While California may have Silicon Valley, it's New England that's making waves in the angel investment community, and Chris Mirabile is one of the people leading the way. Mirabile is the co-managing director of Launchpad Venture Group, the largest angel group in New England.
HAPTIX Helps Amputees
DARPA recently upgraded its Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX) system in order to provide a range of sensations to amputees, empower them with intuitive control of advanced prosthetic devices and help reduce their incidence of phantom limb pain. HAPTIX aims to develop a system that will measure and decode signals produced by the muscles and peripheral nerves. The prosthetic limb will have built-in sensors to intercept the signals and will use them to provide feedback to the user though stimulation of sensory pathways in the peripheral nerves. As a result, the artificial limb will feel real and the user will have a sense of it being an integral part of their body.
FBI Facial Recognition Database
Concerns about personal privacy are being raised in relation to the FBI's current plans to build a huge facial recognition database. By 2015, the Next Generation Identification (NGI) database will contain around 52 million images, more than double the amount it held in 2013. The database also contains 4.3 million images obtained for "non-criminal purposes," though it is not clear where these images came from.
Although in the FBI's fingerprint database, criminal and civilian data are kept completely separate, in the NGI database, criminal and non-criminal information will be stored together enabling a search to query the entire system. Even individuals who have not committed a crime may have their facial images searched through the new system.
Cow Milking Robot
Already popular in European countries, cow milking robots are now coming to a dairy farm near you. Gone are the days of the milk-hands who used to wash the cow's udders, attach the milking machines and wait for the milking to finish. Now milking robots can take care of the whole process, and even know when the cow is ready to be milked.
The process is simple and effective. When it's time for milking, the cow goes into a specially rigged stall where a laser scans a bar code on a collar around her neck. This enables the robot to know which cows are ready to be milked. Grain is automatically dropped into a trough in front the cow, so that she can eat while she is being milked. A robot arm with attached brushes cleans the udders, and lasers scan them, a milking nozzle is attached to each teatand milking begins. The robot stores all the information pertinent to each cow for future reference. If any problems arise with the cows, the robot can give the farmer a call.
Human beings are not the biggest animal on Planet Earth. Neither are we the strongest, fastest, sturdiest, or longest living. However, we have become the most successful apex predator in existence as we know it. How have we accomplished this? What sets us apart is our intelligence and ability to use tools. These interrelated abilities have allowed us to overcome our environment and any other predators we have faced.
The fields of biology and technology are becoming increasingly intertwined. Without computers, sequencing the human genome would have remained a pipe dream. Additionally, some of the most fascinating advances in computing technology have come from observing and replicating aspects of the biological world. This “bits to bio and bio to bits” approach is the core of Charles Fracchia’s world. Fracchia, an IBM PhD Fellow at the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT and Church Lab at Harvard Medical School, is the founder of BioBright.org, which makes open-source tools for laboratories and medical devices.
In this episode, I interview Douglas Burdett, the founder of Artillery Marketing. Douglas discusses the importance of "zeroing in" on buyer persona, along with the nuances and key differences of marketing B2B versus B2C.
The future has a way of sneaking up on us. Part of the reason for this is the accelerating pace at which new technologies are developed, as predicted by Moore's Law. But another reason for this is that before a technology gains mass market acceptance, chances are that is has gone through an extensive research phase and many failed iterations. Consider Google Glass. Even though the consumer edition of Glass won't hit the market until next year, the device is already making waves.
Enzyme Micro Insulin Pump
One of the latest trends in the arena of mechanobiology is a micro-pump designed to autonomously deliver insulin in response to an individual’s glucose levels. Developed by Samudra Sengupta and his team of associates from Pennsylvania State University, the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, the device is self-powered and is capable of the autonomous delivery of small proteins and molecules in response to biological stimuli, according to phys.org.
What is intelligence? Is it possible to create intelligence, and if so, what will be our role be as the stewards of what we create? Will our creation eventually come to dominate us? The ramifications of the creation and shaping of consciousness itself are impossible to understate, and it can be argued, to understand. It is an ethical question that is potentially vaster by orders of magnitude than any other question humanity has ever faced.