(116,476 Monthly Downloads!)
Witchery adds witchcraft and nature magic to Minecraft: cauldrons, broomsticks, ritual circles, magical brews, a bit of necromancy and voodoo for good measure
Witchery allows players to explore the magical art of witchcraft and though it, to learn to control the natural magic present in the world (and sometimes other dimensions).
Witchery provides several branches of witchcraft for a new witch or warlock to try their hand at. Witchcraft does not really resemble the flashy spell-casting performed by wizards and their ilk. There are no lightning wands or spell books, enchanted armor or flaming swords; instead, a well tended witch's garden will provide a lot of helpful ingredients for magic that will get you out of the occasional scrape.
There are of course darker sides to magic; and although these may bring power more quickly, the cost may be too high. Making bargains with demons should never be undertaken lightly!
Brewing with a Kettle
Poppets and Voodoo Dolls
Dream Weaving and Spirit World dimension
Circle Magic and Rituals
Necromancy and Demonology
Become a werewolf or vampire
New mobs, plants and plant mobs
Headed by former DARPA program manager Janos Sztipanovits
DARPA's director, Arati Prabhakar
former DARPA director Regina Dugan
The Center for Game Science, a research lab that makes educational video games for children, and that received the bulk of its funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the wing of the US Department of Defense that supports research into experimental military technology
as well as other government documents, the DARPA-funded educational video games developed at the CGS have a purpose beyond the pretense of teaching elementary school children STEM skills.
Instead, the games developed at CGS have had the primary purpose of using grade-school children as test subjects to develop and improve “adaptive learning” training technology for the military.
It's one node in a network of programs originally created with the intent to build better counterinsurgency simulations for American warfighters operating in countries occupied by US forces. In short, DARPA is militarizing academia. But it's not that easy.
In a small lunch room, Cooper and I discuss CGS’s most famous video game, Foldit, a protein-folding puzzler that crowdsourced research previously only done by experts, making “citizen researchers” out of every player. One puzzle in the game involved a mystery surrounding the cause of the AIDS virus in rhesus monkeys that had stymied scientists for 15 years. Foldit players solved the mystery in ten days.
The lab's newest “scientific discovery game” is NanoCrafter, which it hopes will have even greater success in democratizing scientific research. The CGS has enjoyed some press of late, specifically about NanoCrafter, to the point that everyone I spoke with who was involved with the lab seemed to think that was my purpose as well. I was really there to see about their relationship with the military.
The CGS website cites DARPA right on its main page, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and several corporate sponsors. But my curiosity was piqued by a 2011 document from the University of Washington declaring CGS's founding with $15 million dollars—the total of a cool $3 million from the Gates Foundation, and $12 million from DARPA.
(need sümboolsed avalikud summad)
Gates took that sentiment a step further in his speech at the Education Commission Conference, when he asked the audience to imagine a world where the underlying mechanics of the video games kids willingly poured themselves into imparted mathematics lessons "while they barely noticed because it was so enjoyable." To that end, he explained, "We’ve been supporting the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington.”
Back in the kitchen, I ask Cooper how receiving this sort of funding from both The Gates Foundation and DARPA worked. Did it all come no strings attached? Or was there some direction?
“Oh, there is direction,” Cooper told me. “It kind of depends on the specific game, or that kind of thing. There are particular goals and objectives.” These goals and objectives, he adds, come directly from DARPA or the Gates Foundation.
"You write a proposal that you are going to do particular things and then that gets funded, and then you are supposed to do those,” explained Cooper.
First, I should say that we know the Center for Game Science is being funded through a DARPA program called ENGAGE (though they're often capitalized, I'm told the letters don’t actually stand for anything), and that it was Daniel Kaufman, current head of the Information Innovation Office (I2O) within DARPA, who had the first “seedling” idea for what became ENGAGE.
Perhaps coincidentally, Kaufman had previously been co-chief operating officer at Dreamworks Interactive, the Steven Spielberg-founded game studio that created the commercial video game series Medal of Honor, a first-person shooter military game that has reportedly been used for training purposes in the Marine’s Infantry Cognitive Skills Labs.
But it was after he learned of the work that Zoran Popović and others were doing with Foldit that it dawned on Kaufman. Today, DARPA’s I2O self-describes the mission focus as “cyber and other types of irregular warfare," with a research portfolio focused on forecasting "new modes of warfare in these emerging areas and developing the concepts and tools necessary to provide decisive advantage for the US and its allies.”
