IBM are developing a brain implant

  
brain nebula
It is true, IBM researcher Stefan Harrer is developing a new and novel way of monitoring a person's brain in order to predict epileptic seizures. Working with neurologists from the University of Melbourne and the companies Australian branch Harrer is designing a computer system that he says is like an artificial brain, this computer will be dedicated to analyzing a real human brain. They have designed a software application that will interpret human brain waves by using a neural network. A patient's brain waves are fed into the neural network and analyzed by the IBM proprietary hardware. The hardware in question is an experimental IBM chip called TrueNorth, this chip has been built with an architecture that is designed to mirror the human brain which is why it makes an efficient neural network.
The team of researchers in the genes using the computer chip with an external computer and eventually on a wearable device that will work cooperatively alongside a brain implant, the implant would send EEG information to the wearable device or computer which would then use the data to predict the onset of an epileptic seizure. The team expressed the desire for the system to be on a wearable device as quickly as possible as this would then allow them to do an analysis in real-time. They also said that having the wearable device working efficiently is the only real way for this technology to have a great impact beyond looking cool on research papers. They envisage the device on detecting an oncoming seizure would alert the patient and the patient's doctors using a connected smart phone.
Using the data attained from earlier implant studies the scientists involved expect they will be able to see deeper into the underlying structure of seizure brain activity. Harrer and his team hope to use this information to further refine the device so it can then be used not only to predict seizures but possibly be used to even stop them before they occur. Harrer said that to be unable to stop the seizure the artificial brain would have to compensate for the real brain which was malfunctioning.
The difficulty the team has faced from the start is trying to extract the really meaningful information from all the background noise generated by the patient's brain, they have to be able to detect a specific seizure pattern for each individual patient and so far this has eluded them but they all say they are getting closer everyday. This whole thing might sound like science fiction but it isn't, neurologists at the University of Melbourne have already been running a study in which less complex implants gathered EEG readings from epilepsy patients for the last three years, which is why Harrer joined forces with them with his study. The ultimate aim of both of these projects is to one day be able to attach an artificial neural network to a human body, this is many years in the future but all of the team believe it not only can be done but has to be done.

 

Intel new Optane memory technology

  

cpu

Mid 2017 Intel and micron launched a new ultrafast memory technology branded as Optane, they are saying that this technology will pave the way for even faster storage on Apple's MacBooks. Optane is going to be compatible with the NVMe storage protocols that Apple already uses in some of its MacBooks. This fact means it will be relatively easy for Apple to transition to Optane and to take advantage of the new technology before everyone else. Using 3-D X point technology, Optane is said to offer speeds up to 1000 times faster and more durable than currently used flash storage, it achieves this by being 10 times denser than DRAM.

NVMe is meant to replace the aging AHCI technology, NVMe is optimized for lower latency operations afforded by solid-state media and/or nonvolatile memory. Compared to what it is replacing NVMe reduces latency by up to 50%. This new type of memory is the first you memory category in more than 25 years, with most of the industry tech heads just calling it “crazy fast” for short.
The new technology is going to revolutionize the whole industry because a lot of devices and software that are still on the drawing boards will benefit greatly from the use of this superfast memory. To make it Intel and micron had to actually use unique material compounds and Crosspoint architecture to get the density they needed which is 10 times that of conventional memory. This new technology makes new innovations possible in applications ranging from machine learning to gameplay, the 8K gaming experience is now within reach using these memory chips.
For decades now the industry has been searching for anyway to reduce the lag time between the processing chip and the data, this new class of nonvolatile memory has achieved that goal, it brings game changing performance to memory and storage. The biggest lag in modern computing has been the time it takes the processor to retrieve data on long-term storage, this new revolutionary technology used in this chip allows quick access to enormous data sets and enables whole new sets of applications.
One of the applications the medical profession is looking forward to with this technology is that researchers or physicians can process and analyze very large data sets in real time, this will accelerate complex tasks including genetic analysis and disease tracking. The performance enhancements of the 3-D Xpoint technology will also be of great benefit to PC users, for many years the 8K gaming experience was something professional gamers can only look forward to, now it is actually on the horizon and coming closer by the minute. The use of this technology in relatively simple tasks like online video or online video chat will mean it will be a greatly enhanced experience without any lags or other problems usually encountered with the current technology.
The 3-D Xpoint technology is a completely new technology, the chip is innovative, it uses a transistor less crosspoint architecture which creates a three-dimensional checkerboard where memory cells sit at the intersections of the lines, as a result data can be written and read much faster and much more efficiently.
 
