2020

Documenting the future leaking into the present.
Contributing Authors

Civilians in Abandoned McDonald’s Seize Control of Wandering Space Satellite
Their mission control console is a refurbished flat screen and some parts found on eBay.

A desk clerk places a razor in the bin of a three-foot-high robot and taps in a room number on a display. The robot, “Botlr,” chirps an R2-D2-style acknowledgment and rolls off to an elevator and its final destination.

Aloft Hotel to Begin Testing ‘Botlr,’ a Robotic Bellhop

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

A startup has developed an implantable contraceptive chip that could be deactivated and reactivated using a wireless remote (via Remote-Controlled Contraceptive | MIT Technology Review)

(via Robotic Raptors to the Rescue | Audubon Magazine)

Designed by the Dutch company Clear Flight Solutions, 3-D printed robotic replicas of eagles and falcons flap their wings and fly just like live avian predators. The “robirds” work like airborne, remote-controlled scarecrows, deterring live birds from venturing close to decidedly hazardous sites.

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“From a biological point of view, the thing that triggers a bird’s instinct about a predator is the combination of silhouette and wing movement,” says Nico Nijenhuis, the company’s cofounder and CEO.

Technically it’s malware. But there’s no patch yet, and pretty much everyone’s got it. Homes up and down the block are lit up, even at this early hour. Thankfully this one is fairly benign. It sets off the alarm with [dubstep] music I blacklisted decades ago on Pandora. It takes a picture of me as I get out of the shower every morning and uploads it to Facebook. No big deal.

[….]

When I moved into my house in the 20s, I went with an Android-compatible system because there were more accessories and they were better designed. But then I changed jobs and now my home doesn’t work with my company-issued phone. Which is a bummer because I have to keep this giant 7-inch tablet around to control everything and Google doesn’t support the hardware anymore so I can’t update it and now the door just randomly unlocks. Ugh, I’m going to have to start using keys again.

A new technique which uses light like a needle to thread long chains of particles could help bring sci-fi concepts such as cloaking devices one step closer to reality.

“We have controlled the dimensions in a way that hasn’t been possible before,” said Dr Valev.

(via Building ‘invisible’ materials with light | University of Cambridge)