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283 comments

A man-made brain? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19686891)

That's nothing - look at what yo momma can do.

A little clarity to the concept. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687319)

Most of these ideas are just gimmicks. One HUGE milestone only gets a footnote: non-volatile RAM.

Look at today's PC. Where is the bottleneck in 95% of all cases? The hard disk drive.

So, what could be the next killer feature? Non-volatile RAM (PRAM, FRAM, MRAM..). The immediate advantage is speed of course. But there is something much bigger.

Most of the time, loading a file is no longer necessary! Much of the boot time of today's OSes comes from loading stuff into RAM. This can be omitted with P/F/MRAM, reducing booting to device initialization. Also, suspend-to-disk comes for free.

Every single OS is based on the fact that there is a slow, but persistent memory (hard drive) and a fast, volatile one (RAM). They'd need a complete overhaul to fully exploit the new paradigm. Hell, almost all programs too. "Loading file to memory" is not necessary anymore, because the file already IS in memory! Thus, some sort of direct access is needed (unless the file is fragmented).

Reinvent the wheel? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19686897)

Bad phrase: "Reinvent computing".
Good phrase: "Reinvent the wheel".

Re:Reinvent the wheel? (1, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687117)

IMAX-quality movies at home with new projectors - See the popularity of IMAX Cinema ....
a mid-air mouse that requires no flat surface - Been there done that doesn't work (Gorilla Arm)
a home quantum computer - Dreaming (Not possible yet - maybe never)
a router-based peer-to-peer system - HAsn't this been done, it's called the internet?
a man-made brain - Dreaming (Not possible yet - maybe never)

So two bad ideas done and forgotten
Two good ideas that are much more difficult than they appear
and once idea that appears to be a minor change to what we have already ...

Revolutionary(TM)?

Re:Reinvent the wheel? (4, Insightful)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687293)

RTFA. The article clearly describes the differences between the new technologies and the old ones they're based on, and it gives examples of real-world research that is actually making progress towards the two technologies that you have said might never happen. You obviously haven't read the article at all, and are just making assumptions based on the short list in the summary.

Re:Reinvent the wheel? (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687381)

How is this insightful? he clearly hasn't RTFA.
If he had RTFA he would have known that

a router-based peer-to-peer system - HAsn't this been done, it's called the internet?
- is just plain wrong.

Popup (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19686905)

Warning: Obnoxious javascript popup on the opening page. Not blocked by Opera. Make sure your noscript or whatever is turned on.

Re:Popup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687495)

Hmm.. a reason NOT to RTFA first!?!?

Writing a list (5, Funny)

kernel_pat (964314) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686907)

"IMAX-quality movies at home with new projectors, a mid-air mouse that requires no flat surface, a home quantum computer, a router-based peer-to-peer system, and a man-made brain all made the list."

Surely you just need a bloke with a pen and a piece of paper to make a list.

Re:Writing a list (0)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687177)

Surely you just need a bloke with a pen and a piece of paper to make a list.
yeah... I really wonder how they came up with this list...

Re:Writing a list (3, Funny)

pacalis (970205) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687621)

Idea #6 is: a better list

I'd write it but I'm too busy building 22m by 16m screen in my basement.

Printer Friendly (1, Informative)

jginspace (678908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686913)

Re:Printer Friendly (1)

dancin_mitch (930473) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687029)

Man, if only there was a way to encode the refer into the link.

Re:Printer Friendly (2, Funny)

jginspace (678908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687483)

I didn't immediately know what you meant. Now I see you're referring to the 'a=209783' part. I just spent 2 mins trying to make a link without this but gave up ... and now I see CowboyNeal has edited the summary to use this same link.

My Idea... (4, Insightful)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686925)

A hand-carried fusion reactor, unless you want to take down the grid with those ideas...

Article Summary (5, Informative)

ma11achy (150206) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686949)

I took the liberty of copying and pasting the meat of the article here. WAY too many ads and click-thru's for my liking.

IMAX at Home
=============
You thought LAN parties were fun? Get ready for the projector party. At HP Labs, Nelson Chang and Niranjan Damera-Venkata have spent the past few years developing a technology that reinvents the notion of a home theater. With Pluribus, you can build a cineplex-quality image using a handful of ordinary, $1,000 PC projectors--in less time than it takes to pop the popcorn.