Intel Optane technology provides an unparalleled combination of high throughput, low latency, high quality of service, and high endurance. Check out the video to see how new computer architectures are unleashing unprecedented possibilities from data center to desktop.

 

iPhone has been unlocked without Apple

  

iphone

Where you will stand on this issue probably will depend on which side of the political spectrum you come down on. A while ago the US Justice Department got a court order which ordered Apple to unlock the iPhone that belongs to the terrorists from San Bernardino so the FBI could see what information the phone held, Apple point-blank refused and took the matter to court, at the same time the US Justice Department also went back to court seeking an enforcement order. However recently the Justice Department went into court and withdrew its legal action against Apple, during that withdrawal they stated that the iPhone has been unlocked and the FBI is now going over the data in the phone to see if there's any useful intelligence to be gained.

It was the announcement that the phone had been unlocked and the contents were now available to the authorities that has caused the biggest consternation for many a year. First thing that happened was Apple turnaround and tried to take the Justice Department Court demanding to know who unlocked the phone and how they did it. For the time being the Justice Department has classified both pieces of information so Apple cannot get them. But the very fact that the iPhone has been unlocked by a third-party, the Justice Department has disclosed, has to be gentle about it, thrown a bobcat into the hen house, with tech companies running everywhere trying to figure out who, what and how what Apple said was impossible has occurred.
On top of that the American Civil Liberties Union has joined in the fight on Apple's side trying to force the Justice Department to disclose how the phone was unlocked on the grounds that Apple should be provided that information so they can prevent it happening again, again the Justice Department is basically said the information is classified. Apple then released the following information with Justice Department permission, the phone in question was an iPhone 5C running Apples iOS 9 mobile operating system, other than this revelation potentially frightening anyone who owns this phone with this configuration about how good the phones security is, no one else seems to know why the information was released.
The original court decision and subsequent court appearances between Apple and the authorities had become more more heated as Apple refused point blank to help the authorities in any way, and inciting a debate about whether privacy or security was more important. Now the phone has been unlocked Apple is now saying they would continue to help law enforcement investigations, which of course the FBI quickly reminded everybody was zero cooperation. Apple now says openly that given the rancor between the FBI and the company they doubt the FBI will ever tell him or provide them with any information relating to how the iPhone security was breached.
What most of the general public did not know is that at least three other cases in different parts of the United States have taken place where government lawyers asked for court orders to get Apple to open other locked phones so they can gather information for prosecutions, probably the best-known of these is an iPhone that was used by drug dealer in Brooklyn New York where a federal judge refused to grant the order, Apple is now extremely worried the same method will be used to open these other iPhones and there appears to be absolutely nothing they can do to stop it.

 

Fishing trip tech

  

fishing

If you sit back and think about it for a minute you probably realize a lot of the technology you used on your last fishing trip, the superduper whizbang four-wheel-drive vehicle that got you deeper into the wilderness than you ever been before or the incredibly fast and powerful boat that got you 20 miles offshore in under an hour, if you use either of those you saw plenty of technology, everything from a GPS to the winch that helped launch the boat, they are all products of technology. Today just about the only part of a fishing trip that is not the product of technology would be if you used old-fashioned baits, like worms and homemade concoctions.

