GFIGHTER: Meet the AI that can beat the best military pilots
VS THE LAW
DRON ES EVE
G Y OU NEE D T O
ut w ere pro
ly t oo
W A BOU T
d to ask
How freezing to death could save your life
HEOS is a family of wireless music players that allow you to ďŹ ll every room with music and control it all effortlessly from your Apple or Android device. Plug in, co onne ect to WiF Fi and d pla ay. Easy.
www.heos.com.au ANY ROOM OR EVERY ROOM
MULTIROOM PORTABLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Feed Editor’s Letter Issue #93, AUGUST 2016 EDITORIAL Editor Anthony Fordham email@example.com Contributors Brooke Borel, Tom Clynes, Clay Dillow, Nicole Dyer, Daniel Engber, Tom Foster, William Gurstelle, Mike Haney, Joseph Hooper, Corinne Iozzio, Gregory Mone, Adam Piore, P.W. Singer, Erik Sofge, Kalee Thompson, James Vlahos, Jacob Ward, Daniel Wilks DESIGN Group Art Director Malcolm Campbell Art Director Tim Frawley ADVERTISING Divisional Manager Jim Preece firstname.lastname@example.org ph: 02 9901 6150 National Advertising Sales Manager Lewis Preece email@example.com ph: 02 9901 6175 Production Manager Peter Ryman Circulation Director Carole Jones US EDITION Articles Editor Kevin Gray Managing Editor Jill C. Shomer Senior Editor Sophie Bushwick Technology Editor Xavier Harding Assistant Editors Dave Gershgorn, Matt Giles Editorial Assistant Grennan Milliken Copy Chief Cindy Martin Researchers Ambrose Martos, Erika Villani Editorial Intern Annabel Edwards ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY Acting Design Director Chris Mueller Photo Director Thomas Payne Digital Associate Art Director Michael Moreno Associate Art Director Russ Smith Acting Production Manager Paul Catalano POPSCI.COM Online Director Carl Franzen Senior Editor Paul Adams Assistant Editors Sarah Fecht, Claire Maldarelli Contributing Writers Kelsey D. Atherton, Mary Beth Griggs,Alexandra Ossola BONNIER’S TECHNOLOGY GROUP Group Editorial Director Anthony Licata Group Publisher Gregory D Gatto BONNIER Chairman Tomas Franzen Chief Executive Officer Eric Zinczenko Chief Content Officer David Ritchie Chief Operating Officer Lisa Earlywine Senior Vice President, Digital Bruno Sousa Vice President, Consumer Marketing John Reese
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Pokémon Go is Just the Beginning Well didn’t we all have fun with Pokémon Go this month? It’s weird to think we started writing this issue in a world where Pokémon Go didn’t exist... and now here we are. Pokéobsessed. The game was met with the usual hysteria, like any new thing that captures the imagination of a signiﬁcant enough percentage of the population. There was even a brief moment when the more excitable commentators were sure the tiny monsters could read all your email... Thing is, Pokémon Go is merely the ﬁ rst hugely popular step along the inevitable path to augmented reality, for everyone. Not just for games - all the time. As AR goes, this game is still fairly primitive. Making the little monsters appear in the real world is kind of kludgy: hold up your phone, look with the eye of faith and they seem to be standing on the path right in front of you. The eponymous ‘mons remain unaware of their surroundings, of course. They’ll stand impossibly on awkward bits of the environment and cycle through their canned animations no matter what is actually around them. Ignore your dog. Pokémon Go is to augmented reality as an old-school Viewmaster is to VR. It’s a smoke-and-mirrors curiosity to see how we’ll react to what is going to be one of the most historically signiﬁcant shifts in the way we inhabit the world. The bits of the game where real world locations become signiﬁcant gameplay elements though? That is smart. That is a shadowy hint of the shape of things to come. A world where objects mean wildly diﬀerent things to diﬀerent people, all dependent on what software layer they use. Make no mistake: AR is the next smartphone. It’s the next thing that everyone over 35 will say “what on Earth would you want that for?” and then within 20 years everyone ON Earth will be using. By the time the Kindergartners of 2016 do their HSC, people will be talking
about how weird it was to live in a world without AR. Everyone will have some kind of viewing system (to be invented and marketed by the next Apple) and we will interact with everything from shops to public transport to our friends via graphics seamlessly superimposed over the real world. People will feel weird taking their viewer oﬀ at night. Some won’t take it oﬀ at all. I could be wrong about this. The sheer software engineering task still facing Microsoft with its Hololens device, for instance, might be bigger than it seems. Or there could be a crucial hardware aspect yet to be ﬁgured out. Maybe it will take 20 years, not 12. Not 25 though. Because so many elements are already in place. We have high-bandwidth wireless data via 4G. We have transparent, bendable OLED displays - expensive now, but cheap once they go mass-production. We have nanoscale processors, and once the seven-nanometre “die process” for building transistors ramps up, computers will be everywhere, in everything. There is even work being done on energy harvesting so your AR viewer won’t need bulky batteries - it will be powered by the heat of your skin, by the movement of your limbs. Pokémon Go and the inevitable tidal wave of copycat games that will now follow it, show that a huge section of society is ready to blur the line between the virtual and the real. Now it’s up to developers to make this kind of technology even more useful. It’s not a question of if. It’s not even really a question of when. The only question is, will Apple call their AR viewer... the iBall? ANTHONY FORDHAM firstname.lastname@example.org
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42 DRONES FOR ALL! What’s the actual deal with drones? You can buy them everywhere, but can you fly them anywhere? What’s the law? And who is making money off these things?
Featuring 30 A DOGFIGHTING MACHINE Meet an AI that can beat military pilots
50 THE RE-ANIMATORS Could freezing to death actually save your life?
56 SCIENCE OF HEROES Has the Olympics gone mad with technological power?
64 THE ETHICS OF VR Enter another world. Now how should you behave?
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From the Archives 78 INTRODUCING THE SPACE SHUTTLE! Wernher von Braun tells us all about the new-fangled space plane in our 100 Year Anniversary issue!
AU GU ST 2 0 1 6 For daily updates: www.popsci.com.au
Departments NOW Your guide to everything 06 Dyson’s $850 lamp 08 The Hit List 10 Efficient amplifiers 12 Voice control your lights 14 Why Lyft wants autodrive 16 Drone can see in IR now 18 A pocket PC for the people 20 Tasting at a micro-winery 22 AR that isn’t Pokémon Go
MANUAL Don’t dream it, build it 24 Seiko dives deep 26 Apple’s earthbound starship 28 Expensive earbuds
NEXT Important stuff for futurists 32 How to make -isms obsolete 34 Will robots run your life? 36 Pokémon, given context 38 Olympic Village, Tokyo 40 Cut black carbon to save lives 41 Spores in space!
72 Indoors with the Megaprocessor 74 Bug traps that really work 75 Create a ring vortex! 76 Draw in 3D 77 A moonlighting astronomer 77 Be a human circuit board
THE OTHER BITS Pre-softened to aid digestion 03 A word from the editor 80 Retro Invention: Game & Watch 82 Lab Rats
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EDIT ED BY MICH A EL N UÑ EZ + XAVIER HA RD I NG AUG UST 201 6
DYSON CSYS TASK LAMP - 8x LEDs - 144,000 hour runtime - Copper heat-pipe cooling - 3-axis adjustment - Black or silver - Price: $850 www.dyson. com.au
A BEAUTIFUL LAMP... FOR A FRIGHTENING PRICE by A N T H O N Y FO R DH A M
The CSYS task light from Dyson costs $850. This means the company doesn’t want to see one on every desk. Instead, Dyson hopes the CSYS will become a design classic, like the Eames Lounge and Ottoman. Or at least, that’s the only explanation that makes sense because beautiful as this lamp is in its LED simplicity, it’s not otherwise obviously superior to the glut of $200$300 super-lamps cluttering up Kickstarter right now. Available in silver and black, the CSYS task lamp pushes 587 lumens through
FAMILY AF FAIR
eight warm-white LEDs. The distinctive arm of the lamp hides a copper heat tube that carries heat away from the LED assembly which, supposedly, extends its life. Indeed, Dyson boasts this lamp can last 40 years. Perhaps that also explains the price. The arm can be pushed back and forth, and lifted up and down horizontally. A counterweight and some very smooth casters makes this action almost totally effortless fingertip operation is definitely the idea. Oddly, the instructions admonish against moving the counterweight to adjust the height which is shame: pushing the counterweight with a thumb is much more satisfying.
Integrating the CSYS into any but the most minimalist of décors will prove a challenge. It has a look that’s so industrial it almost seems unfinished. And when the arm is positioned centred on the upright, the CSYS adopts a distinctly... iconic look. Great for a modern presbytery, not so hip for a bunch of godless architects. While the light from the lamp is an almost perfect warm white, and brightness can be adjusted by holding down the touchsensitive switch, positioning options are oddly limited. It’s up, down, in out and twirl. For a lamp that advertises itself as giving you light “exactly where you need it”, not being able to tilt the LED module to compensate for, as in our case, a sofa with an extra-wide arm, can be frustrating. But really, for all its extreme longevity (144,000 hours is the claim) and the way it remembers brightness settings between sessions, the CSYS is more than just a tool. It’s a conversation starter. Like the conversation about how you spent $850 on a desk lamp.
The CSYS task lamp - and its taller but otherwise identical floor lamp brother - has been around for a few years now. It was the brainchild not of James Dyson (he of the vacuums), but rather his son, Jake. Dad bought Son out last year. Amazingly, back in 2011 the lamps were even MORE expensive.
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one of the fathers of the personal computer
August 23 / Auckland, ASB Theatre August 24 / Perth, HBF Stadium August 26 / Brisbane, BCEC August 27 / Melbourne, Margaret Court Arena August 28
/ Sydney, Australian Technology Park
Tickets available now / www.thinkinc.org.au
AUG U ST 201 6
HIT LIST 10 Great Ideas in Gear All prices in USD because of Brexit or something...
2 GIROPTIC 360 CAM We’re still figuring out what 360 cameras can do. Giroptic makes its modular; with different base attachments, it can screw into a light socket to monitor your home, record on-the-go stunts, or live-stream events through an ethernet port. That’s a start. $499 3 RAZER CORE Up your gaming game without the bulk of a desktop PC. The Razer Core (plus a graphics card) lets you plug massive computing power into compatible notebook PCs. $499 4 ANKER POWERHOUSE While USB battery packs are great for day trips, the Powerhouse is perfect for car camping, packing a weekend’s worth of juice. It’s the size of a small cooler and weighs over 4.5 kgs, but it can run your minifridge overnight. $500
by DAV E GERSHGOR N
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5 MOLESKIN SMART WRITING SET If you like old-school writing but still want digital replicas of your brilliance, Moleskine’s smart notebook and pen set automatically syncs your musings to the cloud. $199
6 HERO SMART PILL DISPENSER Not every gadget is made for millennials. This pill dispenser ensures the right mix of pills at the right time, with alerts for when meds need to be reordered. The Hero can hold up to 10 drugs, and can even handle multiple users. $599
7 LEXAR IPHONE MICROSD CARD READER Why bother taking all that drone footage if you can’t share it? Download photos, videos, and audio from any microSD card, and share it from your phone or iPad. $41 8 HP SPECTRE At 10.4 mm thick, the Spectre is the slimmest, sleekest laptop you can buy. Outfitted with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and USB-C ports, HP’s latest machine ushers in the future of laptops. AUD$2,299 9 ZEPP SMART BAT Baseball is all analytics these days. Now so is the bat. Zepp quantifies your swing by tracking your bat’s angle, position, and speed, and then offers tips (via smartphone app) on how to improve. Price TBD
10 NEW NORMAL HEADPHONES Most wireless headphones aren’t wireless—they need a cable for charging. New Normal skips the cable for an integrated USB plug. Plug straight into a computer or battery pack to rejuice. $199
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: COURTESY EIGHT; COURTESY GIROPTIC; COURTESY ANKER; COURTESY HERO COURTESY ZEPP; COURTESY LG; COURTESY HP; COURTESY LEXAR; COURTESY MOLESKIN; COURTESY RAZER
1 EIGHT SMART MATTRESS COVER Sleep-tracking mattresses can cost up to $8,000. Don’t lose sleep over that outlay; opt for the Eight mattress cover. It measures biometrics, light, and noise to gauge how well you’re snoozing. Then it makes recommendations on how to catch better Z’s. Starting at $99
AUG U ST 201 6
G IS FOR EFFICIENCY by ANTHONY FORDHAM
When it comes to high-end audio, the bills don’t stop once the dream system is set up in the dedicated listening room. Serious kit draws serious power, and there’s something rather... inelegant about that. The problem is in power amplification. Build an 800W system using a Class A amp, and sure it will sound amazing, but it could draw 800W of power when switched on,
There has to be a better way. Other amp circuit types (see below) can improve efficiency but at the expense of signal purity. And when you’re spending car (or even house) money on a stereo, it’s all about purity. Now, manufacturers have come up with a solution. Called Class G amplification, it’s being touted as the “hybrid” of amp systems. Instead of using a single power supply, Class G uses several. What’s more, amps designed with Class G circuits often
power signals. The system automatically switches up to the bigger power supply when needed - either when the volume is pumped or even just when the music gets to “the loud bit”. The result is an amp that runs cooler, and can also generate extreme levels of amplification. Managing the switch intelligently is complex, so Class G amps have multiple output circuits. It’s certainly less straightforward than a big, thumping Class A amp. But sometimes, keeping it simple it stupid.
M AVR850 CEIVER NELS: 2 @ 7 @ 100W DUAL NOISE/ <0.15m V OU N D S : D o lby s, D o l by u n d , DTS -HD r Au dio. DTS Discrete, S 6 .1 M at rix, .1 NS I O NS: 433 x 17 1 mm HT: 16.7kg POWER U M PT I O N:
It’s rare to f ind a proper audiophile multi- channel receiver, but Arcam has given it a crack with the AVR850. Class G amplif ication is just the start: this machine also has one of the most sophisticated “room correction” analysers in the business.
E: $ 9999 arcam.co.u k
Diﬀerent ampliﬁers use diﬀerent circuit designs to boost gain (or volume). Each has its pros and cons. CLASS A
Pro: Simple, can give very pure and accurate signal, no distortion at the “crossover” point between treble and bass. Considered the audiophile gold standard. Con: Very inefficient. Lots of wasted power which is converted to heat. Can be bulky.
Pro: Much more efficient than Class A due to only running half the output devices at a time based on the signal’s waveform. Con: Very obvious crossover distortion, rarely used in audiophile products. Effectively obsolete thanks to...
Pro: Combines Class A signal quality with Class B efficiency. Clever circuit design eliminates crossover distortion in quality amps. Dominates consumer market. Con: Needs complex power management to be audiophile grade, not as efficient as Class G.
Not used for audio, mostly for boosting RF signals, because needs to have distortion removed from output stage. Theoretically could attain 100% efficiency but in reality usually operates at 60-70% due to peak current limitations..
Pro: Super-efficient thanks to rapid power switching, can be very compact and lightweight, can use a small power supply. Con: Not much dynamic headroom, can’t compete on sound quality with expensive Class A or A/B amps.
Pro: Much more efficient than Class A with comparable quality. Con: Still expensive due to complexity of multiple power supplies and control systems. May offend sensibilities of audiophiles who believe circuit complexity can impact sound quality.
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Follow Me 360 Orbit
www.xirodrone.com Available at:
Now Smarter Home
COLOURED LIGHTS GET VOICE COMMANDS The Hue range of Wifi-enabled smart bulbs from Philips are expensive, unnecessary... and once you put a few in your house, you’ll never want to go back to plain old globes. These second-generation LED bulbs, downlights and stand-alone lamps now output more light - up to 800 lumens - and more distinct colours, although the standard screw-in or bayonet bulbs still struggle to reproduce really brilliant greens. But the best new feature has to be Homekit compatibility. This makes it possible to control the lights using Siri on an Apple
device. With a combination of individual light controls, room controls, and setting distinct “scenes”, even just dimming the lights to watch a movie becomes a multimedia event...
PHILIPS HUE 2.0 Wif i- enabled smart bulbs and lamps Apple Homekit and Siri compatibility Android compatible (no Google voice control) Starter kit: (bridge + 3 bulbs) $299 Extra coloured bulb: $89 Hue Go lamp: $109 Tap Switch: $79 www.meethue.com
by ANTHONY FORDHAM
Bedroom lights switch to dim and begin to brighten over the next 20 minutes. “Hey Siri, set ‘sleep in’!” The lights go off.
0800 Kitchen lights are off. “ H ey Sir i, set ‘wide awake’!” - Lights in kitchen and living areas switch to full bright, warm white. (Siri’s commands are based on “scenes” you have already def ined.)
1800 Lights in the lounge and bedrooms automatically dim to half bright, deep orange. Reading lamps sw itch to “read ” prof ile. But you have guests, so it’s all a little TOO atmospheric, “Hey Siri, set ‘relax’!” - Lights sw itch to the “rela x” recipe; not too bright, not too dim , ver y warm
H UGO, YOUR NEW B EST (LI GHT) FRIEND
Lights begin to dim down to fully off over 30 minutes. As you walk to the bedroom, you hit one of the four buttons on a Tap switch, which changes just your bedside lamp to the “read” prof ile. (You could also do this via the app on your phone.)
The Hue Go - quickly christened Hugo in our house - is a batteryequipped LED lamp in the shape of a bowl. Unlike some of the traditional bulbs, Hugo (main image) is very good at replicating a full range of colours, including bright intense greens. He comes with a wall plug, but the internal battery will last 2-3 hours at 80% brightness.
0300 ADVANCED USERS REQUIRED Philips provides an app for nuanced control of the Hue system - indeed, you need the app to set up the lights in the ﬁ rst place. But it doesn’t exactly make its most advanced features obvious. The app comes with a bunch of preset “scenes” but creating new ones is a bit ﬁddly.
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Though it’s never explained, to create a speciﬁc light colour and intensity setting, you have to manually set the light to what you want, and then hit an unlabelled “plus” sign in the bottom of the screen. Fortunately, there are a number of third-party apps that add even more control.
A Philips Hue Go por table lamp is set to switch to 15% bright in the bathroom, becau se you know you always seem to get up at 3am to use the toilet. It switches off again at 0430h.
