Mechanical Menagerie Compilation #5: Futuristic Technology

Eyeborg

Our society changes daily and with those changes our bodies are beginning to change as well. The preponderance of wounded veterans from armed conflicts around the world has caused the prosthetic industry to enlarge and innovate, getting closer every day to arms and legs that can function as the originals had. However this story is about a man who has lost his right eye and replaced it with a robotic one. Rob Spence has a robot eye that doubles as a camera, allowing him to record life from a point-of-view perspective. Labeled “The Eyeborg Project” (and he does refer to himself as an eyeborg) it involves two engineers and an ocularist (they make fake eyes). The project has been a success so far and they have planned the next step already: a realistic looking eye. As of right now, which you can see below, the eye doesn’t blend in with normal people. The goal would be making it look as close to a real eye as possible.

Not only would this be helpful to people using glass eyes (which don’t always look natural) it could also revolutionize future recording devices. Making them smaller would also make them easier to use and if you could stream it directly to a device all you would need to do is wear a small camera and press a button. It could go to your phone or computer and with future developments stream to websites or social media. As alluded to in the video, it could also have applications in secret journalism, filmmaker and any other reason you would want to record in secret. James Bond anyone? So in case you ever thought you weren’t being recorded before, look at someone twice before you do anything.

Eyeborg

Rob Spence is a documentary filmmaker and has made a documentary called Deus Ex: The Eyeborg Documentary focusing on new prostheses and how they relate to Adam Jensen, the main character/cyborg of the video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

UWM

Gladiators are back. Finally they are back. But don’t worry; no one is going to die. A company called Unified Weapons Master (UWM) wants to bring back gladiators into the 21st century but they want to turn it into a new type of sport. Through the use of a carefully designed suit of armor (think full paintball or SWAT body armor) they believe they have reached the next step in combat simulation. But be advised this isn’t on par with UFC, after all what gladiatorial competition would it be without weapons? The main focus of UWM is to fight using weapon martial arts. Kicks and punches are still very much appreciated but the point of the suits is to take the blows for weapons. Since UWM correctly points out this would be dangerous for anyone without protection their suit fulfills this purpose and so much more.

The suit of armor they have created is called the Lorica, after the Roman word used so commonly for their armor. It will protect combatants from harm while using sensors to detect the pressure and locations of blows from actual weapons, kicks, punches and pretty much any way you can hurt the other person. This simulates real world damage so they don’t have to. The suit also contains cameras on the visor and microphones inside so you can hear and see what the fighter does. An extra feature is the ability to monitor and then show the heart-rate and body temperature of the combatants. With all of this in depth information so easily available it should give almost any viewer what they want in terms of pure immersion.

Their scoring system measures the level of damage and then reflects it on the suits by having LED lights change colors but if neither fighter falls, the damage needs to be scored to determine the winner. This is where strategy will come into play if neither one gets a kill but frankly it doesn’t seem very hard to score kills. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes just a rare occurrence or more standard as experienced competitors vie for survival. The full inventory of available weaponry has yet to be unveiled however I’m really pulling for the medieval weaponry. So far they are blunted weapons however they are working on edged ones due to the problem of low sensitivity from edged weapons. I could describe the combat but seriously click below; you have to see it for yourself.

Unified Weapons Master Future Fighting

Website

YouTube Channel

China’s Exascale Supercomputer

China’s National Supercomputer Centre has announced that they are completing efforts on the first prototype of an exascale computer which they have named Tianhe-3 . This computer will be the first to attain 1 exaFLOPS (EFLOPS) or 1×10^18 calculations per second (1,000,000,000,000,000,000; a billion billion or quintillion). FLOPS is just a way to track the calculations per second computers can perform. For those unaware, your average supercomputer ranges in the teraFLOPS (TFLOPS) range or 1×10^12 calculations per second (1,000,000,000,000; a trillion) to the petaFLOPS(PFLOPS) range or 1×10^15 calculations per second (1,000,000,000,000,000; a billion million or quadrillion). All of the current record breaking supercomputers range in the tens to hundreds of PFLOPS with China’s Tianhe-2 ranking 2nd at 33.86 PFLOPS and the Sunway TaihuLight ranking 1st with 93.01 PFLOPS.

Now that all this math is up here let’s look at some more. Most modern laptops range in the gigaFLOPS (GFLOPS) range for reference to that massive number above.  That’s 1×10^9 calculations per second (1,000,000,000; a billion) and this is around the level you can expect from the devices you surround yourself with. I understand you may have trouble wrapping your head around the massive numbers we’re dealing with here but think about this. With this base statistic, say 10 GFLOPS per laptop, maybe I can help you visualize this number. 100 laptops would be 1 TFLOPS so roughly a medium size lecture hall in a university. 100,000 would be 1 PFLOPS which is about the size of 2 full capacity Yankee Stadiums. For 1 EFLOPS you would need 100,000,000 laptops, roughly the population of Ethiopia or the Philippines. This is what you should see to understand how massive this accomplishment is. Imagine an entire country of this size all working together, each person with a job, to just calculate a solution. But what kind of solution?

The article I have here states, “[E]xascale supercomputers will more realistically simulate the processes involved in precision medicine, regional climate, additive manufacturing, the conversion of plants to biofuels, the relationship between energy and water use, the unseen physics in materials discovery and design, the fundamental forces of the Universe, and much more.” These are just some of the examples and we will have to wait to see what else they can be capable of. China has estimated it will take them until 2020 to have a fully operational model. In the meantime the U.S. will keep playing catch-up as they try to match China even though it will take them longer. Congratulations to China on one of humanity’s most important achievements.

Top 500

China claims first supercomputer near completion

 

For more articles related to technology go to Mechanical Menagerie and check out my other pages for excellent content on science, technology, history and more!

 

 

 

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