The Midair Mouse
================
Your brand-new wireless mouse? That solves only half the problem. Sure, you're untethered, free to drive your PC from afar. But you still need a flat surface. You may be camped out on the couch or curled up in bed, but you're never more than half an arm's length from an end table or a lap desk.

Soap goes one step further: It works in midair. With this new-age pointing device, now under development at Microsoft Research, you can navigate your PC using nothing but a bare hand. You can lose the end table and the lap desk. You can even lose the couch and the bed, driving your machine while walking across the room. It's a bit like the Wii remote--only more accurate and far easier to use.

Extreme Peer-to-Peer
====================
In 1543, Nicolas Copernicus forever changed the way we view the cosmos. He put the Sun at the center of things--not the Earth. Today, at the famed Palo Alto Research Center, Van Jacobson hopes to lead a similar revolution, one that forever changes the way we view PC networking. He aims to put the data at the center of things--not the server.

With a project called Content-Centric Networking, or CCN, Jacobson and his team of PARC networking gurus are turning this model on its head. They're building a networking system that revolves around the data itself, a system in which a router can actually identify that Bode Miller video and act accordingly. Under the CCN model, you don't tell the network that you're interested in connecting to a server. You tell it that you want a particular piece of data. You broadcast a request to all the machines on the network, and if one of them has what you're looking for, it responds.

The Man-Made Brain
==================
It could be the most ambitious computer science project of all time. At IBM's Almaden Research Center, just south of South Francisco, Dharmendra Modha and his team are chasing the holy grail of artificial intelligence. They aren't looking for ways of mimicking the human brain, they're looking to build one--neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse.

"We're trying to take the entire range of qualitative neuroscientific data and integrate it into a single unified computing platform," says Modha. "The idea is to re-create the 'wetware' brain using hardware and software."

Their first goal is to build a "massively parallel cortical simulator" that re-creates the brain of a mouse, an organ 3,500 times less complex than a human brain (if you count each individual neuron and synapse). But even this is an undertaking of epic proportions. A mouse brain houses over 16 million neurons, with more than 128 billion synapses running between them. Even a partial simulation stretches the boundaries of modern hardware. No, we don't mean desktop hardware. We're talkin' supercomputers.

So far, the team has been able to fashion a kind of digital mouse brain that needs about 6 seconds to simulate 1 second of real thinking time.

Re:Article Summary (-1, Flamebait)

UncleFluffy (164860) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686967)

(whole bunch of shiny stuff)

No, this won't reinvent shit. Sorry. Go do something useful with your life, or kill yourself now and stop wasting resources. Waste of my time even posting this article, asshole.

Re:Article Summary (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687025)

this new-age pointing device, now under development at Microsoft Research,
Someone drank the Redmond kool-aid. I guess the guy never heard of the Wiimote.

Re:Article Summary (2, Informative)

infestedsenses (699259) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687121)

I guess that's why he never said:

"It's a bit like the Wii remote--only more accurate and far easier to use."

You could have read the whole paragraph instead, you know.

Re:Article Summary (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687245)

You may be camped out on the couch or curled up in bed, but you're never more than half an arm's length from an end table or a lap desk.

If you need to access your computer and can't bear to get your butt off the couch, you've got bigger problems than not having a flat surface handy.

Re:Article Summary (2, Informative)

tdvaughan (582870) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687251)

Extreme peer to peer
So....like multicast?

Re:Article Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687547)

You get points for sarcasm, but what's wrong with multicast? It works rather flawlessly when configured properly.

Re:Article Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687303)

under development at Microsoft Research....It's a bit like the Wii remote--only more accurate and far easier to use.

Just like vista is more accurate and easier to use than Linux?

I can't wait!

Re:Article Summary (2, Funny)

skribe (26534) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687305)

I'm surprised there's no mention of haptics. Secondlife: now with real gyrating motion.

Mid-air mouse... (5, Insightful)

rilister (316428) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686953)

... I can debunk this one for you right away.

Take your mouse. Hold it the air for five minutes. For extra effect, wave it about. Now imagine doing this eight hours a day. And being accurate.

Tired arm much? Using a 2D mouse is about accuracy and long-term usage. OK, the mouse isn't perfect, but hanging it in space significantly deteriorates both these properties.