P HOTOGR A P H BY
Now The Platform
P O P UL A R SC IENC E
AU GU ST 2 0 1 6
Now The Platform
SELF-DRIVING TO UTOPIA It might be only four years old, but Lyft is already proving itself more than just a ride-hailing app—it’s a vision for the future. In May, reports surfaced that the San Francisco-based startup and General Motors would begin testing a fleet of selfdriving electric taxis starting next year. This came months after GM invested $670 million in Lyft as part of a shared mission to deliver autonomous vehicles worldwide. If Lyft co-founder Logan Green has his way, car ownership and operation will be a luxury, not a necessity. And that could forever transform the face of our cities, suburbs, and cars themselves. Are the days of owning a vehicle over? No, but I predict that the majority of folks will opt for the variety and flexibility you’ll get in a network like Lyft’s. Consider this: Why would you want to own a car and have to do all that work yourself? Why would you want to worry about parking yourself, deal with washing the car yourself? Plus, an estimated 94
of the time. When you start to imagine all of the idle vehicles disappearing— there’s a massive amount of room to make roads more efficient. Imagine a neighborhood that has no cars parked on the sides of the streets; those streets can then be narrowed. In a downtown area, you can have wider sidewalks. Cities can be built more around people.
“Start to imagine all of the idle vehicles disappearing—there’s a massive amount of room to make roads more efficient.” percent of road accidents are caused by human error. For safety reasons, it only makes sense to operate autonomous cars on a network. How will that change a landscape that’s built around cars that we own and drive? A car is used, on average, only 4 percent
PH OTO G RA P H BY
You don’t have to have thousandcar parking garages taking up entire buildings. In the suburbs, you don’t need a driveway taking up half of your front yard. You don’t have to have a massive parking lot in front of every shopping mall; you can have pickup and drop-off areas instead.
Edited & condensed by XAVIER HARDING
OK, but we still have to store all those driverless cars somewhere. That will be one of the big challenges. It’s going to be a combination of small staging areas in dense parts of town and larger staging areas a little farther outside town. But you don’t have to clutter up the core of the city with a bunch of idle cars. How will I and hundreds of others line up for this robo taxi—in loading zones? Yes, loading zones will be very important. It’s already an issue in cities where Lyft picks up and drops off and the car blocks the flow of traffic. I think cities will need to create loading zones to facilitate that. How will cars look when they’re not designed for drivers? Is it just a room on wheels? Netflix and a minifridge? I don’t think they’ll have steering wheels. I don’t think you’ll expect anyone will have to step in and take over. You’ll have more room, but the rest is a huge unknown. We don’t know what people are going to want to spend their time doing in these cars. Are they going to want to work? Sleep? Are they going to want more social configurations so they can have more conversations with fellow passengers? Probably some of all of those. In the next few years, we’ll start to learn what people will want as we start testing these vehicles in the field. But ultimately, they will look very different than cars do today.
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AUG U ST 201 6
Now The Upgrade
DRONES GET HEAT VISION When you start to get serious about your quad- or hexacopter, it’s all about custom speccing a rig to your needs. And now one of those options is forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) vision. DJI’s prosumer Inspire and more hardcore Matrice drones can bolt on the Zenmuse XT FLIR camera, enabling the drone to capture IR images at
335x256 or 640x512. That might seem low-res compared to 4K video, but IR is a diﬀerent beast. When you download TIFF images or MP4 video from the camera, software can analyse the heat reading on each pixel. The camera can also be set up to only start
Or retrof it your current drone with an FLIR kit
DJI ZEN MU SE X T FLI R CA MER A IMAGER : Uncooled VOx Microbolometer SE NSITIVITY: < 50 m K at f/1 .0 FOR MATS : JPG, TIFF, MP4 PR ICE : Fro m $ 1 0,0 0 0
JARGON BUSTER: MICROBOLOMETER The sensor in many IR cameras. When electromagnetic radiation (in this case, infrared) hits a pixel coated in detector material, its electrical resistance changes. Each pixel is processed, converted to a temperature and built up into an image, usually with white as the hottest and black as the coldest.
POPSCI . CO M . AU
the euphemistic “ﬁnding that rascal” and the rather more prosaic locating of hotspots in a landﬁll. Since the Zenmuse XT is also well set-up to detect human body heat, DJI is pitching the system to search and rescue and other emergency services too. Reall it’s ju t one
STATE YOUR INTENTIONS
Now Geek Chic
A PO GAM PC T DOE Remember the OpenPandora? The pocket-sized, Linuxpowered PC designed and built by an online community to play retro games? Of course you don’t - the OpenPandora project was a textbook example of how a bunch of amateur electrical and computer engineers scattered across half of Europe can’t compete with the likes of Apple, Sony or Samsung. Despite its massive promise, OpenPandora lived its life behind the technological curve. It took so long to design and build, that by the time complete units started reaching backers, its power was eclipsed by the average smartphone. But that hasn’t stopped the OpenPandora community... or rather, a splinter of that community that has gone to create a new community. It might be kind of clunky-looking, it might only have a 720p resistive display and a 1.5GHz CPU, but the philosophy of Pyra is to offer a pocket computer without the compromises of mass production. Name a socket or plug, and Pyra has it. You can connect a mouse,
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Open source enthusiasts are all about physica l keyboards, and unlike the OpenPandora, Pyra’s keyboard is fully backlit. Tasty!
keyboard and monitor and use Pyra as a desktop PC with no adapters. It has USB 3.0 OTG. It has a massive 6000mAh battery, 4G, a dedicated microSDXC slot just for alternate operating systems (it ships with Debian Linux), GPS, 6-axis digital compass, barometer, hygrometer and even a gas sensor. Which means you can use it to geo-tag methane leaks. As well as play all those retro games. Most importantly of all, Pyra has modular internals. CPU, RAM and storage are on one board, WiFi and Bluetooth on a second, and the display system on a third. Each can be upgraded totally independently.
Number, in millions, of handheld ga m i n g s ys te m s sold by Nintendo as of 2016 , including th e Ga m e B oy, DS a n d 3 DS.
It’s like the opposite of an Apple device, in many ways. Inside the janky plastic case is an open system. Owners get sent the full schematics. It uses normal screws. The whole point of a Pyra is to pull it apart and make it do weird stuff. The official Pyra site invites keen tinkerers to drop a fairly massive chunk of change on a pre-order: 400 Euros ($580) for the top-spec model. Yet this hefty price should be reassuring. As Kickstarter and Indiegogo continue to be clogged with impossibly cheap pocket systems that will probably never see the light of day, at least it means the Pyra is real.
DRAGONBOX PYRA 2x ARM Cortex-A15 1.5GHz CPU ARM Cortex-M4 werVR SGX544-MP2 GPU RAM nternal storage one jack, HDMI-out on motor mpass, hygrometer, barometer battery e gaming controls eyboard WiFi th 4.1 SDXC memory card slots - 2x USB 2.0, 1x Micro USB 3.0 - 4G LTE mobile data - 139 x 87 x 32 mm - 400g total weight - Price: $480 -$580 - Due: Late 2016 pyra-handheld.com
AUG U ST 201 6
Now Future Perfect
Volume of wine, in megalitres , expor ted by Aus t ra l i a i n 2015, with a m a rket va lue o f $1 .9 billion. Our biggest market by volume is the UK.
A LOVELY DROP, DONE QUICK(ISH) There’s a machine here on Earth making a constant supply of wine, right on the spot. No ageing; just an alchemical masterpiece slowly turning regular grape juice into special grape juice. Okay, maybe it only makes a thimble’s worth an hour. But hey, a regular bottle of red can take six months at least - this machine fills a bottle a month... or a glass every five or so days.
WHO David Attinger, wine connoisseur and professor at Iowa State University, invented the device to study the fermentation process. While it’s not just for wine, scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland will use it to test how different yeasts or changing temperatures from climate change alter wines and their tastes.
WHAT Yeast is the single-celled party animal responsible for making beverages alcoholic. Winemakers
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mix the yeast with grape juice; the yeast cells eat up the sugar molecules in the grape juice and rearrange them into carbon dioxide and alcohol through the fermentation process. That’s the so-called “micro winery’s” secret.
HOW “The device has a main channel through which the grape juice winds its way. The yeast is placed in adjacent compartments
and feeds into the main channel through a very thin [film] with holes called nanopores. It’s almost as if they were in little tea bags,” says the EPFL. The small compartments mean the fermentation process can happen relatively quickly, so winemakers can whip up a couple of batches made from different yeasts or at different temperatures to make the best wine.
WHY This isn’t the first we’ve heard of lab-made wine this year; just last month, we looked at Replica Winery and Ava Winery, two companies trying to disrupt the wine industry by engineering wine flavours or removing the grapes altogether. Attinger’s micro winery isn’t quick enough to make a full glass by the end of the workday,
by RYAN F MANDELBAUM
and is more of a research tool. Attinger cites climate change as a driver for the machine. “Climate change is having an impact on the quality of grape crops around the world,” he says.
CLIMATE CHANGE VS YOUR NEXT NIGHT OUT French wine grapes are maturing earlier; a recent study s early harvests used be associated with drought years, tha climate change, the harvests are earlier even in years wit drought. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the best wines typically come from warmer-than-average summe with lots of rainfall, according to NASA’s story about the paper. But a system like Attinger’s might help winemake change their practices as the climate changes.
AUGU ST 201 6
Now Trend Reset
AUGMENTED REALITY: NOT JUST TINY MONSTERS With the unstoppable juggernaut that is Pokémon Go assimilating the entire planet (ie Australia, the US and the UK), and every geek commentator whipped into a frenzy that the app reads your email... and then issuing a correction that the app does not in fact read your email... it’s easy to forget that this, Nintendo’s first smartphone foray, is nowhere near the first Augmented Reality game. Here are three others to get you started. by A NTHONY FOR DHAM
INGRESS DEVELOPER: Niantic T HE M E : Spyc ra f t, hacking, wandering the streets f ighting over monuments GAM E P L AY: Po kémon G o fa n atics w i l l reco g n i s e Ingress immediately. Even though the theme is about world domination and secret societies, the ga mepl ay i s very s i mi l ar to Nintendo’s smash hit, because it was developed by the same team. In fact, many PokéStops have been impor ted directly from Ingress... resulting in
ZOMBIES! RUN! DEVELOPER: Si x to Sta r t a n d Naom i A ld erma n THE M E : Zombie apocalypse with base building, a narrat ive, and f itness GAM E P L AY: The core idea is easy to explain: as they run with earphones in, the player hears zombies moaning and shuffling
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DEVELOPER: SpecTrekking T H EM E: Ghost hunting for f itness! GA M EPLAY: T h i s basic walking game projects various ghosts into the real world and marks them on a G PS m a p. T h e p l aye r must walk (or run, we guess) to t h e gh o st a n d atte m p t to ca p ture i t w i t h t h e p ho ne’s camera. Different ghost hu nting wo rkouts are offered, from 15 minutes to a n h o ur. Mo re o f a diver ting amusement than a f ul l - featured ga m e, i t’s never theless good fun with kids, thanks to the simple premise.
so m e rat h e r o d d l o cat io n s like war cemetaries and vacant lots, which better suit the “techno underworld” of Ingress. So Ingress is basically Po ké m o n G o w i t h o ut t h e cutenes. Choose a side, dominate zones, all while pounding pavement.
along behind them. Motivation! Choose from Night of the Living Dead shamblers all the way up to 28 Days Later sprinters to set the pace. O n to p o f t h i s i s l aye red an episodic narrative, and the oppor tunity to f ind vir tual gear in the real wo rld to rebuild a survivor’s base and more. Finish the entire season one storyline? Co n gratul at io n s; yo u ra n 470 km .
AUG U ST 201 6
Now Tech Evolution
A DIVE WATCH THAT WON’T FAIL IN THE DEEP A SCUBA system can have all the readouts and dials that will fit, but there’s something reassuring about checking life support at 20 metres against a reliable, mechanical watch. Seiko’s history with divers is long and storied, and the latest range of (very expensive) titaniumand-ceramic dive watches continues the tradition. It’s not just the materials that make this a $16,500 timepiece. The mechanical movement inside is a heck of a thing. Seiko’s signature Spring Drive remains an incredible piece of engineering-in-miniature since the first version was introduced back in 1977. As well as having a mainspring made of a unique (and secret) alloy called Spron The cachet of a mechanical movement with the accuracy of quartz crystal
510, spring-drive watches also use Seiko’s Tri-synchro regulator. Because a mechanical watch is powered entirely by stored kinetic energy (from the winding mechanism), it can be difficult to design a movement that’s as accurate as a good quality electric quartz crystal. The Tri-synchro regulator actually converts some of the mainspring’s energy into electricity. Some is diverted to power a quartz crystal, and the rest used as magnetic force to regulate the speed of the mechanism. The result is a mechanical watch that is accurate to one second per day. And in this particular incarnation, water resistant to 10 atmospheres. As it ought to be, for the price of a nice hatchback.
BY THE NUMBERS: SEIKO SPRING DRIVE ACCUR AC Y: 1 second per day DURATION: 1 2 hours PARTS : 416 JEWELS: 50 OIL POINTS: 1 40 LUB R IC AN T TY P E S : 5 POWER RESERVE: 72 hours
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by ANTHONY FO RD H A M
GRAND SEIKO SBGC015 WATER RESISTANCE: 100 m (10 ba r) CONSTRUCTION: Ceramic and titanium S I Z E: 46 .4 mm G L A S S T Y P E: Sapphire F EAT U R ES : D u a l ti m e , power reserve i n d icator, second time zone, stopwatch with 1/5th second increments NUMBER BUILT: 50 0 P R I C E: $ 16 , 500 www. s e i ko.co m . a u
AU GU ST 2 0 1 6
Now Competitive Edge
Awesome Science Books from Bloomsbury!
If you’re going to live to be 100 years old, you’re going to need some good books to read – and Bloomsbury have you covered. Firstly, it’s time to read up on what your long life will look like – The 100 Year Life talks you through what your education and career(s) will look like, and what you can do about retirement. Why not pass the time until then with Breaking the Chains of Gravity? This is the fascinating history of spaceflight before NASA by National Science Week’s International Guest Amy Shira Teitel.
WIN 1 OF 8 BLOOM HOW TO ENTER
S PRIZE P BURY AC VALUED KS AT $60
Win 1 of 8 Bloomsbury prize packs. Each pace includes a copy of The 100 Year Life and Breaking the Chains of Gravity and is valued at $60! All you need to do is email email@example.com with the subject line, “I WANT TO LIVE TO 100!” Please include your name and address. Enter by 31 August 2016. 8 winners will be drawn on 1 September 2016. Winners should allow 6-8 weeks for books to be delivered. Good luck!
Three miles from Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters, the tech giant is building something as massive as its own global reach: a new campus dubbed “the Spaceship.” With a nearly 1.6-km circumference, the campus will be wider than the Pentagon when completed later this year and will house 13,000 employees—including design grandmaster Jony Ive, who helped sculpt the iPhone, and CEO Tim Cook, who helps keep profits in the billions-with-a-B territory. Apple’s Campus 2 (estimated cost: $6.7 billion) will run entirely on clean energy, powered mostly by solar. But what’s really grabbed our attention are the 3,000 panels of curved glass—the largest pieces of structural glass ever made—that will encase Apple’s mothership. That and by the hollow concrete that lets this building breathe. We asked nicely, so Apple XAVIER HARDING gave us an exclusive look at these breakthrough design elements.
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CO U RT ESY AP P L E (3 )
APPLE’S GLASS HOUSE
THE PRECAST CONCRETE
To build these sweeping panels, Apple could rely only on sedak/ seele: the company behind Steve Jobs’ favorite Apple Store (on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue). The German firm was tasked with fabricating 3.2-metre glass ranging from 11 to 14 metres wide, over twice the length of the largest standard pane. “We curved the glass during lamination,” says sedak/seele managing director Nelli Diller, “right after heating it to 600˚Celsius to strengthen it.” The heaviest panes weigh over two tonnes. All told, the campus boasts 900 panes of vertical glass, 1,600 panes of canopy glass, 510 panes of clerestory glass, and 126 panes for skylight glass. The best glass today has a 3.175mm tolerance: It can be 3.175mm longer or shorter than specified. But Apple’s glass, designed with extreme precision, was made with a 0.7mm tolerance.
The new building actually breathes, thanks to custom hollow concrete slabs that form both the floors and ceilings. Big air gaps let the building self-ventilate, “largely removing the need for conventional cooling methods,” says Stefan Behling, from international architecture and design firm Foster + Partners, the company behind the slabs. Designing the one-of-a-kind airy concrete was done by a team of 70 engineers. Each concrete slab averages 4 metres by 12 metres. And just like cinder blocks and I-beams, the hollow middle “doesn’t take away from the concrete’s strength,” says Behling. The company used 4,300 concrete slabs, weighing a total 192 tonnes, to create the structure. Kind of light when compared with the Spaceship’s 300-tonne, 28-m-tall campus restaurant doors.
Now The Round Up
TINY SPEAKERS, GIANT SOUND Top end audio is an investment in musical fidelity. Sure you can listen to compressed pop tunes on your smartphone, but to get the full emotional impact of the music (audiophiles believe) you need proper kit. Traditionally, that's a pair of 40kg speakers and a 20kg amplifier. But in the last few years, audiophile-grade earbuds have become a thing. Starting at around $1000 a pair, these miniature powerhouses can generate a sound stage that rivals massive overear cans. Thanks to innovations in driver design - especially balanced armature tech - the sound gets bigger while the buds stay small. We rounded up five pairs of high-end earbuds and gave them a listen through an Astell & Kern AK300 digital audio player. Think of it as an iPod with audiophile circuitry and the ability to play high resolution files. It too retails for $1399. Earbuds give great noise isolation (without active noise cancellation, which can impact sound quality) and are discreet. They also show that if you want portability and amazing audio, by you don't have A NTH ON Y to compromise. FORDHAM
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CAMPFIRE AUDIO - LYRA PRICE: $1099 ARCHITECTURE (PER EARPHONE): 8.5mm beryllium physical vapour deposition driver, ceramic enclosure. BACKGROUND: Campfire Audio's debut eschews the balanced armatures that most buds use at this end of the market. The beryllium driver has a very high stiffness-to-mass ratio which translates to better high-frequency response. Singledriver earphones are often said to be more accurate, and as a bonus the enclosure is smaller and lighter too. PRO: Despite - or perhaps because of being the second cheapest in the roundup, the Lyras are extremely impressive. Again, the high end has much more detail than you'll find in mass-produced buds, and bass response is surprising for something this small. CON: Despite the exotic construction material, the Lyras can't quite compete when it comes to "bigness" or a spacious and expansive sound stage. Bass is good, but perhaps not quite tight enough for fussier audiophiles.
ASTELL & KERN - ROSIE PRICE: $1399 ARCHITECTURE (PER EARPHONE): 6x balanced armature drivers + custom crossover. All-metal enclosure. BACKGROUND: Famous sound engineer Jerry Harvey continues to design a range of high-end buds for performers who don't like using fold-back speakers on stage. You can pay thousands for pro-grade buds, but the Rosies are built for the kind of "everyday" listening normal people enjoy. PRO: Amazing sound, huge soundstage and mind-expanding detail. You'll rediscover your favourite music all over again, hearing elements you didn't realise were there and, more importantly, feeling the real emotion of the music. Think that's hyperbole? Try it, you'll see what we mean. A fullness you expect from big over-ear headphones, but in a package you slip in your pocket. CON: While the Rosies take normal tips, the enclosure containing the drivers itself is quite large for an earbud. Getting a perfect fit will require experimentation with a range of tips (included).