Most people don't realize modern day fishing is just about all technology, everything from lines, rods, reels, lures and hooks and even many of the baits we use, like soft plastics. Generally no fisherman wants to go back to the old days of manufacturing your own hooks, building fly rods from pieces of bamboo or other woods, using woven silk as fishing line, with leaders made from woven horse hair. The closest most modern fisherman come to manufacturing any of their own gear is for those few left who still tie their own flies but even they are using modern manufactured materials to tie those flies with. Needless to say of course they tied the fly onto a modern store-bought hook or leader.
Very few fishermen want to go back to the old-fashioned ways simply because they do not have the time to spend, up to a month, to make a single fishing rod only to have it break about the third or fourth fish you hook into. All fishermen love the convenience of being able to walk into any tackle shop and walk out 15 min. later (good luck with that one, more like 3 hours) with everything they need for a full day's fishing in any environment, the only thing that will be missing is some of the credit available on the credit card.
Depending on where you fish at and who with will depend on what the “rules” are, it is always wise to drop into the local tackle shop and just ask the owner or the shop assistant what are the local rules, in a lot of places no one really cares but in some places even using high-tech fish finders is considered to be unsportsmanlike conduct and won't make you any friends. In most states fishing regulations apply but most of these regulations do not address technology directly, the biggest fishing technique that is not even mentioned in nearly every regulation is fishing using a model compound bow and high-tech arrows.
These days even fly fisherman can be seen using depth finders and GPS devices together, when asked what they're doing they will tell you that the use of these two technological marvels allows them to plot the water depth and temperature and recorded in the GPS for future reference, so the fishermen doesn't even need to remember his favorite fishing spot anymore, he just looks it up. The point is that there is no question of whether we should or should not use technology when fishing, we are using it already, like it or not, so what can be wrong with keeping up with the times.

 

Microsoft trumpets Windows 10

  

Microsoft

Recently at an event for developers in San Francisco Microsoft continued to trumpet Windows 10, which it will continue to bank on in the near future, but they seem to be moving into artificial intelligence software as well in a big way. They delivered twin messages at the event saying at first that Windows 10 is now running on 270 million active devices, this only 8 months after it was released to the public, they said that this is the fastest adoption ever of a new version of Windows, no mention was made of the fact that in a lot of cases Microsoft has forced the upgrade on unsuspecting and unwilling users.

Along with the chest beating over Windows 10 Microsoft also revealed a whole bunch of new tools for developers to create bots, which are pieces of software that can be used in the production of new methods of interacting with computers, such as a chat interface for ordering your favorite Chinese takeout. Microsoft CEO said that the company wants to build intelligence that augments human abilities and experience. Most analysts believe the bot move is a risky gamble, Microsoft also recently released a Twitter chatbot called Tay that uses artificial intelligence software to respond to communications from Twitter users. The experiment blew up in Microsoft's face when people fooled the bot into repeating racist and sexist comments mostly and generally other offensive language, Microsoft shut Tay down and the CEO said the experience had humbled Microsoft.
But he went on to say immediately that Microsoft had gone back to the drawing board on projects like Tay. Another area of new technology that Microsoft is now heavily involved in is an augmented reality headset that overlays digital images on the wearers view of the real world they are looking at, at $3000 each this product is really only aimed at developers making applications for the headset. Microsoft CEO was asked when and if it will start selling a version of the headset to the public and how much it would cost, he could not answer the question definitively, just saying that it was coming.
Another question the CEO was asked at the event was about the company saying that it expected Windows 10 to not only reverse Microsoft's fading stature in the technology industry but that Windows 10 would be on 1 billion devices 2 to 3 years after it was released, both the CEO and executive vice president of the Windows and devices group at Microsoft said they were confident the company could still reach that objective.
They did admit however that Windows 10 does not do everything Microsoft hoped it would. And that its success has not significantly shifted any technology industry dynamics, mobile platforms like Apples iOS and Google's android are still being installed more often than Windows 10 simply because software developers are always hunting for the largest and most engaged audience of users, and today that audience are all carrying smart phones not PCs. Also another factor working against Microsoft's Windows 10 is that PC sales still continue their slow but steady decline.
Most pundits in the industry however suggest that more and more software will be designed for the Windows 10 operating system as it gets taken up by more users.