The Wii controller is a whole different ball of wax - it's for using for a couple of hours at most, and you don't try clicking on unfolding menus with it.

Re:Mid-air mouse... (2, Interesting)

Atario (673917) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686965)

Also, hasn't this existed for years now?

Re:Mid-air mouse... (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687585)

Also, hasn't this existed for years now?
But now they're going to put five blades on that fucker, and TWO aloe strips. Whole new product, man.

Re:Mid-air mouse... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687087)

Bah, no mind-computer interfaces? no eye tracking devices?
both are more promising than the "3d mouse"

Re:Mid-air mouse... (1)

axlash (960838) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687097)

I don't think that the mouse *has* to be used in space... it's just an option in case you don't have a flat surface available.

Re:Mid-air mouse... (1)

dyefade (735994) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687311)

Exactly my thoughts. What's to stop me resting it on a regular surface? I already use my wireless, optical mouse on any surface to hand (papers, pizza box, my leg), so this would just be an extension of that.

Re:Mid-air mouse... (1)

qengho (54305) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687561)

in case you don't have a flat surface available

Where am I going to put the computer, then? I use the keyboard far more than the mouse.

Re:Mid-air mouse... (5, Informative)

Soulshift (1044432) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687103)

Do you even know how the Soap pointing device works? Hint: you don't wave it around in mid air. It's essentially the guts of an optical mouse put into a smooth, clear container and stuck into a sock. The optical sensor tracks the grain of the enclosing sock, and you manipulate it by squeezing the sock gently, causing the "mouse" inside to rotate - much as if you were squeezing a bar of soap (hence the name)

Unlike a lot of stuff coming out of Microsoft, I regard this little invention to be actually rather creative and worthwhile. If anything, it will definitely be a boon to people who need to use a pointing device during presentations (much better than the trackball solution we have today)

Re:Mid-air mouse... (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687599)

Do you even know how the Soap pointing device works? Hint: you don't wave it around in mid air. It's essentially the guts of an optical mouse put into a smooth, clear container and stuck into a sock. The optical sensor tracks the grain of the enclosing sock, and you manipulate it by squeezing the sock gently, causing the "mouse" inside to rotate - much as if you were squeezing a bar of soap (hence the name)
So, once you're done -er, "rotating your 'mouse,'" do you wash the sock out or just throw it in the dirty pile?

Cool looking; doubt it will be practical for 8hrs (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687613)

I went to the soap homepage (http://www.patrickbaudisch.com/projects/soap/inde x.html) and watched the demo. DOA. The gyrations that guys hand has to make to control the mouse, and the speed of the cursor (I know, you can set that, but there's a limit to maintain precision) makes the propsect of using something like that for an extended period of time seem like a CIA torture technique. I use a "regular" optical moust with a wrist pad that has a wrist rest. It requires very little effort, and I can both zip across a 1920pixel screen and precisely pick points in CAD using the same settings. Plus I get three buttons and a scroll wheel (which, if you pan and zoom in good applications is a great movement saver).

In some ways it reminds me of a trackpad. Very cool looking and futuristic (back when they were first introduced) until you try to use it for anything, at which point it becomes a burden which slows down and degrades the accuracy of all of your pointing and selection operations.

Besides, once I get to eliminate my desk, end table, couch, and bed, where should I put my keyboard - or will they come up with a 60wpm on-screen soap-mouse-pick keyboard?

Re:Mid-air mouse... (5, Informative)

mlush (620447) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687143)

You dont even need to do the experement, there is a name for it since the 1980s From the Jargon files gorilla arm: n. The side-effect that destroyed touch-screens as a mainstream input technology despite a promising start in the early 1980s. It seems the designers of all those spiffy touch-menu systems failed to notice that humans aren't designed to hold their arms in front of their faces making small motions. After more than a very few selections, the arm begins to feel sore, cramped, and oversized -- the operator looks like a gorilla while using the touch screen and feels like one afterwards. This is now considered a classic cautionary tale to human-factors designers; "Remember the gorilla arm!" is shorthand for "How is this going to fly in real use?".

Re:Mid-air mouse... (3, Funny)

WalterGR (106787) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687165)

Take your mouse. Hold it the air for five minutes. For extra effect, wave it about. Now imagine doing this eight hours a day.

Reminds me of this hilarious comic [ok-cancel.com] from OK/Cancel.