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QUEST FOR COMFORT It has to be said that these ultra-expensive earphones are not necessarily, out of the box, comfortable. Because they are larger than the free Apple buds, they can be awkward to ﬁt in your ear. And all require the cable to loop up over the ear, which some people don't like. The good news? Each comes with a wide range of replaceable tips, including silicon and memory foam. If you invest in a pair of these buds, expect to spend at least an hour or so messing about to get a perfect ﬁt. The point: don't give up. Once you ﬁgure it out, any of these could be the most comfortable earphones you've ever owned.
DITA AUDIO - THE ANSWER
WESTONE - W60
CAMPFIRE AUDIO - JUPITER PRICE: $1399 ARCHITECTURE (PER EARPHONE): 4x balanced armature drivers, tubeless resonator BACKGROUND: By using an "optimised resonator assembly" rather than the standard tubeand-dampener system of other earphones, creator ALO claims superior high frequency response. Comes with a super funky leather carrying case with "wool" lining. PRO: Very crisp and clear high-end with tonnes of detail. The case isn't much bigger than a set of cheap earphones but the sound is massive. Punchy bass. Not too heavy. Thin cable that resists tangling. CON: Depending on your source, high-end can get a bit harsh. Noticeably better when playing highres files. Funky design looks great but can be slightly uncomfortable, depending on your ears.
PRICE: $1199 ARCHITECTURE (PER EARPHONE): 6x balanced armature drivers. BACKGROUND: Westone grew from a company originally started by Jerry Harvey (see the Rosies) and benefitted from much of his early engineering work. The W60s are billed as comfortable and relaxed buds that can be used for extended listening sessions with less fatigue. PRO: Small and light, the W60s are barely bigger than the cheap buds that come with a smartphone. While still designed for the cable to loop over the ear, there's no "memory plastic" (which can also be a con). Vocal presentation on the W60s is excellent and extremely intimate. The claim is correct: you can listen for hours with little fatigue. By far the easiest earbuds in this roundup to live with day-to-day. CON: Very transparent to poor audio sources. A low-res MP3 can actually sound worse than on cheap buds. And a poorly produced track can result in vocals that are almost painfully screechy.
PRICE: $999 ARCHITECTURE: 10mm ultra-wide bandwidth transducer. BACKGROUND: DITA claims it wanted to build "the finest sounding, most luxurious universal fit earphones available today". They haven't succeeded, but the Answer is still a very good earbud. PRO: If nothing else, the Answer is the easiest to fit and most comfortable to wear of the buds here. The flat cylinder shape of the enclosure makes it easy to wear in bed, too. The single-driver design means accurate, fast response. The sound signature is clean, spacious, open and very smooth. CON: Unless you are a stickler for absolute studio-monitor-like flatness, the Answers might not sound all that... fun. It's a nuanced thing, but in reproducing music so accurately and dispassionately, some of the emotion can be lost. But really, it's the nittiest of picks - and The Answer is not $400 inferior to its pricier competition.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE SOURCE The earbuds in this roundup were provided by Addicted to Audio (www. addictedtoaudio.com.au). Make sure you pair them with a quality source capable of playing high-res files.
P OP SC I. C O M. AU
AI CAN NOW BEAT HUMAN FIGHTER PILOTS* *at least, in a highly controlled simulator scenario
Australia’s venerable F/A-18s are due for retirement. Could their replacement, the F-35, be our last crewed ﬁghter jet?
Fighter pilots have long been described as the best of the best. As Tom Wolfe famously wrote, only those with the “right stuff” can handle the job. Now, it seems, the right stuff may no longer be the sole purview of human pilots. A pilot AI developed by a doctoral graduate from the University of Cincinnati has shown that it doesn’t just beat other AIs, but also a professional fighter pilot with decades of experience. In a series of flight combat simulations, the AI successfully evaded retired US Air Force Colonel Gene “Geno” Lee, and shot him down every time. Lee called it: “The most aggressive, responsive, by COBY dynamic and credible AI I’ve MCD ONAL D seen to date.” Geno knows the context for a
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Number of flightoperational F-22 Raptor stealth air superiority f ighte rs in t h e USA F.
comment like that. He’s a former Air Force Battle Manager and adversary tactics instructor. He’s controlled or flown in thousands of air-to-air intercepts as mission commander or pilot. In short, the guy knows what he’s doing. Plus he’s been fighting AI opponents in flight simulators for decades. He says this one is different. “I was surprised at how aware and reactive it was. It seemed to be aware of my intentions and reacting instantly to my changes in flight and my missile deployment. It knew how to defeat the shot I was taking. It moved instantly between defensive and offensive actions as needed.” The AI, dubbed ALPHA, was developed by Psibernetix, a company founded by University of Cincinnati doctoral graduate
AUG UST 201 6
EDITED BY MATT G I LES
Number of flightoperational F/A-1 8 mu lt irole f ighte rs in the RAAF
Nick Ernest, in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory. According to the developers, ALPHA was specifically designed for research purposes in simulated air-combat missions. The secret to ALPHA’s superhuman
Number of F-35 Lightning II stealth multirole f ighters built by t he US and i ts contractors..
flying skills is a decision-making system called a genetic fuzzy tree, a subtype of fuzzy logic algorithms. The system approaches complex problems much like a human would, says Ernest, breaking the larger task into smaller
Number of F-35 Lightning II stealth multirole f ighters currently flight- operational w i t h t h e R A A F.
subtasks, which include highlevel tactics, firing, evasion, and defensiveness. By considering only the most relevant variables, it can make complex decisions with extreme speed. As a result, the AI can calculate the best manoeuvres in a complex, dynamic environment, over 250 times faster than its human opponent can blink. After hour-long combat missions against ALPHA, Lee says, “I go home feeling washed out. I’m tired, drained and mentally exhausted. This may be artificial intelligence, but it represents a real challenge.”
P OP SC I . C O M. AU
Next Geeking Out
On Solving -isms Within the Workplace
As told to M AT T GI LES
JAS O N H EN RY / THE NEW YORK TIMES/ R E D U X
After seven years of working at Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley’s pre-eminent venture-capital ﬁrms, Ellen Pao felt that bosses had passed her over for promotions, choosing instead lessqualiﬁed candidates. So in 2012, she ﬁled a gender- discrimination lawsuit. Though she didn’t win, her trial helped expose the tech industry’s persistent lack of diversity and frequent genderharassment issues. She has since become an ear and a voice for others with shared experiences. Here she oﬀers insights on how to create an inclusive workplace in the Valley—and beyond.
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AU GU ST 2 0 1 6
Next Geeking Out
The trial was a moment of clarity for a lot of people—for women who were experiencing discrimination or harassment, or for men and women of colour. Their experiences may have been unique, but they all shared common threads of bias, of unfair pay, of fewer opportunities. The trial didn’t raise brand-new issues, but it made it OK for people to talk about them in a way that had never happened before.
Whether it is being moved to a smaller oﬃce, or being told to go take notes, or being asked to wait to get promoted, people told me experiences that they had kept inside because they weren’t sure what other people would make of it. Change is uncomfortable, but I’ve began to see some start-ups recognise that diversity and inclusivity are good things. They want to recruit more women, more people of colour, and more people who have diﬀerences. And there is a natural ﬁ nancial message. McKinsey & Co. has done research showing that broad diversity can result in 35 per cent better ﬁ nancial performance. There is a wide range of things that companies can do—from blind resumes to referral bonuses for non-traditional candidates to blind coding tests. In the
next 10 years, there will be even more techniques and technologies that will turn out to be successful at building diverse and inclusive teams that lead to ﬁ nancially successful companies. The tech industry hasn’t moved as quickly as I thought it would. If we can solve it here, though, other industries should be able to address these issues. But this generation is more aware of the glass ceiling. They’ve entered the workplace with eyes open. You have a generation of women and people of colour and all kinds of underrepresented groups who could ﬁ nd places where they might succeed earlier on in their career, which then helps them become more successful. They got on that path earlier. And that is inspiring.”
“This generation is a lot more aware of the glass ceiling. They’ve entered the workplace with eyes open.”
36 Percent of African-American and Asian applicants who “whitened,” or changed, their resumes, per a 2016 study.
AUGUST 201 6
WOULD YOU LET A ROBOT RUN YOUR LIFE?
ibo seems like a friendly little fellow. An upcoming personal assistant type robot, he’s basically a vaguely anthropomorphic bobblehead on a plinth. He has a screen for a face, endearing animations, and can - as far as I can tell only really do the things Siri or Google voice search can already do. And not that much more. Limited as this $700 ﬁrst-gen personal bot may or may not be, he’s the shape of things to come. Make no mistake: homebots are the TVs of the next decade. The ﬁrst batch will be basic and expensive, but pretty soon people will be saying “what, you have two homebots?” and next thing you know, you’ll be carrying an AI in your pocket. The promise of Jibo and robots like him is great indeed. He can take care of all the boring day-to-day organisational stuff. He can jump on your wiﬁ and control home-automated devices like lights and the AC. He can take pictures, place calls, order food, manage your appointments, and entertain your children. I think even tells time... Right now, in the various YouTube videos, you can all but hear Jibo’s gears grind as he processes even the most basic enquiry. But within a few years, he’ll be anticipating your every move. He’ll know that if you’ve come home late from work three nights in a row, on the fourth night you’re probably going to want to order Indian from your favourite place. And so forth. However, I anticipate homebots will become the focus of some very curly questions in the near future. For instance, to what extent does your consent extend into things the homebot does? If I was, say, a credit card or pay TV provider, I might bombard Jibo with dozens of offers a minute for the kind of stuff his owner probably wants. Probably. If your homebot signs you up to a credit card based on your existing behaviour and data-
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WILL JIBO SIT BY AS SOMEONE BEATS THEIR PARTNER OR PLANS A MURDER? OR WILL HE CALL THE COPS ON HIS OWNER?
projected love of buying crap without ﬁrst earning the money to afford it, can you later claim in bankruptcy court that you never wanted the bloody credit card that ruined you? After all, you didn’t sign on the line - the homebot did, using the power of attorney or whatever you gave it as part of the terms of its EULA. Then there’s criminal activity. Homebots work because they continually monitor their surroundings, desperately hoping that someone, anyone, will say “hey Jibo” and give their existence meaning. So they’ll watch you embezzle company funds via an anonymous email address and secret bank account - hell, you’ll probably use them to do the dirty. Or what about something less palatable? Will Jibo sit by as one partner beats the hell out of the other? As a parent abuses their children? As someone accesses child porn online? Plans a murder? Or will he call the cops on his owners? (Just for clarity: I am not suggesting the Jibo you can currently pre-order will do any of this. I am imagining the more sophisticated true AIs that will come in the decades ahead.) Then there’s Jibo’s own welfare. When the UN recognises your homebot as an “independent sentient being” in a landmark 2045 ruling, will people get prosecuted for the crime of neglect, as in “neglecting to ever give their homebot something meaningful and stimulating to do”? If you watch the Jibo promo video right now, you might think he’s a bit of a gimmick. But the only thing missing from him is the “AI processor”. There will one day be a plug-in component - probably some kind of quantum computing core - that gives a device like Jibo a simulated level of intelligence at least enough to pass as self-aware to the average user. Homebots could have enormous beneﬁt - they could mark an effective end to social isolation for instance - but they could also challenge the very foundation of our laws and even morality.
by A N T H O NY FO R DH A M
Anthony Fo rdham i s the editor of Austra lia n Popular Science. Fo r hi m , t he ul t i m ate AI w i l l always be HAL 9000. Self-aware and a spaceship to o? Now t hat’s t h e future!
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AUGUST 201 6
THE FUTURE OF GAMING IS AUGMENTED
okémon Go is dominating both the gaming and news scene at the moment. It seems like a day doesn’t go by in which one news outlet or another posts a story about the game either having positive or negative impacts on players. It’s sensationalism of the basest sort, laying the blame for accidents, muggings and even abductions on a game rather than on the people involved in the incidents, but this sensationalism, either positive or negative, ignores the most interesting and most important aspect of Pokemon Go – the mass market saturation of an important technology: Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality, the superimposition of a computer generated image over the user’s ﬁeld of view, is not a new technology. In various forms it has been around for quite a while, with the ﬁrst AR head mounted display, dubbed the Sword of Damocles, created by renowned computer scientist Ivan Sutherland in 1968. Despite the concept of AR being proven nearly 50 years ago, it wasn’t until recently that the technology left the realm of the military and specialised commercial applications and entered the public, well, eye. Google attempted to make the technology mainstream with Google Glass in 2013, but thanks to privacy considerations (and some people with the glasses Replace those rustic old ruins with your street, and th at trad e system wit h n oth i n g, and you have Poké mon Go in a nutshell.
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by DA N I EL W I L KS
POKÉMON GO IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT GAME AS IT PROVES THE APPEAL OF AUGMENTED REALITY TO A MASS MARKET.
being outright creepy) the technology was removed from the market and sent back to development in 2015. While there have been a number of games that have utilised AR technology, the ﬁrst real push for mobile AR gaming came from Sony in 2009 with the release of the game Invizimals for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The game used the PSP camera to hunt the environment for monsters that could then be fought through a number of mini games. Despite the game being very similar to what is now found in Pokémon Go, Invizimals never took off, most probably because of the limited success (in Australia and the US) of the PSP and the extra expense required for the camera add-on. Pokémon Go isn’t even the ﬁrst foray into AR for developer Niantic. In 2013, the company released an AR location-based game titled Ingress, in which players joined one of two factions and fought to capture “portals” – usually landmarks, monuments or other locations of cultural signiﬁcance – in an effort to capture more territory than the other faction (for more, see p.22). Much like Pokémon Go, the game required players to travel around in order to discover or retake portals. Although popular and still widely played (data collected from Ingress was used to place Pokémon gyms and Pokéstops in Pokémon Go), the lack of the mass-market appeal of a hugely popular, long running franchise limited Ingress’ overall reach. Though ultimately fairly simplistic in terms of gameplay, Pokémon Go is an incredibly important game as it proves the appeal of Augmented Reality to a mass market. Up until this point, the only real exposure AR has had in the mass media is the occasional story about Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens headset and the controversy around Google Glass. With Pokémon Go, AR has arrived and you should expect to hear about the format much, much more in the future.
Daniel Wilks is the editor o f Aust ral i a’s favo ur i te gam i ng magazine, PC PowerPlay . H e can honestly say that when he sees bugs cl i m bi ng t h e wal l s, he’s actually wo rking.
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, 21-23 OCT
ONE LOCATION OVER ONE HUNDRED TOP HI-FI AND AV BRANDS The Australian Hi-Fi & AV Show is your chance to hear ALL the world’s best Hi-Fi & AV in one place. New technology and digital delivery to classic vinyl and glowing valves – compare hundreds of hi-fi, headphone and home theatre brands before you buy. Sit down and listen to the world’s best systems – many valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Learn about the latest tech — how to stream music around your home, how to turn your computer into a high-end audio source, how to control everything from smartphone and tablet.
“Amazing to see (and hear!) all this great hi-fi in one place. I want it all!” Bernard from Geelong Victoria
“Great music and great people – able to answer all the technical questions I had. Coming back next year!” Morrisey NSW
EXCLUSIVE! CLASSIC VINYL SESSION WITH JOHN PAUL YOUNG IN PERSON
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THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE OF THE FUTURE TOKYO 2020 WILL BE THE BEST EVER FOR SOCIETY by HEATHE R HANSMAN
Hosting the Olympics can put serious strain on a country’s infrastructure and finances. In preparation for the 2016 games, Rio de Janeiro has dealt with issues ranging from sewage-filled lakes to an uncompleted subway line. In Sochi in 2014, hotels went unfinished after the Winter Olympics began— the whole affair cost Russia a record $51 billion. But Japan, home of the 2020 games, wants to make the event good for their country and society. The nation has done it before. To host the 1964 Olympics, Japan launched the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train, which revolutionised national transportation. Drawing on the Japanese sustainability concept of mottainai (“don’t waste”), Tokyo will use robot cars, holographic displays, and driverless taxis to enhance society, which should make the 2020 games a global winner.
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HYDROGENPOWERED VILLAGE The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which will create the Olympic and Paralympic Village, has earmarked $492 million to develop hydrogen fuel cell cars and refuelling stations around the sports complexes. “After the completion of the games, the village will be an environmentally friendly residential district powered by a next-generation hydrogen system,” says Hikariko Ono, a spokesperson for the games.
8K BROADCASTING For spectators who won’t be in the stands, the Olympic Broadcasting Service will be shooting the entire Tokyo Games in 8K UHD—16 times the resolution of standard high-def. Some viewers don’t have to wait: As a trial run, OBS will ﬁlm 130 hours of Rio’s festivities in what it calls Super Hi-Vision 8K. Japan’s national broadcast station, NHK, has signed on to broadcast it. Tune in to see athlete’s pores in all their 7,680-by-4,320-pixel glory.
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HOLOGRAPHIC INFORMATION Most holograms (think Tupac at Coachella) are just digital images projected on thin screens and visible only from certain angles. But Mitsubishi Electric has developed true holographic technology, projecting a 3D image you can actually walk around. The tech uses a beam splitter and a retro-reﬂective sheet to make images appear to ﬂoat. It won’t better society, but these holograms might just be the coolest event in Tokyo 2020.
BIOFUELED FLIGHTS Companies like Airbus and United have tested bio-fuelled ﬂights, powered by things like used cooking oil and algae. But now, Boeing, All Nippon Airlines, and others are investigating a range of options, including inedible plants like a ﬂowering house plant and an oil seed plant, and algae-based sources. The biofuels require large amounts of plant mass, so various Japanese companies have constructed large-scale farms and algae cultivation pools to produce enough of the green stuﬀ to power all of the games’ potential air traﬃc.
I L LUST RAT I O NS BY
Michael Brandon Myers
DRIVERLESS TAXIS Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proclaimed that robo-taxis would be present at the games. Tokyo-based Robot Taxi soon stepped in to take orders. Initial ﬁeld tests for the cabs—which use a “Robovision” stereo camera to navigate and can be hailed by cellphone— began this past March in Kanagawa Prefecture. But the technology still needs some tweaks, like teaching the software to read maps.
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BUT IT WON’T SAVE THE ICE CAPS.
