780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

Living in the Future: Simulated Brains, Origami Kayaks, self-filling waterbottles

Have you ever wondered if we could build a brain? Chris Eliasmith of the University of Waterloo has built a large-scale model of the human brain, using a computer to simulate the nerve clusters. Semantic Pointer Architecture Unifed Network, or SPAUN, has 2.5 million simulated neurons, as well as one simulated eye and one simulated hand. This approach allows SPAUN to draw, write, and describe its surroundings. It can pass basic IQ test tasks, and learns in a similar way to humans, though it can’t control its own input. It’s not up to all the standards of a human brain, but it’s a start, proving that electronic brains are possible.

A San Francisco man named Anton Willis has created a Kayak out of plastic that can fold like origami, into a package the size of a briefcase. The foldable kayak stores more compactly, but is still watertight and is light enough to be carried easily. It uses a light plastic called Coroplast, that is used for political sign boards and other industrial uses, which can be folded and unfolded thousands of times without any damage to the kayak.

A waterbottle uses a nanoscale coating to pull water out of the air, even in the desert. Deckard Sorensen announced plans to put the bottle on sale in 2014, which was designed to use the same properties of the Namib desert beetle to fill itself with water from the air.