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Foresight Update 23.40: May 7, 2010

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Foresight Events – Lectures
Foreseeing Future Technologies - Join Foresight
Contact Foresight

Lessons from history for technology designers

Longtime Foresight friend Robert Grudin has a new book Design and Truth, just reviewed by the New York Times. The review quotes Grudin on designers:

“However grand their aspirations, they wait upon the will of people in power,” he writes. “And power, which can ratify the truth of good design, can, conversely, debase design into a fabric of lies.”

Matterhorn sculpture demos 3D patterning at 15 nm level (IBM video) brings news and a video of a new 3D patterning technique from IBM that reaches down to 15 nm resolution which “could go even smaller”:

IBM Research in Zurich has demonstrated a new nanoscale patterning technique that could replace electron beam lithography (EBL). The demonstration carved a 1:5 billion scale three-dimensional model of the Matterhorn, a 4,478 meter high mountain lying on the border between Italy and Switzerland, to show how their technique could be used for a number of applications, such as creating nanoscale lenses on silicon chips for carrying optical circuits at a scale so small that electronic circuits are inefficient…

‘Anarchists’ try to bomb Swiss IBM nano facility (but fail)

Brian Wang brings to our attention a Daily Mail article:

A routine traffic-stop in Switzerland has allegedly thwarted eco-terrorists from blowing up the site of the £55million nano-technology HQ of IBM in Europe…

The Singularity is Near: the Movie

David Cassel brings our attention to an h+ review of the long-awaited film The Singularity is Near, based on the book by Ray Kurzweil:

In documentary style, we have Ray discussing his ideas about the Singularity, with commentators variously supporting or refuting or worrying about his ideas. …

MIT’s Belcher uses engineered virus to split water

Angela Belcher and team at MIT have tweaked a bacterial virus to serve as a scaffolding to

…attract and bind with molecules of a catalyst (the team used iridium oxide) and a biological pigment (zinc porphyrins). The viruses became wire-like devices that could very efficiently split the oxygen from water molecules. …

Industrial robot carves metal like butter (video)

From Singularity Hub, 5 Axis Robot Carves Metal Like Butter:

Industrial robots are getting precise enough that they’re less like dumb machines and more like automated sculptors producing artwork. Case in point: Daishin’s Seki5-axis mill. The Japanese company celebrated its 50th anniversary last year by using this machine to carve out a full scale motorcycle helmet out of one piece of aluminum, …

Freitas awarded first mechanosynthesis patent

The winner of the 2009 Foresight Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (Theory), Robert A. Freitas Jr., has now been granted the first diamond mechanosynthesis patent. This is not just the first DMS patent but also, I believe, the first mechanosynthesis patent that has ever been issued. Freitas is the sole inventor on this patent, which was assigned to Zyvex because the work was done while he was a contractor for the company.

Forrest Bennett explains memristors

Longtime Foresight Senior Associate and senior research scientist at Genetic Programming, Inc. has done an interview on memristors over at blog FrogHeart for those of us trying to keep up on this challenging topic. …

Berkeley gets Willow Garage robot to fold towels: video

Finally, the first step has been made toward the longed-for goal of a robot which can do laundry …

—Nanodot posts by Christine Peterson

Foresight Events – Lectures

Foresight Lectures

July 30, 2010
Open Science Summit
Berkeley, California
Christine Peterson will speak on Open Source Sensing.
Click here for conference details

If you miss the early registration rate, you can get 20% off regular registration with the discount code ‘Foresight’.

Foreseeing Future Technologies

Advancements in technologies such as nanotech, robotics, and biotech are promising to make major differences in our lives in the not-too-distant future, as the Industrial Revolution did to the agrarian world — to do for the physical world what the computer and Internet have done to the world of information.

Since 1986, the Foresight Institute has been in the forefront of a worldwide community of visionaries who work to help shape these possibilities into a positive, beneficial reality. If you would like to help us understand the potential of these technologies, and influence their direction, please consider becoming a member of the Foresight community. With your support, Foresight will continue to educate the general public on these technologies and what they will mean to our society.

To join:


IEEE Nanotechnology Council 6th Annual Symposium
Nanotechnology: State of the Art & Applications
May 18-19, 2010
National Semiconductor, Santa Clara, California USA

Contact Foresight

The Foresight Institute Weekly News Digest has merged with Foresight Update and is emailed every week to 10,000 individuals in more than 125 countries. Foresight Institute is a member-supported organization. We offer membership levels appropriate to meet the needs and interests of individuals and companies. To find out more about membership, follow this link:

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