New device puts music in your head — no headphones required

LONDON (AP) — Imagine a world where you move around in your own personal sound bubble. You listen to your favorite tunes, play loud computer games, watch a movie or get navigation directions in your car — all without disturbing those around you.

That’s the possibility presented by “sound beaming,” a new futuristic audio technology from Noveto Systems, an Israeli company. On Friday it will debut a desktop device that beams sound directly to a listener without the need for headphones.

The company provided The Associated Press with an exclusive demo of the desktop prototype of its SoundBeamer 1.0 before its launch Friday.

The listening sensation is straight out of a sci-fi movie. The 3-D sound is so close it feels like it’s inside your ears while also in front, above and behind them.

Noveto expects the device will have plenty of practical uses, from allowing office workers to listen to music or conference calls without interrupting colleagues to letting someone play a game, movie or music without disturbing their significant others.

The lack of headphones means it’s possible to hear other sounds in the room clearly.

The technology uses a 3-D sensing module and locates and tracks the ear position sending audio via ultrasonic waves to create sound pockets by the user’s ears. Sound can be heard in stereo or a spatial 3-D mode that creates 360 degree sound around the listener, the company said.

The demo includes nature video clips of swans on a lake, bees buzzing and a babbling brook, where the listener feels completely transported into the scene.

But even CEO Christophe Ramstein finds it hard to put the concept into words. “The brain doesn’t understand what it doesn’t know,” he said.

In a Noveto demonstration conducted via Zoom from Tel Aviv, SoundBeamer Product Manager Ayana Wallwater was unable to hear the sound of gunshots on a gaming demo.

That’s the point. But she does get to enjoy the reactions of people trying the software for the first time.

“Most people just say, ‘Wow, I really don’t believe it,’” she said.

“You don’t believe it because it sounds like a speaker, but no one else can hear it…it’s supporting you and you’re in the middle of everything. It’s happening around you.”

By changing a setting, the sound can follow a listener around when they move their head. It’s also possible to move out of the beam’s path and hear nothing at all, which creates a surreal experience.

“You don’t need to tell the device where you are. It’s not streaming to one exact place,” Wallwater said.

“It follows you wherever you go. So it’s personally for you — follows you, plays what you want inside your head.”

“This is what we dream of,” she adds. “A world where we get the sound you want. You don’t need to disturb others and others don’t get disturbed by your sound. But you can still interact with them.”

After his first listening experience Ramstein asked himself how it was different from other audio devices.

“I was thinking, ‘Yeah, but is it the same with headphones?’ No, because I have the freedom and it’s like I have the freedom of doing what I want to do. And I have these sounds playing in my head as there would be something happening here, which is difficult to explain because we have no reference for that.”

While the concept of sound beaming is not new, Noveto was the first to launch the technology and their SoundBeamer 1.0 desktop device will be the first branded consumer product.

Ramstein said a “smaller, sexier” version of the prototype will be ready for consumer release in time for Christmas 2021.

“You know, I was trying to think how we compare sound beaming with any other inventions in history. And I think the only one that came to mind is… the first time I tried the iPod I was like, ‘Oh, my God. What’s that?’ I think sound beaming is something that is as disruptive as that. There’s something to be said about it doesn’t exist before. There’s the freedom of using it. And it’s really amazing.”

Amazing Drone Magical Holographic Light Shows in China and the USA

Back in America. Intel dazzled its Folsom audience on July 15, 2018 with a spectacular light show designed to feature 1,500 drones, in an effort to outdo its previous world record of 1,218 Intel Shooting Star drones. The performance displayed multicolored choreography including bright, fireworks-like orbs. A single pilot mans the entire fleet of light-emitting remotely controlled machines.

Historical Entertainment Technology Leap

“Video Killed The Radio Star”

I heard you on the wireless back in ’52
Lying awake intently tuning in on you
If I was young it didn’t stop you coming through
Oh-a-oh

They took the credit for your second symphony
Rewritten by machine on new technology
And now I understand the problems you can see

Oh-a-oh
I met your children
Oh-a-oh
What did you tell them?

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Pictures came and broke your heart
Oh-a-a-a oh

And now we meet in an abandoned studio
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
And you remember the jingles used to go:

Oh-a-oh
You were the first one
Oh-a-oh
You were the last one

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
In my mind and in my car
We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far
Oh-a-a-a oh
Oh-a-a-a oh

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
In my mind and in my car
We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far
Pictures came and broke your heart
Put the blame on VTR…

You are the radio star
You are the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
You are the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
You are the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
You are the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
You are the radio star

Oh-a-oh, oh-a-oh…

The future is cyborg: Kaspersky study finds support for human augmentation

LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly two thirds of people in leading Western European countries would consider augmenting the human body with technology to improve their lives, mostly to improve health, according to research commissioned by Kaspersky.

