Tuesday, 8 April 2014

. Kate Moss as Princess Leia: 

'Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only help'

Click on Here to view this 'first-to-the-world'
demonstration of 3D holo-technology that is about to transform fashion shows, conferences, night clubs and arts theatre.
'Just Think It' to 'Design It'

How many science fiction movies have featured elements of ‘mind-control?’ Recall the squid-like alien monster that taps into the mind of the President of the United States in the epic ‘Independence Day!’ Well, alien or not, we are about to join our telekinetic space invader foes.
Artificial Telekinetic (AT) technologies are now rolling out of the lab, and being applied in high-end applications such a remote mind control of military assort vehicles and flying robot drones; mechanized hospital beds, wheelchairs, voice box simulators; videogames, and here, Computer Aided Design (CAD) Interfaces.
Pioneering CAD interface technologies are enabling designers to select and control on-screen 3D graphic solid-models using the power of the mind! Woo!! Integration of thought controlled headwear means designers can use AT to design whole models and schematics with brain waves alone.
Emotiv ‘EPOC,’ founded in Sydney in 2003 by technology entrepreneurs Tan Le, Nam Do and Professor Allen Snyder, is a revolutionary personal interface for human computer interaction; a Brain Computer Interface (BCI) that uses electroencephalography (EEG) brain waves. The inclusion of the EPOC controls strengthens what is already deemed an incredible groundbreaking BCI design; pushing the boundaries of designer thoughts.
This is about flow again (just as in online learning activities). Unfettering the minds will really get the creative juices going. The Emotiv EPOC uses a set of 14 sensors plus 2 references to tune into electric signals produced by the brain to detect the user´s thoughts, feelings and expressions in real time. Based on the latest developments in neuro-technology, Emotiv has developed a revolutionary new personal interface for human computer interaction. The Emotiv EPOC is a high resolution, neuro-signal acquisition and processing wireless neuroheadset that allows users to experience the fantasy of having supernatural powers and controlling the world with your mind.
The original goal of the company was to pioneer more realistic and human computer interfaces using mental cues and unconscious responses from the user. To do this, the company envisioned a low-cost, consumer-friendly, wireless, multi-channel EEG headset.

Emotiv targeted its initial product towards gaming applications, because that promised volume sales and high earning potential, but also because gaming provides a good benchmark for the system’s user-friendliness and robustness during everyday use.
For brain signal acquisition, Emotiv engineers used a high-quality front-end amplifier system, multiplexed to a 16-bit analogue-to-digital converter that passes samples at 2048Hz/channel to a Microchip dSPIC processor. 

The headset is capable of detecting four mental states, 13 conscious thoughts and facial expressions (through electromyography, the recording of electrical activity of muscle tissue). In addition, the device uses two gyroscopes to sense head movements. Today, Emotiv sells applications for brain-controlled photo viewing, brain mapping, games and brain-controlled keyboards, plus developer tools. 
'Think It' to 'Make It!'

What if you could just think of a thing – a 3D cartoon toy character; or a new washer for a dripping tap; or perhaps a Baseball Cap with your team’s insignia – and then get hold of one of those new fangled 3D printers and make it right on the spot? No years of training to become a skilled design engineer or toolmaker, and no complicated CAD routines to learn. You just imagine the widget, and it pops out of the 3D printer within, say, ten minutes, just like magic!

Fictional nonsense? Or a happy-go-lucky vision of twenty-second century technology? Or perhaps a profound dream that might arguably be one of mankind’s most spectacular and beneficial technological innovation?
Well, this is no longer a daydream! It is a hard reality. Because an ultra-bold enterprise called ‘Thinker Thing,’ wants you to be able to create anything just by thinking about it! Sounds to Dr Who?