 

NASA testing an E-sail

  

nasa HERTS

Most people interested in space travel technology know that the biggest problem even traveling around our own solar system is the length of time it takes to get anywhere using the current technology. For instance we all know it took Voyager 1 over 30 years to reach interstellar space, which is a quick way of saying, outer space or outside of our solar system. This incredibly long length of time just makes any kind of space travel not only horribly expensive and dangerous but for human species just too long. But what if there is a way to get from Earth to interstellar space inside of 10 years, with talking a journey of 11,000,000,000 miles in under 10 years. That would be an incredibly vast improvement on what we can actually do today.

NASA think they have a way and have been testing the new technology at the Marshall space flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The full technical name for what they're testing is the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System or HERTS, and what basically is is an electric sail, it uses no propellant except for the solar winds. This is using a giant solar sail which is made of Mylar spread on gossamer threads to catch the incredibly fast and powerful solar winds. In case you don't know the solar winds are a constant stream of protons and other charged particles coming from the sun at speeds from 400 to 750 km per second, that is in excess of 900,000 mph.
This idea has already been tested in Earth orbit but that proved to be a far from perfect solution. The biggest problem they had was actually deploying the giant sail, which proved difficult even in zero gravity, another problem they encounted was that the force of the solar winds is proportional to the distance you are from the sun and once you reach a distance of 464,000,000 miles from the sun the acceleration falls off dramatically. The major difficulty with deploying the sail came because nearly all the winches and cables are miniscule, your deploying a sail that is 20 km long on its radius but weighs only a few grams for each of the gossamer threads.
The most effective method they found to deploy the sail was by spinning it, the centrifugal force involved gradually opened the sail until it was fully deployed, they also found out purely by accident that a slowly rotating sail actually works better than one that is sitting still. How the sail actually works, it is electrostatically charged to repel the fast-moving positively charged protons, that repulsion pushes the spacecraft along exactly like a sailboat running before the wind. You can even steer this type of spacecraft exactly as you would steer a sailboat, you trim its sails by modulating each wire as voltage as the sale is rotating and it reflects less protons, with more pressure being exerted on the other parts of the sail the spacecraft will then turn in the direction that you want it to.

 

Our addiction to technology

  

devices

And the question is, can we fix it? In the industry there is a person called Erika Atold, now in reality Erika doesn't exist, the person that is called Erika is a composite drawn from correlated data from interviews, Erika is the mean average of all of that data. The information says Erika is a 32-year-old mother, she's a legal secretary who works in Seattle and she embraced the Internet revolution compulsively, she owns seven digital devices, she is a desktop, a laptop, two tablets, two phones and a watch. She spends on average 140 hours a week online, she toggles obsessively between Skype, FaceTime and checking her 200 daily e-mails, she also does about 30,000 texts per month, on all the devices she has 920 downloaded apps and 100 bookmarked websites. The last thing about Erika we know is that in 2015 she overdosed on technology and almost had a nervous breakdown.

Most people who reported similar currents is to Erika said that at the end they were disorientated and detached from the real world and that they lost any sense of what was truly important in their life, it was just crazy, sick and very sad. Now Erika's story is at the extreme end of the spectrum but it is hardly unusual in the United States today, indeed we are a nation of digiholics and the sad part is that the chaos and confusion that is now permeating our lives thanks to out technology addiction is not only debilitating and disrupting to our professional lives it is now starting to destroy our personal well-being.
It was staggering to the researchers to find that the average adult under the age of 45 has four digital devices as a minimum and they spend 90% more time consuming digital media on their current smart phone than they did two years ago. The researchers said there are signs of crisis nearly everywhere, did you know that nearly 60% of computer users check e-mail in the bathroom, 15% of people have read their e-mails in church and 85% say they wouldn't go on vacation if they could take their laptop. Each person checks an average of 40 websites every day and we opened 85% of work e-mails within 2 min. on top of that we switch programs nearly 37 times an hour on average.
We are definitely, according to the researchers, interacting with technology in unhealthy ways, they say there is evidence that the frantic digital overload is destabilizing our lives, it is adversely affecting our decision-making, innovation and productivity in the workplace. One study conducted by Microsoft track the e-mail habits of its staff. They found for example that once a person's work had been interrupted by an e-mail notification that worker generally took on average 24 min. to get back to the original task they were doing when the e-mail arrived. There is another study at their which was conducted by the Harvard business school that actually said ringing phones and e-mail alerts lowers a workers IQ by 10 points.