As humanity journeys further into a technological revolution that its leaders say will change every aspect of our lives, opportunities abound to transform the ways our bodies operate from guarding against cancer to turbo-charging the brain.

The Opinium Research survey of 14,500 people in 16 countries including Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain showed that 63% of people would consider augmenting their bodies to improve them, though the results varied across Europe.

In Britain, France and Switzerland, support for augmentation was low – at just 25%, 32% and 36% respectively – while in Portugal and Spain it was much higher – at 60% in both.

“Human augmentation is one of the most significant technology trends today,” said Marco Preuss, European director of global research and analysis at Kaspersky, a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm.

“Augmentation enthusiasts are already testing the limits of what’s possible, but we need commonly agreed standards to ensure augmentation reaches its full potential while minimising the risks,” Preuss said.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s neuroscience startup Neuralink last month unveiled a pig named Gertrude that has had a coin-sized computer chip in its brain for two months, showing off an early step toward the goal of curing human diseases with the same type of implant.

The survey found that most people wanted any human augmentation to work for the good of humanity, though there were concerns that it would be dangerous for society and open to exploitation by hackers.

The survey showed the majority of people felt that only the rich would be able to get access to human augmentation technology.

A person spends tens of thousands of dollars on technological augmentation for their body then gets hit by a car and dies.

The Most Peculiar Television Sets in History

When televisions were still a luxury, high-tech item, designers wanted to make them look as crazily futuristic and beautiful as possible. Here are some of the most bizarre and breathtaking television sets that ever existed.

 

60's1

 

Kuba Komet (1957-1962, Wolfenbuttel, West Germany)

 

60's2

 

The sailboat-like ultra-heavy (it was 289 lb. or 130 kg) home entertainment system of its time had a 23″ black and white television, eight speakers, a Telefunken phonographs and a multi-band radio receiver. The Komet cost more than a year’s average wage.

 

600

Marconiphone Television 702 with a 12-inch screen from 1937, by the British Marconi

 

6001

 

A Baird Lyric with a 12-inch screen, 1946

 

6002

 

Tele-Tone TV-209 (1949)

 

6003

 

6004

A Teleavia Panoramic III, designed by Philippe Charbonneaux, 1957

 

6005

 

6006

 

The 21-inch Philco Tandem Predicta with a 25 ft. cord between the screen and the cabinet, 1958

 

6007

 

6008

 

6009

 

Philco Safari, the first transistor portable television, 1959

 

6000

The 15 pound (6.8 kg) set had a 2 inch display and worked with a 7.5V rechargeable battery.

 

Panasonic/National Flying Saucer (but also known as The Eyeball, originally TR-005 Orbitel), produced by Panasonic in the late 1960s and early 1970s

 

60010

It had a five-inch screen, earphone jack, and could rotate 180 degrees on its chrome tripod.

 

The Keracolor Sphere, designed by Arthur Bracegirdle, 1968-1977

 

60011

This English set, an icon of the Space Age, was really expensive because of its small size. It was available in various colors. Why the chick watches TV in the nude is anybody’s guess.

 

The JVC Videosphere, introduced in 1970, and produced to the early 1980s

 

60012

Inspired by Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and appeared in the Conquest of The Planet of the Apes (1972) and in The Matrix (1999).

 

60013

 

Sinclair Microvision TV (Model MTV-1), 1977

 

60014

 

The first ever miniature television with its 2 inch screen wasn’t a real sales success: it was really expensive, priced like the average models.

 

60015

 

Seiko T 001 TV Watch, 1982

 

60016

 

Casio TV-70, the portable TV from the early 1980s with “Solar Projection System”, 1986

 

60017

Behind the cool name it was just a mirror that reflects the picture from the LCD screen. The only 13 mm thin TV worked with 3 AAA-size batteries and had a 2-inch black and white screen.

 

60018

 

Not exactly sure what the make and name of this wild TV is. Almost looks like a stove is built into it. But what an enjoyable way to cook dinner, watching Spock and Bones McCoy sparring.

 

60's

The Broken Technology of Ghost Hunting

The Atlantic

The best tools for tracking down spirits have always been the ones fallible enough to find something.

