Elon Musk Revolutionizing 3D Design With Hand Gesture Technology

Hand Gesture Technology

Elon Musk is trying to revolutionize large and small scale manufacturing and design through cutting edge hand gesture and 3D printing technologies.

I believe we’re on the verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing… in being able to take the concept of something from your mind, and translate that into a 3D object really intuitively on the computer.

Musk and SpaceX are partnering with companies like Leap Motion for hand gesture technology that may one day even be used with Oculus Rift virtual reality systemsOculus Rift to develop realistic 3D virtual models.

 

3D printing has gained popularity recently as the cost and time saving potential is being realized by individuals and companies alike.

Musk is joining the likes of NASA in utilizing 3D printing technology and reaping the benefits. NASA who has been printing rocket engines cheaper and faster than ever is among the technology’s biggest proponents.

Let’s hope this trend continues to push the technology to new heights and the cost to new lows.

 

Nissan Will Offer Driverless Cars by 2020

Autonomous Nissan Leaf

Making a huge splash in the transportation industry, Nissan has just announced they will offer multiple driverless cars by 2020. The Japanese auto-maker has jumped into the race for “autonomous vehicles” by showing off a driverless prototype of the Nissan Leaf on a military base in Irvine, CA.

“In 2007 I pledged that – by 2010 – Nissan would mass market a zero-emission vehicle. Today, the Nissan LEAF is the best-selling electric vehicle in history. Now I am committing to be ready to introduce a new ground-breaking technology, Autonomous Drive, by 2020, and we are on track to realize it.” – Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn

Oxford/Nissan Driverless Car

Google has long been the name associated with driverless car technology, but according to the press release, Nissan has been working on this innovative transportation technology for years alongside top universities MIT, Stanford, and Oxford.

The vehicles operate differently than the cars developed by Google, in that they utilize laser scanners and artificial intelligence, but do not require internet access.

Both companies however, have similar reasons for developing the technology as it aims at eliminating crashes, reducing carbon emissions, and even offering more mobility and freedom to the elderly.

“Six million crashes in the US per year cost $160 billion and rank as the top reason of death for four- to 34-year olds. And, 93% of accidents in the US are due to human error, typically due to inattention.” – Nissan press release

I love this project for the good that it can do for humanity in many different ways, and I hope that others follow suit and pursue humanity friendly business projects.

New Contact Lenses With Three Times Zoom

I See You

Unfortunately, not the actual design

New contact lenses have just been developed that can actually zoom in 2.8 times for anyone wearing them. Current designs require that the user wears a pair of glasses to activate the magnification, but I would imagine that will not be the case indefinitely.

The research was led by Eric Tremblay and Joseph Ford who believe the technology could be useful for those suffering from macular degeneration, a common cause of vision problems often leading to blindness.

“The current treatments for macular degeneration include invasive surgery or to wear glasses with very thick lenses. Although research continues, development of this new magnifying lens technology has the potential to improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world by using these ‘normal’ looking lenses.” – Ian Anglin

I Only Have Eyes For You

The actual current design

Beyond the medical application, there’s plenty of excitement around the use by those with perfectly normal vision. The ability to zoom in and magnify your vision with ease would be great, and I think at the right price, a lot of people would be interested. This would be great for jewelers or anyone working in detail like sculptors or painters, not to mention the possible military applications.

Unfortunately, it may be some time before these are commercially available. The project is still very much in the research stage, but does expect to begin new clinical trials in November 2013.

These aren’t the only hope for those suffering from visual impairment. Incredible trials with stem-cell technology have successfully restored sight to blind mice, and could has a great potential for human development.

Personal Jetpacks Approved for Manned Testflights

Anyone who has seen The Jetson’s has dreamed about having their own personal jetpack. New Zealand based company Martin Aircraft is looking to turn that dream into a reality as they begin test flying their personal jetpack with real-life human pilots.

Recently the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) granted the company a special permit allowing them to begin manned test flights, although they “may not be flown more than 20 feet above the ground or 25 feet above water.”

The video below shows a higher altitude test flight done via remote control with a dummy pilot. The test was to demonstrate the emergency ballistic parachute safety system.

“For us it’s a very important step because it moves it out of what I call a dream into something which I believe we’re now in a position to commercialize and take forward very quickly.” – Peter Coker, CEO of Martin Aircraft.

The ultimate goal for the company is to begin commercial sales as early as mid 2015 at a projected starting price of around $100,000.Martin Aircraft Jetpack You may actually begin seeing these as early as 2014 as there has been strong interest to utilize these for first-responder and military missions.

