Force Jacket - Pneumatically-Actuated Jacket - Disney Research

From aeon.co magazine: Immersive experiences seek to engage the full sensory system in ways that words, pictures, or touch alone cannot. With respect to the haptic system, however, physical feedback has been provided primarily with handheld tactile experiences or vibration-based designs, largely ignoring both pressure receptors and the full upper-body area as conduits for expressing meaning that is consistent with sight and sound. We extend the potential for immersion along these dimensions with the Force Jacket, a novel array of pneumatically-actuated airbags and force sensors that provide precisely directed force and high frequency vibrations to the upper body. We describe the pneumatic hardware and force control algorithms, user studies to verify perception of airbag location and pressure magnitude, and subsequent studies to define full-torso, pressure and vibration-based feel effects such as punch, hug, and snake moving across the body. We also discuss the use of those effects in prototype virtual reality applications.

Escape the echo chamber

From aeon.co magazine: First you don’t hear other views. Then you can’t trust them. Your personal information network entraps you just like a cult. Something has gone wrong with the flow of information. It’s not just that different people are drawing subtly different conclusions from the same evidence. It seems like different intellectual communities no longer share basic foundational beliefs. Maybe nobody cares about the truth anymore, as some have started to worry. Maybe political allegiance has replaced basic reasoning skills. Maybe we’ve all become trapped in echo chambers of our own making – wrapping ourselves in an intellectually impenetrable layer of likeminded friends and web pages and social media feeds.

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Why symmetry gets really interesting when it is broken

From aeon.co magazine: Anthony Phillips is a lecturer in condensed matter and materials physics at the Materials Research Institute of Queen Mary, University of London. A hypothetical alien visitor, sent to observe all of human culture – art and architecture, music and medicine, storytelling and science – would quickly conclude that we as a species are obsessed with patterns. Symmetry is at the core of my own work as a materials physicist. When atoms aggregate to make a material, they naturally arrange themselves into symmetrically repeating patterns. More than this, when we want the resulting material to be useful for a particular purpose – say, if we’re designing a touch sensor or an element of computer memory – these patterns must have the right symmetry to produce these useful properties.

Technodictators

From youtube.com: "If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled" - Aldous Huxley Interview by Mike Wallace on May 18, 1958, from the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin "This is Aldous Huxley, a man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. Mr. Huxley wrote a Brave New World, a novel that predicted that some day the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us." - Mike Wallace In this remarkable interview, Huxley foretells a future when telegenic presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, technology takes over, drugs grab hold, and frightful dictatorships rule us all.

What do the chemical signatures of deadly nerve agents tell us about their origins?

From Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Ian Sample talks to two fellow Guardian reporters and a professor of environmental toxicology about the Salisbury spy poisoning. Last week, the city of Salisbury was thrust into the spotlight when two people were found in critical condition in a local park. Details began to emerge that the man, in his late sixties, was a former Russian spy. The woman found in a comatose state beside him, his daughter. Speculation mounted that they were poisoned, but by what? And by whom?

Is it possible to enhance and rewire the adult brain?

From Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Nicola Davis asks: can we increase the window of brain plasticity in the later stages of life? And what do we know about the implications of doing so? In early development, the brain is hard at work making new connections between neurons, based on the new experiences we’re having. But the science around brain plasticity – ie the mind’s ability to learn, change and reorganise itself – is advancing. Research looking at people with severe neurological or physical damage tells us a lot about the possibility of enhancing the ability for our brain to rewire.

Custom carpentry with help from robots

From mit.edu: Every year thousands of carpenters injure their hands and fingers doing dangerous tasks such as sawing. In an effort to minimize injury and let carpenters focus on design and other bigger-picture tasks, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created AutoSaw, a system that lets nonexperts customize different items that can then be constructed with the help of robots.

Waymo 360° experience: a fully self-driving journey

From youtube.com: Waymo began as the Google self-driving car project in 2009. Today, we have the world’s only fleet of fully self-driving cars on public roads. Step into our 360° video and take control of the camera to see through the “eyes” of our car. Then, be one of the first in the world to take a ride with Waymo. This film was built using footage and real-time data from an actual trip on city streets.

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