(Two guys exit a showing of the movie Minority Report.)

Guy: Mate, that film was brilliant! I reckon that interface'll be the interface of the future!

(Fast forward to 2099...)

Job interviewer, speaking to interviewee: I'm sorry ma'am. Your cognitive scores are incredible but you simply don't have the upper body strength to do this 8 hours a day.

If you're into usability and design, OK/Cancel is a great web comic to check out.

Solution...Maybe (1)

SpeedyGonz (771424) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687371)

Maybe using a pair of 2D mouses?

Like one for X and Z (right hand) and another for Y and rotation (left hand)

It may sound awkward, but then again maybe in the future our kids will be laughing at us for not being skilled enough to use such setup.

Then again, 3D design apps have been using mouse + keyboard to do this for a long time without problems, so maybe this solution is overkill.

Re:Mid-air mouse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687403)

I've got a gyroscopic mouse. It's great for interacting with my media centre machine when I'm sitting on the couch but you're right, it's inaccurate. However, it's not tiring because you can use it with your hands at your sides. You don't have to hold it in front of you.

Re:Mid-air mouse... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687625)

The cordless gyro mice are good for presentations. You can present without having to lean on a desk. Presentations should be short and mouse use is limited. The 20m range didn't hurt either.

The only problem we had was people walking off with the thing or leaving it in obscure places.

One more (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19686959)

How about the concept that software is a service and not a product.

There can be only one? (4, Funny)

Snad (719864) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686961)

FTFA :

A gaming PC with dueling graphics cards can line up 12 projectors in as little as 5 minutes

What if I don't want my graphics cards fighting it out to see who survives? Will it take only 2 minutes if they join forces instead of trying to kill each other?

Re:There can be only one? (3, Funny)

asliarun (636603) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687043)

"What if I don't want my graphics cards fighting it out to see who survives?"

You're right. It's cruel, especially if one of them decides to fight on the sli.

Future Shock Level... (1)

wombiroller (1045030) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686963)

Seems they are hovering around SL1 (Shock Level [sl4.org] 1) with the exception of the AI which is in SL3 apparently. Dammit, I'm still waiting for my complete mental revision.

"Re-invent modern computing"? (4, Interesting)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686975)

Most of these ideas look more like cool gadgets or specific applications to me.

Computing is everywhere now. I think a "re-invention" of it should probably be something that applies to the huge numbers of people who use computing as part of their everyday lives.

I was much more interested in these [bbc.co.uk] comments, which involve trying to fundamentally change the way in which we use our technology.

Peter

.. anyone remeber the flying car (4, Insightful)

supersnail (106701) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686981)

I cant help being reminded of those wonderful 1950s popular mechanics articles which predicted we would all be flying home in our flying cars to watch our 3D Tv while eating a robot cooked meal.

The present is never the future you thought it would be.

Everybody predicted talking computers able to predict the future, but nobody predicted YouTube or predictive texting.

Re:.. anyone remeber the flying car (1)

borizz (1023175) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687055)

And yet, here we (in general) are, gullible as ever, scooping up the bovine waste by the truckload. You'd think we would have learned from that mistake.

Re:.. anyone remeber the flying car (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687417)

I don't want to pull up the link from work, but given that you both referenced The Flying Car and YouTube, you should search YouTube for Kevin Smith's short "The Flying Car".

It really is great.

Predictions, pipe dreams and crystal spheres (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19686987)

That's what it comes down to. We already have computers that calculate faster than anything we combined have. They just cost more than we combined have, too. These ideas all sound nice and pretty, but generally what it comes down to is cost. 12k for a home entertainment? Who can afford that? Who'd WANT to afford that? Especially with probably no movies to see on it in the forseeable future, since studios won't allow ... I digress.

Any prediction past 5 years in the future of IT is a pipe dream. Accept that. Think back, say, 10 years. You know, when the Internet was the next hot thing and broadband was the dream. When we sucked our data through 56k modems. When the first FTP servers sharing music appeared. When Napster came to fame. What was the prediction? That Napster is so hot it smokes and that it will soar. That on the internet we'll all make a ton of money with ads on our pages. That in 10 years (i.e. today) the corner store is gone and we'll do all our business on the net. We'll all be having fiber to our homes and watch our movies online, hell, all our data will be online, since loading it from the HD is just as fast as accessing it on the 'net.

