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Architecture & Design Nature Technology

A robot designed to take care of your plants

For $949, you could own a robot that chases the sun to keep your plants alive.

Technology company Vincross created the spider-like HEXA as a multi-functional robot. It turns out one of those functions is for the six-legged robot to take care of your plants for you.

With blueprints downloaded from the Vincross website, any HEXA owner could program their device to move around when the plant’s leaves need sun and shade.

The bot can even warn owners when the plants need to be watered.

Yet another reason for millennials to turn their apartments into “house jungles.” 

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Technology

The first supercomputer, IBM’s 305 RAMAC from 1956

The first supercomputer, IBM's 305 RAMAC from 1956

In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the world’s first supercomputer with 5 MB of data.

The machine weighed over a ton — it took a team of people to transport it.

To put the computer size and storage in perspective, our pocket-sized phones contain 256GB of storage.

120 Years of Moore’s Law

Like fire and farming techniques before it, the ubiquity of computers and the exponential processing speed of chips, also known as Moore’s Law, changed the course of history. But even Moore’s Law is dying in exchange for brain-inspired chips.

Writes venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson who updated Ray Kurzweil’s visualization of Moore’s Law:

The fine-grained parallel compute architecture of a GPU maps better to the needs of deep learning than a CPU. There is a poetic beauty to the computational similarity of a processor optimized for graphics processing and the computational needs of a sensory cortex, as commonly seen in neural networks today.

Stephen T. Jurvetson

Dare we say it, the next supercomputer is not only artificially intelligent, but it also melds the mind and the machine.

Forget Google. Imagine having already downloaded all the relevant knowledge directly to your mind and using it expeditiously.

Here’s how IBM’s Director of Research Dario Gil sees the fusion of chips, neurons, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing wiring together.

“We’re beginning to see an answer to what is happening at the end of Moore’s law. It’s a question that has been the front of the industry for a long, long time.

And the answer is that we’re going to have this new foundation of bits plus neurons plus qubits coming together, over the next decade [at] different maturity levels – bits [are] enormously mature, the world of neural networks and neural technology, next in maturity, [and] quantum the least mature of those. [It] is important to anticipate what will happen when those three things intersect within a decade.”

Dario Gil

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Architecture & Design Technology

Dual head-mounted listening devices

via tw

This dual-mounted listening device served as an aircraft detection device before the invention of radar in 1935.

The Dutch military used the elephant-looking ears to detect approaching enemy aircraft by listening afar for engine sounds.

There were various iterations of the acoustic locators.

The Germans created a dual sight and sound system in 1917 that combined sound-ranging capabilities with binoculars to scope out aircraft.

The Dutch also created personal horns in 1935 that were double the size of the personal sound locator.

England built concrete acoustic mirrors around its coasts up until 1935.

Learn more about pre-radar objects here.

Categories
Architecture & Design Technology

The cake server by Joseph’s Machines

Brooklyn-based inventor Joseph’s Machines makes comical DIY contraptions. His latest video shows a chain-reaction machine deliver him a piece of cake. It also includes a baby poking an iPhone, a string of melting butter, and a chandelier.

The video took 3 months to make. Piece a cake!

Joseph’s gadgets are inspired by the cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg who built complex, interconnected machines in the early 1900s. Today, people use the expression Rube Goldberg machine. to describe anything convoluted, from machines to politics.

Rube Goldberg’s Self-Operating Napkin (1931)

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Culture & Society Technology

Christopher Reeve explains what Superman represents

In this video, the later Christopher Reeve who played Superman explains what the fictional superhero represents.

In a world of selfishness ushered in by smart devices and social media, Superman as a friend metaphor is a subtle reminder of the power of relationships.

It’s nice to know that there’s someone out there who’s willing to offer a hand and be a friend regardless of supposed differences, whether that be in race or politics.

Big thinking, small fragile world — such prescient words from Superman in the tribal world that is today.

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Science Technology

Connecting human brains to computers

Art by MattiasA 

“You could just think your query and download the relevant knowledge directly in your mind.”

Forget Ritalin. Forget Google and Evernote acting as our second brains holding all the information we can’t. And instead, prepare for brain implants where the mind melds with machines. We don’t even have to type, click, or touch anything. We just think and imagine commands.

As part of a clinical trial called “Brain Gate,” 13 applicants at Brown University have had a sensor placed into their motor cortex and so far have been able to control cursor movement on a screen. Says doctor John Simerall at Brown University building the neurotechnology device:

“Simply by imagining intuitive movements participants can immediately control a robotic device.”

Here come the cyborgs.

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