Tag Archives: Intel

Extending memristive theory

This is kind of fascinating. A German research team based at JARA (Jülich Aachen Research Alliance) is suggesting that memristive theory be extended beyond passive components in their paper about Resistive Memory Cells (ReRAM) which was recently published in Nature Communications. From the Apr. 26, 2013 news item on Azonano,

Resistive memory cells (ReRAM) are regarded as a promising solution for future generations of computer memories. They will dramatically reduce the energy consumption of modern IT systems while significantly increasing their performance.

Unlike the building blocks of conventional hard disk drives and memories, these novel memory cells are not purely passive components but must be regarded as tiny batteries. This has been demonstrated by researchers of Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA), whose findings have now been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications. The new finding radically revises the current theory and opens up possibilities for further applications. The research group has already filed a patent application for their first idea on how to improve data readout with the aid of battery voltage.

The Apr. 23, 2013 JARA news release, which originated the news item, provides some background information about data memory before going on to discuss the ReRAMs,

Conventional data memory works on the basis of electrons that are moved around and stored. However, even by atomic standards, electrons are extremely small. It is very difficult to control them, for example by means of relatively thick insulator walls, so that information will not be lost over time. This does not only limit storage density, it also costs a great deal of energy. For this reason, researchers are working feverishly all over the world on nanoelectronic components that make use of ions, i.e. charged atoms, for storing data. Ions are some thousands of times heavier that electrons and are therefore much easier to ‘hold down’. In this way, the individual storage elements can almost be reduced to atomic dimensions, which enormously improves the storage density.

Here’s how the ions behave in ReRAMs (from the news release),

In resistive switching memory cells (ReRAMs), ions behave on the nanometre scale in a similar manner to a battery. The cells have two electrodes, for example made of silver and platinum, at which the ions dissolve and then precipitate again. This changes the electrical resistance, which can be exploited for data storage. Furthermore, the reduction and oxidation processes also have another effect. They generate electric voltage. ReRAM cells are therefore not purely passive systems – they are also active electrochemical components. Consequently, they can be regarded as tiny batteries whose properties provide the key to the correct modelling and development of future data storage.

In complex experiments, the scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University determined the battery voltage of typical representatives of ReRAM cells and compared them with theoretical values. This comparison revealed other properties (such as ionic resistance) that were previously neither known nor accessible. “Looking back, the presence of a battery voltage in ReRAMs is self-evident. But during the nine-month review process of the paper now published we had to do a lot of persuading, since the battery voltage in ReRAM cells can have three different basic causes, and the assignment of the correct cause is anything but trivial,” says Dr. Ilia Valov, the electrochemist in Prof. Rainer Waser’s research group.

This discovery could lead to optimizing ReRAMs and exploiting them in new applications (from the news release),

“The new findings will help to solve a central puzzle of international ReRAM research,” says Prof. Rainer Waser, deputy spokesman of the collaborative research centre SFB 917 ‘Nanoswitches’ established in 2011. In recent years, these puzzling aspects include unexplained long-term drift phenomena or systematic parameter deviations, which had been attributed to fabrication methods. “In the light of this new knowledge, it is possible to specifically optimize the design of the ReRAM cells, and it may be possible to discover new ways of exploiting the cells’ battery voltage for completely new applications, which were previously beyond the reach of technical possibilities,” adds Waser, whose group has been collaborating for years with companies such as Intel and Samsung Electronics in the field of ReRAM elements.

The part I found most interesting, given my interest in memristors, is this bit about extending the memristor theory, from the news release,

The new finding is of central significance, in particular, for the theoretical description of the memory components. To date, ReRAM cells have been described with the aid of the concept of memristors – a portmanteau word composed of “memory” and “resistor”. The theoretical concept of memristors can be traced back to Leon Chua in the 1970s. It was first applied to ReRAM cells by the IT company Hewlett-Packard in 2008. It aims at the permanent storage of information by changing the electrical resistance. The memristor theory leads to an important restriction. It is limited to passive components. “The demonstrated internal battery voltage of ReRAM elements clearly violates the mathematical construct of the memristor theory. This theory must be expanded to a whole new theory – to properly describe the ReRAM elements,” says Dr. Eike Linn, the specialist for circuit concepts in the group of authors. [emphases mine] This also places the development of all micro- and nanoelectronic chips on a completely new footing.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

Nanobatteries in redox-based resistive switches require extension of memristor theory by I. Valov,  E. Linn, S. Tappertzhofen,  S. Schmelzer,  J. van den Hurk,  F. Lentz,  & R. Waser. Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1771 doi:10.1038/ncomms2784 Published 23 April 2013

This paper is open access (as of this writing).

Here’s a list of my 2013 postings on memristors and memristive devices,

2.5M Euros for Ireland’s John Boland and his memristive nanowires (Apr. 4, 2013 posting)

How to use a memristor to create an artificial brain (Feb. 26, 2013 posting)

CeNSE (Central Nervous System of the Earth) and billions of tiny sensors from HP plus a memristor update (Feb. 7, 2013 posting)

For anyone who cares to search the blog, there are several more.

15-year-old Jake Andraka and his nanotechnology-enabled test for pancreatic cancer

We’re led to believe that good ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time and that they will be recognized as such. Every once in a while it’s nice to see evidence that there’s some truth to that notion. Jake Andraka, 15 years old, has invented a test for pancreatic cancer that seems to be mostly accurate and is cheap making it far superior to any other such test currently available. (H/T Foresight Institute, Mar.6.13 posting)

The Jan. 29, 2013 article by Damien Gayle for the UK’s Daily Mail highlights these points and goes on to describe Jake’s accomplishments at more length (there are are also videos embedded in the article),

  • Jack Andraka’s new test detects pancreatic cancer earlier than any other
  • Deadly disease currently kills 19 out of 20 within five years
  • He claims his invention could raise survival rates to ‘close to 100 per cent’

… Jack’s invention, for which he was last month awarded the grand prize of $75,000 in scholarship funds at the 2012 Intel Science Fair, means that patients now have a simple method to detect pancreatic cancer before it becomes invasive.

His novel patent-pending sensor has proved to be 28 times faster, 28 times less expensive, and over 100 times more sensitive than current tests.[emphasis mine]

The test works in a similar way to diabetic testing strips, with his paper strips using only a drop of blood to determine whether patients carry the mesothelin biomarker.

It is said to be over 90 per cent accurate, practically instant – and costs only 3 cents.

And what’s more, his simple test can also be used to detect ovarian and lung cancer, and it could be easily altered to detect the biomarkers of a range of other conditions.

‘What’s so cool about that is its applicability to other diseases…for example other forms of cancer, tuberculosis, HIV, environmental contaminants like E Coli, salmonella,’ Jack told Take Part.

Andraka is also profiled in a December 2012 article by Abigail Tucker for the Smithsonian Institution. It reads more like a profile for a fan magazine (in parts) than one might expect from the Smithsonian but all that’s mixed in with some science and a discussion about product availability,

It’s first period digital arts class, and the assignment is to make Photoshop monsters. Sophomore Jack Andraka considers crossing a velociraptor with a Brazilian wandering spider, while another boy grafts butterfly wings onto a rhinoceros. Meanwhile, the teacher lectures on the deranged genius of Doctor Moreau and Frankenstein, “a man who created something he didn’t take responsibility for.”

“You don’t have to do this, Jack!” somebody in back shouts.

The silver glint of a retainer: Andraka grins. Since he won the $75,000 grand prize at this past spring’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, one of the few freshman ever to do so, he’s become a North County High School celebrity to rival any soccer star or homecoming queen.

That’s exactly what Andraka may have invented: A small dipstick probe that uses just a sixth of a drop of blood appears to be much more accurate than existing approaches and takes five minutes to complete. It’s still preliminary, but drug companies are interested, and word is spreading. “I’ve gotten these Facebook messages asking, ‘Can I have the test?’” Andraka says. “I am heartbroken to say no.” [emphasis mine]

According to the Jan. 27, 2013 article by Andri Antoniades for Take Part, Andraka has been talking to companies such as LabCorp and QuestDiagnostics,

He has big plans to turn the medical community on its ear by mass marketing his work, making it widely available. He says, “Essentially what I’m envisioning here is that this could be on your shelf at your Walgreens, your Kmart. Let’s say you suspect you have a condition…you buy the test for that. And you can see immediately if you have it. Instead of your doctor being the doctor, you’re the doctor.” The teenager reports that he’s already in talks with major corporations like LabCorp and QuestDiagnostics to bring his kits to store shelves “as soon as possible,” though how long that may actually take isn’t yet known.

John Nosta’s interview with Andraka, which highlights some of the difficulties associated with science research, was published in a Feb. 1, 2013 posting on Forbes.com,

–Was your discovery easy?  Did the innovation come in a flash…then the details worked out?

I like to read a lot of journals and articles about different topics and then lie on the couch or take a walk and just let all the information settle. Then all of a sudden I can get an idea and connect some dots. Then it’s back to reading so I can fill in missing pieces. With this sensor I had put in a lot of time learning about nanoparticles for my previous research on the effects of bulk and nano metal oxides on marine and freshwater organisms. I felt that single walled carbon nano tubes were like the super heroes of material science and I wanted to work with them some more. Then when I was reading a paper about them in biology class, the teacher was explaining about antibodies. All of a sudden I made a connection and wondered what would happen if I dispersed single wall carbon nanotubes with an antibody to a protein over-expressed in pancreatic cancer. Then of course there was a lot of reading, learning and planning in front of me!

It seemed so easy so I stalked the internet and found the names and professional emails of lots of professors in my area who were working on pancreatic cancer. Then I just figured I’d sit back and wait for the acceptances to roll in! Week after week I’d receive endless rejections. The most helpful one was actually from a researcher who took the time to point out every flaw and reason why my project was impossible. I began to despair!

… Finally, after 199 rejections, I received one email from Dr Maitra at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He invited me to come for a meeting. My mom drove me there and dropped me off. It was pretty exhilarating yet scary to walk in to the interview! Luckily I was really prepared and even had the cost and catalog numbers of the material I needed. He said it was like reading a grant proposal. I still had a great deal of basic lab routine to learn and I appreciate the time and patience of both Dr Maitra [Anirban Maitra] and Dr Chenna [V. Chenna], the post- doc who supported me.

There’s a brief description of Andraka’s test in an article (published June 16, 2012 online) by Devin Powell for Science News, 181 (12),

Searching for a better detector for mesothelin, Andraka coated paper with tiny tubes of atom-thick carbon. Antibodies stuck to the carbon nanotubes can grab the telltale protein and spread the tubes apart. The carbon’s resistance to the flow of electricity drops measurably as more protein attaches. Tests of the paper using blood samples from 100 people with cancer at different stages of the disease identified the presence of cancer every time, Andraka reported.

It’s quite a story on any number of levels. It’s not just Andraka’s age. There’s the simplicity of the idea, the difficulty of getting anyone to pay attention (199 rejections, that number seems suspiciously poetic), and what was undoubtedly a lot of painstaking, boring, hard work. Finally, the reference to a patent seems very much in the tenor of the times. I wish Andraka good luck with his work and I hope the test is available soon.

Canada’s Queen’s University strikes again with its ‘paper’ devices

Roel Vertegaal at Queen’s University (Ontario, Canada) has released a ‘paper’ tablet. Like the bendable, flexible ‘paper’ phone he presented at the CHI 2011 meeting in Vancouver, Canada (my May 12, 2011 posting), this tablet offers some intriguing possibilities but is tethered. The Jan. 9, 2013 news item on phys.org provides more information about the new ‘paper’ device (Note: Links have been removed),

Watch out tablet lovers – a flexible paper computer developed at Queen’s University in collaboration with Plastic Logic and Intel Labs will revolutionize the way people work with tablets and computers.

The PaperTab tablet looks and feels just like a sheet of paper. However, it is fully interactive with a flexible, high-resolution 10.7-inch plastic display developed by Plastic Logic and a flexible touchscreen. It is powered by the second generation I5 Core processor developed by Intel.

Vertegaal and his team have produced a video demonstrating their ‘paper’ tablet/computer:

The Jan. 8, 2013 Queen’s University news release, which originated the news item, provides descriptions (for those who don’t have time to watch the video),

“Using several PaperTabs makes it much easier to work with multiple documents,” says Roel Vertegaal, Director of Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab. “Within five to ten years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper.”

“We are actively exploring disruptive user experiences. The ‘PaperTab’ project, developed by the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University and Plastic Logic, demonstrates novel interactions powered by Intel processors that could potentially delight tablet users in the future,” says Intel’s Experience Design Lead Research Scientist, Ryan Brotman.

PaperTab’s intuitive interface allows users to create a larger drawing or display surface by placing two or more PaperTabs side by side. PaperTab emulates the natural handling of multiple sheets of paper. It can file and display thousands of paper documents, replacing the need for a computer monitor and stacks of papers or printouts.

Unlike traditional tablets, PaperTabs keep track of their location relative to each other, and to the user, providing a seamless experience across all apps, as if they were physical computer windows.

“Plastic Logic’s flexible plastic displays allow a natural human interaction with electronic paper, being lighter, thinner and more robust compared with today’s standard glass-based displays. This is just one example of the innovative revolutionary design approaches enabled by flexible displays,” explains Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic.

The partners are saying that ‘paper’ tablets may be on the market in foreseeable future  according to Emma Wollacott’s Jan. 8, 2013 article for TG Daily,

The bendy tablet has been coming for quite a while now, but a version to be shown off today at CES [Consumer Electronics Show] could be ready for the market within three years, say its creators.

You can find out more about the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University here, Plastic Logic here, and Intel Core I5 Processors here.

Better night vision goggles for the military

I remember a military type, a friend who served as a Canadian peacekeeper (Infantry) in the Balkans, describing night-vision goggles and mentioning they are loud. After all, it’s imaging equipment and that requires a power source or, in this case, a source of noise. The Dec. 29, 2012 news item on Nanowerk about improved imaging for night vision goggles doesn’t mention noise but hopefully, the problem has been addressed or mitigated (assuming this technology is meant to be worn),

Through some key breakthroughs in flexible semiconductors, electrical and computer engineering Professor Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma has created two imaging technologies that have potential applications beyond the 21st century battlefield.

With $750,000 in support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Ma has developed curved night-vision goggles using germanium nanomembranes.

The Dec. 28, 2012 University of Wisconsin-Madison news release, which originated the news item, describes the Air Force project and another night vision project for the US Department of Defense,

Creating night-vision goggles with a curved surface allows a wider field of view for pilots, but requires highly photosensitive materials with mechanical bendability-the silicon used in conventional image sensors doesn’t cut it.

…  Ma’s design employs flexible germanium nanomembranes: a transferrable flexible semiconductor that until now has been too challenging to use in imagers due to a high dark current, the background electrical current that flows through photosensitive materials even when they aren’t exposed to light.

“Because of their higher dark current, the image often comes up much noisier on germanium-based imagers,” says Ma. “We solved that problem.”

Ma’s dark current reduction technology has also been recently licensed to Intel.

In another imaging project, the U.S. Department of Defense has provided Ma with $750,000 in support of development of imagers for military surveillance that span multiple spectra, combining infrared and visible light into a single image.

“The reason they are interested in IR is because visible light can be blocked by clouds, dust, smoke,” says Ma. “IR can go through, so simultaneous visible and IR imaging allows them to see everything.”

Inexpensive silicon makes production of visible light imagers a simple task, but IR relies on materials incompatible with silicon.

The current approach involves a sensor for IR images and a sensor for visible light, combining the two images in post-processing, which requires greater computing power and hardware complexity. Instead, Ma will employ a heterogeneous semiconductor nanomembrane, stacking the two incompatible materials in each pixel of the new imager to layer IR and visible images on top of one another in a single image.

The result will be imagers that can seamlessly shift between IR and visible images, allowing the picture to be richer and more quickly utilized for strategic decisionmaking.

It’s impossible to tell from the description if this particular technology will be worn by foot soldiers or human military personnel but, in the event it will be worn,  it does well to remember that it will need a power source. Interestingly, the average soldier already carries a lot of weight in batteries (up to 35 pounds!) as per my May 9, 2012 posting about energy-harvesting textiles and the military.

Machine Wilderness: ISEA 2012 in Albuquerque, New Mexico

The 2012 ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Arts) is being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico from Sept. 19 – 24, 2012. From the ISEA 2012 home page,

The Eighteenth International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness is a symposium and series of events exploring the discourse of global proportions on the subject of art, technology and nature. The ISEA symposium is held every year in a different location around the world, and has a 30-year history of significant acclaim. Albuquerque is the first host city in the U.S. in six years.

The ISEA2012 symposium will consist of a conference September 19 – 24, 2012 based in Albuquerque with outreach days along the state’s “Cultural Corridor” in Santa Fe and Taos, and an expansive, regional collaboration throughout the fall of 2012, including art exhibitions, public events, performances and educational activities. This project will bring together a wealth of leading creative minds from around the globe, and engage the local community through in-depth partnerships.

Machine Wilderness references the New Mexico region as an area of rapid growth and technology alongside wide expanses of open land, and aims to present artists’ and technologists’ ideas for a more humane interaction between technology and wilderness in which “machines” can take many forms to support life on Earth. Machine Wilderness focuses on creative solutions for how technology and the natural world can sustainably co-exist.

The program will include: a bilingual [English/Spanish] focus, an indigenous thread, and a focus on land and skyscape. Because of our vast resource of land in New Mexico, proposals from artists are being sought that will take ISEA participants out into the landscape. The Albuquerque Balloon Museum offers a unique opportunity for artworks to extend into the sky as well.

Final decisions are being made now so the lists of programs and speakers aren’t complete yet but there is a sampling of some of what you’ll find in New Mexico this coming September (excerpted from the sampling on the Artworks/Performances page),

Eve Andrée Laramée & Tom Jennings (USA)
Invisible Landscape
at 516 ARTS
Invisible Landscape is a collaborative installation concerning the Cold War, “atomic” legacy; uranium mining and radioactive waste from the nuclear power industry and its “Parent machine” the nuclear weapons complex. The installation includes video projections and sculptures, digital photography, and light-box and sound sculptures. It is a mash-up of works by Laramée & Jennings, and includes components from Jennings’ installation Rocks and Code and Laramée’s installations Halfway to Invisible and Slouching Yucca Mountain.

Agnes Chavez (USA/Cuba) & Alessandro Saccoia (Italy)
(x)trees
at The Albuquerque Museum
(x)trees is a collaborative experiment in open source data visualization, video mapping and participatory art. Multi-disciplinary artist Agnes Chavez created the project in collaboration with open source net artist Jared Tarbell to write the open source video mapping code which captures data live from twitter, converts it into branches of trees and allows it to be projected onto walls and buildings as part of a socially interactive art piece. Chavez has collaborated with a team in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Creative Coder Jeff Milton, actionscript programmer Joe Roth, and videographer Matia Legaria, to realize a live event in BsAs. For ISEA2012, Chavez and collaborators will push the boundaries of the new medium to create a socially interactive virtual forest. New forms such as leaves and flowers will emerge around most used topics/key words, visualizing the “buzz” around the conference. (x)tree helps raise awareness to the importance of preserving linguistic, cultural and ecological diversity around the world.

Fred Paulino & Lucas Mafra (Brazil)
Gambiocycle
at 516 ARTS
Gambiocycle is a Mobile Broadcast unit. It is a tricycle containing electronic great for interactive video projection and digital graffiti in public space. The vehicle is inspired by anonymous ambulant salesmen that ride on wheels over Brazilian cities, mostly selling products or doing political advertisement. Gambiocycle, however, subverts this logic by gathering elements of performance, happening, electronic art, graffiti and “gambiarra” (makeshift, kludge): what it advertises is only a new era of straight democratic dialogue between people who participate of the interventions and their city.

Ivan Puig & Andrés Padilla Domené (Mexico)
SEFT-1
at The Albuquerque Museum
SEFT-1, by Mexican artists Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domené is one of the most important projects working in the art, technology and society field in Mexico. This “Manned Railway Exploration Probe” is a vehicle equipped with a Hi-Rail system, a metal wheel mechanism that enables it to move on rails. Mexico’s trains once formed a network of connections between big cities and tiny pueblos throughout the country. This exploratory probe travels abandoned railways using photography, video, audio and text to record contemporary people, landscape and infrastructure in largely remote areas of the country, creating a futuristic exploration of Mexico’s past. The information recorded is continuously uploaded to the project’s website where the public can follow the SEFT’s progress. For ISEA2012, the SEFT will make a historic journey from the U.S./Mexico border to Albuquerque. The vehicle will be displayed as part of the ISEA2012 exhibition, and the artists will speak at the Latin American Forum. The journey of the SEFT-1 to El Paso for pre-conference activities is sponsored by The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, University of Texas, El Paso.

Sampling of Performances

Idris Goodwin (USA)
Instant Messages
performed during ISEA2012 Intel Education Day
Hip Hop playwright Idris Goodwin will create an original, collaborative, multi-media performance work built entirely from public conversations and debates sampled from various social networking sites. Youth participants rom the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Voces program will cross-reference more than 500 Facebook statuses, comments and Twitter feeds based on specific generic dramatic tropes. The project will interweave hundreds of digital dialogues to dramatize the human interactions of a virtual society. Youth, being the key pioneers of the virtual landscape, are integral to the process of creation.

Miguel Palma (Portugal)
remote Desert Exploration Vehicle
performed at the Downtown Block Party
In collaboration with engineers, robotics experts, geographers, car enthusiasts, military historians and other, Portuguese artist Miguel Palma will convert a former military vehicle into a remote exploration vehicle that will explore desert surroundings during the day and return to urban areas in the evening to project the desert imagery on buildings and other spaces at night. This project is sponsored by ASU Art Museum and the Desert Initiative.

Here’s a sampling from the Speakers & Panels page,

Public Dialogue: A Conversation with Prominent Brazilian artists and curators
For the ISEA2012 Latin American Forum, artist Giselle Beiguelman and curator Priscila Arantes, mediated by Simone Osthoff, will speak on the international art scene, offering the public a chance to see dynamic dialogues about contemporary media art from first-hand perspectives and experiences. Giselle Beiguelman guest juror of ISEA2012, is an international new media artist and multimedia essayist born and based in São Paulo, Brazil. She received a PhD in History from the University of São Paulo and is a former fellow of the VITAE Foundation. Priscila Arantes, Adjunct Director of MIS [Museum of Image and Sound] São Paulo, since 2010, the director of the Paço das Artes also in São Paulo, is a researcher and curator in the field of media art. Simone Osthoff is a Brazilian born artist and writer based in the U.S. since 1988. She is Associate Professor of Critical Studies in the School of Visual Arts at the Pennsylvania State University and the author of Performing the Archive: The Transformation of the Archive in Contemporary Art From Repository of Documents to Art Medium (Atropos Press, 2009).

Lea Rekow & Marc Schmitz
Mapping Contested Territory
For The Cosmos: Radical Cosmologies theme, theme leader Lea Rekow and artist Marc Schmitz will present a dialogue that brings together critical arts practice and action geography, describing an aerial and walking survey conducted with the Navajo community of Churchrock, New Mexico. Their journey maps radioactive accidents, abandoned uranium mines, dams and mills, that lie un-reclaimed and continue to ravage Navajo land, families and culture in the region. For the ISEA2012 conference, Rekow and Schmitz will offer a co-presention/skype panel with/at the Land Art Mongolia Biennial, that simultaneously looks at the impact from mining on indigenous culture of Mongolia and elsewhere.

Caroline Woolard
For the Creative Economies: Ecotopias theme, OurGoods.org co-founder Caroline Woolard will give a talk about the problems and possibilities of non-monetary exchange. If resource sharing is a paradigm of the 21st century, how do we build trust and communicate effectively at intimate-distance? This talk will explore the subjectivities made (im)possible by alternative economies, both analog and digital. Culled from three years of research and development as a co-founder of OurGoods.org and Trade School, two barter networks for cultural producers, Woolard’s talk reflects upon a contemporary fumbling for sharing relationships. Caroline Woolard is a Brooklyn based, post-media artist exploring civic engagement and communitarianism. Her work is collaborative and often takes the form of sculptures, websites and workshops.

There are a number of residencies and special projects,

ISEA2012 includes an array of residencies and special projects hosted by partnering organizations around the New Mexico and the region. They include artist-scientist residencies, site projects, artworks, performances and presentations, with schools, arts organizations, environmental organizations and the scientific and technological community. Some of the residencies and off-site projects feature a gallery component as part of the main ISEA2012 exhibition and/or a presentation at the conference.

Amongst other residencies, I noticed one for e-poetry, which I believe is still open for submissions. Here’s more about the residency (from the e-poetry residency [Local Poets' Guild] page,

Local Poets’ Guild (LPG) is offering a poet re-envisioning art, technology and nature a two-week residency from September 4 – 18, 2012. LPG is specifically looking for poetry using electronic art forms with at least one component that will be accessible on the web. The writer selected will stay in a house on 3.6 acres in the high desert, located down three miles of dirt roads near the town of Moriarty, New Mexico, about 35 miles from Albuquerque. The residency may be extended for up to two weeks at no additional expense.

Project resources:
The poet who receives the residency will be offered a $400 honorarium from the Local Poets Guild and invited to share their work as an Internet present e-poem and in a reading at 516 ARTS as part of the ISEA 2012 conference.

The modest cabin is furnished and has full kitchen, bath, laundry, bedroom and workspace. The structure is nestled amid piñon and juniper trees, abuts an old windmill, and is backed up to 11,000 acres of forested ranchland, which is accessible to hiking. Expect coyotes, owls, nighthawks, deer, the occasional javelina or porcupine, plus great sunlight and better stars. Writers will be expected to provide their own transportation. Couples and/or collaborators are also eligible.

Application requirements:
Please submit a 300-word bio with a 500-word project statement and a link to a prior e-poetry project. Poets who don’t have a prior e-poetry project or prefer to show new work, should submit a “.doc” file in Microsoft Word of a PDF including all information plus five pages of poetry.

Description of sponsoring organization:
The Local Poets’ Guild’s mission is to advocate for poetry, develop audience, engage poets and foster the creative process, from conception and craft to publication and performance. The Local Poets’ Guild offers programs including a rural writers residency, craft talks and workshops, featured readings, showcases, publication of books and cd’s, writing to heal and writing nonviolence workshops, plus an online information hub, all completely community driven and requiring the best efforts of the poets involved. For more information, visit http://localpoetsguild.wordpress.com/

Good luck !

Registration for the conference opened March 2, 2012. Early bird fees apply until July 25, 2012.

IBM, Intel, and New York state

$4.4B is quite the investment(especially considering the current international economic gyrations) and it’s the amount that IBM (International Business Machines), Intel, and three other companies announced that they are investing to “create the next generation of computer chip technology.” From the Sept. 28, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,

The five companies involved are Intel, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, TSMC and Samsung. New York State secured the investments in competition with countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The agreements mark an historic level of private investment in the nanotechnology sector in New York. [emphasis mine]

Research and development facilities will be located in Albany, Canandaigua, Utica, East Fishkill and Yorktown Heights. In addition, Intel separately agreed to establish its 450mm East Coast Headquarters to support the overall project management in Albany. [emphasis mine]

The money is being spent on two projects,

The investment in the state is made up of two projects. The first project, which will be led by IBM and its partners, will focus on making the next two generations of computer chips. These new chips will power advanced systems of all sizes, including, among other things computers and national security applications. This new commitment by IBM brings its total investment in chip technology in New York to more than $10 billion in the last decade.

The second project, which is a joint effort by Intel, IBM, TSMC, Global Foundries and Samsung, will focus on transforming existing 300mm technology into the new 450mm technology. [emphasis mine] The new technology will produce more than twice the number of chips processed on today’s 300 mm wafers thus lowering costs to deliver future generations of technology with greater value and lower environmental impact.

I had to read that bit about increasing the size of the chips a few times since the news items I come across usually crow about decreasing the size.

I have been intermittently following news about the nanotechnology sector in New York state for some time (scroll about 1/2 way down my January 29, 2010 posting). In 2008, IBM announced a $1.5B investment toward the nanotechnology sector in that state.

I wish there had been some description of the investments in the nanotechnology sector as opposed to the generalized statements about jobs, purchasing ‘Made in NY’ technology, and the reference to millimeter (mm) scale computer chips. As for the “450mm East Coast Headquarters,” they may want to rethink that name.

Eye, arm, & leg prostheses, cyborgs, eyeborgs, Deus Ex, and ableism

Companies are finding more ways to publicize and promote themselves and their products. For example there’s Intel, which seems to have been especially active lately with its Tomorrow Project (my August 22, 2011 posting) and its sponsorship (being one of only four companies to do so) of the Discovery Channel’s Curiosity television programme (my July 15, 2011 posting). What I find interesting in these efforts is their range and the use of old and new techniques.

Today I found (August 30, 2011 article by Nancy Owano) a documentary made by Robert Spence, Canadian filmmaker and eyeborg, for the recently released Deus Ex: Human Revolution game (both the game and Spence are mentioned in my August 18, 2011 posting) from the company, Eidos Montréal. If you’re squeamish (medical operation is featured), you might want to miss the first few minutes,

I found it quite informative but curiously US-centric. How could they discuss prostheses for the legs and not mention Oscar Pistorius, the history-making South African double amputee runner who successfully petitioned the Court for Arbitration for Sport for the right to compete with able-bodied athletes? (In July this year, Pistorius qualified for the 2012 Olympics.) By the way, they do mention the Icelandic company, Össur, which created Pistorius’ “cheetah” legs. (There’s more about Pistorius and human enhancement in my Feb. 2, 2010 posting. [scroll down about 1/3 of the way])

There’s some very interesting material about augmented reality masks for firefighters in this documentary. Once functional and commercially available, the masks would give firefighters information about toxic gases, temperature, etc. as they move through a burning building. There’s a lot of interest in making augmented reality commercially available via smartphones as Kit Eaton notes in an August 29, 2011 article for Fast Company,

Junaio’s 3.0 release is a big transformation for the software–it included limited object recognition powers for about a year, but the new system is far more sophisticated. As well as relying on the usual AR sensor suite of GPS (to tell the software where the smartphone is on the planet), compass, and gyros to work out what angle the phone’s camera is looking, it also uses feature tracking to give it a better idea of the objects in its field of view. As long as one of Junaio’s channels or databases or the platforms of its developer partners has information on the object, it’ll pop up on screen.

When it recognizes a barcode, for example, the software “combines and displays data sources from various partner platforms to provide useful consumer information on a given product,” which can be a “website, a shopping micro-site or other related information” such as finding recipes based on the ingredients. It’s sophisticated enough so you can scan numerous barcoded items from your fridge and add in extras like “onions” and then get it to find a recipe that uses them.

Eaton notes that people might have an objection to holding up their smartphones for long periods of time. That’s a problem that could be solved of course if we added a prosthetic to the eye or replaced an organic eye with a bionic eye as they do in the game and as they suggest in the documentary.

Not everyone is quite so sanguine about this bright new future. I featured a documentary, Fixed, about some of the discussion regarding disability, ability, and human enhancement in my August 3, 2010 posting. One of the featured academics is Gregor Wolbring, assistant professor, Dept of Community Health Sciences, Program in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary; and president of the Canadian Disability Studies Association.  From Gregor’s June 17, 2011 posting on the FedCan blog,

The term ableism evolved from the disabled people rights movements in the United States and Britain during the 1960s and 1970s.  It questions and highlights the prejudice and discrimination experienced by persons whose body structure and ability functioning were labelled as ‘impaired’ as sub species-typical. Ableism of this flavor is a set of beliefs, processes and practices, which favors species-typical normative body structure based abilities. It labels ‘sub-normative’ species-typical biological structures as ‘deficient’, as not able to perform as expected.

The disabled people rights discourse and disability studies scholars question the assumption of deficiency intrinsic to ‘below the norm’ labeled body abilities and the favoritism for normative species-typical body abilities. The discourse around deafness and Deaf Culture would be one example where many hearing people expect the ability to hear. This expectation leads them to see deafness as a deficiency to be treated through medical means. In contrast, many Deaf people see hearing as an irrelevant ability and do not perceive themselves as ill and in need of gaining the ability to hear. Within the disabled people rights framework ableism was set up as a term to be used like sexism and racism to highlight unjust and inequitable treatment.

Ableism is, however, much more pervasive.

Ableism based on biological structure is not limited to the species-typical/ sub species-typical dichotomy. With recent science and technology advances, and envisioned advances to come, we will see the dichotomy of people exhibiting species-typical and the so-called sub species-typical abilities labeled as impaired, and in ill health. On the other side we will see people exhibiting beyond species-typical abilities as the new expectation norm. An ableism that favours beyond species-typical abilities over species-typical and sub species-typical abilities will enable a change in meaning and scope of concepts such as health, illness, rehabilitation, disability adjusted life years, medicine, health care, and health insurance. For example, one will only be labeled as healthy if one has received the newest upgrade to one’s body – meaning one would by default be ill until one receives the upgrade.

Here’s an excerpt from my Feb. 2, 2010 posting which reinforces what Gregor is saying,

This influx of R&D cash, combined with breakthroughs in materials science and processor speed, has had a striking visual and social result: an emblem of hurt and loss has become a paradigm of the sleek, modern, and powerful. Which is why Michael Bailey, a 24-year-old student in Duluth, Georgia, is looking forward to the day when he can amputate the last two fingers on his left hand.

“I don’t think I would have said this if it had never happened,” says Bailey, referring to the accident that tore off his pinkie, ring, and middle fingers. “But I told Touch Bionics I’d cut the rest of my hand off if I could make all five of my fingers robotic.” [originally excerpted from Paul Hochman's Feb. 1, 2010 article, Bionic Legs, i-Limbs, and Other Super Human Prostheses You'll Envy for Fast Company]

I don’t really know how to take the fact that the documentary is in fact product placement for the game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. On the up side, it opens up a philosophical discussion in a very engaging way. On the down side, it closes down the discussion because drawbacks are not seriously mentioned.

Intel’s Tomorrow Project

Seeing into the future and making prognostications is an ancient human pastime dating from before the oracle at De;phi*. Brief tangent: for anyone needing a refresher on Delphi and the oracle (from the Wikipedia essay),

Delphi is perhaps best known for the oracle at the sanctuary that was dedicated to Apollo during the classical period. According to Aeschylus in the prologue of the Eumenides, it had origins in prehistoric times and the worship of Gaia. In the last quarter of the 8th century BC there is a steady increase in artifacts found at the settlement site in Delphi, which was a new, post-Mycenaean settlement of the late 9th century.

Not everyone wants to rely on supernatural means or the movement of the planets (astrology) to predict the future. Intel for example has developed something called, The Tomorrow Project (from the project home page),

What kind of future do you want to live in?  What are you excited about and what concerns you? What is your request of the future?  Brian David Johnson Intel’s Futurist asks these questions and more with The Tomorrow Project, a fascinating initiative to investigate not only the future of computing but the broader implications on our lives and planet.
This is a unique time in history. Science and technology has progressed to the point where what we build is only constrained by the limits of our own imaginations. The future is not a fixed point in front of us that we are all hurdling helplessly towards. The future is built everyday by the actions of people. It’s up to all of us to be active participants in the future and these conversations can do just that.
The Tomorrow Project engages in ongoing discussions with superstars, science fiction authors and scientists to get their visions for the world that’s coming and the world they’d like to build. [emphasis mine]

Here’s a video of Brian David Johnson, Intel’s futurist, talking about The Tomorrow Project (watch for the title on the screen at the beginning),

Did you spot the typo? I laugh and groan in sympathy as I’ve had similar things happen. For some reason, this type of mistake is always in the most obvious spot. BTW, the Intel website features the video with a corrected title.

BBC News online featured an August 19,2011 news item about one of the project’s outputs,

Chip maker Intel has commissioned leading science fiction authors to pen short stories that imagine future uses for the firm’s technology.

The collection, called “The Tomorrow Project”, aims to capture the public’s imagination regarding the company’s current research.

The project features work from UK sci-fi author Ray Hammond, who took research in development at Intel’s labs and used it as the basis for “The Mercy Dash” – the story of a couple battling futuristic traffic technology in a race to save a mother’s life.

“I was more nervous approaching this than I have been with any of my full-length novels. I’ve never written short stories, so the form was new to me,” Mr Hammond told BBC News.

The author’s work has been made freely available for download from Intel’s site and Mr Hammond has been delighted by the reaction.

You can go here to download the full anthology or select one or more of the stories. The other three authors included in this anthology are Douglas Rushkoff, Markus Heitz, and Scarlett Thomas.

Johnson doesn’t explain clearly enough (for me) what makes his futurecasting unique. The Canadian Army hired a novelist (Karl Schroeder) in 2005 to write a futuristic book about nanotechnology as I noted in my February 16, 2009 posting, which also mentions that they had commissioned another such novel (I haven’t come across any news about it since).

Jamais Cascio seems to do something similar to Johnson’s futurecasting (from the Bio page on Cascio’s website),

Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of their Top 100 Global Thinkers, Jamais Cascio writes about the intersection of emerging technologies, environmental dilemmas, and cultural transformation, specializing in the design and creation of plausible scenarios of the future. [emphasis mine] His work focuses on the importance of long-term, systemic thinking, emphasizing the power of openness, transparency and flexibility as catalysts for building a more resilient society.

I look forward to hearing more about The Tomorrow Project as it unfolds. Perhaps they’ll expand their conversation past “superstars, science fiction authors and scientists” and engage some of the rest of us.

Science broadcasting, product placement, and Intel

The Discovery Channel (US broadcast television outlet) has announced a new television show, Curiosity, which will have only four sponsors. Intel has agreed to commit at least $10M over 60 episodes. The first airing is Aug. 7, 2011 in the US with global broadcasting (210 countries and territories) to start in Sept. 2011. From Brad Steinberg’s July 13, 2011 article in AdAge MEDIAWORKS,

Intel has committed at least $10 million to sponsor Discovery Channel’s new series “Curiosity,” which will feature ads from only four advertisers in total.

“Curiosity” represents something of a change for Discovery, whose highest-profile programs until now have comprised big-budget documentaries such as “Life” in 2010 or “Planet Earth” in 2006. “Curiosity” is more akin to “60 Minutes,” exploring topics from intelligence to neuroscience to nanotechnology. [emphasis mine]

Intel will serve as a “presenting partner” of “Curiosity,” said Nancy Bhagat, VP-marketing strategy at Intel. In addition to running elements in four premiere episodes of the show and appearing on its website, Curiosity.com, Intel will participate in initiatives from Discovery’s education unit designed to involve students. Social media and mobile marketing are also part of the mix.

Intel hopes to avoid the hard sell, said Ms. Bhagat. “It’s not about us launching a new ad campaign,” she said. “It’s really about the content behind the idea of ‘Curiosity’ itself.”

But viewers will find it difficult to avoid Intel’s messages. Discovery will create short-form vignettes featuring Intel employees discussing what sparks their curiosity. Intel will also be the centerpiece of a show segment called “What Makes Us Curious.” The Intel-backed content will prod viewers to go online to learn more about specific topics. Intel will make use of “Curiosity” in more than 40 countries.

Yes, I imagine it will be awfully hard for viewers to miss Intel’s messages.