Well, some of it came, but compared to the explosions predicted it was at best a greasefire. Yes, you can shop on the net, and Amazon surely dealt a serious blow to book stores, but otherwise, the economy didn't suddenly go full force online. Music sharing is a topic for lawyers rather than technicians, and Napster kinda-sorta folded (yeah, it still exists, somewhere, somehow, but nobody cares anymore). Fiber is a dream for most people, and while the net speed went up, it's a far cry from what was predicted. Services that store data online are currently starting to get started, but they're far from being a HD replacement, at best, they're offsite backups (and even as such they suck, due to space limitations).

Technical issues actually went to the background, replaced by legal problems and privacy concerns. Nobody predicted that, IIRC.

So doing a prediction up to 2020 is kinda pipe dreaming. You have no idea what obstacles will come in our way, you can't even imagine what kind of problem we will have to deal in 2015 already. For all I know, it could happen that Google gets bought out by some megalomanic and insanely rich guy who then starts to milk it for private data. Can it happen? For sure. Will it happen? Who knows.

All I know is that predicting the IT future is a business best left to fortune tellers. At least they don't have to fear for their credibility when their predictions are so way off that it's not even funny anymore.

Re:Predictions, pipe dreams and crystal spheres (3, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687207)

Most of the middle-class in any western country *can* affort to spend $12K for any damn thing they please. If it's worth it is another matter entirely. For 99% of the population that's gonna be a no.

Tech tends to fall like a lead-stone in price over time though, can you remember when a simple DVD-player was $3000 ? It's not that many years ago. You know, one of those sucky ones with no network, no divX, no mp3, no jpg, no video-cd compatibility and 10-second lag for layer-changing....

We used to have a $3000 0.8Mpix digital camera at work. Concluding that digital cameras will never appeal to the mass-market based on that would've been the wrong conclusion though....

Re:Predictions, pipe dreams and crystal spheres (2, Informative)

butlerdi (705651) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687273)

For me the exception in this list is the Xerox PARC work on Content-Centric Networking. I have been following this for some time and feel that it is good research. Xerox has always been at the edge and many people never realise the fruits of their research as the projects are often spun off as separate entities. This seems to incorporate many of the ideas behind Cougaar, Jini and Jxta but using the discovery process in a different way.

Good overview http://www.parc.com/research/projects/networking/c ontentcentric/default.html [parc.com]

Also Van Jacobson, the man behind the project http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Jacobson [wikipedia.org] was responsible, in part, for traceroute and other goodies, so there is probably quite a bit of traction there.

Re:Predictions, pipe dreams and crystal spheres (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687461)

Technical issues actually went to the background, replaced by legal problems and privacy concerns. Nobody predicted that, IIRC.


Actually, Project Xanadu predicted it (and at least partially designed a solution to it) long before the WWW. Stallman also did a pretty good job of predicting such issues, and wrote a license which actually made sense in the digital age.

Re:Predictions, pipe dreams and crystal spheres (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687491)

Or Google et al will be forcibly milked for private data by governments. Or maybe they'll willingly hand it over.

Oh.

Man-made brain, hmm (5, Funny)

tgv (254536) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687023)

I guess by "man-made" they mean artificial and that it will REVOLUTIONIZE(tm) computing since these artificial brains are going to be built in to every PC. Where did I hear that before? I think at the time they grossly overstated the capacity of computers such as the original IBM PC. So perhaps Moore's law applies to hardware, it surely doesn't apply to exaggeration.

Anyway, who needs an electronic brain? Now I can at least yell "idiot" to MS Word when it joins sections or splits pages without it getting offended. Can you imagine Clippy looking angry and saying in this cute cartoon like blob "Now I'm not going to erase your document, you asked for it".

Re:Man-made brain, hmm (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687139)

"But what would you do with a brain if you had one?" - Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz.

Re:Man-made brain, hmm (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687267)

Anyway, who needs an electronic brain?
Arthur Dent, after the mice take his brain. A simple one would suffice, all it would have to do is say "What?" and "Where's the tea?"

The mid-air mouse has already been invented (2, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687031)

Gyroscopic mice have been around for years (pioneering the same tech you now see in the Wii remote and PS3 SIXAXIS). You really wouldn't want to use one unless you're doing a presentation or similar since you'll just hurt your hand and wrist waving the thing around in mid-air.

