Top-5 Futures for November 20th: The Olympics for Cyborgs
Each week Nikolas Badminton, Futurist Speaker, summarizes the top-5 future looking developments and news items that I find to be inspiring, interesting, concerning, or downright strange. Each day I read through dozens of blogs and news websites to find those things that we should be aware of.
Top-5 Futures for November 20th: The Olympics for Cyborgs talks about the 2016 Cybathalon, open sourced insulin, quantum code finally making it onto silicon, transhumanism, and how autonomous cars see.
The Championship for Robot-Assisted athletes happens in Zurich on the 8th October 2016.
The Cybathlon is a championship for pilots with disabilities who are using advanced assistive devices including robotic technologies. The competitions are comprised of different disciplines that will test the ability of pilots to navigate a series of everyday tasks while using a powered knee prosthesis, wearable arm prosthesia, powered exoskeleton, powered wheelchair, electrically stimulated muscles and novel brain-computer interfaces. The assistive devices will include commercially available products provided by companies, but also prototypes developed by research labs. There will be two medals for each competition, one for the pilot, who is driving the device, and one for the provider of the device.
The main goal of the Cybathlon is to provide a platform for the development of novel assistive technologies that are useful for daily life. Through the organisation of the Cybathlon we want to help to remove barriers between the public, people with disabilities and science. The event is organised by ETH Zurich.
Biohackers create open source insulin
The 370 million people worldwide with diabetes rely on injections of insulin to regulate the amount of sugar in their blood, since their bodies can’t make the hormone themselves. Since there are no generic versions available in the United States, insulin is very expensive—that cost was likely a large proportion of the $176 billion in medical expenditures incurred by diabetes patients in 2012 alone. Now a team of biohackers with Counter Culture Labs, a community lab in Oakland, California, wants to pave the way towards generic insulin, and they’ve started a crowdfunding page for their project.
Researchers have written quantum code on a silicon chip for the first time
For the first time, Australian engineers have demonstrated that they can write and manipulate the quantum version of computer code on a silicon microchip. This was done by entangling two quantum bits with the highest accuracy ever recorded, and it means that we can now start to program for the super-powerful quantum computers of the future.
Engineers code regular computers using traditional bits, which can be in one of two states: 1 or 0. Together, two bits create code words that can be used to program complex instructions. But in quantum computing language there’s also the possibility for bits to be in superposition, which means they can be 1 and 0 at the same time. This opens up a vastly more powerful programming language, but until now researchers haven’t been able to figure out how to write it.
Via Science Alert
What if we could become transhumans?
Oskar Aszmann at TEDxVienna talks about how we live in a world where we can fix nearly everything. We fix wrecked cars, broken laptops and also human beings. But how far can we go? Is it justifiable to substitute faulty body parts with ‘better’ working bionic prosthetics to improve our lives or are we playing God? Listen to the journey of a doctor and his patient discovering their answer to this question.
Oskar is Associate Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Both his research and clinical focus have always been peripheral nerve reconstruction and extremity/hand rehabilitation. His core interest is the recovery and rehabilitation of patients with impaired extremity function.
Via TEDx Talks
To see how driverless cars might perceive — and misperceive — the world, ScanLAB Projects drove a 3-D laser scanner through the streets of London.
See the last 4 week’s Top-5 Futures here:
Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.