Captain Russell Shilling has since left DARPA; program managers with the Pentagon's blue-sky research arm typically only stay on between four and six years. In June 2014, President Obama appointed Shilling as the Executive Director for STEM Initiatives at the Department of Education.
I managed to get a message to Shilling—whose Twitter headshot, if you're curious, is a Muppet of himself—asking why it was DARPA, not the Department of Education, that was funding a project based on elementary STEM education.
“I can't really speak for DARPA, since I'm no longer assigned there,” Shilling wrote back. Instead, he pointed me to two newsletters, both of which he authored, available on DARPA’s website that he said “explain the intentions.” One is about some experiments with game-based training, and the other is about the ENGAGE program specifically.
According to this second newsletter, titled ENGAGE: New Methods of Large Population Analytics for Education and Training, teaching math and science was not the primary goal of the ENGAGE program. Rather, the intention was to use the video games that the CGS had developed in conjunction with DARPA—games like Treefrog Treasure and Refraction—to experiment in teaching elementary school students STEM skills as a way to test the games’ adaptive tutoring capabilities with thousands of subjects.
Once perfected in this manner, Shilling goes on, the technology behind adaptive tutoring could be applied to other fields of training more directly fit for military use. There would be no shortage of test subjects either, because, as the newsletter notes, DARPA has access to the children of military personnel around the world through the Department of Defense Education Activity, a civilian wing of the Pentagon through which this software can be tested.
The DARPA newsletter also takes credit for the Algebra Challenges that the CGS promotes, noting that thousands of kids took part in them. Mind you, the actual Algebra Challenges website mentions neither DARPA sponsorship, that the kids involved are taking part in military testing, nor that the DoD is collecting all that data.
That said, Shilling writes about how ENGAGE harnesses the power of big user pools "to optimize instruction." Per the newsletter:
Shilling's newsletter concludes by saying we can anticipate that the same tactics the ENGAGE program utilized in optimizing instruction in math and sciences " can be applied to a wide variety of military… training contexts." (Emphasis mine.)
DARPA's (unclassified) 2012 budget offers a clue. Written in February 2011, the 2012 budget marked the first appearance of ENGAGE, and elaborates at length on the program's roadmap for the years 2011-2012. At no point anywhere does it mention STEM education, let alone STEM education for kids, being a goal.
Instead, its stated aim is to seek ways to improve adaptive teaching AI for game-based training that could make the leap to the real world. "The ENGAGE program, previously part of the Training for Adaptability thrust," the 2012 budget reads, "...will address the problem of connecting performance in the virtual domain and then will use this knowledge to drive the creation of more effective game based training.” ENGAGE will also “develop approaches for extrapolating performance on computer-based training systems to performance in the real world.”
Previously part of the Training for Adaptability thrust? What is Training for Adaptability?
If you go back to DARPA's 2011 budget, Training for Adaptability is loosely identified, without much detail, as a leadership training program. This makes it hard to see how it might track with ENGAGE. But buried in the 2012 budget is something called Strategic Social Interaction Modules (SSIM), with a note that reads, “Formerly Training for Adaptability.”
This line item is key. It's talking about a training system for US service members in “Counter-Insurgency (COIN) missions,” the goal being to teach warfighters how to successfully deal with foreign civilians living under US occupation while “ultimately winning their hearts and minds.” Per the 2012 budget line item:
SSIM will develop requisite training technology including advanced gaming/simulation techniques…develop the tools to identify skillful performance in a training environment and for predicting the efficacy of the training in the intended operational/cultural environment.
For comparison, here again is Bill Gates' description of the technology being developed at the CGS: "These new tools and services have the added benefit of providing amazing visibility into how each individual student is progressing and generating lots of useful data that teachers can use to improve their own effectiveness.”
In the 2011 budget, the year before the ENGAGE program was listed, DARPA had another preexisting program going that seems to provide more even insight into the background thinking of ENGAGE. This program, called “Training Superiority,” is part of the DARWARS initiative, a plan to improve training through simulations and video games. The 2011 budget speaks of DARPA’s ambitions to create an intelligent tutoring system called Digital Tutor.
“The Training Superiority program,” the line item description reads, “will change the paradigm for military training.” Traditional, passive teaching approaches are no longer sufficient in the modern battlefield, it goes on, as more is demanded of fewer soldiers, who must become proficient in controlling and interacting with complex unmanned systems.
Modern training thus must include computer games' emotional element, the thrust of which will scale-up new digital tutor methodologies, and “deliver these to a large cohort of warfighters.”
But then there’s this government document that lays out training superiority and the Digital Tutor in detail, bizarrely ending with—and this is not a joke—a line from Machiavelli about “a new order.”
