Daily Roundup, alas, has become a misnomer. What with work and my other writing commitments (this sounds grander than it is in real life), I doubt I can create a post daily to track what I’ve been reading. On the other hand, I do want to track what I’ve been reading so far, anyway, so here’s the summary:
Working Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Interface
This was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen this past week, simply in terms of human impact. After some initial training, two paralyzed individuals have been able to use a mind-controlled robot to move and grip objects. No matter that we can’t move paralyzed limbs directly; this is still significant progress in terms of how signals from the brain are being received and comprehended. The video is informative and rather emotional, because the look on one of the subjects’ faces is wonderful.
Nevada Issues Driving License to Google’s Autonomous Car
This is rather old news, but still pretty mind-boggling, if you look at it out of the context of the months of training and driving Google has been engaged in.
Chinese Physicists Teleport Photons
A little beam-me-up-scotty moment. The truly weird thing about quantum weirdness is the lack of a mechanism that explains how entangled particles can instantaneously exchange information across arbitrarily large distances. But we can exploit that when we try to “teleport” information: instead of physically moving objects through space and time, we exchange the information contained in two different places so that it seems as though the particles have “traveled”. This is perfectly possible with photons and slightly less possible with humans, but the photon experiment seems to have worked well. The important thing is that the team corrected for the huge losses that occur when entangled photons spread out and have their entangled states disrupted.
Building Wetware for the Digital Future
Two articles caught my eye recently: one explained how researchers were trying to grow naturally occurring bacteria that ingest iron and spit out magnets, to be used in very tiny futuristic hard drives.
The other focused on building tiny memory storage devices with DNA, with write-erase capability.
Does this sound a little like Schismatrix all over again?
And just to top it all off, I a few minutes off yesterday evening to watch the moon crawl across the sun in a fairly rare (it last happened 20 years ago) annular solar eclipse. To my utter astonishment, a crude viewing device consisting of two pieces of paper, one of which had a tiny pinhole poked through it, enabled me to actually see the sun disappearing. The pictures from the event were lovely.