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Industry News - Latest

UK: BT must 'put its house in order'
posted: 19/07/2016

Germany mulls self-drive car 'black box'
Artificial Intelligence:
posted: 19/07/2016

Storage device writes information atom-by-atom
Computing Power:
posted: 18/07/2016

The US government cannot force Microsoft to give authorities access to the firm's servers located in other countries, a court has ruled
posted: 18/07/2016

Staring Pain in the Face – Software Reads Kids’ Expressions to Measure Pain Levels
posted: 02/06/2015

New Wi-Fi antenna enhances wireless coverage
posted: 01/06/2015

Optofluidic Lab in a Single Fibre
posted: 01/06/2015

New sensing technology could improve our ability to detect diseases, fraudulent art, chemical weapons and more
posted: 01/06/2015

New Technology Making Drones Safer and Smarter
posted: 10/04/2015

Score! Video gamers may learn visual tasks more quickly
posted: 03/04/2015

Researchers Build Non-Invasive Brain-Machine Interface to Control Prosthetic Hand
Augmenting Organics:
posted: 02/04/2015

A robot prepared for self-awareness
Artificial Intelligence:
posted: 01/04/2015

Springing Ahead of Nature: Device Increases Walking Efficiency
posted: 01/04/2015

How we hear distance: Echoes are essential for humans to perceive how far away a sound is
Sounding the Future:
posted: 01/04/2015

Drone Owners Register called for by UK House of Lords
posted: 10/03/2015

Net neutrality rules passed by US regulator
posted: 28/02/2015

World’s first compact rotary 3D printer-cum-scanner unveiled at AAAS by NTU Singapore start-up
Computer Aided Manufacture:
posted: 17/02/2015

New algorithms Geolocate a video from its images and sounds
Libraries and Components:
posted: 17/02/2015

The future of electronics—now in 2D
Computing Power:
posted: 17/02/2015

Hearing experts break sound barrier for children born without hearing nerve
The Brain:
posted: 17/02/2015


Latest Linkings

Telehealth >> Toothscan Dental Health Technology
(added 18/06/2016)
A telehealth device just entering the market at time of writing, offers the chance to perform dental health scans at home, providing a daily record of tooth health to aid a dentist, or perhaps more pertinently, flag up a warning if a tooth is starting to degrade – before the pain sets in.

Computer Aided Manufacture >> 3D Printing Body Parts and Teeth: What's Next?
(added 18/06/2016)
An overview of how 3D printed prosthetics are changing dentistry. Covering in overview form, several different technologies for creating teeth: Everything from creating custom bridges to exacting perfection, to creating teeth that kill bacteria in the teeth around them, just by being used.

Computer Aided Manufacture >> Have You Heard of the 3D Printed Tooth That Kills Bacteria?
(added 18/06/2016)
When most people think of 3D printing, they think of the printer using plastic, resin, or maybe some metals. Yet, as this article demonstrates, you can 3D print with almost anything providing it can be reduced to a powder form. In this instance, a 3D printed tooth is made of a resin infused with antimicrobial quaternary ammonium salts. This means they exist right through the tooth, and as the outer surface is worn away by use, more and more antimicrobial material is released into the mouth.

Computer Aided Manufacture >> The Future of Dentistry: 3D Printing and Other Inventions
(added 18/06/2016)
This article takes a holistic overview look at how modern technologies are reshaping dentistry. Both augmented reality systems and 3D printed prosthetic teeth are covered as well as taking a look at realistically how long it will be for general roll out of these technologies to dentists around the globe.

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Site News: posted: 30/05/2016 VWN Info Restored

The publicly available info on our services and policies recently vanished from our site, with any pages referencing it filling our logs with errors whenever they were accessed. The error was caused by a table in our database vanishing. Whilst the cause has not yet been ascertained, we have restored the table from backup.

Our apologies to everyone who tried to access the info over this weekend. In answer to those of you who thought we might have gone, but were not among those mailing us to notify of the error, no we have not gone, and are not going to shut up shop for the foreseeable future.

Virtual Dictionary

Latest Term: Smart Prosthetic

A smart prosthetic is defined as any prosthetic device anchored on or into a human body which is capable of decision making, essentially. They fall into several broad categories:

1. A prosthetic device that is capable of sensing its environment and deducing the user's intentions without a direct link to the user's neural architecture.

These devices can be anything from an anti-epilepsy deep brain implant that senses the neurochemical changes in the brain preceding an epileptic seizure and acts to alter that neurochemistry to prevent the seizure from ever taking place. Right the way through to a prosthetic limb that uses a record of its user's habits or body language to anticipate where it needs to be next – and moves itself into position ready.

2. A prosthetic device connected to the user's nervous system in some manner, able to take indirect commands via that nervous system's impulses.

An example of this type of smart prosthetic would be a leg connected to a mammalian nervous system via TMR (targeted muscle re-enervation) or a similar technology. It reads neural impulses that would normally control a different area of the body, and responds to them as command codes.

This type of smart prosthetic moves at the behest of the nervous system, but doesn't understand the signals being sent to it by that system. Instead, each signal pulse is treated as simply a unique data value to be assigned a command almost arbitrarily by the prosthetic, and which the user adapts to over time. The result is a prosthetic device under the direct control of the central nervous system of an organic being, but one which the mind of that being has had to learn how to operate from scratch.