The small, Syracuse, New York-based company K-II Enterprises makes a number of handheld electronic devices—including the Dog Dazer (a supposedly safe, humane device that deters aggressive dogs with high-pitched radio signals)—but it is best known for the Safe Range EMF. The size of a television remote, the Safe Range EMF detects electromagnetic fields, or EMF, measuring them with a bright LED array that moves from green to red depending on their strength. Designed to locate potentially harmful EMF radiation from nearby power lines or household appliances, the Safe Range has become popular for another use: detecting ghosts.

Since its appearance in the show Ghost Hunters, where the ghost hunter Grant Wilson claimed that it has been “specially calibrated for paranormal investigators,” the Safe Range (usually referred to as a K-II meter) has become ubiquitous among those looking for spirits. Search for it on Amazon, and many listings will refer to it as a “ghost meter,” an indispensable tool in the ghost hunter’s arsenal. It isn’t alone among EMF meters: Of the best-selling EMF meters on Amazon, two out of the top three are explicitly marketed as ghost meters.

 

ghosthunters-jason-grant-cartoon-390x220

 

Scanning the various product descriptions and reviews, though, what becomes clear is that the K-II Safe Range is a relatively unreliable electromagnetic field meter. It operates only on one axis (you have to wave it around to get a proper reading), and it’s unshielded, meaning that it can be set off by a cell phone, a two-way radio, or virtually any kind of electronic device that occasionally gives off electromagnetic waves. The reviewer Kenny Biddle found he could set it off with, among other things, a computer mouse and a camera battery pack.

Yet it’s precisely because it’s not particularly good at its primary purpose that makes it a popular device for ghost hunters. Erratic, prone to false positives, easily manipulated, its flashy LED display will light up any darkened room of a haunted hotel or castle. Which is to say, its popularity as a ghost hunting tool stems mainly from its fallibility.

The K-II isn’t the only consumer-electronic item used by ghost hunters. Often it’s sold in kits that contain other devices, such as a Couples Ghost Hunt Kit, with two of everything, so you can build “trust and lasting memories when the two of you, alone in some spooky stakeout, look to each other for confirmation of your findings and reassurance!” There are devices that have been engineered specifically for ghost hunters, like a ghost box, which works by randomly scanning through FM and AM frequencies to pick up spirits’ words in the white noise. But mostly, ghost hunters use pre-existing technology: not just EMF meters, but also run-of-the-mill digital recorders, used to capture electronic voice phenomena, or EVP. An investigator records her or himself asking questions in an empty room, with the hope that upon playback ghostly voices will appear.

All of this technology—both the custom and the repurposed—works along more or less the same principle: generating a lot of static and random effects, hoping to capture random noise and other ephemera. The ghost hunter, in turn, looks for patterns, momentary convergences, serendipity, meaningful coincidence. For the believer, this is where ghosts live: in static, in glitches and in blurs. 

ghost1

 

Electronic voice phenomena have continued to rank among the most prominent “evidence” offered of paranormal activity, it seems, precisely because humans are hardwired to dredge meaning out of chaos. Evolutionarily, we have long needed to discern the sight or sound of a predator despite its camouflage, which has led us to look for patterns where they might not be immediately evident. The quirks and shortcomings of technology plays directly into this biological need: throwing out random static and noise that is primed to be transmuted into meaningful signals. Ghost hunters work through confirmation bias. Looking for proof of the paranormal, they will find it in anything, but most readily in static, gibberish, and errata—technological noise in which we’re hardwired to find false positives.

The only thing that’s changed recently is the proliferation of consumer electronics associated with ghost hunting. In an age of iPhones and Fitbits, ghost hunters are just one more niche market, lapping up the latest and greatest gadgets for sale. But there’s one crucial difference: most purveyors of consumer electronics keep their consumers happy by constantly refining them until they’re free of bugs. Ghost tech works the other way, by actively engineering glitches—the more, the better.

Such seekers can easily be written off as kooks and outliers, but there’s something paradigmatic in their use of faulty devices. The rise of the internet and other new technologies promised a new Information Age, one in which data, truth, and knowledge were the new currency, where the future would be built on information itself. Twenty years on, there’s an endless labyrinth of conspiracy theories, fake memes, trumped up stats, and fabricated evidence. The world’s knowledge is just a Google search away, but it comes to us inextricably intertwined with the world’s bullshit.

 

ghost_hunters_cartoon_by_malevolentnate

The 21st-century media consumer is always working to sift through the noise in search of a signal. Whether it’s a cousin’s anti-vax Facebook post, the endless Farmville requests that have to be filtered out of a feed, or the colossal avalanche of half-truths and lies dumped during the last election, most people’s primary challenge online these days is blocking out the endless assault of static, trying to torture it into some kind of meaning.