The current program manager of ENGAGE, the man who took over from Russell Shilling, is Daniel Ragsdale, a recently retired US Army Colonel whose combat deployments include, his DARPA bio reads, "Enduring Freedom” and “Iraqi Freedom,” those oft-forgotten official designations of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Academically, Ragsdale’s research interests include cyber deception.
When I asked Ragsdale in a phone interview why he's funding the Center for Game Science, he explained how he had the good fortune of inheriting the program from Shilling, who he said created the program, first and foremost, with an eye to STEM education.
So the point of ENGAGE, and the impetus behind its funding, Ragsdale explained, is thus to develop both game-based technologies that accelerate learning and "new approaches" for analyzing gameplay, all while adapting to individual and large groups of people.
"This is the real important part," he stressed, "so it’s not just games for the sake of games or educational games, but specifically games that will adapt over time to specific individuals or groups of folks." The target being not only classroom settings, but also for individual use for STEM, Ragsdale said, adding that for STEM targets, "basically we were looking at [grades] K through 3, K through 4, that demographic.”
As for why DARPA was even pursuing STEM educational video games for elementary school kids, Ragsdale gave a somewhat surprisingly offhand confirmation of what I had found in the budgets and other documents. “The real inspiration for the program was not STEM,” he said. “We wanted to develop new methods that are game-based to accelerate learning and have something that adapts."
With that stated goal, Ragsdale added, the question then was, What’s a good target? And as he told me, "It was not ‘let’s do a STEM program.'"
It reminded me of another game, called Ambush, part of the DARWARS Training and Superiority Initiative, which trained soldiers to anticipate and react to the threat of IEDs and ambushes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Could what's being learned here with adaptive tutoring be applied to military simulations the likes of Ambush?
“Yes, yes, I think that’s fair to say,” Ragsdale said.
It’s not the children’s educational games being developed at the Center For Games Science that is interesting to the military—it's the intelligent tutoring technology. The kids are just unwittingly testing it out for them.
I believe him, for what it’s worth. It seems the Center for Game Science is just taking funding from where it can get it. And from the military’s ENGAGE program, has come the Gates Foundation-funded ENLEARN, which uses the same technology being developed by the CGS to teach kids through video games, but evidently without any ulterior motives.
I asked Henry Giroux, a cultural critic and author of The University in Chains: Challenging the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex, what he thought of military funding for projects that also had social benefits.
In the end, the CGS solution was to create video games with visuals representing the underlying mathematics, so that as you played you tested the software for defects. Verigames, a process for detecting software flaws, was born.
Verigames looks like another portal for kids games, and it doesn’t explain on the site what sort of software you are testing. But as DARPA's original Crowd-Sourced Formal Verification Proposer’s Day Announcement makes clear, as you play these games you are taking part in debugging military weapons systems software.
Since I had been reading his book, The Department of Mad Scientists, for background on DARPA, I reached out to author Michael Belfiore, asking if researchers ever had ethical issues with receiving military funding.
“I have found little grumbling from researchers about getting DOD funding and the possible ethical concerns there,” Belfiore told me. “Most seem to agree that beneficial research is beneficial research, whatever the source of funding.”
The games at Sieg Hall, for all we know, have only just begun
Litte mind rest list:
Few Current projects:
Synthetic blood (not too distant future we might think how primitive it was to have people line up to physically donate blood.)
Programmable shape-shifting matter (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2007/03/darpa_wants_a_s/)
Robots that walk and balance like animals
Sensors that can see underground ( gravity sensor that will give pilots a real time view of underground tunnels.)
Powered exoskeletons (carry thousands of pounds with ease)
Robot cyborg insects ( cyborg insects could be mass produced using 3D printer technology. )
America’s manufacturing base 2.0 ( investing a billion dollars to come up with new, streamlined, modular ways of manufacturing.has been posted on the website of the House Armed Services Committee)
Remote controlled A-10 Warthogs ( soldier could simply point and click on a map, and then a remote controlled airplane dropped bombs in exactly the right spot )
Mind-controlled artificial arms ( plug artificial arms into the human brain so that they can be controlled just like a natural arm. )
Cars for blind people (combining non visual sensors (like lasers) with tactile indicators)
A flying submarine ( )
Laser guided bullets
Intel, another partner on the work, goes one step further, suggesting we could replicate whole human beings."The replicas would mimic the shape and appearance of a person or object being imaged in real time, and as the originals moved, so would their replicas," according to their website.