Re:The mid-air mouse has already been invented (3, Informative)

mlk (18543) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687295)

You don't wave the MS mouse. It does not have motion sensors in it, instead it is more like a tracker ball without a base.

zomgzomgzomg (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687035)

This article makes me want to VOMIT.

Man Made brain (2, Interesting)

Wolf von Niflheim (945658) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687065)

Although I must agree it is a very interesting and challenging project, I'm not convinced it will see much use in the biological research world. For starters there is one particular reason I have my doubts (from the article):

"The project is particularly daunting when you consider that modern neurology has yet to explain how the brain actually works. Yes, we know the fundamentals. But we can't be sure of every biological transaction, all the way down to the cellular level. Three years into this Cognitive Computing project, Modha's team isn't just building a brain from an existing blueprint. They're helping to create the blueprint as they build. It's reverse engineering of the highest order."

Although reverse engineering might seem as the perfect way to find out how something works from a technology point of view, this isn't necessarily true from a biological point of view. The thing is that when you reverse engineer a piece of technology you are completely certain about the underlying core principles because the technology you are reverse engineering is actually man made. With biology this is not the case.

I work in a research group that (amongst other things) tries to reverse engineer simple cellular pathways of a complexity scale that is that is far smaller than the actual function of the brain and even those attempts, although producing results, do not always conform with biological reality.

Furthermore, and I know this from experience, computer scientists and mathematicians tend to underestimate the actual complexity of such systems and the variability of biological systems within species and even within the same organism. It's not just a matter of mathematically connecting nodes in a neural net.

Let's be reasonable here, because the important aspects of the system biology of relatively "simple" biological systems remain largely elusive and difficult to simulate at the moment because not every core principle is known it seems a bit over confident to claim to simulate one of the most complex systems known without even having a complete rule book in your hands.

Nevertheless, an interesting project.

multicast? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687095)

The "router-based peer-to-peer system" isn't all that revolutionary: the load-spreading system they describe is similar in many ways to a system of caching web proxies (good) mixed with Steam (evil). The article also describes a content-centric model of accessing data as opposed to a server-centric model, and that's kind of cool, but I don't have a whole lot of faith in that sort of thing right now.

What I THOUGHT they were talking about when I read "router-based peer-to-peer system" was ISPs and backbone services finally implementing multicast. Give any p2p software author a network where multicast actually works and you'll definitely see a revolution.

Mid air mouse. (4, Informative)

DavidpFitz (136265) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687109)

FTA...

Soap goes one step further: It works in midair. With this new-age pointing device, now under development at Microsoft Research, you can navigate your PC using nothing but a bare hand. You can lose the end table and the lap desk. You can even lose the couch and the bed, driving your machine while walking across the room. It's a bit like the Wii remote--only more accurate and far easier to use.

Quick... someone send a memo to Microsoft to let them know someone did this years ago. Nip over to your local computer shop and pick up a Gyration Ultra GT [extremetech.com] . Only problem is that your arms feel knackered after about 5 minutes of use. Pointless.

D.

Re:Mid air mouse. (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687439)

Certainly the problem that the gyration mouse has, and I say this as someone who has used one, is that they're hideous for accurate movement, and they're tiring to use.

Re:Mid air mouse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687481)

Quick... someone send a memo to DavidpFitz to let him know that he totally missed the point. Nip over to your local search engine and look for The soap mouse [patrickbaudisch.com] .

AC.

Re:Mid air mouse. (2, Informative)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687515)

I'll just quote what SoulShift said to some other idiot up there about 25 minutes ago:

Do you even know how the Soap pointing device works? Hint: you don't wave it around in mid air. It's essentially the guts of an optical mouse put into a smooth, clear container and stuck into a sock. The optical sensor tracks the grain of the enclosing sock, and you manipulate it by squeezing the sock gently, causing the "mouse" inside to rotate - much as if you were squeezing a bar of soap (hence the name)

Missed the real potential breakthroughs (4, Interesting)

ardor (673957) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687113)

Most of these ideas are just gimmicks. One HUGE milestone only gets a footnote: non-volatile RAM.

Look at today's PC. Where is the bottleneck in 95% of all cases? The hard drive.