A Real-life Jetpack that looks as good as James Bond’s Thunderball Unit

JetPack Aviation says it has the world’s first true jetpack that lives up to the name. Their CEO deconstructs how it stacks up against the competition.

Even if all the hoverboards, self-driving cars, and hand-held communication gizmos haven’t convinced you, there’s no more denying that we live in a mind-bending science fiction dreamland.

The jetpack is here.

The JB-9, which Van Nuys, California-based maker JetPack Aviation calls the “World’s Only True Jetpack,” it had its coming-out party in 2015 during a flight around the Statue of Liberty.

 

jetpack

 

There have, of course, been many other claimants to the jetpack name. But the JB-9 is “different to anything else being flown, or [that] has been flown historically,” says David Mayman, JetPack Aviation’s CEO and test pilot.

The JB-9 is the product of ten years of collaboration between Mayman and Nelson Tyler, a process chronicled in a forthcoming documentary to be titled Own the Sky. Tyler is best known, appropriately enough, as an inventor for Hollywood, where his advanced camera tools have earned him three Oscars for technical achievement.

Tyler was also the brains behind a so-called “rocket belt” developed in the 1970s. Inspired by the Bell rocket belt that appeared in the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball, Tyler’s version had a long career in the movies and TV.

But, just like most other almost-jetpacks, the rocket belt had serious limitations. Flight times were under 30 seconds, which is why their main application has been in Hollywood. The JB-9 has flight times of ten minutes or more.

Then there’s Yves Rossy and his Jetman Dubai team, who fly jet-powered wingsuits. But those deploy from a helicopter, while the JB-9 offers true vertical takeoff and landing. According to Mayman, he can almost land on a dime.

Finally, the Martin Jetpack is perhaps the least convincing contender for the title—it’s neither a jet, nor a pack. “They called it a jetpack because it’s a sexy marketing term,” says Mayman, in his genial Aussie burr. “But it’s actually a gasoline powered piston engine that drives ducted fans.”

It’s also the size of a large motorcycle, and impossible for a wearer to carry. “Effectively it’s a drone,” says Mayman, “and then they put a man inside it.”

The only proper jetpack previously produced, at least by Mayman’s standards, was the Bell Aerosystems and Williams International “Jet Belt” of the late 1960s. But it was extremely heavy, and barely got past the R&D phase.

The JB-9, in contrast to the Martin, runs scaled-down versions of the same kind of jet engines that drive a 747 or F-16. Unlike the old Bell-Williams device, it’s light enough to be carried by a wearer on foot, and small enough to fit into the back seat of a car. The JB-9 also runs on a range of fuels, including diesel and kerosene. Mayman says most of the JB-9’s performance advantages are thanks to recent advances in jet engine technology.

There is still that eternal question of the jetpack—how do you not burn your legs? “It’s really not hot,” insists Mayman. “I could fly in shorts.” That’s because the exhaust mixes with ambient air almost immediately.

Another advantage of the ‘pure’ jetpack is its performance in high winds and turbulence. “We have no wings, so when we fly into 30 or 40 mile per hour winds, we hardly feel it.”

All of that makes the JB-9, at the very least, the first jetpack with potential practical applications. Mayman is particularly keen to see it in the hands of emergency responders, who could travel several miles over rough terrain much more easily than in a helicopter. Mayman says he’s fielded inquiries from Hollywood (no surprise), individual collectors, and marketers who are curious about setting up a jetpack race series (cross your fingers).

 

jetpack1

 

There are caveats. Even if the design is ready for prime time, the JB-9 is a prototype, and production at any scale is still in the future. Mayman wouldn’t speculate on the units’ eventual price.

Mayman is also the only person who has ever flown the JB-9. His swing around the Statue of Liberty came after what he admits was a sometimes-rocky learning curve, including dozens of practice flights on a safety tether over two years. Quicker training would be essential to real-world adoption.

Legally, Mayman says JB-9s could be sold tomorrow, under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Ultralight aircraft classification. But, acknowledging that this is a particularly risky form of flight, JetPack Aviation wants to carefully select and train prospective pilots. Even Mayman hasn’t taken the machine to its altitude limits, since the planned parachute assembly isn’t complete.

For all the market demand for a true jet pack, Mayman says the JB-9 has always been mainly a passion project. He’s a dedicated pilot of planes and helicopters, but he says nothing compares with the jetpack experience.

“Ah, it’s extraordinary,” Mayman gushes. “It’s like riding a motorcycle in the sky. It’s so maneuverable, all you have to do is think—I want to go left. And really you don’t do anything, it just goes left.

“It becomes part of your body.”

Bond and Q were way ahead of their time.