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Neil Harbisson: The World’s First Cyborg, Color Blind Artist

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Humans have been using technology to improve the standard of their day to day lives and increase the efficiency of doing things. The rapid advances in technology have been met with criticism and support. One such development in technology allowed Neil Harbisson with an extreme form of color blindness “hear” visible and invisible wavelengths of light.

Neil Harbisson, a British born cyborg artist, is the world’s first legally recognized cyborg who has an antenna implanted in his head as a way to ‘cure’ his color blindness. Neil received official bionic status from the United Kingdom government officially making him a cyborg. At age 21, he co devised the antenna sensor implanted in his head that translates different wavelengths into vibrations in his skull, which he then perceives as sound.

At the World Government Summit which is a forum for government leaders to discuss technology, innovation and futurism Harrison said the antenna is not a device but an essential body organ. “I have an antenna that is implanted inside my head, which allows me to extend my perception of reality beyond the visual spectrum. I can sense infrared and ultraviolet. I also have internet connection in my head that allows me to receive colors from other parts of the world or connect to satellite so I can send colors from space,” he added.

Harbisson believes, the biggest challenge for the current generation would be designing ourselves and not the world around us. “The more we design ourselves, the less we will have to design the planet. If we had night vision when cities would be dark, we would not have to spend so much money and energy to create lighting systems. It would also be better for the environment. Also, if we could control our own temperature, we would not have to use air conditioning or heaters. We would not have to heat up the planet when it’s cold or vice versa.

In 2010, this cyborg activist also cofounded the Cyborg Foundation along with Moon Ribas to defend cyborg rights, promote cyborg art and support people who want to become cyborgs. In 2017, he co founded the Transpecies Society to represent those people who identify themselves as non human. The Transpecies Society aims to give a voice to people with non human identities, raises awareness of the challenges transspecies face, advocates for the freedom of self design and offers the development of new senses and organs in the community.

Harbisson is not just an advocate for the Transpecies. His art was also exhibited during the 54th Venice Biennale, at Palazzo Foscari, Savina Museum of Contemporary Art, ArtScience Museum (Singapore,) Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Pollock Gallery, Museumsquartier (Vienna,) Pioneer Works (New York City) and at the American Visionary Art Museum, among others. He also published the Human Color Wheel in 2009 which is based on the hue and the light detected on hundreds of human skins from 2004 to 2009. The book was aimed to raise awareness and state that humans are not black or white, humans are different shades of orange, from very very dark orange to very light orange.

Ranked along with the works of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono, Harbisson’s work is considered to be one of the most shocking art performances ever. Pointing his antenna at different parts of a face, Harbisson writes down the different notes he hears and later creates a sound file to create a sound portrait. His work is focused on creating a new sense and creating external artworks through these new senses.

Looking at the immense work the world’s first cyborg has created, it is safe to say the future looks promising!

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How This Bangalore Based Augmented Reality Startup Helped Contain Wuhan Covid-19 Outbreak

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How This Bangalore Based Augmented Reality Startup Helped Contain Wuhan Covid-19 Outbreak

When news about a new type of virus broke out, the world was not ready for what was to come.  The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan province of China. This is now established as the  epicenter/epicentrum that quickly paralysed the entire Country, before the virus spread to other countries.  Currently, the virus spread to almost every nation on the planet with Italy, Spain, America and Germany being some of the worst affected countries.

The virus seems to have finally subsided in Wuhan and life is slowly returning back to normal.  However, when the virus was at its peak, ventilators were the need of the hour. The virus affects the respiratory system and symptoms include difficulty in breathing.  Beside the lockdown which played a part in controlling the spread of the virus, ventilators supplied by Huber & Ranner, a German company played a vital role in combating the illness.  

However, the technical team could not travel from Germany to Wuhan in order to install the ventilators and demonstrate how to use them.  This is where a Bangalore based startup BlinkIn, stepped in to the rescue. According to reports, BlinkIn developed an augmented reality (AR) product named Scotty to provide visual guidance to the technicians in Wuhan.  They did this based out of their office in Pocking,Germany. All that the technicians in Wuhan had to do was to click on a link to see a visual demonstration.

