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Welcome to the IEEE Future Directions Tech Blog.

A human touch

Our sense of touch can pick up thousands of nuances because we have soft flesh. Try to touch an object with your nails and you’ll miss a lot of the sensations that your fingertips can provide. Robots are facing a similar problem. Having a rigid surface they have a limited touch sensitivity. …

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Controlling a robot with your mind…

Several progresses have been made in decoding the electrical activity generated by/in our brain when directing our body to perform a specific action. Researchers have been able to "read the mind", in a way our thoughts, as it gets ready to order our muscles to perform a certain action, like …

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Another year is over … a new one just begun

Time for some numbers, as we close 2016 and open 2017. There are (almost) 7.5 billions people and over 3 billions have access to Internet. That’s a lot, but if you look at the other side of the coin over 4 billions people do not have access to the Internet, and that’s even more. …

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The Future of Jobs: Nano-medicine

What’s wrong with you?  How many times have you heard this and the answer might have been: I’ve got a cold, the flu….Behind this there are causes and processes that are in the nanoscale: a few billionth of a meter.  Medicine is trying to cure at the meter scale what …

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The Future of Jobs: Tree-Jackers

Moving from programming bacteria to programming multicellular system is a giant step.  We are already "programming" plants: Genetically Modified Organisms are an example of "programming".   Scientists have been able to program goats to produce a milk containing a protein that is similar (actually better) to the one produced by the silk …

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Getting the feeling out of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is supposed to become more and more real to the point we won’t be able to tell it is … virtual. The first hurdle to overcome was tricking our eyes. The availability of high resolution displays that can be seen at a few cm without spotting any pixel, …

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The Future of Jobs: Bacteria programmers

In the previous post on Future of Jobs I discussed the possibility to program Smart Dust. What about programming living cells? Researchers have made significant progress in the understanding of genes and have become capable of altering the condones sequences. The use of CRISPR has become commonplace in several labs and this is …

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Your brain is bright!

One would tend to interpret those words as a figure of speech. Yet, it seems that in the future one can literally mean that.  Optogenetics has been around for a few years now providing researchers with a new tool to affect the behaviour of neurones using light. Now a team at …

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The Future of Jobs: Smart Dust programmers

Smart dust is a term invented several years ago at Berkeley. I probably heard it for the first time in the 90ies from prof. Sangiovanni Vincentelli who in his lab was trying to miniaturise motes, sensors with communications capability. At that time a mote was like a cubic cm, amazingly small for …

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… and so this is Christmas

I remember when Christmas also used to be a time for sending and receiving Christmas cards. It is less an less so. I do not have extensive statistics, although I remember at the turn of the century I ordered through my secretary some 500 Christmas Cards to send to acquaintances. Now …

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