So, what could be the next killer feature? Non-volatile RAM (PRAM, FRAM, MRAM..). The immediate advantage is speed of course. But there is something much bigger.

Most of the time, loading a file is no longer necessary! Much of the boot time of today's OSes comes from loading stuff into RAM. This can be omitted with P/F/MRAM, reducing booting to device initialization. Also, suspend-to-disk comes for free.

Every single OS is based on the fact that there is a slow, but persistent memory (hard drive) and a fast, volatile one (RAM). They'd need a complete overhaul to fully exploit the new paradigm. Hell, almost all programs too. "Loading file to memory" is not necessary anymore, because the file already IS in memory! Thus, some sort of direct access is needed (unless the file is fragmented).

Re:Missed the real potential breakthroughs (3, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687327)

Every single OS is based on the fact that there is a slow, but persistent memory (hard drive) and a fast, volatile one (RAM). They'd need a complete overhaul to fully exploit the new paradigm.

Not true. Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 and earlier were designed to be used with battery-backed DRAM as the primary/sole mass storage, probably true for lots of other embedded systems too. WM2003 therefore wouldn't need any changes at all to take advantage of these technologies, and it probably would take much to transfer any relevant features to desktop windows either.

Re:Missed the real potential breakthroughs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687379)

Great! Now the only problem is that only morons use Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003.

Re:Missed the real potential breakthroughs (1)

elmartinos (228710) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687479)

In which way does this reinvent computing? From a users' perspective, the only change is that the computer is a bit faster. It certainly changes a bit of the operating systems code, special file systems etc, but thats not a revolution.

Re:Missed the real potential breakthroughs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687539)

it can be a revolution, imagine a cell phone that can be suspended/reactivated instantly

you keep the radio chip active and a kind of wake-up-on-radio (incoming call, incoming sms...) that activate the mobile (the display, the cpu)

it seems a lot of power consumption saving to me...and that's a revolution

Re:Missed the real potential breakthroughs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687531)

Mmm, mmap()y goodness...

Stupid article (3, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687123)

Sorry, but the article is just dumb.

How can you put quantum and organic computing on the same list as a hack to join up a bunch of projectors to make a larger screen and a fricking "beanbag" mouse that you wave about?

IMAX at home (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687133)

For a mere $12,000, you could build a home theater that stands up to the $100,000 image at local movie houses. Better yet, you could throw a projector party. Twelve friends show up with 12 off-the-shelf projectors, and suddenly you've got a wall-size image none of you could hope to produce on your own. And this mega-display is good for more than just movies. It might be even better for 3D games.
Yeah, never mind all that business about hi-res goggle displays, lets do the macro sized version.

Re:IMAX at home (1)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687229)

"Yeah, never mind all that business about hi-res goggle displays, lets do the macro sized version."

Yes, for a mere 1/8th the cost of buying a commercial cinema system that people pay to come and see, you'll be able to have something nearly as good _in your own home_ where you can watch movies that were screened on the commercial system a year ago in much lower definition Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, or spend a week or two downloading the full IMAX version. I personally can't wait for the chance to spend a mere 150 visits to an IMAX cinema for an entire family (food and drinks included) to get my hands on this hardware, even though the media for it will probably cost nearly as much as one of those visits to get a single, out-of-date movie. After all, you can't play World Of Warcraft on the cinema's system using a Microsoft bean-bag mouse, so that's even more added value!

What's so special about mice? (1)

A Clint (1117281) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687153)

Why not recreate the brain of a simpler creature? I assume insects have some sort of brain. If we need an artificial mammal brain, how about one that's blind, or has otherwise limited connection with it's environment. Seems like a waste of time reproducing all the hardware of the brain when much of it wouldn't be of use to a machine so simple as a computer.

Re:What's so special about mice? (1)

Yoozer (1055188) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687317)

Because you can teach mice little tricks; they can respond to more stimuli and do problem-solving.

Bandwidth is one - having full sensory perception (think of the nearly 2 square meters humans have as skin, a pressure- and temperature sensitive grid with a fine resolution) gives you simply a lot of data to work with. Processing and filtering (and discarding a lot of it because it's not vital) is the second part. Plus, discarding visuals - no thanks. Humans are very visually oriented. Better discard smell or sound, first.

IIRC we're already at the level of the spider brain; mice are a nice next step.