Scotty was unlike the other AR products available currently and what makes it special is its simplicity of use and the ease of deployment.  Scotty uses WebGL, a JavaScript API(Applications Programming Interface,) to render graphics on to a compatible browser. Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of BlinkIn, Harshavardhan Kumar says “WebGL lets you access a mobile phone’s GPU (graphics processing unit) to run computer vision algorithms. That’s how we bring AR experiences through the Web rather than a mobile app (sic.)”   All the technicians at Wuhan had to do was point their phone screen at a ventilator and an installation point, and the AR markers helped indicate how to set the ventilators up as a technician walks through with instructions over voice communication.

The idea behind Scotty was to use lightweight technology in order to provide just enough AR support to get the job done ‘then and there.’  Scotty requires minimal computational power unlike traditional AR, which relies heavily on heavy downloads, graphics processing units and figuring out how to use it.

It is truly wonderful to see how different technologies are adapting to these uncertain times and it will certainly be interesting to see how AR can be merged into other technologies as well in the future.

 

ALSO READ: Coronavirus Pandemic Testing Startups By Disrupting Supply-Demand

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Fake Amazon App Takes A Dig At Toxic Dating Culture

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Dating took to the digital platform, where people could just log on to an app and look at people nearby, displayed as per the user’s preferences.  The dating culture took a turn for the worse with people becoming increasingly vain and letting it affect them to the extent of them having mental breakdowns.

Content creators Suzy Shinn, Ani Acopian and Morgan Gruer came up with an idea to collaborate with an animation company, Thinko, to create a dating site which looks strangely similar to the Amazon e commerce platform.

The work is meant to be a satirical take on the increasingly toxic dating culture prevalent in society today.  The site ‘sells,’ or rather auctions off people with a price tag. The people are priced differently and have love languages added into the descriptions so people can choose or buy a digital date according to their preference.

For example, a woman named Amy, aged 29, has a description which says she is “trained as barista,” “famous on TikTok,” “has a child” and “WARNING: won’t text back.”

The entire web page looks like a carbon copy of Amazon, including the checkout process and the buying options.

Clickbait ads which say “Find singles near you” are a testament to how easy it is to influence people under the guise of a date.  Therefore, it came as no surprise once the site went online that it attracted criticism, horror and ridicule. Social media had multiple reactions, with people saying black people are priced less than white people in view of the Black History Month.  Others took it with a pinch of salt and saw the humor behind the satire.

Regardless of the reactions it attracted, the creators managed to achieve their goal, which was to open the eyes of people to the toxic culture of online dating.  Amazon Dating also makes for an interesting case study about the power of what good digital marketing can do.

 

 

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Indian Origin Arvind Krishna To Take Over As IBM Chief Executive Officer

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International Business Machines Corporation, more popularly known as IBM, is an American multinational company which majorly deals in information technology.  One of the biggest companies in the world, IBM currently ranks 38 on the Fortune 500 list of companies.

IBM offers a portfolio of interests in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytics, commerce, data and the Internet of Things.  The company was helmed by Virginia Rometty, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO.) Now, Arvind Krishna will take over the reins as the new CEO of IBM.

Arvind Krishna is a graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) and has a Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois.  Arvind Krishna previously worked as IBM’s Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software.

Virginia Rometty will retire after 40 years at IBM.  She was the first woman head of IBM. Virginia Rometty remarked about the appointment of Arvind Krishna and said he is the right person to lead the Company into the cloud computing era.  Multiple companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle and Adobe are heavily investing in cloud computing as well.

Arvind Krishna’s appointment as the CEO of IBM was welcomed by Indians as Arvind Krishna joins a unique club of Indian origin CEOs.  This club includes Satya Nadella (Microsoft,) Sundar Pichai (Google and Alphabet,) Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo,) Ajay Banga (MasterCard) and Shantanu Narayen (Adobe.)

Arvind Krishna will take over as IBM’s CEO on April 6th, 2020.

Read About How Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai here: Sundar Pichai To Lead Alphabet Inc As New CEO

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