Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Exoskeletons and Thought Recognition

Thought-controlled Exoskeletons are on the way. The technology already exists.

Rapidly evolving, sophisticated exoskeletons have arrived. My favorite is Sarcos exoskeleton. No need for a joystick or hand controls. You just wear it, and it mirrors your actions.

You can pump a couple hundred pounds, run, box, dance and carry heavy loads up stairs. It doubles as an autonomous robot. If it can't do so already, it would be a simple step to program it. While in the robotic suit, carry out a series of actions, save, then step out. Switch to autonomous mode and the robot will repeat what you have taught it.

Like all computer tech, these suits will continually drop in price and become ever more sophisticated. Soon they'll park in the garage next to the car or maybe take up a corner in the living room waiting for intruders.

But here's the obvious next step: This technology is also primed to make the link between thought and superhuman abilities.

Thought Recognition

Thought recognition systems directly translate brain signals into action. Eric Ramsay, a man completely paralyzed except for his eyes is translating his thoughts into speech, a monkey's leg movement brain signals control a robot across the planet, and another monkey mentally controls a robotic arm to feed itself.

As exoskeletons fluidly respond to thought, paralysed, speechless people will walk, talk and navigate. Exoskeletons will spill from military applications to industry and then to consumers to become superhuman extensions of our bodies.

Follow news on thought controlled exoskeletons here.

More on thought controlled technology here:

Google Search

Google Video

Google News (not much as of March 2009, but worth checking over time)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

As Speech Recognition Software Morphs Into Thought Recognition

Since 1999, Eric Ramsay has been paralyzed and only able to move his eyes. Otherwise he's completely conscious. But a new computer/ brain interface reads his brain signals as he thinks about vocal sounds, translating them in real time. The goal is conversation, by making it possible for him to literally think out loud. This pioneering development has interesting implications for texting, search engines and much more.

Some Blue Sky Thinking...

Computer technology that translates thoughts into spoken words would also be able to turn them directly into text. That's what speech recognition software already does. So Eric Ramsay may soon be searching Google and surfing the web. It means he may soon be texting his friends and family. Making new friends and maybe show up on Twitter.

[April 22 2009 Update: Adam Wilson made history, posting to Twitter just by thinking about it.]

As electrodes give way to a skull cap, things like wireless searching, texting, messaging, Twitter, Facebook etc., could become a thumbless, mental exchange. I can hardly wait for the 'Blue-Toothers' to discover this. I mean it's freaky to watch someone striding down a street, or sitting alone at a table having a conversation with the ether. (Chuckle at this short video.)

Reverse the process and imagine computer text translated directly into your unique brain signals and show up as your own thoughts. 'These opinions are yours. You cannot imagine why you ever felt otherwise...'

Is there an ethicist in the house? Who said that?

More on thought controlled technology here:

Google Search

Google Video

Google News (not much as of March 2009, but worth checking over time)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Amazing Rough Terrain Robot

The six legged RHex Robot, from the makers of BigDog is designed for extreme terrain. It can seemingly go anywhere. Stairs, over rocks, through mud, swim through water, run through fields... If it gets stuck it just goes crazy until it's moving again. Kinda cute too. At least until hoards of them begin marching from our desktop fabricators only to be turned into zombies by the latest botnet.
See the video links.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Automation of Intelligence

Automated intelligence (also known as "computational intelligence"), doesn't need to be conscious in order to realize the promise, peril and potential of Artificial Intelligence. Meanwhile, computers run human cognitive skills such as decision making, analysis, testing, learning, creativity, invention, design, self-improvement... at hyper speed... and accelerating.

Early computers leaped from the assembly lines of the industrial revolution. These accelerated typewriters, doped with shreds of human cognition; memory, logic and calculating power, plowed the paper blizzard triggered by the men and machines of the factories. And as the next page of history turned, it dissolved into electronic pulses.

Today, the heart of our world beats with increasingly powerful cognition engines. Hyper speed simulated human mental functions run non-stop throughout our global computer systems, many way beyond human capabilities. And ALL of them promise the sort of returns that attract big investment.

It's Not About Consciousness

I'm not referring to some sort of conscious system that would spend 99% of it's time making itself brighter than it's builders while delightfully distracting us with the remainder. But all the promise, peril and potential of artificial intelligence will be realized through automated intelligence. In fact, while these emerging systems process human mental functions billions of times faster than a human, most fruitful thought about its implications has been bottlenecked by the A.I. consciousness debate. So whether artificial cognition systems can or cannot become conscious, they are getting exponentially better at behaving intelligently.

Things like automated decision making, analysis, testing, learning, creativity, invention, design and self-improvement, simulations, even perception such as vision hearing smell touch taste.

Emerging Cognitive Systems

Many singular functions are networked into systems from artificial sensory systems to new armed military robots.

What's Next?

As cheaper, more powerful coordinated automated intelligence continues to accelerate, learn, network and influence our global systems, what will be the impact? What will be the hallmarks of automated cognition systems at work inside businesses, nations, the markets and our personal lives?

Stay with me to explore the implications and impact of these hyper speed self-improving cognitive systems networking with each other and the world at large. I've got some ideas and I invite yours.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

(Smart Mass) Times (Acceleration) = Smartforce

Swarming behavior is an accelerating social force.

Emerging from the global connectedness of cell phones, the Web, Email distribution lists etc., technological swarming is a novel development in Guerrilla warfare, protest, politics, journalism, and every social sphere. Experiment for yourself with some searches.

This one snagged me though: From China to Colorado, consumers are connecting online in coordinated "mob buying" sprees. A Smartforce of hundreds of people ready to purchase big ticket items, swarm temporarily into a collective that sellers are willing to compete for.

Here's a classic shot of a journalistic flash scoop collectively aiming their phonecams at the New York steam pipe explosion.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tiny Liveable Houses

These houses have a tiny "footprint" but are beautiful and use space very efficiently. Energy use and maintenance is correspondingly tiny. Some people put them in their back yard as a retreat. Some use them as guest houses. Others actually live in them full time. Cool idea. You could probably put a dome over them and create an artificial environment. It only takes 5 minutes to heat the whole house up, and energy costs are between $20 and $50 per month. I can imagine installing solar panels and going completely off grid.

Pictures here.