Here’s your menu for today’s FuturePresent news round-up:
- MSFT’s “Productivity Vision 2011″ video:
via GeekWire who give this nice description:
As the new video opens, special eyeglasses translate audio into English in real-time for a business traveler in Johannesburg. A thin screen on a car window highlights a passing building to show where her meeting will be the next day, based on information from her calendar. Office workers gesture effortlessly to control and reroute text and charts as the screens around them morph and pulse with new information.
And on and on from there, making our modern-day digital breakthroughs seem like mere baby steps on the road to a far more spectacular future.
Now I want my fucking spex now as much as the next cyberpunk, BUT… actual world problems solved here? ZERO. When the current estimate is that 80 Million new jobs need to be created to replace the ones lost during this recent period of disaster capitalism, building a shinier operating system hardly seems likely to help.
- In better cyberpunky news, from the very same Microsoft, there’s OMNITOUCH:
via Design Taxi, who give us this succinct description:
OmniTouch is depth-sensing projection system worn on the shoulder.
With the system, hands, legs, arms, walls, books and tabletops, become interactive touch-screen surfaces—without any need for calibration.
If only they didn’t look so terrible. Get ya mod on there future-dwellers!
- It may have over 5Million views, but let’s take a look at the QUANTUM LEVITATION video again
via Gizmodo. Advances in basic science and engineering, now we’re talking!
- If you like SCIENCE! you’ll love simulated pocket universes:
Some of these universes would collapse instants after forming; in others, the forces between particles would be so weak they could not give rise to atoms or molecules. However, if conditions were suitable, matter would coalesce into galaxies and planets, and if the right elements were present in those worlds, intelligent life could evolve.
Some physicists have theorized that only universes in which the laws of physics are “just so” could support life, and that if things were even a little bit different from our world, intelligent life would be impossible. In that case, our physical laws might be explained “anthropically,” meaning that they are as they are because if they were otherwise, no one would be around to notice them.
MIT physics professor Robert Jaffe and his collaborators felt that this proposed anthropic explanation should be subjected to more careful scrutiny, and decided to explore whether universes with different physical laws could support life.
The MIT physicists have showed that universes quite different from ours still have elements similar to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and could therefore evolve life forms quite similar to us, even when the masses of elementary particles called quarks are dramatically altered.
Jaffe and his collaborators felt that this proposed anthropic explanation should be subjected to more careful scrutiny, so they decided to explore whether universes with different physical laws could support life. Unlike most other studies, in which varying only one constant usually produces an inhospitable universe, they examined more than one constant.
Whether life exists elsewhere in our universe is a longstanding mystery. But for some scientists, there’s another interesting question: could there be life in a universe significantly different from our own?
In work recently featured in a cover story in Scientific American, Jaffe, former MIT postdoc, Alejandro Jenkins, and recent MIT graduate Itamar Kimchi showed that universes quite different from ours still have elements similar to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and could therefore evolve life forms quite similar to us. Even when the masses of the elementary particles are dramatically altered, life may find a way.
“You could change them by significant amounts without eliminating the possibility of organic chemistry in the universe,” says Jenkins.
- From the macro to the micro – Scientists create computing building blocks from bacteria and DNA [PhysOrg]:
The scientists constructed a type of logic gate called an “AND Gate” from bacteria called Escherichia coli (E.Coli), which is normally found in the lower intestine. The team altered the E.Coli with modified DNA, which reprogrammed it to perform the same switching on and off process as its electronic equivalent when stimulated by chemicals.
The researchers were also able to demonstrate that the biological logic gates could be connected together to form more complex components in a similar way that electronic components are made. In another experiment, the researchers created a “NOT gate” and combined it with the AND gate to produce the more complex “NAND gate”.
The next stage of the research will see the team trying to develop more complex circuitry that comprises multiple logic gates. One of challenges faced by the team is finding a way to link multiple biological logic gates together, similar to the way in which electronic logic gates are linked together, to enable complex processing to be carried out.