build my own wearable and it's amazing how much the extra equipment hinders me, so wearing something like this would probably be a pain in the butt, something one would only want to do on an airplane or in a dentist office. This display is OLED based, but I don't have any other information beyond that, except that they don't create 'cyber-stress'. They even have a webpage to explain WTF cyber-stress is.

[ Link via digg ]

Posted by nym at 03:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 02, 2006

Robot National Anthem

I personally like singing my national anthem in esperanto, but here's the national anthem's first two bars in binary for all the robots who read igargoyle. Put it in robots.txt on your webserver on 4th of July if you're not a terrist.
01001111 01101000 00100000 01110011 01100001 01111001 00100000 01100011 01100001 01101110 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110011 01100101 01100101 00100000 01100010 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100100 01100001 01110111 01101110 00100111 01110011 00100000 01100101 01100001 01110010 01101100 01111001 00100000 01101100 01101001 01100111 01101000 01110100 00001101 00001010

[ Link ]

Posted by nym at 06:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 01, 2006

Sensitive Robot Skin

Japanese researches have developed a flexible artifical "skin" using organic materials that is sensitive to both pressue and temperature and supple enough to wrap around robotic fingers.
[T]hey add that there is no need to stop at simply imitating the functions of human skin.

"It will be possible in the near future to make an electronic skin that has functions that human skin lacks," the researchers write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Future artificial skins could incorporate sensors not only for pressure and temperature, but also for light, humidity, strain or sound, they add.

[ Link via BBC News ]

Posted by xander at 07:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who needs a pulse?

Scientists have developed a new heart pump to avoid many of the pitfalls of current models. One side-effect: with the new pump, you don't have a pulse.
Most LVADs [left ventricular assist devices] attempt to mimic the way the heart works, but their complicated design makes them prone to failure, and they have a tendency to make blood pool and clot, leading to strokes. That means LVADs are usually only used as a last resort for patients waiting for heart transplants.

What makes the VentrAssist different is that it only has one moving part, a spinning impeller that drives a continuous stream of blood. That means the pulse is replaced by a gentle whirling noise that patients describe as similar to the sound of a washing machine. More importantly, the device prevents blood from stagnating, reducing the risk of clotting.

Also, "There is no predicted lifespan for VentrAssist because there are no wearing parts," says co-inventor of the device and company founder John Woodard. "It could be a hundred years, we don't know."

[ Link via New Scientist ]

Posted by xander at 07:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack