At The Movies: Emerging Technologies (Feb 3, 2013)


I keep collecting videos on various topics for my work with the tag #2watch, but then never have time to actually look at them. I woke up this morning thinking, “Wow, that might make a nice weekend blogpost series!” So here you go. This week I stumbled on several videos illustrating or discussing emerging technologies.


Terminator’ arm is world’s most advanced prosthetic limb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qUPnnROxvY

Phenomenal fine motor control, and you know it will just keep getting better, which is really exciting. I chuckled at the moment where he joked, “And this is [the movement] that scares the little kids” and then crooked his prosthetic index finger to its metal palm in the universal gesture for, “you better come here.” So will we have incredibly functional cyborgs, or just add new human limbs? Both are becoming ever more viable options.

Team of Doctors Successfully Perform Double Arm transplant on Veteran. http://singularityhub.com/2013/02/01/team-of-doctors-successfully-perform-double-arm-transplant-on-veteran/

Heart In A Box | Debbie Chesebro, Josh Kurz & Shane Winter from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

Heart In A Box | Debbie Chesebro, Josh Kurz & Shane Winter http://vimeo.com/51888389#

“Heart In A Box explores the Organ Care System that revolutionizes heart transplantation by keeping the heart warm and beating during transportation from donor to recipient.” This innovative technology was developed at UCLA and is now available from Transmedics. PS, there are lots more fascinating etech videos in the Fast Forward competition. If I keep doing this series, we’ll get to more of them.


100 year old keeps sharp playing Nintendo DS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nawe7F8cZ_U

Not just emerging new technologies, but also innovative or emerging uses of current technologies. I love this idea of using gaming systems to preserve cognitive function in the elderly. Until I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and MTHFR, I was worried about my own erratic cognitive functions. Now, while we have the medical solutions in place, I find I am very protective of my future cognitive functioning, and I’ve been looking for tools and solutions to help keep my brain lively and focused. Like her, I started using games. Mine are games I can play with friends on my phone, to add in the social aspect. The games this lovely lady is playing include: Scrabble, Zenses, My Word Coach, Art Academy, Classic Games, Family Fortunes, Left Brain Right Brain.


Wouldn’t it be cool if… you could engineer a better world? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU1vstn99mc

This starts out with an engineer making up something fun for a child’s birthday present, and then doing the “what if” that is so common among creative types, and expanding upon the original idea. The next thing you know, it becomes “what if we could use this approach to make prosthetics and medical devices more comfortable for spin cord injury patients?” He points out that this is not uncommon. When they started, “no one was thinking about revolutionizing robotics.” A big part of the value for me in this video was that he clarified what motivates both the creation and adoption of new technologies.


Neil deGrasse Tyson on Kurzeil’s Singularity Hypothesis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWDuzTxoS4Q

Very interesting look at the role of emerging technologies in the future of humanity. Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked what he thought about Kurzweil’s theory of the Singularity. (Kurzweil wrote a book about this, if you want to know more.) Briefly, Tyson says, “I’m not convinced.” and then expands upon this to explain why he believes that over the past few hundred years humanity has created several tools that do something we used to do better than we ever did it, and it has yet to diminish our sense that being human is completely awesome. He says it better, so watch the video.

Want more? The MIT EmTech (Emerging Technologies) conference happened in October, and they now have posted videos of the presenters.

EmTech 2012: http://www2.technologyreview.com/emtech/12/

EmTech12 Videos: http://www2.technologyreview.com/emtech/12/video/#!/tab/highlights/

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