RoomAlive can turn any space into a holodeck



Microsoft Research revealed Illumiroom last year. Illumiroom used projectors to stretch the image on your TV to take over a whole wall. Now comes the sequel, RoomAlive. The new system can turn every surface in a room–from the floor to the couch cushions to your own skin–into a glowing screen that reacts to your movement. It’s as if your whole analog world has been digitized. And that digital world can see where you’re looking, pointing, and touching, and adapt itself accordingly. (Videos)



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Google’s Captioning on Glass app is a boon for the hearing impaired

Brian Ho

A new app for Google Glass provides text captions from the spoken word.

Life can be a little bit easier for those who have lost some or all of their hearing thanks to a new application for Google Glass. The free Captioning on Glass app was created by a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology and does precisely what it sounds like: It provides text captions of the spoken word on the small screen of Google’s wearable display. (Video)



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Gravity map exposes mysteries of the deep oceans

gravity model

The gravity model of the North Atlantic ocean basin reveals tectonic history in sharp detail.

It’s like someone pulled a plug in the oceans and drained them away as a sea-floor map has exposed thousands of never-before-seen underwater mountains and ridges. The map was generated by the highest-resolution gravity model ever made for the oceans and will guide deep-sea research for years to come. (Video)



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3D printed hands turn kids into superheroes


Prosthetic Wolverine claws

Prosthetic hands are great. But when you’re designing and building them for children, as Arron Brown does, prosthetic Wolverine claws are even better. Brown, a 3D printing enthusiast in Grand Rapids, Michigan, volunteers for a global organization called Enabling the Future, which designs and prints prosthetic fingers and hands for people in need. (Video)



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Scientists develop 3D, continuously multidirectional cloaking device


The multidirectional “perfect paraxial” cloak bends light around the hand to show the grid on the wall.

Two University of Rochester scientists have taken invisibility cloaking back to basics. Their novel arrangement of four standard, off-the-shelf lenses keeps an object hidden (and the background undisturbed) as the viewer moves up to several degrees away from the optimal viewing angle. (Video)



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Airlight Energy and IBM’s new sunflower-shaped solar concentrators produce energy and fresh water


High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT)

A cutting-edge solar system that resembles a 10-meter-high sunflower has just been unveiled by IBM Research and Swiss solar technology company Airlight Energy. The High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system can concentrate the sun’s radiation 2,000 times and convert 80 percent of it into useful energy, generating up to 12 kilowatts of electrical power and 20 kilowatts of heat on a sunny day—enough to power several average homes. It can also produce clean, fresh water as a result of the process used to cool the solar cells. (Video)


Japanese company Obayashi plans to have a space elevator up and running by 2050

space elevator

Space elevator

The Japanese construction giant Obayashi has announced they will have a space elevator up and running by the year 2050. If successful it would revolutionize space travel and potentially transform the global economy. (Video)



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Progress in technology is driven by our growing addiction to ‘cognitive ecstasy’


“Cognitive ecstasy” is one reason humans persevere in science, art, and invention.

Humans are curious because discovery is pleasurable. In Jason Silva’s latest video. he says humans don’t care about spectacle—what we care about is ecstatic understanding: “In other words, cognitive ecstasy defined as an exhilarating neurostorm of intense intellectual pleasure.” (Video)

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Beware, fellow plutocrats, the pitchforks are coming: Nick Hanauer


Nick Hanauer, venture capitalist and author

An unrepentant capitalist and rich guy, Nick Hanauer has something to say to his fellow plutocrats: Wake up! Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Hear his argument about why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity … and prevent a revolution. (Video)

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Chinese hospital introduces hands-free automatic sperm extractor


Automatic sperm extractor.

A hospital in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, China, has introduced a new machine that makes sperm donation even easier- an automatic hands-free sperm extractor. Have scientists gone a little too far with this invention? (Video)



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NASA blasts first 3D printer into space

3D printer

The machine hitching a ride on the Space X cargo shuttle isn’t your average, off-the-shelf MakerBot printer.

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida last week carrying something that’s never been taken into space: A 3D printer. When it docked with the ISS, it delivered the first machine capable of making things in orbit—a huge step forward for exploration. (Video)

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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge hits 1 billion YouTube views


Rita Ora does the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

We can call this the summer of the Ice Bucket Challenge with videos of shivering people flooding social feeds around the world. And what a summer it was: we saw epic stunts, epic fails, quirky twists and a whole lot of celebrities. We learned a lot about the strange connections between famous people (Bill Gates knows Ryan Seacrest?). The IBC craze even resulted in a couple of marriage proposals. And it’s all in the name of charity: Since July 29, 2014 the ALS Foundation reported more than $115 million in Ice Bucket Challenge donations.


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