3. A prosthetic device connected to the user's nervous system in a direct manner, interfacing with the neural codes transmitted by the nervous system, and correctly discerning their meaning.

These types of smart prosthetics are the most complex, and perhaps the most rewarding to the end-user. They are also the type that tend to use the same sort of interface as a virtual or augmented reality interface connecting directly to the user's thoughts, feelings, and/or reflexes would take.

The signal codes transmitted down the neurons of the animal nervous system aren't completely random. Every code has a specific meaning, and different codes transmitted down the same nerve axon will command a muscle to perform different actions, or give different types of feedback from a mechanoreceptor.

A smart prosthetic interfacing with the body via this method will have to perform a lot of pattern matching in real-time in order to teach itself what the codes are actually asking for. It does the learning and adapting rather than the user, so that in the end, the prosthetic moves in the same way, to the same commands, as the original body part did. To the end-user it thus feels the same as the original body part, in function if not necessarily in form. There is minimal to no learning curve associated with basic movement, and the prosthetic body part is under full conscious and subconscious control.

See Also: Neural Code, Mechanoreceptor, TMR, DBS, BMI, AI, Expert system, Neural Network, ERP, Gesture Control, Gait Analysis, Biometric Control Interface, False Reject Rate, False Non-Match Rate

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Ten Most Recent Entries

Latest Hostings

Alternate Lives >> People conform to the norm – whether that norm is physical or virtual
(added 15/01/2015)
Industry news, originally posted in January 2015, deemed too important to be allowed to fade. Often enough it is human nature to conform. This tendency makes us follow the lead of computers, even if the machines give us the wrong advice. This is the finding of a study in Springer’s journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review that investigates how people make judgment calls after interacting within a virtual environment.

Augmenting Surgery >> Improving Robotic Surgery by integrating Augmented Reality Elements
(added 31/03/2014)
Robotic surgical procedures are carried out with the aid of a camera system attached alongside the tools on the robotic arm that is inserted into the body of a patient. A surgeon carries out the operation by seeing through the camera's eye. As such, augmented reality systems have always seemed a good fit to overlay a virtual representation of the patient's innards, along with the full size and shape of the target area, on the display screen. However, the difficulty of AR object recognition inside the body has always proven too much of a hurdle. Until now.

Artificial Intelligence >> Simple Yet Highly Effective Robotic Boost to Mass Spectrometry
(added 30/03/2014)
A group of biochemists at Georgia Tech had a dream; a dream of being able to automate the process of gathering samples for mass spectrometry. A dream whereby they could just hand the analysis tool a sample. It didn't matter what colour, shape, size, density, or anything it was. The tool would take over and just know how best to approach the problem of obtaining the sample. A nice pipe dream... until the College of Computing at the same university got wind of it.

Artificial Intelligence >> Robotic Insect: Guided by the Same stimuli
(added 09/03/2014)
For an insect, it is rather large. Six inches in length, and rolling around on tank treds rather than walking. Yet, this German robot is the same as an insect where it counts - in the brain. It possesses an embodied needs-based AI, itself running on a simplified version of the insect brain, and responds to stimuli from the world around it in the self same way a natural insect would.

Artificial Muscles >> Artificial Muscle from Fishing Line: Powerful yet Cheap
(added 04/03/2014)
When we think of artificial muscles, we tend to think of new materials that allow constructs to replicate the function of organic muscles in useful ways. We don't tend to think of existing materials in common usage as a means to create these muscles. After all if they are in common usage, they would already have been tested and discarded, right?

Avatars and Personification >> Only A Few Basic Emotional Expressions are the Root of All Others
(added 02/03/2014)
We have known for some time that different cultures perceive different facial expressions as conveying different emotional states, and likewise in different cultures different facial expressions are made. Rather than having ream after ream of options for facial expression sequence files, might there be a far better way to handle such regional differences in recognising avatar-based visual emotional states?

Latest Products

Embodied Avatars >> Futureworld
(added 16/04/2010)
Futureworld is the sequel to Westworld, yet it takes an entirely different direction. Meant to be the film that spun the Westworld franchise into an anthology set, instead it was the film that buried it. Futureworld has some great ideas, and like many films of the era, is a goldmine of nuggets concerning robotic technology, virtual reality, augmented reality and social implications.

Pure Research >> Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos
(added 25/03/2010)
Programming the Universe is a Simulation Argument book. Lloyd, a professor at MIT, works in the vanguard of research in quantum computing: using the quantum mechanical properties of atoms as a computer. He contends that the universe itself is one big quantum computer producing what we see around us, and ourselves, as it runs a cosmic program.

Pure Research >> Decoding Reality: The Universe as Quantum Information
(added 25/03/2010)
Decoding Reality is very much a Simulation Argument book. In its pages, physicist Vlatko Vedral argues that we should regard the entire universe as a gigantic quantum computer.

Teaching and Training via VR >> Women and Gaming: The Sims and 21st Century Learning
(added 21/02/2010)
Video games have become both big business and a technological focal point for new forms of learning. Today games are not just played; players engage in game design, write fan fiction, and organise themselves into collaborative learning communities. In these communities players acquire 21st century skills in technology, but, in the best of these communities, they hone these technical skills and strengthen emotional and social intelligence.