"These 3D models would be physical entities, not holograms. You could touch them and interact with them, just as if the originals were in the room with you. "
Of course, this idea isn’t just for kids
Carnegie Mellon, with
DARPA support, is already at work on a synthetic reality project to develop programmable matter. As their website describes:
The goal of the claytronics project is to understand and develop the hardware and software necessary to create a material which can be programmed to form dynamic three dimensional shapes which can interact in the physical world and visually take on an arbitrary appearance.
Claytronics refers to an ensemble of individual components, called catoms—for claytronic atoms—that can move in three dimensions (in relation to other catoms), adhere to other catoms to maintain a 3D
shape, and compute state information (with possible assistance from other catoms in the ensemble). Each catom contains a CPU, an energy store, a network device, a video output device, one or more sensors, a means of locomotion, and a mechanism for adhering to other catoms.
The power and flexibility that will arise from being able to
"program" the world around us should influence every aspect of the human experience. In our project we focus in on one particular aspect of the human experience, how we communicate and interact with each other. Claytronics is a technology which can serve as the means of implementing a new communication medium, which we call pario. The idea behind pario is to reproduce moving, physical 3D objects. Similar to audio and video, we are neither transporting the original phenomena nor recreating an exact replica: instead, the idea is to create a physical artifact that can do a good enough job of reproducing the shape, appearance, motion, etc., of the original object that our senses will accept it as being close enough.
"The Red Cross tosses RBC units after 42 days, but some medical experts think that fresh blood “expires” after 28 days" (epic numbers innit)
the Pentagon’s blue-sky research arm, launched the Blood Pharming program, with the goal of manufacturing mega doses of universal-donor red blood units (O-negative) using a compact, self-contained system
Now Arteriocyte, the Cleveland, OH biotech firm..
The blood was produced using hematopoietic cells, derived from umbilical cord-blood units. It’s a trick that scientists have pulled off for years. The hard part is making quantities of red stuff that are large enough for military or medical utility. Currently, it takes Arteriocyte scientists three days to turn a single umbilical cord unit into 20 units of RBC-packed blood. The average soldier needs six units during trauma treatment.
“We’re basically mimicking bone marrow in a lab environment,” company CEO Don Brown tells Danger Room. “Our model works, but we need to extrapolate our production abilities to make scale.”
MineCraft google page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116459122518037658956/posts
There is seemingly no end to the number of things you can do in Minecraft — and the latest thing is experimenting with quantum physics. A new mod called qCraft, built by none other than Google's Quantum AI Lab Team, adds blocks that exhibit quantum entanglement, superposition, and observer-dependency properties. Some of the new blocks can be "activated" simply by looking at them, while others are prone to disappear at any moment.
"WHERE WILL FUTURE QUANTUM COMPUTER SCIENTISTS COME FROM? OUR BEST GUESS: MINECRAFT."
"We built the Quantum AI Lab to explore the potential of quantum computing, and figure out what questions we should be asking," says the the Lab Team in a post on Google+. "One question is clear," the post reads. "Where will future quantum computer scientists come from? Our best guess: Minecraft." Millions of kids aren't just digging caves in Minecraft, they say, but are building assembly lines, space shuttles, and even programmable computers. The mod is an effort to get these same kids thinking about physics in a playful new way.
"qCraft isn't a perfect scientific simulation, but it's a fun way for players to experience a few parts of quantum mechanics outside of thought experiments or dense textbook examples," says the Lab Team. "We don't even know the full potential of what you can make with qCraft, but we're excited to see what Minecraft's players can discover." This is far from the first time that dedicated Minecraft builders have tackled science — the double slit experiment was also recreated in the virtual world a couple of years ago
This isn’t just a trap. It’s a quantum trap. Brought to you by Google.
Google has recently begun playing with a brand new Quantum computer — one that it’s sharing with researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. And in an effort to spread the quantum computing fun, it’s now released a brand new quantum module for the build-your-own-universe game Minecraft.
“We built the Quantum A.I. Lab to explore the potential of quantum computing, and figure out what questions we should be asking. One question is clear: Where will future quantum computer scientists come from?” Google’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence Team wrote in a post announcing the new module today. “Our best guess: Minecraft.”
The module is called qCraft, and while it’s not an exact simulation of quantum physics, it’s a nifty little learning module. It lets you build structures that act in quantum ways: buildings that look like castles when viewed from one direction and skyscrapers from another; floors, like those in the ziggurat trap, that vanish when you look away.
Or, as Google puts it: “It lets players experiment with quantum behaviors inside Minecraft’s world, with new blocks that exhibit quantum entanglement, superposition, and observer dependency.”
