Tag Archives: Weird

Motorola Patents E-Tattoo That Can Read Your Thoughts

Imagine trying to patent the smartphone, or for that matter, the tattoo. Any company that could swing that, could probably also patent the fork and knife.

Incredibly, a new application from Google-owned Motorola Mobility seeks a patent not for any particular utensil, but rather, for setting the table.

In other words, if you have an electronic smart tattoo, and want it to speak to your mobile communications device, you may soon be able to do it in spades, but you will have to do it Google style.

But hold on for a minute, as there is a bit more to the whole concept than might first appear.

The tattoo they have in mind is actually one that will be emblazoned over your vocal cords to intercept subtle voice commands, perhaps even subvocal commands, or even the fully internal whisperings that fail to pluck the vocal cords when not given full cerebral approval.

One might even conclude that they are not just patenting device communications from a patch of smartskin, but communications from your soul.

Or maybe not. It has been known for decades that when you speak to yourself in your inner voice, your brain still sends neural spike volleys to your vocal apparatus, in a similar fashion to when you actually speak aloud.

The main difference between the two, is that the nervous action driving covert speech as it is called, is subthreshold, and does not generate the full muscle contraction.

The same might also be said for imagining throwing a baseball, it is probably not possible to even do so without simultaneously calling up and at least partially launching unamplified motor programs.

Stated another way, your thoughts are your motor intentions, only they are not always recognizable as such if they are sufficiently abstracted.

The actual patent speaks of picking up an “auditory signal” from the tattoo, and converting it into a digital signal. The signals from the brain, carried by spikes on the hundreds of laryngeal nerve fibers (and other nerves modulating the vocal tract), are already digital.

They bear no real resemblance to an auditory signal at this point. After transformation in the numerous muscles that control the speech organs, there is still no single signal that could be sent to a transducer to generate sound recognizable as speech.

Looking at an image of a smart tattoo pioneered by John Roger’s Illinois-based research lab, there seems to be all kinds of sensor goodies which can be built in to pick up various biologics.

I don’t know if the strain gauges could pick up an actual speech signal in the same way that a conventional microphone could, but they would certainly generate useful information.

The built-in EMG and ECG electrodes would not pick up individual spikes so to speak, but could certainly generate electrical records of muscle activity, and perhaps eventually compound nerve potentials.

Rogers helped to form a company, MC10, that hoped to commercialize this technology and although he indicated that he was not involved in these recent ventures, they have joint development efforts with Motorola Mobility.

There is already a device known as a throat microphone that has been used to record an auditory signal in noisy conditions like, for example, the cockpit of a jet fighter. Developed along with the first pressure suit back in 1934, it used a direct contact microphone to pick up sound waves traveling through solid objects such as the throat wall.

Later so-called throat microphones, such as the Xbox 360 accessory, only use an open-air microphone.

They do not really exclude background noise, nor have the ability to pick up unvoiced signals.

What got some folks attention recently, namely those over at Patently Apple, was a few peculiar statements in the patent regarding the recording of galvanic skin responses.

These guys first heard about the e-skin tattoo from Regina Dugan, the former DARPA head who is now in charge of advanced research at Motorola.

Their article notes that the e-tattoo would provide a nice way to do authentication, but the seemingly out of place inclusion of the lie detection talk certainly raises some questions.

Covert voice activation of your device in a crowd would definitely be a nice feature. Instead of actually speaking to Siri or Google Now, you could merely think your voice command.

Detecting stress and other emotion could have some applicability too, although who else really needs to know if you have a lump in your throat?

Perhaps I have not read that many patents recently, but there certainly did seem to be an excess of wording, and scope. Every wireless communications protocol I am familiar with was included in some form, somewhere.

Not only were there definitions for words like “a” and “an,” but also actual percentages associated with a list of words like “about,” “approximately”, “essentially”, and “substantially”.

Clearly this is one among several recent patents that we all may want to keep an eye on.

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Sea Monster Washes Up on South Carolina Shore

Sea Monster Washes Up on South Carolina Shore
By Kelli Bender

Stand back, Nessie. South Carolina believes they are dealing with a whole different kind of sea monster. An alarmingly large and strange-looking body of some kind of aquatic creature washed up on the coastal state’s Folly Beach.

Not knowing what the corpse could be, locals started claiming it was some kind of unknown sea monster. A South Carolina aquarium vet quickly dispelled this belief, identifying the freaky fish as a very large sturgeon.

Several species of sturgeon are native to North America, with the Atlantic sturgeon being the type found in the South Carolina area. All species of this swimmer are known to grow to massive sizes. The Atlantic Sturgeon usually grows to be around 10 feet long and 300 pounds, but can grow to be as big as 15 feet long and 800 pounds.

Obviously, Folly Beach’s find is on the bigger side. The fish’s beady eyes, face barbs and bony, scale-like plates all contribute to the sturgeon’s alien look. For many residents of the area, this may be the first and last time they see a fish of this kind. The species, which has been swimming our seas for a 100 million years, is at risk. Sturgeon populations are being hit hard by commercial fishing, with several species making the endangered list.

Still, we’re sure local residents are happy to find out they are just dealing with a big fish and not Godzilla.

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Race-Based Hate

FBI: Hate Crimes Target Blacks In 70 Percent Of Race-Based Cases
Hate Crimes

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Blacks were the group most likely to be the targets of race-based hate crimes, according to a new federal report.

The report, compiled by the FBI’s civil rights division, found that the large majority of racial bias crimes were “motivated by anti-black bias.” Latinos were the targets of 66 percent of all hate crimes motivated by ethnicity or national origin. Jews were the targets of most crimes against religious groups, and most crimes against a particular sexual orientation or gender were motivated by “anti-homosexual male bias.”

The number of hate crimes remained essentially flat between 2009 and 2010. There were 6,628 hate crimes reported in 2010, up very slightly from 6,604 in 2009. About 47 percent of all the reported hate crimes were racially motivated, with 20 percent motivated by religion, 19.3 percent motivated by sexual orientation, and 12.8 percent motivated by nationality.

“Almost a fourth of our 2010 civil rights caseload involved crimes motivated by a particular bias against the victim,
” said Eric Thomas, the bureau’s civil rights chief in Washington. “We frequently worked these cases with state and local law enforcement to ensure that justice was done–whether at the state level or at the federal level.”

The FBI said that because of the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, the bureau is making some changes to collect more information for bias crimes against a particular gender or gender identity and for crimes in which juveniles are targets. The law, which was signed by President Obama in 2009 and was meant to bolster and expand existing hate crimes laws. It is named after two of the most high profile victims of hate crimes in recent memory. Shepard was a college student who died in 1998 after being tortured and tied to a fence for being gay. That same year, Byrd, a black man in rural Texas was killed after being dragged behind a pickup truck for miles by a group of white supremacists. At the time of their killings, there were no hate crime laws in many states.


Video ,Deryl Dedmon Leaves The Courtroom In Jackson , Miss. , Pool) , Sept. 30 , After Entering a “Not Guilty” Plea Before Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill , Friday , On a Capital Murder Indictment. Dedmon Is Charged With Running Down James Craig Anderson On June 26 With a Pickup In What Authorities Say Was a Hate Crime.


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