D R A_ S C H WA RT Z /G E T T Y I M AG ES
Greenhouse gas gets all the attention. Most agree it is the main cause of our warming planet. But scientists say black carbon, or soot—which comes from diesel engines, coal-burning plants, and open biomass incineration (among other forms)—is the nearest runner-up, and the one most readily overlooked. In addition to causing health issues that lead to millions of deaths each year, black carbon absorbs light, mixes with water droplets found within clouds, and settles on snow and ice to devastating effect. “It darkens the landscape of the Arctic,” says Chris Cappa, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University California at Davis. The once-pristine white surfaces become smudged and reflect less solar radiation back out into space, which “accelerates warming and melting at an alarming rate,” says Cappa. Eliminating black carbon could stop about 40 per cent of global warming. It’s not hard to by “scrub” emissions at their source. And because JEN soot only stays in the air for weeks, there would be SCHWARTZ a near-immediate decrease in the planet’s heating,
buying us more time to replace fossil fuels with clean energy. But doing so would trigger a second type of climate change. When black carbon reaches the atmosphere, it’s already mixed with sulphur dioxide and other organic matter. Those particles actually reflect sunlight, causing a “global cooling” effect by preventing that solar radiation from penetrating the lower levels of the atmopshere. “You can’t just turn off the black carbon without turning off those cooling effects too,” says Cappa. Factor in the loss of the cooling particles, and that 40 per cent figure drops to about 25 per cent. The technology to isolate and filter out black carbon is in its infancy, so for now, the trick is choosing which black-carbon emissions are most worth reducing outright. We know that open biomass incineration and diesel engines have “more black stuff relative to the other, cooling components,” says Cappa. Tackling those sources with the existing tech would promote the health of both us and Earth.
ZERO GRAVITY PHARMACY ASTRONAUTS WILL USE MOULD TO GROW MEDICINE IN SPACE
On a family vacation to the California Space Centre in Los Angeles a few years ago, medicinal chemist Clay Wang had a disturbing thought: As we explore space, and travel farther and farther away from Earth, a lot could go wrong. Systems could fail. Hardware could break down. And what about the crew? What happens if they get sick and run out of medication a year or so into a three-year trip to Mars? Drugs have an expiration date, and both radiation and the vibrations of space travel might degrade them more quickly. Wang thinks future Mars explorers might rely on a revolutionary solution: growing their own medicine en route. It’s a tactic that has been theorised but never tested in space. Wang, conveniently, runs a lab at the University of Southern California that studies natural medicine.
Our dependable medicinal moulds and fungi will no doubt behave in strange new ways i n spa ce.
This past April, his lab sent specimens of the soil fungus Aspergillus nidulans to the International Space Station to see how it might fare on a Martian odyssey. The results are pending, but Wang is curious to know whether the stresses of space activate previously unknown genetic pathways in the fungus. This could cause A. nidulans to generate novel compounds and lead to new medicines for Earthlings and astronauts alike. “It’s like a factory where many of the machines have always been switched off,” says Wang. “In space, those machines might suddenly turn on for the first time.” Once scientists better understand how the space environment affects the fungus’s biology, Wang’s hope is that astronauts could then replicate the process to manufacture their own drugs on the long journey to Mars. Future Mars missions could carry a few spores of several benevolent fungi and quickly scale up. If explorers run out of penicillin, for example, Ground Control could email the gene sequences that cause the fungus to produce the drug. Then an onboard DNA synthesiser would write those codes into a lab-grown cell that replicates until there are enough drugs to do the job. That end goal is years away, but Wang hopes his experiment will plant the seeds (or spores) that grow into reality. “Astronauts won’t have to worry about resupply,” he says. “They’ll have a medicine cabinet full of different strains to rely on.”
by A NTHONY FO R D HAM
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UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES, OR SYSTEMS, OR WHATEVER YOUR LOCAL REGULATOR WANTS TO CALL THEM, ARE HERE TO STAY. DRONES ARE BIG BUSINESS, AND WILL MAKE SOMEBODY A LOT OF MONEY VERY SOON NOW. THE ONLY TRICK IS FIGURING OUT EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE THAT MONEY, HOW LONG ITâ€™S GOING TO TAKE, AND HOW OBSTRUCTIVE THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS GOING TO BE ALONG THE WAY. STO RY BY ANTHONY FORDHAM
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DJI’s Inspire range costs from $3500$8000 depending on options. That might be out of your budget, but for someone wanting to start a business, it’s a fraction of the cost of other aviation options.
hen drones-as-a-service company Measure Australia was asked, by a major mining concern, to ﬂy a drone inside an ore conveyor belt, they demurred. It was simply too risky - the metal covering over the conveyor could block the radio signal, and cause the drone to crash. The mining company didn’t care. They wanted footage of their conveyor belt, so they hired an independent drone pilot instead. He ﬂew his $40,000+ pro grade drone into the conveyor, and sure enough, the radio signal to his controller was blocked. The drone crashed, the conveyor was damaged, and total costs of the disaster were estimated at $5 million a week. Such are the risks faced by Australia’s rapidly expanding commercial drone services industry. Usually, when a disruptive new technology hits the big time, the really smart investors and backers have made millions before everyone else even realises what’s going on. Drones aren’t exactly like that. Everyone seems to agree that they will be big - huge even business. It’s just a matter of ﬁguring out how the industry is going to work. CEO of Measure Australia, Mark Stevens, has a fairly good grip on the problem. He, his son Aonghus, and a select group of pilots, technology experts and investors, have been working in this emergent industry since 2012. “Drones are relatively cheap,” says Stevens. “It’s easy for someone to go to a drone manufacturer and buy a very capable system. But there’s a provision in consumer law that says if you sell a product, your customer has to have a reasonable expectation of being able to operate it.” Which is the problem with drones. You can sell a man a really high-end drone with all sorts of features and capabilities for $40,000 - a fraction of the cost of operating an actual crewed aircraft - but if he gets it
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home and realises he has absolutely no idea how to ﬂy the thing, and you won’t help him, well, turns out he has grounds to sue. “Measure Australia doesn’t sell drones,” says Stevens. “We see our business as drones-as-a-service. You tell us what outcome you’re looking for, and we’ll ﬁgure out a solution. We aim to own the last 500 feet.” Mark Stevens is of course referring to the mix of datasets available to businesses from satellites, aeroplane-based sensors, and actual ground-based ﬁeldwork. Places where humans have to stomp through muck, or drive slowly for hours, or simply can’t enter to safely. Drones are unique in that they can get into areas that would take humans days or even weeks to traverse. The only trick is getting the rest of society to accept these tiny, uncrewed ﬂying machines. “After a series of devastating bushﬁres in WA,” says Stevens, “we were perfectly positioned to ﬂy drones in and assess insurance claims. Everything was perfect. But then the local government popped up and told us we couldn’t ﬂy into the area. Because they were worried the residents would think the drones were UFOs.”
This is perhaps less of an irrational fear than you might think. What exactly is a “drone”? Measure Australia’s chief technology oﬃcer Aonghus Stevens admits the deﬁnition isn’t exactly straightforward. “In the CASA regulations, you’ll see references to unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and remote piloted aerial systems (RPAS). They are interchangeable... a bit. “The regulations even include model aeroplanes. CASA mostly uses the term ‘UAS’, and the deﬁnition is really about how the system will be used, not its actual mission capability.” This is because CASA draws a distinction between hobbyist RC planes and, well, ﬂying things that are used commercially. “UAVs are commercial, UAS are not,” says Aonghus Stevens. “But the deﬁnition of commercial is confusing. We are on the phone to CASA all the time about it.” Once, “commercial” used to mean ﬂying your drone, taking pictures, and then asking for money. Now though, CASA has extended this to, for instance, mining companies using a drone to inspect pipelines for leaks, or even just checking fencing or powerlines.
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“In the more remote areas, we’re using drones to monitor things, and CASA now considers that kind of activity commercial, even though there’s no direct payment,” says Aonghus Stevens. Whatever the regulations, the industry itself generally uses the term “drone”. It might not be strictly correct - there are some who would insist the only true drone is a fully-autonomous system with no human operator - but it’s the word most people are using. CASA, for its part, treats drones like any other aircraft. “Pilots need licenses, based on the weight of the system,” says Aonghus Stevens. There are ﬁxedwing drones that look like ordinary aeroplanes, rotary drones that look like tiny helicopters, and of course the ubiquitous “multirotor” system that’s so hot right now in JB Hi-Fis and Harvey Normans across the country. Multirotors often have four engines, but heavier platforms can also have six or even eight. “The classes are being reworked, but they are based on weight,” says Aonghus Stevens. Systems ranges from diminutive mini-drones weighing less than seven kilograms, to serious airborne platforms weighing over 25 kg. “We think CASA is doing a good job,” says Aonghus Stevens, of the organisation’s management of the bewildering array of diﬀerent drone types in the market right now. “But we are expecting and looking forward to some big changes on the 29th of September, especially for aircraft under two kilograms.” Basically, CASA is looking at simplifying the regulations for people operating drones that weigh less than 2 kg. That means your uncle can get his drone for Christmas and go and take a picture of a whale without too onerous a burden of paperwork. Right now, of course, even the owner of a $700 Parrot Bebop has to either limit their ﬂight to their own property, or get the same sort of license as a professional pilot. Which seems... a bit crazy.
A B OVE : By mi l i ta r y sta n d a rd s, drones cost almost nothing, yet tra n sfo r m the recon capabilities o f a ny so ld ier. RIGHT: The fully autonomous X-37 B ca n l a n d i tsel f o n a n aircraft carrier and is probab ly the future of a i r wa r.
The sheer accessibility of drones is something almost no other new industry has had to deal with. In the past, real disruption was, to some extent, moderated by massive start up costs. Want to be an aerial photography company? Well, you’ll need half a million for a good plane, then hundreds of thousands more for licensing and training and certiﬁcation. “Back in 2012, just four years ago, a capable drone
THE RELATIVELY LOW COST OF DRONES CAN ALSO BE A TRAP SO THE FUTURE OF DRONES IS IN SELLING DRONES AS A SERVICE.
would cost more than $500,000,” says Aonghus Stevens. “And that drone would have fewer features than a $4000 DJI Phantom today.” But the relatively low cost of drones can also be a trap. Measure CEO Mark Stevens tells of a mining company in the Pillaga that spent $40K or more on a drone, on the understanding it would have a 40 minute operating time. Yet out there, in the unforgiving blast furnace of Australia’s dead heart, it’s battery could manage barely eight minutes. For that company, their drone was almost useless. Which is why Measure Australia believes the future of drones isn’t in selling hardware, but rather selling drones as a service. “We view ourselves as a data company,” says Stevens. “We ask clients ‘what outcome do you want’ and then we work backwards.” Stevens uses real estate as a key example. Many real estate agents have realised the potential of drones in selling prestigious properties - ﬂy the drone over the house, get some great pics, package it all into a YouTube video and watch the buyers ﬁght each other for the
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T HE F U T U RE ( A ND P R ESENT) OF DRONES
opportunity to make an oﬀer. And indeed some real estate companies will hire a independent drone operator to get those shots. Yet this guy will be less a photographer and more a drone geek excited to make money while doing this favourite hobby. He can ﬂy, says Stevens, but can he shoot compelling video? The odds are against it. “Often clients will pay a drone operator and be really disappointed with the results,” Stevens says. Or they will buy themselves a $2000 drone, ﬂy it around a house, and wonder why the shots this consumer-grade toy takes look so terrible. In fact when it comes to real estate, Measure Australia doesn’t want to provide a “drone ﬂying service”. They want to provide awesome pictures of a multi-million dollar property. The drone is merely a means to an end. That’s the philosophy, they believe, the industry really needs t0, well, take oﬀ.
Treating the drone as “just another camera” isn’t to say that drones don’t represent an opportunity for businesses and organisations to get an eye in the sky for a fraction of the cost of a crewed aircraft. For example, when it comes to surf life rescue, Mark Stevens thinks crewed helicopters should be saved for the task of actually rescuing people. They shouldn’t waste time and fuel patrolling the coast looking for drowning surfers and sharks. “Surf live saving organisations can spend up to six million dollars a year on [crewed] rotary ﬂights,” Stevens says. “That buys them 460 hours” of helicopters ﬂying up and down the coastline looking for trouble. “We quoted them three million for 4300 hours of constant surveillance,” he says. The idea would be that a drone (or several drones) would do the overwatch, and helicopters would be scrambled if anything did actually go down. Including the drones, obviously. This proposal represents a massive saving in fuel, let alone the costs of pilots and other crew. This is the real potential of drones: to do what humans would ﬁnd tedious or impractical. “Imagine a property with a thousand kilometres of fencing or powerlines,” says Aonghus Stevens. “A couple of guys in a 4WD might be able to drive that boundary no faster than 30km/h because of terrain. A drone could ﬂy the line autonomously, and be programmed to report back only if it detected an anomaly.” Before this potential can be realised, however, CASA has to get its head around one very important concept operating drones beyond line of sight. Right now, drone pilots must be able to see their airborne systems. Only the military can ﬂy its drones over the horizon and conduct operations while the pilot sits in an air-conditioned shipping container on
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CASA HAS TO GET ITS HEAD AROUND ONE VERY IMPORTANT CONCEPT: OPERATING DRONES BEYOND LINE OF SIGHT
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Drones are an obvious fit for the mining industry. They can fly into areas that might be too unstable for humans, or even inspect demolition charges up close. They donâ€™t work underground yet though, since control depends absolutely on rock-solid RF reception.
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IF PEOPLE WITH $1500 DRONES CAN CAUSE SUCH HEADACHES WHAT CHANCE DO WE HAVE OF EVER GETTING FLYING CARS? the other side of the world. Measure Australia’s CEO Mark Stevens knows how beyond-line-of-sight aﬀected the armed forces: he’s already had a long career in the military. Putting unmanned aircraft on the battleﬁeld was a revolution. Military-grade drones, especially for recon, have the same capabilities as Cold War era spy planes. But they’re cheap and the most valuable component is never at risk: the human pilot. The use of drones in combat missions remains controversial of course, but again, they mean pilots don’t have to risk being shot down over enemy territory... or friendly territory either. Whatever your feelings on the morality of killing by remote-control, we’re probably going to have to accept that weaponised drones are here to stay. “Drones transformed the military in a matter of weeks,” says Mark Stevens. “And this will be transferred to the commercial sphere at some point.”
Like all good entrepreneurs, the team at Measure Australia identiﬁed that drones were going to be a big thing, and positioned the company to beneﬁt from that as early as possible. But, as various anecdotes already show, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. “We did not anticipate it would take from 2009 to 2015 for things to really get moving,” says Mark Stevens. He tells of endless meetings with mining bigwigs, explaining to them how drone services could give them new insight into mines and the infrastructure around them. Slowly, companies came to realise that drones could go quickly into open pit mines to inspect the integrity of newly-blasted walls. They could patrol the thousands of kilometres of private railroad, tailing the autonomous trains as they trundle through the Pilbara. Everything was falling into place. Stevens was even about to board a plane to ﬂy to Perth and start the signing process... but then the iron ore price collapsed, the “capex phase” ended, and just like that the deal was oﬀ. “It really highlights how important it is to be able to respond quickly,” he says. The end of the mining deal was a blow, but there’s still real estate, and an increasing number of custom jobs. As both Stevens’ keep saying: it’s all about the data.
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Unless this guy is operating his drone in his ow n pa d d o ck , h e’s a c tu a l ly breaking the law.
Rotary drones look like helicopters. They have better endurance than an electric multirotor but require a skilled pilot
There will always be freelance pilots to contend with, though. “Yes, we did used to be able to draw a distinction between a ‘pro’ grade drone and a, I guess, hobbyist drone,” says Aonghus Stevens. “But the line is blurring. I mean, look at the DJI Phantom 4. That’s a hugely impressive platform and it’s so quick and easy to deploy.” In fact, the diﬀerence between the drone you or I might buy and, say, a $180,000 law enforcement drone like those used in California, is less about capability and more about ease of use. “So that law enforcement drone has much greater endurance than something you could by,” says Aonghus Stevens. “It can ﬂy for 60 minutes instead of 40. It can also operate in the rain, has a camera with 30-times optical zoom, sends its data over an encrypted network, and it’s very easy to operate.” When police are responding to an incident where a little drone recon might be helpful, it’s not always possible to dedicate an entire oﬃcer to manually ﬂy the drone. Instead, these systems have much greater automation in their controls - the “pilot” can just tap on a map to send the drone to that location. No thumbsticks, no fuss. “That’s ideal for when there’s lots of stuﬀ going on in a dynamic situation,” says Aonghus Stevens.
The confusion over drone accessibility doesn’t just stop there. The market is little short of insane: Measure Australia knows of at least 1200 drone manufacturers trying to sell something right now, whether it be entire platforms that can ﬂy as high as 200 metres and return to the operator at the touch a button, or just upgraded carbon-ﬁbre props for the rapidly growing drone racing circuit. And yet, right now, buying and playing with a drone is one of the easiest ways for an Australian to break the law without even realising it. “The regulations really aren’t clear for the hobbyist,” says Aonghus Stevens. He explains that private owners are only supposed to ﬂy on their own property, to
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a height of 120m. Of course, if you Sydney North Shore beach on a s days, you’’’ be able to count four o about. None of them are suppose the operator has a license. And re getting permission from the local And sure, down at the beach a d more of a nuisance than a camera But playtime can turn awkward v “I was watching this beautiful someone had shot over Watson’s Stevens explains. “They ﬂew alo and it was great. But then they ca Botanic Gardens, over the Opera south pylon of the Harbour Brid problematic, because that’s restr of the main helicopter ﬂight paths through the CBD. It’s dangerous. It could cause a real disaster.” Keen drone users have even put the lives of other pilots directly at risk. Most hobbyists know they are not allowed to ﬂy anywhere near an airport, but what about out in the wilderness? During severe bushﬁres in the US, the water bomber planes had to be waved oﬀ certain ﬁre zones because there were too many drones in the air for a safe approach. People wanting to get amazing aerial footage
Serious operators will buy a system where they can customise every thing from the ty pe of propeller to the camera’s gimbal and more.
e from being afety oﬃcer htweight ces. ware of this slightly more Music” sticker kaging includes pamphlets explaining where and how high you can ﬂy your new toy.
ABOVE: The definition of drones also includes fixedwing craft. These can’t hover, but can stay up in the air for much longer than a multirotor. LEFT: Mass production continues to drive down the cost of a basic drone.
