Last month, Vancouver hosted the Hacking Health Weekend Hackathon, a place for collaboration between technology experts and health officials from across Canada. A team of three in attendance created a game simulation that elicits understanding and empathy towards those suffering from autism. The first-person indie game is called “Auti-Sim”, and uses 3-D graphics to simulate the horrors of sensory overload. Taylan Kay is a developer behind the thought-provoking indie game, and joins us today.
The existence of planets outside our solar system was first confirmed in 1992. Since then, nearly 900 extra solar planets have been identified, with NASA’s Keppler Mission detecting more than 18,000 potential planets, including 262 in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone,” or habitable range from the stars they orbit. Now, the American Museum of Natural History is breaking new ground in the observation of far-distant planets using high-tech spectroscopy and software for Project 1640.
Last week, a Senate judiciary panel approved a measure to reinstate a ban on assault weapons. Those same legislators could have a whole new field of weaponry to contend with: homemade guns. A small, Texas-based company called “Defense Distributed” has been spearheading technological and legal advances behind the 3-D printing technology that could produce guns.
There was a time when locking the Vatican’s doors was enough to ensure secrecy over the process of choosing a new pope – but with at least seventeen cardinals on Twitter, and who knows how many on Facebook – the church isn’t taking any chances. The Vatican has now installed something called a “Faraday Cage” – a device sort of like the “Cone of Silence” from the 1960 spy comedy, “Get Smart”, designed to keep what happens in the Vatican… well, in the Vatican. Joining us today to unlock the secrets of the Faraday Cage is Rob Fleischman, Chief Technology Officer at Xero-Cole, and our favorite explainer of all things wired.
You may have never heard of a “haptic interface”, but chances are you use one every day. When your cell phone vibrates in your pocket to tell you someone is calling – that’s a haptic interface. The visual and audio design of new technologies tend to soak up attention from reviewers and users alike – but recent revolutions in haptics remind us there is another sense gadgets can use to communicate –touch.
Nathan Hurst is a staff writer for Wired, where he recently wrote about the sensational future of the haptic interface.
This past fall we spoke with Robert Ito about the growing phenomenon of human-robot bonding. His article "The Love Bot" was featured in Pacific Standard Magazine. From C-3PO to WALL-E, the loveable robot has long inhabited popular imagination. Robots like the Japanese made "Paro," pillow pets, and vacuum cleaning Roombas are engineered to be social.
Today when dogs do a disappearing act, infrared cameras, tracking devices, and social media help owners keep tabs on wandering pets. These security technologies are a growing part of the 56-billion dollars spent annually on America’s pets.
Last week, the FDA approved the first self-navigating communications robot for use in hospitals. The RP-Vita which stands for remote presence virtual independent telemedicine assistant – was created by iRobot and In-Touch. The FDA sanction for the self-guided robot could mark a new era of robotic care in hospitals here in the United States. Joining us with more on how RP-Vita works is Marcio Macedo, Director of Product Management for iRobot’s remote presence business unit.
The non-profit Code for America brings together coders, artists, and designers to create easy to use applications that address the specific needs of local communities. Mick Thompson, engineer in residence and 2012 fellow at Code for America joined us to talk about how code and collaboration leads to better lives for citizens.