Tag Archives: consumer electronics

‘Mirror of emotions’ to ‘rationalize’ online traders

rationalizer_highres3“Curb your enthusiasm” seems to be the message of a new gadget from Philips Electronics and the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. They decided to collaborate on the “Rationalizer” bracelet system “after research confirmed that day traders sometimes act irrationally because their actions are affected by their stress level and powerful emotions such as greed or .”

The Rationalizer consists of an “EmoBracelet” and an “EmoBowl” and incorporates sensors and signal processors designed by Philips. The EmoBracelet’s galvanic skin response sensor measures the level of emotional arousal in a similar way to a lie detector. The result is displayed on either the bracelet or the EmoBowl as a light display that intensifies and changes to reflect the wearer’s intensifying emotional arousal. At the highest emotional the display has a greater number of elements moving at higher speed, and the color changes to a warning red.

The video is pretty entertaining. Yes, it does look like a phildickian update of the old mood ring. And it’s not just for day traders willing to admit that they sometimes get carried away.

Senior Director at Philips Design Clive van Heerden said sensing was becoming more important in today’s digital world. He also believes there are many other possible applications, such as game controllers, intelligent cameras to interpret social situations, or even dating sites that enable you to tell who is attracted to you.

Also, you have to love the name of the division of the bank that worked on this device: the Dialogues Incubator.

[Story and image: PhysOrg.com]

How will the earliest nanofactories emerge?

dimensionsJ Storrs Hall of the Foresight institute comments on what the earliest nanofactories will be like, and Michael Anissimov responds:

If nanofactories work at all, they will be very powerful. A nanofactory would be a very complicated, “huge” thing. The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology compares the complexity of a molecular assembler to that of a Space Shuttle. I think the analogy would be apt for a nanofactory as well. We are talking about a miniature factory with more moving parts and individual computers than a typical 100 million-dollar modern factory today. Difficulties with the basic technology will manifest themselves in the pre-nanofactory stage, working with individual assemblers or small ensembles of assemblers. If you’ve made it all the way to nanofactory-level MNT, you’ve already jumped the primary technological hurdles.

A point of disagreement between Anissimov and Hall is the precise definiton of “nanofactory.” Is it simply a general term for a device that can create many other things including a copy of itself, or it is a specific desktop-scale universal assembler?

Assuming the latter definition, Anissimov argues that widespread adoption of desktop nanofactories will happen much more rapidly than that of personal computers because:

There are simply too many moving parts for micromanagement to be possible — either the “code-level” operations are automated or they haven’t been established yet.

Either they work or they don’t. The smallest replicating unit is equivalent to the transistor in a personal computer – to the user it is expected to behave as a black box that performs a specific function – and if it fails to there is not much the user can do about it (if a transistor fails on a microchip can it even be repaired?).

The appropriate analogy is therefore between computers and nanofactories is between the existence of nanofactories and the existence of microchips. Microchips have found their way all over the place…

If Anissimov is right then it raises the interesting possibility that mature, desktop-scale nanofabrication may achieve widespread consumer adoption over a startlingly short period, given the ability of the machine to make copies of itself and the fact if it fulfils its basic function then it can become incredibly useful to many people very quickly.

[via Next Big Future][image from jurvetson on flickr]

Fund new gadgets with your old ones


In four years, I’ve been through 3 or 4 cell phones, a couple digital cameras and 2 iPods.  Not to mention the computer hardware that’s gone belly-up on me.  So what can I do with all this stuff?  Toss it in the trashRecycle?  The toxic chemicals will pollute, and recyclers haven’t been as scrupulous as we might like – shipping this stuff off to poor countries where circuit boards are burnt to get at their valuable metals.

Now, a socially-responsible company will buy your old consumer electronics off you, refurbish them and sell them on the street, all in an effort to reduce e-waste and improve sustainability.  Second Generation out of Massachusetts will calculate the price then give you a printable shipping label which you slap on a box and send off.  After the items have had their check, you get yours.  If I were in the States, I’d certainly make use of this.  Check out this article at Ars Technica for an in-depth review of Second Generation’s process.