If nothing else, the regulatory headache created by the general population now having access to $1500 ﬂying machines big enough to get in the way of general aviation, has really highlighted how hard it would be to license ﬂying cars. Part of the problem is that every amateur drone pilot thinks he (and it’s usually a he) is the only one. he thinks that buying a drone is still a kind of edgy thing to do. He’s the only one on the block with his own flying machine. Yet in Tamworth, NSW this past Christmas, keen observers would have seen a DJI Phantom prowling suburban back yards... looking for another (somewhat lower-end) drone that a bunch of kids had lost earlier that day. This kind of story - one of people just using drones however they want - is being played over and over again around the country. Who knows how nuts it will get this Christmas. The retailers don’t seem to care. Every electronics shop has at least one giant display dedicated to drones, and another to the action cameras you can strap onto some of them. Models range from silly $150 toys that come with a plastic hydrofoil for messing about in the dam, to surprisingly serious machines that can take amazing footage and stay in the air for as long as 25 minutes - and yet cost less than $1500. Cheap electronic gyroscopes and RPM controllers have made multirotor drones ﬁrst possible, and then inexpensive. They beneﬁt science and industry in ways we’re still continuing to discover. What happens next? Probably further miniaturisation and increased intelligence. Today’s drones are like big awkward birds. Five years from now, and CTOs like Aonghus Stevens won’t just be marvelling at the capability of a $2000 drone. They’ll also be marvelling over how so many features can be packed into an aircraft the size of a big wasp. We look forward to going for a buzz.
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When in crisis, the human body can slow its metabolic clock to the point of appearing dead. What happens when doctors start doing it on purpose? BY RENE EBERSOLE I L L U S T R AT I O N BY THE RED DRESS
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After falling through the ice (right) while snowshoeing, Kelly Dwyer (above) was technically dead for five hours until doctors brought her back.
T H I S A ND O PP O S I T E PAG E: C OU RTESY K E L LY DW YE R
Kelly Dwyer strapped on a pair of snowshoes and set out to hike a beaver pond trail near her home in Hooksett, New Hampshire. When the sun dropped below the horizon hours later, the 51-year-old environmental educator still hadn’t returned home. Her husband, David, was worried. Grabbing his cellphone and a ﬂashlight, he told their two daughters he was going to look for their mum. As he made his way toward the pond, sweeping his ﬂashlight beam across the darkening winter landscape, he called out for Kelly. That’s when he heard the moans. Running forward, David phoned their daughter Laura, 14, and told her to call 911. His ﬂashlight beam soon settled on Kelly, submerged up to her neck in a hole of dark water in the ice. As David clutched her from behind to keep her head above water, Kelly slumped into unconsciousness. By the time rescue crews arrived, her body temperature was dropping below 15C and her pulse was almost too faint to register. Before she could reach the ambulance, Kelly’s heart stopped. The EMTs attempted CPR—a process doctors continued for three hours at a hospital in nearby Manchester. They warmed her frigid body. Nothing. Even de-ﬁbrillation wouldn’t restart her heart. Kelly’s core temperature hovered in the low 20s. David assumed he’d lost her for good. But Kelly’s life wasn’t over. A doctor rushed her to nearby Catholic Medical Centre, where a new team hooked her up to a cardiac bypass machine
that more aggressively warmed, ﬁltered, and oxygenated Kelly’s blood, and rapidly circulated it through her body. Finally, Kelly’s temperature crept back up. After she’d spent ﬁve hours medically dead, doctors turned oﬀ the bypass machine, and her heart spontaneously began beating again. Incredibly, Kelly Dwyer walked out of the hospital two weeks later with only minor nerve damage to her hands. Upon seeing her, the team that rescued Kelly from the pond reacted as if they were seeing a ghost. In some ways, they were. Five years later, friends still call her “miracle woman.” Bringing people back from the “dead” is no longer science ﬁction. Typically, after just minutes without a supply of freshly oxygenated blood, brain cells start dying, and an irreversible and lethal process is set in motion. But when a person becomes severely cold before his heart quits, his metabolism slows. The body sips so little oxygen that it can remain in a suspended state for up to seven hours without permanent cell damage. Thanks to improvements in technology (like the cardiac bypass machine that saved Dwyer’s life) and medical understanding, the odds are getting better for coming back from the edge. They are so good, in fact, that some doctors and scientists are testing a bold new hypothesis: What if you could induce a near-death state in order to save lives? If it can be done, it could be a game changer for saving some of the thousands of Australians (and 200,000 Americans) who die each year due to trauma injuries. By essentially pressing “pause,” doctors might be able to buy precious time that could mean the diﬀerence between life and death. Suspended animation is no longer the stuﬀ of Star Wars or Avatar. A handful of scientists and medical experts is now looking for ways to suspend life in order to perform surgeries without the threat of a trauma patient bleeding to death, or to prevent tissue damage during the treatment of cardiac events. Some aim to pump ice-cold saline solution into patients’ veins. Others are searching for a suspended-animation drug. The US Department of Defence too is heavily involved, with the hope that thousands of servicemen and servicewomen could beneﬁt as well: Ninety percent of war casualties result from bleeding out on the battleﬁeld. In 2010, it launched a $34 million initiative called Biochronicity—an interdisciplinary research project to ﬁgure out how to manipulate the human clock. “The goal is to examine the way our bodies know that time is progressing,” explains Col. Matthew Martin, a 48-year-old active-duty trauma surgeon whose research is funded through Biochronicity. The battleﬁeld application would be the slowing down or the stopping of time, making a wounded soldier able to survive longer—or even survive indeﬁnitely—“so that we can get somewhere to treat the injury,” says Martin, “and then reverse that suspended state.”
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By essentially pressing “pause,” doctors could buy time that could mean the difference between life and death.
r. Mark Roth’s oﬃce at the 15-acre Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle is crammed with boxes of newspaper clippings and journal articles about people who came back from the “dead.” There is a skier in Norway, a toddler in Saskatchewan, and two ﬁshermen who capsized in the Gulf of Alaska—all of whom had ﬂatlined in the freezing cold. “I’ve been a student of these cases for 20 years,” Roth tells me. At 59, Roth ﬁts the mould of a mad scientist—with white hair that stands straight up, and a tendency to wave his hands while rattling on about metabolic reactions and the periodic table. He is also the winner of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” for his work manipulating the biological clocks of small ﬁsh and garden worms. He is widely recognized as a pioneer in the pursuit of using suspended animation in trauma treatment. Hunched over a microscope, in a burgundy T-shirt with matching Converse All Stars, he invited me to take a look at a petri dish bustling with tiny, hoursold zebraﬁsh. “Because they’re transparent, you can see their hearts beating and the blood moving about the tail,” he says. “This is the core of our own animation—the heart and blood ﬂow. I’ll turn it oﬀ and on like a light switch. We’re going to take away the oxygen and alter their animation. We’re going to make a diﬀerent kind of air.” Using a clear tube, Roth began piping nitrogen into a transparent box containing the petri dish. “We’re going to let that sucker go all night,” he says. “The air we’re breathing is what’s in there now, but in time, this whole system will become straight-up nitrogen, which will eventually get to these creatures and turn them oﬀ. In the morning, we’ll put them back into the room air, and they’ll reanimate.”
Then Roth prepped a similar experiment— this one to show the eﬀects, rather than the plausibility, of suspended animation. Taking two petri dishes of nematodes at precisely the same stage of development, he placed one dish in his nitrogen box and left the other on a lab bench. His hypothesis: The gassed worms’ metabolism should gradually slow until they’re essentially suspended in time, while the fresh-air siblings should keep getting bigger. Because nematodes grow quickly, his theory would be proved or disproved by tomorrow. Think of it as the worm equivalent of the movie Alien, in which the crew enters a suspended “hypersleep” state in pods in order to endure a long interstellar journey without ageing. Like those pods, Roth’s nitrogen box suspends his nematode crew in metabolic stasis for the night. Up until the early 2000s, Roth’s suspendedanimation experiments were conﬁned to the scale of tiny creatures, such as worms and ﬁsh. Then one night he was watching the science documentary series Nova on PBS. The show featured a cave in Mexico that caused spelunkers to pass out because of an invisible hydrogen-sulﬁde gas. “If you breathe too much of it, you collapse,” says Roth. “It’s called ‘knock-down’—you appear dead. But if you are brought out from the cave, you can be reanimated without harm. I thought: ‘Wow! I have to get some of this!’” After exposing mice to 80 parts per million of some of that gas at room temperature, Roth found he could induce a suspended state that could later be reversed by returning the mice to regular air, with no neurological harm—just like the spelunkers in Mexico. For Roth, it was a breakthrough. The medical community immediately took notice, seeing his work’s potential for treating heart-attack victims and cancer patients. The $500,000 MacArthur grant followed soon after. Since then he’s been tinkering with compounds found in other deadly gases, kept under lock and key in a nearby lab room with tightly monitored security cameras and alarms. “These gases will kill you,” Roth says. “Selenide, carbon monoxide, cyanide—you could be dead in two minutes.” But they also might save your life some day. Roth has identiﬁed four compounds (sulphur, bromine, iodine, and selenium) that he now calls “elemental reducing agents,” or ERAs. These naturally exist in small amounts in humans and can slow a body’s oxygen use. Roth wants to develop an ERA as an injectable drug that can, for one, prevent what’s called a reperfusion injury—tissue damage that can occur after doctors halt a heart attack. This happens when normal blood ﬂow resumes; the sudden rush of oxygen can permanently damage heart cells, leading to chronic heart failure (the leading cause of death in the world). Roth’s current research in pigs shows that if he injects an ERA before the blockage is removed,
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Roth has identified four compounds that naturally small amounts in humans and can slow a body’s o
it’s possible to keep the heart muscle from being destroyed in reperfusion. “We’ve shown that you can intravenously inject sodium iodide into a patient, creating a 75 per cent reduction in the damage that would be done to the heart during standard care,” he says. “You can preserve your heart from dying by temporarily slowing it down.” Roth recently started a private company called Faraday Pharmaceuticals, and hopes to begin experimenting with his ERAs in human heart-attack patients in early 2017. In Faraday’s oﬃces, about a ﬁve-minute walk from Roth’s lab at Fred Hutchinson, I found CEO Stephen Hill, a former surgeon, was tying up a few loose ends before catching a ﬂight to North Carolina. He’d accepted the job in September 2015 after meeting Roth and talking about the potential for tapping into the natural biology that could save critically ill patients. “One of the things he said to me,” Hill recalls, “was, ‘If you took dead people and gave them state-of-the-art therapy, how many of them would recover?’” It was a strange question, of course, because death isn’t something one “recovers” from (and neither Hill nor Roth are in the business of resurrection). But thinking of death as something malleable excited them both. “There are circumstances in which it might be necessary to alter the way the body utilises oxygen,” Hill says, “causing damaged tissues to temporarily ‘hibernate’ rather than permanently die.” Hill and Roth say that ERAs could one day be used for a range of medical conditions, including organ and limb transplants. Their ﬁrst target, though, will likely be patients with heart attacks undergoing procedures to restore coronary-artery blood ﬂow. Other emergency traumas, such as gunshot wounds, are promising candidates for suspended animation. And in fact, a group of medical experts on the East Coast already have the green light to do human trials on patients with such traumatic injuries, using a diﬀerent time-slowing technique.
r. Sam Tisherman hates the phrase “suspended animation.” As director of the Centre for Critical Care and Trauma Education at University of Maryland’s school of medicine in Baltimore, he prefers “emergency rvation and resuscitation” (EPR). oesn’t have that sci-ﬁ appeal,” he says. “But on te side, you might say EPR could be the new e want to preserve the person long enough to he bleeding and resuscitate him.” like Roth’s method, Tisherman’s approach is to atients into a hypothermic state, essentially ing, intentionally, the same state that Kelly r was in. To do that, he replaces blood in the with freezing-cold saline solution, quickly reducing the patient’s core temperature to a frigid 10 to 12 degrees Celsius. It sounds extreme, but if it works, it could be a lifesaver—especially in a city that just suﬀered its second deadliest year for homicides (344 in 2015). Routine care for trauma victims with injuries such as gunshot wounds typically involves inserting a breathing tube, and then using large intravenous catheters to replace lost ﬂuids and blood while a surgeon desperately attempts to repair the damage before the patient’s heart fails. “It’s a race against time,” Tisherman says, “and these endeavours often don’t work. Only 5 to 10 per cent of people in cardiac arrest from trauma survive— your chances of living are pretty slim.” Inducing a hypothermic state could buy surgeons as much as an hour to operate. Afterward they could resume blood ﬂow and gradually rewarm the patient. Tisherman and his colleagues have spent more than two decades perfecting their procedure in animals. They’ve had such success that in 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration gave them the go-ahead for the ﬁrst human trials to begin at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tisherman won’t reveal whether any patients have yet been operated on, but the trial remains open. If human patients follow the success of the animal studies, their chances of survival could double. “If we take what’s now 5 to 10 per cent and make it 20 per cent, that’s a big change,” Tisherman says. “That’s a game changer.” Of course, saving patients in hospitals full of cutting-edge equipment is one thing. Saving them on the battleﬁeld, where the nearest facilities could be hundreds of kilometres away, is another. That’s the challenge that plagues—and motivates—Matthew Martin, the active-duty surgeon. After four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Martin is trying to achieve the same results as Tisherman—without extensive equipment that would be impossible to bring to the front lines.
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That means using chemicals—not cold—to slow the body’s clock. “The question is,” says Martin, “Can we decrease the person’s demand for blood so even for a period of time, he actually doesn’t need blood ﬂowing? That would be the ultimate goal.” On breaks from performing surgeries, Martin conducts research from his home base at Madigan Army Medical Centre in Tacoma, Washington. There he examines the physiological eﬀects of an experimental drug on pigs as they undergo a simulated major trauma with bleeding. “The goal is to create ‘hip-pocket therapy,’” he says, “where a medic could carry the drug in his bag and whip out a syringe for a severely injured soldier. He could inject this drug and start the process of suspended animation, giving the soldier more time to get to a surgical facility.” He and his colleagues have identiﬁed a series of enzymes known as PI 3-kinase, which helps regulate metabolism. They also found a drug that controls the activity of those enzymes and is already in clinical trials as a potential cancer treatment. Martin’s early data suggests that administering the drug at the moment of ischaemia—when blood ﬂow to the heart becomes inadequate—can slow down the metabolism without harming the animal. For Martin, the sense of urgency isn’t just scientific; it’s personal. Such a drug might have saved the first patient (we’ll call him Private X) who died on Martin’s watch, in 2007, when he was the chief of trauma at a combat-support hospital in Baghdad. Arriving with a group of other soldiers and civilians who had been ravaged by an improvised explosive device, Private X’s leg was mangled. Shrapnel had penetrated his abdomen, one of his lungs was bruised, and he’d
Doctors are experimenting with machines to replace blood with cold saline.
Medics at field hospitals like this one in Kandahar, Afghanistan, have little time to save trauma patients.
suffered multiple fractures of his ribs. After Martin and his team operated, Private X seemed stable enough for transfer. But as soon as medics wheeled him into the ICU, everything went wrong. The soldier’s oxygen levels suddenly dropped, and internal bleeding made its way back into his bruised lung. Shortly after, he went into cardiac arrest. This time, Martin’s team couldn’t save him. “In the US, with access to good hospitals, there are some high-tech options to stop the lung bleeding from the inside.” Martin says, “But they were not available. I remember just standing at the bedside feeling completely helpless.” Meanwhile, back at Mark Roth’s lab in Seattle, he’s likewise hoping the answer to stalling time lies within a portable, injectable drug. Though ERAs might face some challenges in the FDA approval process, the eventual applications could be huge. “When you believe you’ve found a hammer, ﬁrst you have to see if you can hit a nail into the wood,” he says. “Then, if you build the utility and value, other people are going to come along later and build all sorts of things. That’s the ﬁeld of dreams.” A day after putting his nematodes to sleep, Roth returned to his lab to check on their progress. As expected, the little worms that spent the night in the nitrogen chamber hadn’t grown but were easily brought back to life when exposed to fresh air. At the same time, the ones left out on the table had grown noticeably larger. Soon they would have babies of their own. It’s a far cry from saving a human trauma patient. But witnessing those tiny worms “resurrected” under the white light of Roth’s microscope, it was hard not to feel some of the frenetic enthusiasm that drives him. For those worms, time had stood still—but for me, I felt I’d just seen a glimpse of the future.
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HE RO een winning and losing is razor-thin—a hundredth of a second, a fingernail length over the finish line, a momentary lapse in concentration. So it's no wonder Australia isn't the only country to invest a disproportionately huge amount of money into our Olympic athletes. Here's some rare insight into just how far Team USA is willing to go bring home gold from Rio. It should come as no surprise to the rest of the world that the country that brought you Silicon Valley is now turning athletic training on its head. by W I L L COCK R E L L
HIGH-SPEED MOTION CAPTURE >> In swimming, form is just as crucial as force. Getting the smallest detail—even the angle of your ankle—just right is an obsession for the elite because it can mean the difference between podium and punching water. To help the pros, video analysis is now an indispensable training tool. “Before,
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THREE GOLD MEDALS
The Tech Video software, developed by BMW, picks up LEDs on the swimmer's body, tracking his every move down to the angle of his toes, and renders it in 2D images. How I t He lps
The images let the athlete study his form in minute detail and perfect even the tiniest inconsistencies, which can shave crucial seconds off his lap time.
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THE SWIM TEAM USES CRASH-AVOIDANCE TECHNOLOGY, MADE BY BMW, TO CAPTURE, MEASURE, AND ANALYSE EVERY ANGLE, THRUST AND ERRANT BEND IN A SWIMMER’S FOOT.
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diving into the pool with the LED sensors stuck to his body. Though he's ostensibly helping Mark beta-test the system, he's capturing lots of useful information about his own technique, essentially gaining a great feedback loop. “One of the things I’m able to see,” he says, “is the degrees’ difference of my spine line. I noticed the amount of movement I had through my upper chest compared with guys who were consistently beating me. It’s made a marginal improvement. But marginal is exactly what we’re looking for at this point. This is going to be huge in understanding how we maintain momentum.” Eventually the team hopes to feed video analysis to a poolside tablet in real time, letting coaches make micro adjustments to an athlete's form on the spot. But Adrian isn’t waiting for the finished product to get a leg up. “I like to analyse, I like to understand why things work,” he says. “I had never before looked at my dolphin kick with that type of granular analysis. In swimming, if you can make yourself more efficient without expending more energy, that’s free money.”
4 HIG H-T ECH T RA IN ING S ECRETS O F O LYMP IA NS
1. Vibrat i n g Su its
The MotivePro suit—developed by researchers at Birmingham City University in the UK—helps gymnasts perfect their gainers and arabesques by vibrating when it detects a less-thanperfect manoeuvre.