At this point, users are not directing complete designs with their thoughts, as though your brain were controlling the mouse. Instead, the EPOC measures reactions to different design elements and selects the element that is most appealing to the design’s thinker. Each piece of a larger design slowly evolves as EPOC continues to monitor a designer’s thoughts, until eventually the entire piece is complete. Thinker Thing, say:

‘3D printing, what the economist calls the next industrial revolution, is based on a promise, for anyone to be able to create real objects from a computer model. But who can create these computer models. Current software is based on techniques from the 80s, they’re outdated difficult to use and take years to learn. How much of a revolution will it be if only a handful of professionals can create for these machines.

Most of the CAD programs used to create designs for additive manufacturing (AM) aren’t what you might call user friendly. But what if someone could build a design tool that allows the user to make anything they can imagine, by thought alone? Thinker Thing is a company that has taken on this ambitious project, with startup funding from the Chilean government. Instead of controlling the evolution of a design with a mouse or touchscreen, the company is developing a method of using an Emotiv EPOC EEG reader to build 3D objects. From the website:

'The Emotiv EPOC headset ‘reads’ thoughts to direct digital design. Courtesy of Emotiv.'

‘When I was a child I used to think how incredible it would be to just imagine a thing and it would simply appear, readymade. This might still seem like science fiction, but amazingly the technology needed to make this a possibility is already in existence today, all that is missing is a creative approach to build the interface between mind and machine.’

At this point users aren’t directing complete designs with their thoughts, as though your brain were controlling the mouse. Instead, the EPOC measures reactions to different design elements and selects the element that, according to your EEG, is most appealing to the user. Each piece of a larger design slowly evolves as EPOC continues to monitor a user’s thoughts, until eventually the entire piece is complete.

Currently, the Thinker Thing team is touring Chilean schools to expose the children to basic engineering principles, using the EPOC headset and design software to create monsters (think Monsters, Inc. rather than Pacific Rim). The features of each monster will vary child-to-child, and the end CAD design is printed out by a 3D printer. Thinker Thing has launched an Indiegogo project to hold an exhibit of the various creations following the tour’s completion.

While this approach has some flaws from a specific design standpoint, the neuroscience behind the program and the EPOC are still very new. Before too long it may actually be possible to think of a specific image and see that image take shape on your computer. That might not thrill CAD software studios, but such a development would open up digital design to anyone with creativity.

Have a breeze around 'Thinker Thing's website and watch the intriguing videos.
Beyond the Solar System
Harold White, PhD, is a NASA veteran who runs the advanced propulsion program at Johnson Space Center.  His particular area of research is "warp drive."  
Warp drive is the only technology that could (even theoretically) permit faster-than-light travel, which under normal circumstances involves a clear violation of Einstein's theory of special relativity. 
Why is this so exciting?  A functional warp drive would have tremendous implications for space travel.  Today, it would take a NASA satellite 75,000 years to get to Alpha Centauri, the star system nearest to our own. 
However, according to White, a vehicle equipped with a warp drive could make the trip in just two weeks, while converting 1,600 pound of matter to energy.1
To underscore its relevance, the head of NASA, Charles Bolden said, "One of these days, we want to get to warp speed.  We want to go faster than the speed of light, and we don't want to stop at Mars."   
About 20 years ago, a physicist named Miguel Alcubierre was doing graduate work in general relativity.  After watching a Star Trek episode, he asked himself, "What would it take to make warp drive physically plausible?" 
In 1994, his answer was published in the form of a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.  That paper carefully outlined the physics that would be involved in the creation of a faster-than-light warp drive.2 

Konstantin Kakaes, a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation, recently described Alcubierre's thinking this way:
     "Alcubierre envisioned a bubble in space.  At the front of the bubble, space-time would contract, while behind the bubble, space-time would expand (somewhat like in the Big Bang).  The deformations would push the craft along smoothly, as if it were surfing on a wave, despite the tumult around it.  In principle, a warp bubble could move along arbitrarily quickly, because the speed-of-light limitation within Einstein's theory applies only to objects within space-time, not to distortions of space-time itself.  Within the bubble, Alcubierre predicted that space-time would not change, leaving space travelers unharmed.
     "Einstein's equations of general relativity are very difficult to solve in one direction—figuring out how matter bends space—but going backward is fairly easy...