April 20, 2006

robot_surgeon.jpg NASA has been testing a remote-controlled robot surgeon in an undersea laboratory off the coast of Florida. For one exercise, surgical researchers 1,250 miles away sent commands to the robot, which managed to successfully suture a badly damaged vein in the wounded arm of a "patient simulator." With the possibility of human injury on future Lunar and Martian outposts, NASA is hoping that the use of surgical robots and "telemedicine" will delay the need for medical doctor astronauts. The article states that the robots should eventually be able to perform "most operations." I hope "most operations" includes "the surgery required to repair an unfeeling robot doctor's horrible mistakes." Oh, and hopefully collagen injections too.
(Photo of da Vinci surgical system)
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triple_watch.jpg

A University of Bridgeport student has won the 2006 Fashion in Motion contest with his design for the Triple Watch. The Triple Watch concept is a cell phone that folds conveniently into a watch-size factor for storage on a wrist band. Calls can be received either when the phone is unfolded or via a speakerphone when the it is on the wrist. The runner-up for the contest was a wedding dress that transforms into a screeching robot pterodactyl... or it would have been, if I had taken the time to enter it.

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smell.jpg A movie theater in Japan will begin pumping different smells into the audience to correspond with scenes taking place on the screen. Using technology developed by NTT Communications, seven different scents are released from a mix of oils stored in machines under the back two rows of the movie theater. The first movie to use this technology will be "The New World" in which a floral scent will accompany love scenes, peppermint and rosemary for sad scenes, citrus for scenes of joy, and new car smell for the scenes when Colin Farrell and Pocahontas tear up the streets of the new world in a bitchin' Trans Am.

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robotic_chair.jpg The D'Andrea Group has developed a robotic chair that falls apart and reassembles itself on command. Remotely activating the chair causes it to break into six pieces: the legs, back, and seat. The seat then sprouts wheels, searches out its fallen comrades, reassembles, and then returns itself to an upright position. Check the video to see it in action. They say that the concept will ease future chair transportation, but it's safe to assume that a lot of other things in the future will assemble and disassemble on their own, like cars, computers, appliances, jigsaw puzzles, relationships, even sandwiches... Especially sandwiches.

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sunglasses_camera.jpg Hewlett-Packard has designed a wearable camera prototype that is easily concealable in an "ordinary" pair of sunglasses. The camera can capture 1.3 megapixel images at 7.5 frames per second or .3 megapixel images at 30 frames per second, storing the images on a portable hard drive. The system continuously records images, but the wearer has to press a button on the device to store the previous 20 seconds and the following 5 minutes of footage on the hard drive. The hard drive will store approximately 3 hours of footage, which just about covers the length of time you will spend trying to convince people that there isn't a hidden camera in your goofy, oversized sunglasses.

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xbox_contest.jpg Microsoft is hosting a "treasure hunt" contest in Singapore where they are giving away five Xbox 360s. The "Where is My 360?" contest places 5 webcams at different points on the island which broadcast on the contest's website. Singaporeans can go to the website to view the webcam feeds, and if they can find the exact location of one of the cameras, they will win an Xbox 360. However, if two people find the location of a webcam at the same time, they will fight to the death for the 360 in a televised battle airing on G4 and sponsored by Sprite. Now that's television!

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