SATELLITE-GUIDED SUPERTRACKING >> Convincing the US women’s soccer team that it needs an edge in Rio is like telling 1992 Michael Jordan he should practice his jump shot. With three World Cup trophies and four Olympic gold medals to its name, the Women’s National Team is the most dominant in soccer history—male or female. And they’re favoured to win again. This time, however, the team will rely on advanced technology, in the form of GPS tracking devices, to provide a boost. Thanks to the miniaturisation and power of sensors, it captures several metrics on every player on the field, down to speed, lateral movements, and impacts. That specificity empowers the team’s trainers to tailor workouts and recovery programs—both of which are crucial to improving performance—to each individual. “We’ve always developed very talented players,” says centre back Becky Sauerbrunn, the team’s defensive anchor. “But at the global level, other teams are catching up. So we’re trying to raise the bar, and that’s where cutting-edge tech comes in.” It’s Women’s Soccer 2.0. Developed by athletic monitoring company, Catapult, the system works similarly to consumer tracking technology. It uses sensors that monitor motion at set intervals. But this system—used by only a handful of elite athletes and various NBA and NFL teams—has way more processing
O P EN I NG SP R EA D: FR AN C O I S X AV I ER MA R IT / A FP/ G E T TY I M AG ES ; T H I S PAGE : D UANE B U RL ES ON/GE T T Y I M AGES
we literally just used the coach’s eyeball,” to fix alignment, strokes, and kicks, says Nathan Adrian, a three-time gold medallist gunning for number four in Rio. “Now I strap LEDs on my body, and software does the analysis. The setup can be carried around in a suitcase.” Engineers at BMW helped develop the portable technology exclusively for the US National Swim Team. Instead of sensing a car drifting into your blind spot and helping to prevent a crash, BMW programmed the system to track the movements of a swimmer’s stroke with precision. Software then translates those movements—every thrust, stroke, or errant angle of the foot—into data. Here's how it works: Adrian sticks LED's on his body, which are then picked up on high-speed video as he swims. Algorithms translate those movements into useful data coaches can then act on. Capturing and translating that data, says Peter Falt, director of creative consulting for the BMW's California-based Designworks, was “no small feat” for the engineers, designers, and programmers who built the system. It forced them, says Falt, to work in what were—to them at least—“harsh conditions” (underwater), and to track and analyse some very “fast-moving objects” (world-class swimmers). One of the greatest 50- and 100-metre freestyle swimmers in the world, Adrian has competed in two previous Olympics and has watched the tech that most swimmers use, like slowed-down underwater video analysis, become more precise. But BMW’s motion-capture registers more nuanced movements. The system translates the data into 2D renderings that can be dissected down to the imperfect bend of a swimmer’s toes. That gives swimmers a level of feedback they never had. The swim team uses these renderings specifically to assess and improve one of the sport’s most important moves: the dolphin kick—the first few undulating full-body motions a swimmer makes after diving in, or coming off the wall after a turn, and the moment of maximum underwater momentum. Getting more from that kick is key. “Focusing this technology on the dolphin kick was a milestone,” says Russell Mark, the team’s high- performance consultant. “It is a huge weapon. Everyone takes one or two kicks off the wall. But to be able to take seven, eight, even nine good kicks? That’s really using it.” Now, when Adrian executes a perfect dolphin kick at practice, trainers can turn the data into a baseline to tell other swimmers how to replicate it. “We know who’s good at the technique,” Mark says. “It’s about figuring out how we can get more of our athletes to be like that.” In early March, Adrian tweeted a short video of himself
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B EC K Y SAU E R B R U N N One Gold Medal The Tech
Trainers use high-speed tracking software, OctimEye S5, to capture several metrics for each of 11 on-field players, down to speed, lateral movement, and impact. How It Helps
These metrics let coaches tailor each player's workout and recovery programs so that a defender who hits hard gets a different routine than a sprinting striker.
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speed, allowing it to measure what was once considered unquantifiable: how hard you hit or get hit, and whether you favour one side of your body over another. “The sampling frequency on the old units was once every second,” says Dawn Scott, the team's fitness and sports science coach. “In soccer, you could have changed direction three or four times in a second. This thing picks up every single movement and quantifies it.” The palm-size unit fits into a small pocket sewn into a players’ sports bra, between shoulder blades, where the higher position allows it to pick up a stronger satellite signal. The increased accuracy allows for a detailed record of what each of the 11 players does during practice, or in a game. Now a striker can know how long she was running—and how fast. A defender can find out how many times she was tackled—and how hard she hit the ground. — D E F E N S I V E C E N T R E BAC K , This is especially B EC K Y SAU E R B R U N N useful for players in positions where exertion levels are hard to quantify using a heart rate monitor alone. “As a defender, how much ground I cover isn’t up to me,” says Sauerbrunn. “I’m defending against a forward, so her movement determines my movement.” So she may cover less ground than a striker, and get her heart rate up less often in some games, but she may make or take more tackles, which can wear her down just as much as a sprint. “The GPS can actually measure things like how many times I go for an aerial battle,” she says. All that extra data gives coaches a fuller picture of each player. It also gives trainers a fuller picture of each player's game exertion, also known as their “load.” Each player’s load data influences an often-overlooked factor for elite athletes: recovery. By watching each player’s numbers in real time during practices, Scott can monitor load thresholds that, if crossed, will render the player ineffective in upcoming matches. The coach can then tell her to take it easy—or maybe pull her from practice altogether. “With the Olympics coming up, we have only two days of rest between games,” says Sauerbrunn. “Higher loads mean you’re more at risk for muscle fatigue, which leads to strains and pulls. But you can’t simply compare one player’s load with another’s.” Eventually the technology may capture ever-finer metrics, like skin temperature and core temperature, lactic-acid levels, and even sleep cycles. “That would be phenomenal,” says Sauerbrunn. “Dawn likes to call it ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’— what can make us that tenth of a per cent better? Cutting-edge tech like this is what will continue to keep us a powerhouse program.”
“ T H E G P S CA N ACT UA L LY M E AS U R E T H I N G S L I K E H OW M A N Y T I M ES I G O FO R A N A E R I A L BAT T L E . "
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THE SHARP END OF BRAIN TRAINING 2. Whole -Body C ryo t he ra py
Exposure to a cryo chamber’s nearly minus 130° C temperatures for just two to three minutes may reduce inflammation and lead to a shorter recovery time for athletes of any sport. However, there have been reports of users getting frostbite.
Fencer Miles Chamley-Watson has a chink in his plastron: He’s easily distracted. In a fast-twitch sport of thrusting and parrying, the slightest lapse in focus means a blade at your thorax. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Chamley-Watson’s official sponsor, Red Bull, employs experts who study stubborn weaknesses in their athletes, and find unique ways to hack them. In Chamley-Watson’s case, they turned to neuroscientist Leslie Sherlin, who created an app-based mental-training tool. Sherlin has worked with big-wave surfers and eSports athletes, and has devised a mental training “game.” The app was calibrated to suit Chamley-Watson’s needs. “Your brain has different electrical signatures, whether you’re focused, concentrating, drowsy, relaxed, whatever,” Sherlin says. To fine-tune an athlete’s focus, the app works like a video game—and Chamley-Watson’s brain is the joystick. Sherlin's team first identified the electrical signature of the fencer's brain in a state of focus. Then they calibrated a game so the same signature would trigger the movements of an onscreen avatar, a wing-suit flier.
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Wearing a sensor-studded headset, Chamley-Watson zeroes in on a feeling of focus to guide his avatar on an iPad or iPhone screen, and thus boost his concentration skills. Our sense of focus is generally outside our awareness, so by moving his avatar, Chamley-Watson can learn to harness that feeling and thus better control it. “It’s a game changer for me,” says Chamley-Watson. “I think I have the physical aspect over everyone in the world. But mentally, I need an edge. I don’t think anyone’s doing what I’m doing. I don’t think people even know what it is.” Focus isn't every athlete's weakness, and Sherlin's team can calibrate accordingly. For instance, a surfer might use his game to improve relaxation, while an NBA forward might use it to sharpen situational awareness. As for Chamley-Watson, it doesn't matter if he achieves Kasparov-level focus—he is a distracting presence on the fencing piste. Tatted-up, with bleached-blond hair, the 193-cm New Yorker doesn’t fit the fusty stereotypes of his sport. In 2013, with superhuman reach and the reaction speed of a mongoose, he became the world champion. Nevertheless, recognising the exact second to strike is as crucial as striking itself, and Watson says everything from a referee's call to the crowd can throw him. Still, Sherlin can see from the raw data why ChamleyWatson is favoured to win in Rio. “Miles has really great reaction speed,” says Sherlin. “He processes information very quickly, and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.” Now Chamley-Watson’s opponents will know who to call to help them relax after they lose.
3. Tra in in g i n a Submarine Tes t in g Ta n k
To perfect their boating skills in a controlled environment, British kayakers and canoeists train in an enclosed 270-metre pool owned by defencetechnology firm QinetiQ, normally used to test scalemodel submarines.
It’s hard enough to excel in one sport—but ten? Decathlete Ashton Eaton, who won gold in London, is one of those rare specimens who can. He outruns, out-jumps, out-throws, and outlasts just about anyone on the planet. A master of body mechanics, from javelin throwing to pole vaulting, he, like all athletes, studies his every micro movement in order to win—cataloguing and analysing each foot plant and finger wrap. But he also pays attention to how he feels each time. And he records it all with some technology he bought in the App Store. The first would be familiar to any 12-year-old who’s kept a diary. It’s called Day One, a $4.99 journalling app for smartphone or iPad. In it, Eaton logs his every training nuance, recording his results and his sensations. “The secret is being able to connect a feeling with the hard data from a performance,” he says. “For instance, I’ll do a shot-put rep in practice and I’ll feel a certain way about it. If I have a good feeling and the shot put goes far, that’s a strong connection I want to be able to make later.” The app’s search feature lets Eaton instantly comb through years of workouts and personal bests to find each micro adjustment that led to a breakthrough. He refers to his method as “fast data storage and retrieval.” “I could run a 250-metre workout and then look at my time from the same day a year earlier,” he says. “And I can designate tags for running, shot put, javelin, or high jump, and see how many workouts of that type I’ve done.” When Eaton needs to capture crucial intel in real time, he uses a US$120- to US$500-a-year ($160-$660) subscription-based app called Coach’s Eye. It records his moves on an iPhone, including voice notes, drawing on freeze-frame images, or even measuring the angle of, say, Eaton’s elbow. It also has a scrubbing feature—the ability to scan in slow motion, backward and forward, and to examine micro movements. “We tend to break movements into three phases: the start, middle, and finish,” says Eaton. But even within those movements, his coach breaks it down into smaller phases. “So it’s great being able to drag your finger on the screen and really see in each frame a more technical aspect of what you’re doing,” he says. Eaton then learns from what he sees and makes adjustments to his form on the spot. It’s a technological leap from when the 28-year-old athlete was a kid, watching athletes on TV and trying to mimic their movements the best he could. “I was never quite sure how close I got,” says Eaton. “YouTube wasn’t even around, and we never did any of our own videoing back then.” Now that the best movements to mimic are his own (on a good day), he’ll know exactly how close he gets. And it’s a lot easier than trying to take a selfie while throwing a javelin.
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World Triathlon Series Champion
The Rio bike course is viewable in 360 degrees through a Samsung Gear VR headset. It lets Jorgensen see each facet of the course, even looking around corners. How I t He l ps
Jorgensen gains a near-muscle-memory knowledge of the terrain and can game out her strategic responses.
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REALITY RACING Gwen Jorgensen’s secret training tool isn’t her $10,000 road bike—it’s her mind. As in when she kicks back and closes her eyes. “I use mental visualisation to prepare for races,” says Jorgensen, who at 30 is a two-time worldchampion triathlete. The trend in visualisation training has taken hold in the top ranks of elite athletes. So Jorgensen spent this summer concentrating, via virtual reality, on the rutty streets of Rio’s Copacabana neighbourhood. “Rio is a very tough bike course,” she says. “There are big hills, and there’s a technical descent that will be a major factor.” Jorgensen's sport is among the most gruelling on the planet, covering swimming (1.5 km), running (10 km), and cycling (40 km). To perfect her form, her trainers brought in virtual-reality pioneer Joe Chen. He is a former product lead at Oculus—and now at Vrse.works, the production house that makes VR movies, and VR content for big media companies. Chen flew to Brazil, and attached a bunch of GoPros to the hood of a car, matching it to the eye height of a cyclist. “Then we just drove the course,” capturing it in 360 degrees, he says. He then converted the entire thing to an MPEG viewable on a Samsung Gear VR. Jorgensen now uses it to follow the entire bike route, or to play short clips of isolated sections that she can study in detail. In other words, Rio came with her. And it's a 24/7 companion. “Wherever I am traveling in the world,” says Jorgensen, “I can put on the goggles and look at this course—look left, look behind me, look right— and see every little nuance.” Training with VR, it turns out, is in some ways even better than a real test ride. “It’s completely different than memory,” she says, “which often fails me.” Jorgensen is relatively new to the triathlon, and to cycling in particular. A former CPA, she had been a longtime runner and swimmer when she decided six years ago to add cycling to her skill set. Two years after going pro, she qualified for the 2012 Olympics. But during the London
C H AR L I E C R OW H U RST/ G E TT Y I MAG ES
J O E C H E N , FO R M E R P R O D U CT L E A D AT O C U LU S , D R OV E T H E RIO BIKE ROUTE WITH G O P R O S AT TAC H E D TO A CA R H O O D, A N D T H E N C O N V E RT E D I T TO M P EG FO R V I RT UA L T R A I N I N G.
4. CVAC Pods
This futuristic pod (developed by CVAC Systems) is a super-fast alternating barometricpressure chamber that helps cyclists and other athletes improve endurance before they hit the course.
games, she blew a tyre, finishing 38th. She has since bounced back, winning more consecutive races than any female triathlete in history. Now she is considered the most dominant woman in the sport—even though she has yet to win a medal. She hopes Chen’s VR training helps to finally put her on that podium. “It’s so hard to explain how real it is,” she says. ”It’s not something I’ve ever experienced before.” The goal of VR training is not merely to learn the course, though that helps; it’s to gain an almost musclememory knowledge of the terrain and its challenges, and to game out your responses. “I still have a pretty steep learning curve on the bike,” says Jorgensen. “This VR stuff is about confidence building—preparing myself so I have as many tools as possible, mitigating anything that could potentially happen on race day.” Jorgensen’s body language changes when she wears the goggles. You can see her figuring things out, says Chen, who observed her the first time she tested them. “All of a sudden, she was into this technical section and realised she could look through corners,” he says. “Her body took over as she leaned and craned her neck. These become strategy sessions for figuring out where you hammer down or lay back a bit if the risk is not worth the reward.” There is, however, one thing lacking in the VR-training experience that Chen built—the ability to speed up or slow down. That’s why Jorgensen can use it only in visualisation sessions, not sitting atop and pedalling a stationary training bike. Chen thinks it won't be long, though, before cyclists are using the visualisation functionality combined with a whole lot more. “As an industry, we hope to start creating simulations that challenge not only the visual systems, but also the physical systems—even the balance of the inner ear,” he says. “We want to be able to put you on a bike and simulate G-forces. Or allow you to try different lines through a corner to see which is fastest. But we’re not quite there yet—and the last thing we want to do is a science project on a successful athlete.” Once the technology scales up, Chen sees other training possibilities. It could, for instance, be useful to race-car drivers when they can’t execute an actual practice lap. (It also costs a lot of money every time a driver takes the wheel of a professional car.) “Formula One drivers spend a lot of time in these very complex multimillion-dollar simulators,” Chen says. “While VR is no substitute for driving an actual course, it will help familiarise drivers with the track. It’s a head start.” The cycling section of this year’s triathlon is sure to add some classic Olympic drama, but Chen believes Jorgensen can triumph, almost as if she were back home and merely visualising it. “For Gwen,” he says, “we want riding this course to be like getting up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water from her kitchen.”
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As everybody moves in, who's making the rules?
BY AMY WESTERVELT PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER RAD
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A man’s disembodied voice tells me to pick up a silver handgun sitting on a seat to my right. “You better be ready to shoot,” he says. My stomach tightens as the station platform comes into view. The doors open. I pick up the gun and start firing. Torsos explode. Strangers run at me. I squeeze rounds. More blood. When I run out of bullets, I grab a rifle. Shadows hit the platform. Then, from out of nowhere, rockets fly my way. Overwhelmed—and a little nauseous—I throw my hands in front of my face, terrified, and tear off my virtual-reality goggles. For five minutes, I’ve been riding Bullet Train, a VR demo from Epic Games, while standing in a dark padded booth in downtown San Francisco. Epic is one of 550 vendors at the Game Developer Conference, a five-day tech-fest at the Moscone Centre exhibition complex. I look around. The two young female game reps are grinning, like “Way cool, right?” This is Silicon Valley, after all, land of the future. My adrenaline is spiking. My palms are a sweaty puddle of fear and sudden relief. The thrill of fi rst-person-shooter games is well-known. Their adrenaline rush is the currency of a $120 billion dollar gaming industry built on skill, competence, and fantasy alter egos. But with those games, we’ve always been aware that we are in our living room, bowl of chips and Red Bull at the ready—until now. VR isn’t just an incremental improvement in technology, like better graphics and faster processing; it’s a different encounter entirely—one that tricks your senses into experiencing the virtual as real. “Presence” is the primary buzzword tossed around at the GDC’s fi rst-ever virtual-reality track, the perception that you’re not just watching the action. You are in the action. “It’s the fi rst medium that creates the sensation that you’re somewhere else,” says Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games. It is so realistic, you have a hard time doing things contrary to your intuition. “If you’re standing at the edge of a chasm, even though you’re really just standing in a room,” says Sweeney, “you’re afraid to step forward.” “Transformative” is another descriptor favoured by the young VR evangelists, who tout headsets with the enthusiasm of 19th-century carnival barkers. See the future right before your very eyes! Travel continents without a passport! Dine with the dinosaurs! This year, tens of millions of people will likely buy VR headsets. The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear, and Google Cardboard are in homes already—and Sony’s PlayStation VR will soon join them, connecting to millions of consoles. It’s not only games. VR is taking root in education, healthcare,
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G R O O MI N G BY K I TT Y B ES PA L KO
I’m standing inside a moving subway car. It’s dimly lit, but I can make out the layer of grime on the doors and windows.
sports, architecture, and porn. A handful of early research suggests VR embeds itself deeper in our psyche, stays with us longer, and can alter our behaviour longer afterward than any other type of media we consume. It’s been shown to influence racial and sexual stereotypes. It has triggered emotional rewiring in users. With such great power comes great responsibility. Will our immersive travels make us the best versions of ourselves? Or the worst? Should people be allowed to virtually act out anything they choose? What about rape fantasies? What happens when you virtually kill people and feel like you actually did? When researchers show people traditional media, such as TV and movies, and then subject them to similar content in virtual reality, they are initially affected by both equally. But a week later, “they forget their exposure to everything but the VR scenario,” says Sun Joo Ahn, a researcher at the University of Georgia. “What they experience in a sensory way sticks with them over time. The effects are persistent.” Consider too the racial- and gender-stereotyping issues already plaguing the gaming and entertainment industries. When the line between real and unreal becomes blurrier, do we need different rules?