 

Curb prosthetic-leg cheating

  

Hugh Herr TED

It is doubtful there's a single person on the planet who's never heard of Oscar Pistorius, but most of them would have only heard of him for him being tried for murder. Long before that he took court action for the right to run alongside nondisabled athletes at the Olympic Games. His name that is generally used by the media is the Blade Runner, he has that name because he has no lower legs, he wears prosthetic blades but now a lot of scientists are starting to say that the wearing of such technologically advanced equipment is going to make it almost impossible for an athlete not wearing such devices to keep up, it hasn't happened yet but they are saying it is inevitable.

Surprisingly Oscar Pistorius was a sprinter and even though he competed successfully at the Olympics he failed to medal which is currently where most of the technology is at. The scientists expect and are already seeing that this kind of technology will mostly be used in distance or endurance events because simply put having even half a leg that can never get tired or sore or injured is a massive advantage so if you like Oscar Pistorius and had two of them then your advantage is doubled. It has come as a huge surprise to a lot of disabled athletes using these types of devices that the engineers who actually design them are the first group of people who are suggesting that some new guidelines be set up to keep prosthetic leg users in particular honest.
Bruce Dyer heads up research at Bournemouth University's design and engineering department, he is a prize-winning prosthetics designer and has been running a study to determine a way to analyze the use of lower limb running prosthesis in competitions for disabled athletes. He knew it would be easy but said “it's an almost impossible problem to deal with, but we can't ignore it either”, because the field of prosthetics is advancing incredibly fast as each new technology arrives, he said it's very difficult just to quantify what is even available let alone regulated it. It has only been about 25 years since prosthetic design has evolved to be anything more than comfortable for the wearer.
To start his study Dyer looked at the performance data from the men's 100 m sprint event at the Paralympic games between 1976 and 2012, he used this data as a way of establishing how far prosthetic technology had come in that time. When comparing the data available it actually shows there have been consistent improvements in performance across that timeline. The next phase of the research involved trying to come up with a consensus on how prosthetics should be used by disabled runners. To do that he recruited an expert panel that included people who are designing, fitting and servicing the equipment athletes are using, they were even just spectators on this panel but there were also members of the governing bodies, academics and of course some disabled athletes themselves, the first question they were asked was what they actually thought about prosthetics in competition. The end result of all of this study was that the guidelines would have to allow the athlete to have what they called restored functionality instead of enhanced functionality.

 

Seniors are making strides

  

Grandparents

A few years ago grandparents would reluctantly agree to try Facebook because that was what the grandkids wanted them to do, nowadays it's all changed, the same grandparents want to know all about the latest tablet and smart phone technology and they are taking more more classes to learn all about more advanced technology. If you ask most teachers at specialized computer learning centers they will probably tell you that 10 years ago they maybe had one senior in the class but today you're the half the class are retired from the workforce. Most of these students are way past the computer basics classes they took 10 years ago, the biggest problem the education institutes have is that they have not progressed with these people, they still offer that same computer basics class and not much more for this age group.