There has been a lot of work being done in the future of personal and public transportation. Elon Musk recently revealed details for his supersonic hyperloop concept as an alternative to the high-speed rail project in California, and even NASA has joined the game working with California-based company, Skytran to construct the first magnetically levitating public transport system

Elon Musk Unveils Details for 800 MPH Hyperloop Super “Train”

Hyperloop Concept

It’s been sometime since Elon Musk first made mention of the hyperloop. The announcement of the 800 mph ultra high-speed super “train” made big news last year when Musk first mentioned the concept, but we haven’t heard any more details since then. That is until yesterday when Musk released the details of his futuristic concept that cover some of the questions concerning the proposed system.

The key advantages of a tube vs. a railway track are that it can be built above the ground on pylons and it can be built in prefabricated sections that are dropped in place and joined with an orbital seam welder. By building it on pylons, you can almost entirely avoid the need to buy land by following alongside the mostly very straight California Interstate 5 highway, with only minor deviations when the highway makes a sharp turn.

Hyperloop Passenger CapsuleThe comparison made to rail is important to note. This concept only began in the first place as a response to California’ s proposed high-speed rail system. Musk believes the project to be among the most costly and least efficient high-speed transport system, and not innovative enough to represent the silicon valley region.

When the California “high speed” rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?

Hyperloop-Alpha

The rail system being referenced is estimated to reach over $100 billion in total cost, meaning that the solar-powered hyperloop would be four times as fast and ten times cheaper than this proposal. One innovation will make this even simpler to use than any currently proposed public transport systems, and that is the ability to also transport personal cars. With this idea, a passenger would simply drive their car into the large pod and drive off at the destination, no messing with rental cars or buses.

There must however, be a downside to every story, and this one is no different. With his time being absorbed by CEO duties at both Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Musk has noted it is unlikely that he will be able to build the system himself. By releasing these plans to the public, he hopes that someone with the resources and know-how will be able to carry the idea forward. In a brief glimpse of hope, Musk hinted that if the idea is not picked up initially, he may build a prototype in the 3-5 year range more than likely.

What is the future of public, high-speed transportation?  Do you think we’ll ever see a hypertube type system in place?

Google Has Everything! Life Extension Will Be the Ultimate Job Perk

Google engineers may be the first to experience life-extending technologies as a job perk. Google Director of Staffing, Todd Carlisle, hinted at the possibility at the end of a forum on attracting top talent in Silicon Valley.

What if where you worked extended your life? If you got the best medical care along with the best job. You would’t want to leave.

This idea is consistent with the hire of Ray Kurzweil in 2012 as the Director of Engineering. Kurzweil is the most vocal and reliable proponent of the future technological singularity. The singularity is a time in the future when humans transcend biology to merge with technology; essentially sidestepping death.

Future Cyborg

 

 

 

If this ever came to fruition, how could any other companies compete? Cisco and Twitter were also in the discussion with topics such as: salary-levels, working from home, learning opportunities, and even free food and beer. Those are all nice and well, but compared to evolving a longer life-span, they don’t even register.

This is like a video game when your power is really low, flashing bright red, you’re inches from death, and there stands Google across the bridge with an extra life.

UK Scientists’ Plan to Put Humans on Mars

Marstronaut

A recent BBC article details an in-depth conceptual project from scientists at Imperial College London to put the first humans on Mars. This concept is intended to illustrate our current progress towards inter-planetary space travel, as well as the challenges and risks that we must still overcome.

The spacecraft will be designed to rotate in such a way that the 3 person crew of “Marstronauts” could enjoy the resulting artificial gravity. This would help with bone and muscle mass loss, and help the re-orientation of the crew to a life on Mars. The craft could slow its rotation to match the Martian rate of roughly 40% of the Earth’s gravitational  pull.

“There are big, big jumps between a demonstration at one level and putting together the engineering systems for a mission, but they are engineering challenges. They are not fundamentally about making new discoveries.” – Professor Tom Pike

This short video has some great visualizations of the spacecraft design and landing scenario along with some good descriptions of the concepts involved.

“Real life Tony Stark” Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is working on similar goals for transporting humans to Mars. For Musk, electric vehicles and a Hyperloop super-train are just the beginning in his quest to push the boundaries of science and technology.

His company SpaceX is taking the concept of manned Mars missions to the next level. They envision human exploration and colonization, and quite literally “backing up the biosphere”.

The rockets we’re building right now could certainly send probes to Mars, like the Mars rovers and that kind of thing, but the rockets we hope to build in the future are the ones that could take people and cargo to Mars and establish a Martian base.

Seeing these projects starting to gain legitimacy is an exciting thing to behold. The general public is starting to get behind these ideas, and private space flight is gaining in popularity and capability. There’s no telling what the future holds for Mars colonization, but it should be an exciting thing to watch.

First Successful Auditory Brainstem Implant

First Sound

After receiving the first auditory brain stem implant, Grayson has a great reaction to hearing his father’s voice for the first time. I love the possibility that with rising technology, sight sound and overall health will be a human-born right.

This video does a great job detailing the condition and the implant process, the reaction begins around the 2:15 mark.