Being a woman at GDC is a like being a brunette in Sweden—you exchange knowing nods with other members of your tribe. You also studiously avoid herds of men with unkempt beards. Spread across three giant buildings at Moscone, it’s Disneyland for gamers. There are booth babes and dudes in tees walking with their phones out, capturing every moment. The VR track is jam-packed with the kind of buzz befitting a technology at an inflection point. The popular kids on the block—the aforementioned Epic, Oculus, Sony, Google, and Samsung—required appointments to experience their wares. All told, I road-tested five VR games and didn’t encounter a single female or minority onscreen. EVE: Valkyrie, one of two video games bundled with the Rift, does feature a female military captain—and black soldiers are not uncommon in war games—but, as in all video games, they tend to play to stereotypes. That’s no accident. “If a company’s already sold a trillion copies of Grand Theft Auto in which we smack around women and sexualise them, why change that?” asks Jesse Fox, a researcher I spoke to at Ohio State University. “If companies are already taking a risk on a new technology, they’re not also going to take risks with different types of content.”
FOX, TAT E UNIVERSITY RESEARCHER
if some men see women as sluts and teases, and then interact with avatars like that in vr, then their ideas are confirmed.
Fox studies the way in which new media technologies—including VR, video games, and social networking— influence our offl ine identities, beliefs, and behaviours. She has studied how virtual virgins and female vamps altered users’ real-world attitudes. After exposing research subjects to vamps in VR, Fox found women and men are both more likely to buy into the rape myth: the idea that women have an unconscious desire to be raped. “In media studies, we’ve seen that people will look to confi rm their biases,” Fox says. "If you think all black men are criminals, for example, you might see a black male criminal in a fi lm and go, ‘See, I was right.’” Extending those stereotypes into VR, where interactions feel more real, could reinforce them further. “If there are men who see women as sluts and teases, and then they interact with avatars that play into those stereotypes in virtual reality,” she says, “then the more their ideas are confi rmed, and the more they’ll believe them.” Extreme uses of VR might be inevitable. “Say I’m a teenage boy who gets rejected for prom, so I go home and make that girl’s avatar, and rape her in a virtual world,” she says. “These cases pose a huge risk of harm.” But some of the most revealing
research into the effects of VR has illustrated its strange power to bring out the best in us. Jeremy Bailenson, who runs the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, designed what he calls the “superhero experiment.” He gave 16 VR subjects the power of flight—a do-gooder superpower, in the subjects’ eyes—and tasked them with finding a missing kid in a digital cityscape. He gave 17 other subjects the same task but via helicopter. After the session, the “superheroes” were more likely to help a real-life research assistant pick up an “accidentally” knocked-over cup of pens from the floor. Bailenson says it suggests that the first group had transferred their superhero identity into the real world. However, he is not sure why exactly. One thing he does know is that a VR experience “tends to cause more empathy and change than other media,” he says. Concerned about the impact their violent games might have on VR users, some gaming companies are self-policing. Piers Jackson, the game director at Guerrilla Cambridge, told a panel at Paris Games Week
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this past October that portraying death in the company’s first-personshooter game on PlayStation VR, was off-limits. It’s just too intense. “We made some core decisions early on that we weren’t going to kill people,” he told the panel. “That was something we deliberately did.” When new, all forms of media—from radio to television to the Web— are met with some trepidation over their potential to warp malleable young minds. That, in turn, usually elicits eye rolling from creators. “There’s always a tendency to ascribe old problems to new media whenever it comes out, right?” asks Sweeney. “You read newspapers from the 1930s, and it was comic books that were degrading our youth.” But even he admits VR is a more visceral media than we’ve ever seen. “A horror game can be really scary, and a violent game could be very realistically violent,” he says. “That means developers have to put more thought into the sorts of experiences they want to give players.” It’s not just video games that have insiders worried. Companies will also one day build out social VR platforms that will let you “hang out” with friends or strangers around the world—say, to watch a movie or work or… use your imagination. With harassment already a problem in online communities, what might intimidation feel like in a headset? “Someone could whisper horrible things in your ear or invade your personal space,” says Patrick Harris, lead game designer for Minority Media, which makes empathy-building VR games that deal with bullying and trauma. “If they back you up against a wall, it can be pretty scary.” Such abuse is the reason social-media companies have put antiabuse policies in place for their users, because trolls always show up to spoil the fun, no matter how friendly the atmosphere. VR won’t be any different, says Mike Beltzner, a product manager on Facebook’s social VR initiatives. “Unfortunately,” he says, “some people want to be the worst version of themselves and do horrible things without consequence.” Facebook identified that behaviour early on as a cost to anonymity in the online space. “That’s why we’ve always had a tight tie between the real you and what you’re doing online,” says Beltzner. Enforcing those same Facebook abuse policies on social VR will ensure it delivers more delight than distress. However, says Beltzner, that approach does not apply to the company’s Oculus game users. It likely won’t be apply to other VR game platforms, even multiplayer games where players interact. “In gaming, a lot of people don’t want it to be tied to their real identity,” Beltzner says. “We’ll respect that.”
There’s always a tendency to ascribe old problems to new media. newspapers in the 1930s said comic books were degrading our youth.
TIM SW FOUNDER OF EPIC GAMES
F RO M TO P : C O U RT ESY EP I C GA M ES; C O U RTESY C C P GA MES; COU RT ESY HIT L AB
Choose your (virtual) weapon The National Football League is not a place one looks to for empathy building. But in order to combat racism and sexism in its ranks, it is considering using diversity-training scenarios developed by Bailenson. In his work, Bailenson has found people are more likely to feel empathy for the opposite sex or other ethnicities if they experience sexism or prejudice in a virtual world. It’s almost like experiencing it fi rsthand. In one of Bailenson’s empathy modules, an angry white avatar is harassing the user. When the user raises his arms in self-defense, he sees he has black skin. “Allowing someone to really experience the trauma another person deals with makes it meaningful,” says Bailenson. “It creates a lasting respect for other people.” Bailenson’s company, STRIVR, already supplies some NFL teams with virtual-reality athletic training and can easily add these empathy modules to those headsets. Not surprisingly, the psychiatric community has seized onto the empathic and transformative powers of this new medium. It already uses VR to treat drug addicts and soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress. The game SnowWorld takes acute burn victims through an icy canyon in which harmless-looking snowmen hurl snowballs at them. The objective: Pelt them back. Brain scans have shown that the playful and distracting mission, and the gently falling snow, eases pain. While no one has yet conducted MRI brain studies on people playing violent or sexist VR games—mostly because patients need to keep their heads still to be scanned—it isn’t hard to imagine what might happen if you gave those snowmen a bad attitude and some sharp butcher knives. Good or bad, the market—not policy—will dictate how and where virtual reality spreads. We can’t possibly know how to respond to things we haven’t yet observed. But media experts and academics say that we can start tackling the stereotype issue by employing more women and minorities at companies making the content—and by sharing the experiences with diverse audiences who can influence what gets made. That’s become a mission for Jacqwi Campbell. She runs the nonprofit Tonbo Haus, which curates events around San Francisco to educate people on VR’s presence and power. “The only way VR can be inclusive is by adding quality, diverse content,” she says. “The only way you can do that is by getting equipment into the hands of more people.” Early indicators suggest we’re headed in that direction: Bailenson says he regularly advises big VR companies like Oculus-owner Facebook and Samsung on content. Even at the GDC bro-fest, the VR track featured far more talks about minorities, women, and dealing with harassment than the traditional gaming tracks did. So it’s on people’s radar. There is also talk of a VR-specific rating system, and Oculus has said it won’t allow porn on its headsets (although there’s already a hack for that). In each case, the message is clear: Proceed with caution. “We do this time and again with new technologies,” says Jesse Fox, the Ohio State VR researcher. “We just put it out to the masses fi rst and then look into impacts later. Like with cellphones. We made them this essential part of everyone’s life and job—and then figured out that probably all that screen time wasn’t healthy. That’s a big concern for me with VR. We just don’t know what we’re walking into yet.”
From virtual killing to actual healing, VR’s applications are already myriad. Here are three windows into those worlds.
B U LLET TR AI N Demoed at last year's GDC, Epic Games' first-person VR shooter epic feels so real that it left the author terrified and shaking.
EVE: VALK YRI E CCP Games's sci-fi shoot-’em-up features a female protagonist, one of the few VR games that depicts a woman as a leader.
SN OW WO RLD Developed by the University of Washington's HITLab, SnowWorld eases pain in burn victims by giving them a playful mission that shifts attention from what hurts.
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n a li a tr s u A f o e s o d Y L R Get a HALF-YEA ank! b e th g in k a e r b t u o h it w Popular Science, 47. $ t s ju is n o ti ip r c s b u s A 6 month 70
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EDITED BY SO PHIE B U SHW I C K
A Microcomputer Writ Large Funnily enough, Cambridge-based engineer James Newman’s enormous computer is made possible only by the technological marvel of miniaturisation. His task is easy to describe: build a basic machine using transistors, with LEDs to show how data flows through the system. But turning it into reality has taken thousands of hours of meticulous work, and a surprisingly large chunk of cash...
Large as it is, without cheap and readily available solid-state transistors, the Megaprocessor - as Newman calls it - would have needed several rooms to accommodate valves or switches. “The architecture is fairly conventional,” says Newman. “One oddity is the multiply, divide and square root instructions which are unusual in smaller processors. “Overall the design is not completely brilliant; facing the cliff of soldering, I blinked and made some compromises that in the short term seemed to reduce the by amount of work to ANTHONY be done, but actually FORDHAM
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made things harder. I should have added some extra adders and saved myself some multiplexors and a kilometre of cable.” Students of computer engineering will recognise the various parts of Newman’s computer (above right). Each section is studded with hundreds of LEDs to give a visual representation of how each calculation is processed, stage-by-stage. In many ways it’s a philosophical exercise, rather than an attempt to build a real performer even at this scale. “A few decades ago, commercial machines were built out of transistors that run much faster than the Megaprocessor,” says Newman. “I don’t think the physical size has that
Engineer James Newman says he built the Megaprocessor to get a better understanding of how the computers we ta ke for granted really wo rk .
IM AG ES BY
AU G U ST 201 6
TECH WE TAKE FOR GRANTED Newman says part of building the Megaprocessor was about understanding the technology that we take for granted today. “It’s not just tech we take for granted, how many of us know how soap is made?” Newman asks. “Much as it pains me to say so, I don’t think it is important for most people to understand
how things work in detail, they’ve got stuff to do, other things to look at. It’s just a shame they don’t understand how tech works because they’d enjoy it more. “But for those of us in the trade I think it is important. If you want get the best out things I believe you have to have some understanding of how they work
STAT E M AC H INE & STATUS FLAGS
CO NTRO L & I/O
much significance with regard to the speed of operation. Speed of light is 3x108 metres per second, or about a foot [304 mm] per nanosecond. The machine is about 10 m long, so end-to-end a photon takes 30 ns, maybe about 50 ns in copper. “I didn’t design it for speed, but I would have liked it to be faster. The biggest error I made was with regards to pull up resistors. Having LEDs everywhere doesn’t help, adding capacitance and load.” And like so many processor designers before him, seeing the Megaprocessor in action seems to give Newman the itch to iterate for even more power: “With a bit more care and competence I think it would have been entirely feasible to build a machine in the same style that could run at 100 kilohertz. Maybe even a few
and are put together. Then you can better work with them, rather than fighting them. But I get the impression there’s an awful lot of software engineers who don’t really understand what a processor is and how it works. Might even struggle with looking at assembler. That’s not good.”
G E N E RAL PURPOSE REG ISTE RS
S P EC I A L PURPOSE REG I ST E RS
I N PU T & I NST RU CT I ON D ECOD I NG
100 kHz. (Currently I top out at about 8 kHz). “Changing from a simple ripple adder to one using look ahead carry generation would more than double the speed.” We’ll take James’ word for it. “At this point you might then choose to switch to better components. To get a bit more speed and still keep the ability to watch data flow. Ditch the LEDs and really design for speed and then you’d get to the MHz that earlier systems reached. Then put it in a chip!” If nothing else, the Megaprocessor shows exactly how remarkable it is that we’re now at a point with computational technology, where you can buy a Raspberry Pi (which can run at 700MHz) for $15.
A RI T H M ET I C & LOG I C U N I T
THE MEGAPROCESSOR, A ROOM-SIZED COMPUTER T R A NS I STO R S : 42,400 R ES I STO R S : 50, 500 LEDS: 10, 500 I DC CO N N ECTO R S : 10, 500 SINGLE -PIN TERMINALS: 7,700 S O L DER JO I N TS : 272,300 S O L DER : 4 .25 kg L EA D : 2.5 kg WIRING : 1,500 m (approx) CONDUCTOR RIBBON: 420 m TOTAL CABLING : 9.9 k m
TIME: 4000 hours COST: $70,000 DIFFICULTY: • • •
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Manual Theme Building
2 1 3
Three DIY Bug Traps That Actually Work 1 ST I N K B U G S Omnipresent stink bugs, with their pungent coriander-like odour (used to defend against predators), can make a home uninhabitable. Ashcraft has a quick fix. Start by cutting off the top 50 mm of a two-litre bottle. Then invert and tape the neck to the opening so the top sits
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within the bottle. Drop a small battery-powered light into the container. In a dimly lit space, the light will attract stink bugs, trapping them until you can dispose of them. “Make sure to place this in garages, sheds, pool pump houses, or other dim or dark areas,” Ashcraft says.
Uninvited guests at your next barbeque can be real pests. You can get rid of your annoying insect visitors with a DIY mozzie trap. But bear in mind that not all the traps you find on the Internet work. A sonic mosquito repellent is one failure. “There is no scientific basis for bug-repellent traps that claim to use a high-pitched frequency to drive away pests,” says Roxanne Connelly, an entomologist at the University of Florida. Traps claiming to attract bugs with yeast are equally dubious. Connelly and Ty Ashcraft, an exterminator at Holistic Pet Solutions in Charlotte, North Carolina, offer three traps that actually get the job done, and explain why they work. by MATT GIL E S
2 M O SQ U I TO ES Not all mosquitoes are attracted to the same bait. Connelly suggests a low-tech “ovitrap,” which uses standing water to lure Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, two common breeds. First, cut off the top of a two-litre plastic bottle, and spray-paint the outside a solid black. Then drill
two small overflow holes below the brim. Cover them, and the top, with fine mesh. Secure a wet cloth around the brim (soak it once a day) and fill the trap with water. Eggs, laid on the fabric instead of in your ponds, will hatch, fall through the mesh, and grow too large to escape.
3 F R U I T F L I ES For fruit flies, Connelly’s recommended trap is simple. Fill a 600mlsize bowl with a sudsy mixture of water and dish soap. Then set a smaller bowl, filled with a quarter-cup of red-wine vinegar, afloat in the centre. The vinegar attracts fruit flies, which then get stuck in the
suds. Do this a few days before having people over. “I refresh the soap twice a day, and within three days, that typically clears all the flies,” Connelly says.
IL LU ST R AT IONS BY
AU GU ST 2 0 1 6
Manual Backyard Science
I Created a Vortex Ring in the Pool One day, I was browsing online when I discovered a video of two round shadows on the bottom of a swimming pool—and nothing on the surface that might be casting them. Even weirder, they were moving, in unison, across the pool instead of dying out. When I asked a fluiddynamics professor what was going on, he said it was probably a half-ring vortex. To test this hypothesis, I created my own
black spots by dragging a dinner plate through my friend’s backyard pool. The plate’s motion created, on the pool’s surface, two dimples that slowly drifted away from me while remaining in sync with each other. When I squeezed a few drops of food colouring into each dimple, the dye swirled down to reveal an incredible half-ring vortex connecting the dimples to each other. A vortex is a spinning column of liquid or gas, such as a tornado. I knew my experiment was a vortex because it carried the dye along—and vortices, unlike waves, can transport matter. Vortices form because of shear force, when a fast fluid moves past a slower
one. When you push the plate, the liquid next to it is dragged forward, while the water farther out remains still. This speed difference makes the fluid curl around the plate’s submerged edge. The ends of the vortex create two dips in the water’s surface that bend sunlight outward, just like a glass lens. This creates a bright ring around two dark circles, forming the black spots.
HOW TO MAKE A VORTEX
by DIANNA COWERN
Dip a plate halfway into a still pool. Drag it forward for a few centimetres and gently lift it out at an angle.
I L LU ST RATI O N S BY R O B ERT L . P R I NC E
Look for the two dimples that form on the surface of the water, above the black spots on the bottom.
D ro p a l i tt l e fo o d co l o r i ng into each dimple. The dye will be pulled down into the half-ring vor tex.
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1 3DOODL E R STA RT $ 49.99
2 LIX PEN $1 39.95
Add Dimension to Your Drawing
7 TEC H P E N $ 8 1 .00
Living in the future—as we do—pens and 3D printers are no longer separate items. You can now create plastic masterpieces on the go with 3D-printing pens. Simply place the pen on a surface, draw a line up into the air, and then start adding details to this anchor. The pens are still new. 3Doodler, which launched its $2 million Kickstarter campaign in 2013, was the ﬁrst. Now there are several upstarts to choose from, so we tested three popular models.
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3DOODLER START 3Doodler sells two models: the flagship 3Doodler 2.0 and, for novices like us, the Start. The latter practically screams “user-friendly” with its single button and chunky, graspable body. Insert plastic filament into the hole at the top, press the orange button, and wait about 60 seconds for the pen to warm up. Then hold the same button to draw. A $99 kit includes the pen as well as stencils that help you get over the initial learning curve.
LIX PEN Weighing in at 1.6 ounces, the Lix has the slimmest, lightest design we tested, which makes it feel more like a real pen than its competitors. It even includes a penlike clip at the end, which has four green indicator lights that show when the filament is ready to use. The pen effect is marred slightly by the fact that Lix must remain plugged into a power source while in use. Still, you can rest easy knowing it’s the classiest of 3D tools.
7TECH PEN 7Tech is the only one of the three pens we tested that lets users control the filament’s speed and temperature. You can read these figures on a small screen and adjust with two sets of arrow-shaped buttons. While 7Tech gives you control, it’s cumbersome: It needs to be plugged in during use, and the filament that comes with the pen is curved in a circular shape, which sticks out of the device and gets in an aspiring artist’s way.
T h e L i x tea m “d rew ” this ball and bowl out of black plastic f ilament.
