Saturday, March 9, 2013

Data Stream: 3D Scanning, Digital Fingers, Personal Drones, & Assorted Bytes

Technology moves fast, with each passing week, an outstanding array of advancements and innovations are revealed. This week was an informavore’s feast as usual. Here's a round-up/reflection on selected articles filtering through the interweb covering things future-tech.

3D Scan/Print is an awesome example of future-tech that can be democratized for a ton of social benefit. If priced right, this tech could be used in numerous beneficial ways by ordinary folks, in struggling public schools, at clinics and hospitals, for manufacturing, for home repair…applications are endless. The DIY science + art implications are enormous.    
Lecher writes, "South by Southwest, MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis has announced the company's 3-D printing desktop scanner: the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner. It's exactly what it sounds like: a Makerbot-created tool that can scan real, 3-D objects and turn them into digital files. Those files can then be sent to other 3-D printers, and the objects printed on demand. Lasers and cameras in the device scan the object and digitize it. After that, with the file handy, it can be shared--ideally meaning hobbyists without much experience in scanning will be able to create and share files with other hobbyists without much experience in scanning.” Read from the source
Chloe Albanesius, writing for PC Mag, noted “More recently, MakerBot in September unveiled the Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, the company's fourth-generation 3D printer. The MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer, meanwhile, made its debut at CES.” Read from the source.

(Video Source: TechNews.)

Digitizer sign up: MakerBot's website.

Flying Robots 101: Everything You Need To Know About Drones. How do you define a drone? What's the difference between an RQ-9 Reaper and a quadrotor? Your pressing drone questions, answered. bKelsey D. Atherton.

Excellent quick primer on drone types and uses. Let’s side-step the obvious nefarious uses of drones in military or political contexts; a little suspension of disbelief for this next bit: the use of drones (I mean here these top-grade military flying drones) by public and private academic scientific institutions would produce copious amounts of scientific data for all manner of scientific disciplines, not to mention search and rescue.
Atherton writes, "Drone" as a category refers to any unmanned, remotely piloted flying craft, ranging from something as small as a radio-controlled toy helicopter to the 32,000-pound, $104 million Global Hawk. If it flies and it's controlled by a pilot on the ground, it fits under the everyday-language definition of drone.” Read from the source.

(Video Source: MotherBoardTV)

Should We Use Big Data To Punish Crimes Before They're Committed? Welcome to a future in which big data helps law enforcement predict and punish crime before it happens. by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier.

The authors explore the inevitable: the use of Big Data by the State for surveillance and incarceration ala Minority Report. Deter crimes, precognition, hyper-surveillance, Kafka meets Orwell in an internet café.
The authors write, “Already we see the seedlings of Minority Report-style predictions penalizing people. Parole boards in more than half of all U.S. states use predictions founded on data analysis as a factor in deciding whether to release somebody from prison or to keep him incarcerated. A growing number of places in the United States -- from precincts in Los Angeles to cities like Richmond, Virginia -- employ “predictive policing”: using big-data analysis to select what streets, groups, and individuals to subject to extra scrutiny, simply because an algorithm pointed to them as more likely to commit crime.” Read from the source.
Interesting read from Harvard Law Review on legal and moral implications of state surveillance, The Dangers of Surveillance, by Neil M. Richards (Washington University School of Law).

(I do not own this video clip. This video is not used for commercial purposes. This video is used in accordance with Fair Use.) 

DJI Phantom RC Quadrotor UAS Review: A Powerful Personal Drone That Knows Its Place. The GPS-stabilized Phantom isn't exactly a toy, but that doesn't stop it from being serious fun. by Clay Dillow.

Here is another technological innovation that will become more common in public spaces: personal drones. Again, if you side-step some thorny privacy and surveillance issues, not to mention street warfare (imagine street gangs with programmed drones, or the state…see article above…)…there are some super cool potential uses of personal drones for scientific and cultural pursuits.
Dillo wrote, “DJI is a maker of flight control systems for UAS as well as a handful of complete unmanned aerial vehicles, mostly geared toward aerial photography applications. Most of these platforms are somewhat complex and quite expensive--in other words, best suited for commercial customers or the most serious and well-heeled hobbyists. The Phantom is DJI’s attempt at packaging its technology in a way that is both inexpensive and user-friendly, so much so that anyone can get into unmanned flight.”

(Video Source: Youtube user video Nate Bolt.)

Researchers Create A 'Google Map' Of The Human Metabolism. Never get lost in your own metabolic processes again!
by Shaunacy Ferro

Named Recon 2, this piece of collaborative science is a comprehensive map of the human metabolism. These maps could be created for each patient: a living digital profile of our psychophysiological states; the map as an interactive digital expression of our bodies 24-7; information could be sent from nano-bio-tech-system regulators embed in our bodies (CNS); with an interface to allow us to “tweak the knobs”...prevent/predict/respond to internal and external psychophysioligical changes such as disease or illness or for optimal functioning. Imagine a sound board in a recording studio for your body, giving doctors the ability to engineer health like we engineer studio music. 
Ferro writes, “multiple models of the human metabolism exist, but Recon 2 is so far the most comprehensive. While the human metabolic network isn't actually Google Maps' latest attempt at virtual tourism (color me disappointed), the comparison comes from Recon 2's capacity to incorporate many complex details from scientific literature and other models into a single interactive map. Recon 2 is an expansion of a prior model, Recon 1, which has been used in researching the molecular targets of cancer drugs and the affects of off-target drugs.” Read from the source.
The full article from Nature Biotechnology can be found here.

Image Source:

Another example here of the increasing cyborgification of the human body. Numerous immediate applications for disabled populations, artists, medical practitioners, writers, teachers…again endless…This tech will eventually be linked to all manner of media in the home and work place, which will reduce the static UI experience inherent in so much current tech UIs. Read here about gesture control.
Ferro writes, “A thin, glove-like wristband is equipped with acceleration sensors and gyroscopes like those already found in a cell phone. It recognizes handwriting movements and transmits them to a computer with a wireless signal. It can distinguish between when you're actually trying to write, versus when you're cooking or doing laundry, the researchers say -- in case you were planning on cooking while wearing your high-tech handwriting gloves.” Read from the source.

(Video source: ThalmicLabs.)

OsteoFab is a fabricated material (polyketone), cleared by the FDA, that can be used by 3-D printers (or whoever) to repair large sections of a damaged skull.
Flaherty writes, “The typical OsteoFab customer has been in a car accident or suffered other physical trauma. In the emergency room, doctors stabilize the patient and and get a CAT scan. The OPM engineering team builds on the data from the scan and creates printable CAD files that feature screw holes and scaffolding necessary for implantation. A surgeon approves the design and it’s printed at OPM using a selective laser sintering 3-D printer. A technician laser-scans the final part for quality control and ships it to the hospital where it’s sterilized and implanted.” Read the source.

(Not exactly OsteoFab, but you get the point. Video source: MakerBot.)
To round-out the week in future-tech that was, an asteroid does a fly-by over earth. 

City-Block-Size Asteroid Comes Out of Nowhere and Flies By Earth. by Adam Mann.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.