Also, there's a delicious irony in building a big, expensive computer to emulate mice - maybe we'll find the question to Life, the Universe and Everything ;).

The Future (0, Troll)

dino213b (949816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687157)

Before these great brilliant minds of the 21st century start whacking away at making these technological monstrosities there are obstacles to go cross and barriers that have to be broken. One of these barriers is to stop calling technological achievements as "man-made" and pick a gender-neutral term.

"Man-made brain" -- what a terrible example of male chauvinism. Lets toss in a few aspects of modern humanity into the fray before we focus on computing and nerdware (tm). Solutions to some of these social problems are less than spectacular in technical complexity yet they are things which technocratic experts fail to talk about.

Re:The Future (2, Funny)

Azari (665035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687283)

Absolutely!

I propose we change this terrible chauvinistic term to (wait for it):
'man-made
There you go, centuries of gender bias solved with a simple apostrophe!

Now where's my damned award?

Re:The Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687455)

Shut up and make me a sandwich.

The mouse is a horrible idea (1)

boer (653809) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687211)

The mid-air mouse is a horrible idea! It sounds great until you actually try to hold your hand steadily in mid-air for longer than just few seconds.

"The Man-Made Brain" (2)

zantolak (701554) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687289)

Saying this is going to reinvent computing is like saying habaneros are just a bit spicy. At the very least, this will completely overhaul civilization.

IMAX at home? (3, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687345)

Wait, has anyone ever TRIED the whole 'theatre at home' thing? Even if you could sacrifice your entire living room to set up the gigantic screen, and arrange the seats to advantage, you -still- don't get the same experience as the theatre. The screen there is taller than your house and the volume and bass on the speakers would have the neighbors calling the cops.

I've only got a 37" TV and I decided not to replace it with a 50" Plasma because I just didn't have room for a bigger one. There's no way I could possibly put an IMAX-class screen in my house, even if it only meant keeping 1 wall clear to project on.

People go to the theatre for the experience and to get out of the house, and you just can't do that at home.

Re:IMAX at home? (2, Funny)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687401)

plus at the theater you get the benefit of screaming kids, someone talking on their cell phone, overpriced concessions and your shoes sticking to the floor!

The OLPC project? (1)

Simulacrus (1003107) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687351)

How about the One Laptop Per Child project? Surely getting a couple of million kids learning a dynamic, reflective, truly object-oriented language like Smalltalk (Squeak) has to count for something, although the reinvention may be a couple of years from now . . . Learning Logo as a kid certainly broadened my experience of computing.

mid air gloves / ring phone (1)

garlicbready (846542) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687353)

for the mid air mouse I think you'd be better off with something that recognises hand gestures instead (think Johnny Menomic) perhaps with some special gloves or rings to track the motion (this way you don't have to hold something in the same place for a long time)

another idea, something I saw on a Japanese film a while back (i'd be supprised if someone somewhere hasn't already invented this) was a mobile phone heatset type device that consited of 2 rings for fingers
one ring goes on the little finger, the other goes on the thumb
one acts as a mic, the other vibrates through the thumb for the speaker
this way when you want to speak on the phone just stick a finger in one ear and put the other next to your mouth - simple

the only problem comes when you need to use someone elses phone - have you got clean fingernails?

Microsoft "Soap" Mouse Hardly Innovative (3, Informative)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687469)

This concept was published in Make in one of their first year issues. It might have been the same guy and Microsoft just bought it out -- but it sure looks to be in the public domain. Here is a link to the Make article: http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/07/soap_ mouse.html [makezine.com]

There is also a video on YouTube (search for soap mouse" on how to make and use one. It's basically just a mouse in a sock.

And PC Magazine... what can I say? I haven't been there in a while and was amazed at all the crap on their web pages. One little block of text and the rest of the page is nothing but ad links. Very sad.

Not Really (1)

dragonrouge (1059352) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687475)

A quick read gave the impression of more of the same, nothing really new. What I'm still waiting for: SSD hard drives (under way, latest modell 64 Gig). clockless processors, holographic memory. All in the same box would be a revolution.

12 off-the-shelf projectors, (3, Funny)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#19687503)

12 off-the-shelf projectors, for when one projector isn't noisy enough for you.

IMAX quality Home projection units (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19687619)

As interesting as this would be, we all know that it will be mismanaged with digital restrictions.
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