P HOTOG R AP H BY
I NS ET : JI L L SH O MER
by XAVI ER HARDING
AU GU ST 2 0 1 6
Manual Meet a Maker / Enviable Project
Moonlighting Astronomer by SAR AH F EC HT
Gary Hug has worked as a food s c ienti s t a n d a machinist, but his pass ion i s a mate ur astronomy.
telescope. Hug built everything himself, except the 22-inch mirror and the motors that move the scope. A camera feeds views of the cosmos into his “Observatory Control Centre and Laundry Room.” Hug calls his telescope Little Blue 22, named for the mirror’s size and for the Little Blue River where his grandfather took him fishing as a boy because, he says, “you never knew what you were going to catch.” Since 1997, Hug has caught, or rather, discovered, almost 300 asteroids and a comet. He has studied objects near Pluto and quasars (super-bright starlike objects) up to 11 billion light-years away. “There’s always a chance of discovery,” Hug says. “It’s hard to remember that at two in the morning, but generally that’s when it happens.”
“Discovery is what gets you going. It’s why you stay up all night.”
COU RT ESY GARY HU G
Gary Hug received his first telescope at Christmas when he was 12. Though he became a machinist rather than an astronomer, the stars have always fascinated him. He used to drive 40 km to peer through the 27-inch telescope at the Farpoint Observatory outside Topeka, Kansas, for eight hours at a time. Then, nearly 10 years ago, he tired of the commute and decided to build his own spyglass. Hug’s “Sandlot Observatory” is a wood-frame shed in his backyard that houses a twometre-long 680-kilogram
The Triﬁd Nebula, 5,200 light-years away, as shot by Hug.
BECOME A HUMAN CIRCUIT BOARD by GR E NNAN MILLIK E N
HOW IT’S MADE Zheng and Lalwani sewed a soft grid of felt and conductive thread onto a plain T-shirt. At each intersection on the grid, they added small metal snap-
ﬁts where interchangeable circuit components could attach. To create each component, they embedded a snap and an electronic piece—such
as a battery or an LED—in brightly colored felt. An electrical current ﬂows between snaps via the conductive thread to let the battery
component light the LED. Wearers can rearrange pieces to create diﬀerent circuits, such as allowing a push button to control LEDs.
In this way, says Lalwani, “the child becomes a microcontroller.” Want to make your own? Find step-by-step instructions via Google.
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C L EME N T Z H E N G
Two years ago, industrial designer Clement Zheng attended a workshop on soft electronics. He was learning how to put blinking LEDs into the eyes of a stuffed animal when a light went on in his own head: Why not use soft electronics to build a functioning circuit board on a T-shirt? So Zheng and fellow designer Manasvi Lalwani created Shirt Circuit—an educational electronics tool kit that lets you do just that.
Archives May 1972
A Nazi Mastermind Hypes The Space Shuttle! No less a science superstar than Wernher von Braun was one of the ﬁrst people to write about the Space Shuttle in Popular Science. His article was part of celebrations for the 100th Anniversary Issue. That’s not 100 issues of the magazine, mind you - that’s one hundred years of Popular Science. In the century 1872 - 1972, humans went from being pulled around everywhere by horses (and the occasional steam train ride if they were good) to not just ﬂying, but walking on the moon and designing a reusable space plane. Which is where Wernher von Braun came in. How many other magazines still in print today can claim they once had a genuine Nazi super-scientist writing for them? Sure, von Braun claimed he only joined the SS to avoid persecution, and that he only wore the uniform once, but the fact remains - before NASA he was an enthusiastic participant in a scientiﬁc program that used actual slave labour. Ah but history is a complicated place. By 1972, von Braun’s Nazi past was well behind him, along with most of his life: the man would be dead by 1977. But until then, he remained an absolute champion of the human exploration of space. While others wanted to leave exploration of the solar system to robots, von Braun kept the dream of a Mars colony alive. He was determined that “manned” spaceﬂight should not end with the rapid wind-up of the increasingly truncated Apollo program. As we know, by 1972, Americans had become bored with the moon shots. TV networks barely bothered to report on the later Apollos, and ﬂights were being cancelled and funds redirected in a post-Vietnam era. But then a core within NASA came up with the concept of a reusable space vehicle. Rather than spend tens of millions on a launch where the entire spacecraft would be thrown away, this new Space Launch System would have at its heart an amazing space plane, an elegant delta-wing with a massive payload bay and ample space for crew to The S huttl e was to del iver R AMS into orbit: self- contained mini stations that would do experiments . Alas, the RAMS were neutered...
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The mag had not yet given up on the flagging Apollo program in 1972, assuming that future moon missions would get even more complex and ambitious... those poor fools.
work and sleep. This thing wouldn’t just be bigger, safer and more technologically sophisticated than Apollo, it would be cheaper and faster to launch. Take oﬀ, land, refuel and launch again by the next weekend. It was going to be awesome. Of course, the Shuttle didn’t quite turn out that way. It fulﬁlled some of its promise, that’s for sure: it was reusable. Yes, reusable like a car that needed a complete bare-metal restoration every time you drove it down to the shops. As it turned out, preparing a returned Shuttle for relaunch didn’t
by ANTHONY take days. It took FORDHAM months. Each Shuttle was supposed to be able to ﬂy 50 times a year, but managed barely four ﬂights a year on average. The program was expensive, two orbiters were destroyed, and the Shuttle remains the deadliest spacecraft ever ﬂown - 14 people lost their lives in the Challenger and Columbia disasters. And yet... seeing the Shuttle sitting out there on the pad with its distinctive orange main tank (left unpainted to save weight) and two solid fuel boosters, is to believe in a future where humans go to space as a matter of routine. Wernher von Braun’s 1972 editorial on the Shuttle, if nothing else, shows that it really was 1960s technology in a 1970s body that somehow became an icon of the
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SPACE SHUTTLES GET THE GREEN LIGHT NASA is now moving quickly to develop a reusable space transportation system. Here’s how we’ll put it to use after Apollo
T he magazine was founded back in May 1872 as a sort of gentleman’s newspaper, chock full of jolly interesting things. Little could those undoubtedly top-hatted and mutton-chopped gents have known, that 100 years later their magazine would have a) a nice glossy cover, b) in full colour and c) showing not just an internal combustion engine, but a new TYPE of internal combustion engine.
Of the three Shuttle concepts here, von Braun picked the one on the far left. The far right is closest to reality.
1980s. His enthusiasm for what the Shuttle could have been remains as infectious today as it would have done to readers 44 years ago. And as for Popular Science’s founding editors? Well, I think it’s safe to assume this article would have simply blown their minds.
At a special Kennedy Space Center launch complex sometime in the late seventies, massive high-bay hangar doors will slide open. Slowly, ponderously, an odd-shaped space vehicle will emerge on a treaded crawler transport and inch toward a nearby launch pad . The vehicle, the nation’s first reusable space transportation system, is moving rapidly into the development stage following President Nixon’s January endorsement of the spaceshuttle concept. The President said, “The space shuttle will give us routine access to space by sharply reducing costs in dollars and preparation time.” This multipurpose shuttle, which will take off like a rocket, fly in orbit like a spaceship, and land like an airplane, will replace almost all present expendable launch vehicles. It will carry into space most of the nation’s payloads, scientific and applications [sic], manned and unmanned, civilian and military. Towering as high as 175 feet - about 17 stories - the space shuttle will weigh some 4.7 million pounds when fueled for launch. It will have delta-wing, airplane-like orbiter about the size of a DC-9 sidestrapped to its disposable liquid-hydrogen / liquid-oxygen tank. It will also have a booster, and depending on the booster configuration selected this spring, the launch sequence will vary slightly. Using one competing design as an example [von Braun then describes a launch configuration based on the booster concept from the three examples that least resembles the final Shuttle configuration.] ...Even if we allow $2 million for each orbiter fuel tank lost on
by WERNHER von BRAUN NASA Deputy Associate Administrator PS Consulting Editor on Space [This article has been heavily abridged due to the rambling style of 1970s reportage. US spelling is preserved for historicity]
a mission, total flight cost, with reusable liquid-fuel boosters, is estimated at $7.7 million. With solid-fuel boosters it may run $10 million per flight, but development cost would be lower ... ...An estimated $5.5 billion over a six-year period will be needed to develop the shuttle system ... ...But man’s future role in space will far exceed his contributions in service and maintenance. The shuttle’s huge cargo compartment can accommodate Research and Applications Modules (RAMs) house-trailer-size, pressurized cylinders developed for research and exploratory missions ... ...After obtaining their data, the scientists would return to Earth with the equipment, analyze the data, and write their papers. The RAM would then be refitted for the next sortie mission. For astronomical missions, where precise telescope alignment is essential, the RAM may even be disconnected from the orbiter to float freely nearby. Test flights should begin in 1976, manned orbital test flights in 1978, and an operational shuttle should be ready before 1980 .
FOOTNOTES FROM THE FUTURE 1. In fact, the Shuttle did not reach orbit until 12th April 1981 2. It eventually topped out at 184.2 feet (56.1 m) 3. Over the lifetime of the program, each Shuttle flight actually cost around $1.5 billion (depending how you measure). 4. Total cost in 2016 dollars for the program was $196 billion. 5. These were not eventually developed, but the Shuttle did place large ISS modules in orbit, including the largest, JAXA’s Kibo. 6. Again, didn’t happen, but the Shuttle played a vital role in the Hubble program. The telescope was launched aboard Discovery in 1990, and the infamous mirror repair was done by the crew of Endeavour in 1993. 7. He probably thought he was being conservative, but the complexity of the Shuttle meant it did not fly a proper mission until 1981. And yet, this hugely ambitious program lasted until 2011, despite two disasters and many technical setbacks.
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Then Retro Invention
From simple single -screen “catch” games to elborate puzzlers, Nintendo pushed the Game & Watch concept as far as it could befo re advances in IT made the Game Boy possible.
Nintendo Game & Watch By the late 1970s, Gunpei Yokoi was already a legend at Nintendo. With a handful of inventions (including an actual extendable hand), he’d effectively saved Nintendo from bankruptcy, following the collapse of the Japanese playing card market in the mid-1960s. by A NTH ONY FORD HAM
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He was known in the company as a man who, when asked to create something amazing for the Christmas rush, could be relied upon to deliver. He was a toymaker of the old school, taking a good idea, stripping it down to its essential elements, and packaging it to sell in the millions. Legend has it that one night, while riding Japan’s famous bullet train, he watched a fellow
salaryman idly fiddling with a pocket calculator - still a rather obscure and bookish device in 1979. Yet as the man played, Yokoi saw not an actuarial tool, but the nucleus of a new kind of toy. A portable, electronic game. Videogame consoles that plugged into the TV were starting to hit the market, but Yokoi took a different approach. Rather than using a microprocessor,
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Nintendo had to get pretty in n ovative to bri ng “colour” to their LCD games. Panorama Screen games used a mirror and overlay.
his prototype game used a microcontroller - a fixed-state integrated circuit that could do little more than control a very basic liquid crystal display, and count. The first game was beyond simple. It was called Ball, and balls “fell” from the top of the screen. If the player “caught” the balls, the score went up. Drop three balls, and the game ended. The only controls were left and right. Because the game needed a clock - in the form of a quartz crystal - to track movement and detect catches, it made sense to also include a simple LCD time readout, displayed whenever the game was not being played. Thus, Game & Watch was born. From Gunpei Yokoi’s simple first game sprang a dozen or so titles, each more complex than the last. Parachute was another “catch” game, with little men replacing the balls and a life-raft controlled by the player. Extra circuitry made any “dropped” parachutists fall into the ocean and be eaten by sharks. Also included was a “Game B”, a slight variation where parachutists had a chance to be caught on a palm tree, swing back and forth a random number of times, before falling off, thus adding unpredictability. Then, things started to get more complex. Nintendo brought out a distinctive folding version of Game & Watch that used two displays, and started doing simple ports of its TV-connected Nintendo Entertainment System games. Among the most famous of course was Donkey Kong. This distinctive orange game became a fixture in schoolyards around the world, and it managed to replicate most of the gameplay from the console version: Mario had to jump barrels thrown by Donkey Kong, climb the construction site, and unhook a girder to send the mighty ape plummeting to, well, a severe headache. Nintendo even did a Game & Watch version of Zelda. This extremely cut-down version saw Link fight the same goblin in a castle corridor over and over while skeletons stabbed at him through the floorboards. The upper screen was reserved for a map, a basic inventory (including TriForce), and a chamber where Link would fight a “boss” in the form of a dragon. Bombsweeper was an unusual title, in that it was double-screen but all the action took place on the lower display. A maze-based puzzler, it made use of the falling
cost of ROM chips to include a surprising number of different level. Then Nintendo started to get a bit tangential. Weird folding systems with reflecting mirrors relied on sunlight to create a colour display - the Panorama Screen system chewed through batteries, though. There were also see-through units called Crystal Screen (Balloon Fight and Climber) and two-player games that stored tiny controllers inside themselves (the Micro vs System, which featured Donkey Kong 3 and others). So why do we care about Game & Watch today? Because these clever little devices gave rise to first the Game Boy and then the Nintendo DS and 3DS. The distinctive cross-shaped Nintendo D-pad controller has since been copied and iterated on everything from the PlayStation’s DualShock to your TV’s remote. You can even make an argument that Game & Watch, and the various Game Boys that came after, paved the way for the smartphone. By the time the iPhone rolled around, the idea of sitting in public fiddling with and being completely absorbed by the screen of a small electronic device was perfectly normal. Now we see Nintendo doing the same thing again with Pokémon Go and augmented reality. Who knows what weird thing they’ll teach us next.
DONKEY KONG Released: 1982 Gameplay: Climb a construction site while jumping barrels to unhook a girder, dispose of a giant ape, and save the girl. GREENHOUSE Released: 1982 Gameplay: Prevent bugs and spiders from destroying plants in a greenhouse by spraying them with DDT. OIL PANIC Released: 1982 Gameplay: Catch and dispose of oil leaks at a petrol station without causing an explosion or getting oil on customers. BALLOON FIGHT Released: 1986 Gameplay: Operate a pernicious jetpack to catch balloons carrying scraps of a map to a very spiky boss f ight. BOMBSWEEPER Released: 1987 Gameplay: Descend into the sewers to f ind a bomb planted by a maniac. Solve a maze within a time limit to avoid detonation. SAFEBUSTER Released: 1988 Gameplay: As a policeman, catch bombs hurled from the top of a building, lest they land on a safe below and, well, bust it. GOLD CLIFF Released: 1988 Gameplay: Climb shaky scaffolding up a ruined temple, unlock an ancient tomb and stab an Aztec god. Watch out for crabs.
DONKEY KONG If Game & Watch had a mascot, it was Donkey Kong. There were many Donkey Kong themed games, and after the first, the big ape was cast as the hero. He survived the jungle, was saved by his son, battled bees in multiplayer and even played ice hockey.
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The Siege Kept prisoner by a pretend instance of a pretend animal Part of the reason my lifestyle as an itinerate scientific test subject works... kind of... is that I have a selfdiagnosed psychological condition I like to think of as “anti-hoarding.” Stuff, physical stuff I mean, makes me... itchy. In my tenement flat I have a couch, a small table, a chair for that table, a bench, a double-mattress, a fitted sheet, a doona, and a pillow. On the windowsill I have one pale blue vase with nothing in it. I’d throw the vase away but for some reason the previous tenant glued it to the windowsill. Oh and my cat Aristides, but he comes and goes. Plus he’s a person, not a thing, okay? Anyway the point of this catalogue of minimalism is to point out that, not only do I not have anything worth stealing, I barely have anything at all. This is a lifestyle decision that allows me to both indulge my psychological peccadillos and also survive on little more than $125 a week.
Yet here I am. Fully under siege in my own home. People are banging on the door, demanding to be let in. People are banging at the window, demanding to be let in. Everyone wants in. “Articuno!” they’re shrieking. “Let us catch the Articuno!” My only piece of semi-modern technology is a smartphone, a battered off-brand thing that some start-up gave me in lieu of $125. I was pissed at the time, but have come to appreciate the apparently inexhaustible data plan on the PR account sim that’s in this thing. Of course, my natrual paranoia means I’m constantly worried the data could run out at any time, so I don’t download any apps. I glance at the phone again. I’m waiting for Atalanta, my sort of definitely not girlfriend, to come and rescue me from the siege. I’d texted her an hour ago and mentioned the crazed people banging on the door yelling variations on “We must icuno!” She seemed ristically excited to us and travel across to come and see me. ing what that’s all some kind of scuffle e the door. Then liar creepy tapping. ses fellow test subject through the keyhole. e in. You gotta let me we’re mates aren’t we?” approach the door. mething seems off. “Is lanta with you?” I ask. ple are clearly fighting re, in the corridor. esn’t care about
you man!” yells The Mistake, suddenly furious for no reason I can figure out. “She treats you like crap! She doesn’t deserve this Articuno!” Damnit he’s infected with the same madness, or whatever this is. Something heavy hits the window. I glance around. About sixteen faces are all pressed up against it, and below the faces all these fingers are pointing down, as if indicating I should unlatch the window and let these maniacs pour inside. I walk over and pull the cord on the battered venetian blinds. Then I wiggle the cord back and forth for a few seconds until the blinds finally come down. The faces howl and gibber as they’re slowly obscured. The Mistake is still at the door. “Listen man,” he’s saying. “If you let me in I’ll give you... ah...” I get a sense he’s desperately going through his pockets to find something, anything of value. “Oh come on! It’s MEEEEE...!” His scream is drawn out as someone drags him away from the door and off down the hall. “Hey,” says a soft voice, right at the keyhole. I exhale in relief: it’s Atalanta. I quickly release the deadbolt and inch the door open. She doesn’t say anything, just barges inside, slams the door behind her, and looks around wildly. She turns to me, all green-eyed and mysterious with her hair down over her scar. “Where is it?” she says in that breathless way I like so much. “Have you seen it?” “Seen WHAT?” I scream. “What are you talking about? What the hell is going ON?” “The Articuno!” breathes Atalanta. “The rarest Pokémon in the game! This is the first one to spawn, anywhere, why this...” She trails off. We turn. The door is making an ominous creaking noise. “I think I should just set the dead-” I manage, but then the whole thing splinters inwards, and at least 80 people burst into the room, mobiles Issue #94, held up like shields or swords or something. The window shatters too, September bits of venetian blind go everywhere, 2016. On and it’s a scrum. An affray. Punches sale 1st are thrown. Extremities are bitten. September Sensitive parts are gouged. The vase finally explodes into shards for 2016 future archaeologists to puzzle over. CHINA’S SPACE “Acquisition is pain!” I scream from PROGRAM! // somewhere down the bottom of the The Destruction ruck. “Acquisition is pain!” of the Dark But no one listens. They never do. Web // WERNER I just have to wait it out, until they HERZOG TALKS AI // Augmented catch ‘em all.
Reality + MORE!
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ďŹ ne mechanical watchmaking, from japan.
Trimatic symbolises three Seiko inventions that ensure the highest levels of reliability and durability in its mechanical watches.
Published on Aug 3, 2016