The biggest problem for the educational institutions is that this group of people are pretty determined and they have serious spending power so if the local learning Center doesn't provide them with what they want they tend to go out and organize their own classes usually in a facility that they attend regularly anyway, like a senior citizen center, and then they get taught what they want to learn. This group, that were virtually tech illiterates 10 years ago are now mostly highly advanced, all considered to be highly advanced by most teachers. Currently most of the seniors in the United States are taking either beginner or advanced classes in Windows 10. What they seem to want to learn is whether they should upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10.
Unlike a few years ago when these people didn't know what was going on they now know their own computer backwards and before they do upgrade they want to know exactly what the benefits and what the downsides are and then they will make what is a very well informed decision, not before. This group is also believed to be the biggest uptaker of the software designed to prevent Microsoft from automatically upgrading their current operating system to the new Windows 10.
They are also very tech savvy when it comes to smartphones with most of them having a very modern and fully updated iPhone or Samsung galaxy, they are extremely tech savvy at using these devices, in most cases more than the teenagers these phones were designed for. There is a reported case of an 82-year-old woman who went into a phone store in Philadelphia and was advised by the assistant to buy a certain phone, she stunned the assistant by saying that phones camera has a too slow shutter speed for what I want, from the report the assistant understood what she was saying but had no idea themselves what the actual shutter speed of the phones camera was. It probably did achieve one thing, no one in that shop will ever treat a senior with contempt again, plus of course she had a wad of cash to buy any phone she wanted which is always a help.

 

Smartphones are boring, so what happens now

  

lg

 

Probably the smart phone that's available right now that is a glimpse into the future is the LG G6 , this phone has a number of new tricks:

  • The LG G6 packs a 5.7" display in an attractive sleek phone that comfortably fits in one hand. Unlike other phones with a similar screen size, the large 5.7” display fits in your hand, giving you a big screen experience without the inconvenience of a big phone.
  • The LG G6 is sculpted from aluminum and glass and is available in platinum and black. The 18:9 FullVision display with rounded corners and narrow bezels conclude the harmonious design.
  • The LG G6's FullVision display puts more screen in your phone for all your browsing, viewing, and gaming needs.
  • The LG G6 lets you capture life's most memorable moments like never before. Enhancements in image quality and performance make taking expansive panoramas, group shots and selfies easier than ever.
    Wide Angle Front Camera
  • The LG G6 makes taking great selfies effortless with an enhanced front camera that automatically snaps a picture when a face is in frame—no buttons required.
  • Capture life's breathtaking views with Dual 13MP rear cameras. The 125° wide-angle lens allows you to capture photos and videos with a wider perspective - for more friends or more inclusive scenic shots.
  • Take the LG G6 with you just about anywhere. With an IP68 rating, it's sealed against dust and water resistant up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes.
  • The LG G6 has the Google Assistant built in
These days it seems there is almost a new phone launch every few weeks and to be ruthless most of them are about as exciting as watching your toenails grow. The manufacturers always say this new phone has vast improvements but nearly always you get a slightly better camera and maybe a slightly brighter screen and if you're really lucky it comes in a color you have never heard of. No one wants to sound ungrateful and we all know that smart phones over the last decade or so have become incredibly powerful and very accessible, and that is a serious technological feat, but the reality is they have become almost as predictable as a fast and furious movie.
What LG's G10 is, it is more prototype then finished product, is a blueprint for the future of smart phones. Most of the future improvements in smart phones will come from the software but there are some hardware features over on the horizon that will push the phones even further. The first innovation is going to be modular design, this will mean that you can mix and match your parts as you need them, you break your screen, slide it out and slide the new one in. You want a better camera, pull the old one out and put a new one in, that is modular design in action. The bottom half of the G10 is a module, it can be detached and replaced with other modules but nearly all the reviews say most of these modules are just gimmicks at this stage, except one, they have a $70 camera grip with the zoom control included plus an extra battery, this module really works well.
Google seems about to take the module designed smart phone to a whole new era, Google has a thing called project Ara, this whole project is about designing a modular smart phone that Google was hoping would completely change the smart phone market. The project has hit many snags but Google still funds it and the first prototypes are due for testing before the end of this year. Most of the smart phone designers are now looking at dual camera smart phones, Apple has one in the works, LG of course has one, Samsung has one but the best one is reputedly the Huawei S10 which reputedly has lenses that work in tandem for improved quality and some cool tricks. Apple has also recently purchased a start up company that was designing software to allow multiple lens photography using the smart phone.
Google will have the last word probably because they have another project called Project Tango which will allow you to take a 3-D photograph, including a 3-D selfie.
  
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