The module was built by Google, an educational organization called MinecraftEdu and Caltech’s Institute for Quantum Information and Matter.
"A historic recreation of the Battle of Gate Pa, Tauranga, New Zealand in 1864. Maori warriors defend their Pa (fort) from the British army. Will you follow history or rewrite the past?"
As of October 10, 2014, the game has sold approximately 60 million copies across all platforms
On February 25, 2014, the game reached 100 million registered users
Minecraft has also been used in educational settings. In 2011, an educational organization named MinecraftEdu was formed with the goal of introducing Minecraft into schools. The group works with Mojang to make the game affordable and accessible to schools. In September 2012, MinecraftEdu said that approximately 250,000 students around the world have access to Minecraft through the company
"Minecraft is a sandbox independent video game originally created by Swedish programmer Markus "Notch" Persson and later developed and published by the Swedish company Mojang. The creative and building aspects of Minecraft allow players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, gathering resources, crafting, and combat. Multiple gameplay modes are available, including survival modes where the player must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health"
Immersive appendix and Related publications
MinecraftEDU & SimCityEDU: Blazing Trails for Interdisciplinary Learning
The original Minecraft let players construct 3-D worlds out of textured cubes. Before MinecraftEDU, Minecraft’s educational applications were limited to teaching computer science, physics, and math. In 2012, two teachers started offering discounted educator licenses to Minecraft. MinecraftEDU now features a plug-in that enables educators to customize the software according to their curriculum. More than 4,500 schools in 40 countries use the school-ready version to teach every subject from history to art.
Developed in 2012, SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! is the academic version of the addictive, original game. According to its creator, SimCityEDU can help “leverage digital games as powerful, data-rich learning and formative assessment environments.” The game has six missions, all of which pertain to energy-management and environmental issues. While SimCityEDU is unquestionably interdisciplinary in its approach, teachers are more limited in the disciplines that they can integrate than with MinecraftEDU. As edshelf notes in its review, SimCityEDU is primarily intended for teachers who want to “drive student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects.”
In January, Microsoft revealed HoloLens, an augmented reality headset that blends your digital life with the real world. The reveal video even showed off how it might be used to play Minecraft, which Microsoft acquired last year for $2.5 billion. It's a different type of technology with a different focus compared to the virtual reality headset we've seen from Oculus, Sony's Morpheus, and the recently revealed Vive from Valve and HTC. However, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said that HoloLens doesn't prevent Microsoft from getting into virtual reality in the future...
This week, things got interesting at the Pentagon. The military research branch, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) showcased its latest demonstrations for Plan X. Plan X is a software platform, which is designed to unify digital attack and defence tools and transform them into a single and easy-to-use interface for hackers with the American military.
DARPA has been experimenting with using the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset to give their cyber warriors a new perspective in visualizing three-dimensional network simulations. Over the last two years, DARPA has been working to make counteracting a cyber attack as easy as playing video games.
Ever want to put yourself inside of a video game? It's now possible to dynamically represent your entire body inside of a virtual world, and this monumental task can be accomplished with off-the-shelf hardware. With three first-gen Kinects and an Oculus Rift dev kit, developer Oliver Kreylos has hacked together a true VR prototype that actually makes you feel like you're in a computer-generated world.
Norwegian army trials Oculus Rift to drive tanks
The Norwegian army is trying out virtual-reality gaming headset Oculus Rift in an attempt to improve safety while driving tanks.
Norwegian tank driverVideo games and warfare have had a long relationship, so it was only a matter of time before a military operation got its fingers in the Oculus Rift pie. The virtual-reality headset designed for gaming applications is now being used by the Norwegian army to help them drive tanks by providing a 360-degree view outside the vehicle.
The video game connection is not lost on the team.
Sony unveiled a new, much-enhanced prototype of its Project Morpheus virtual reality hardware for PlayStation 4 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, saying that it intended to release the peripheral in the first half of 2016.
The new Morpheus prototype features a number of improvements over the original version that Sony demonstrated at last year’s GDC...
Even by NASA standards, the newest mission in search of life on other planets is really, really complicated. Loaded with literal moving parts, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope—“JWST” for short—is as ambitious as it is technically challenging. As anyone who watched the Mars Rover landing (or the movie Gravity) with bated breath can attest, a lot can go wrong in outer space.
That’s why virtual reality hardware—with the Oculus Rift VR headset leading the charge—provides a perfect testing ground for feats of engineering like the Webb spacecraft. And, believe it or not, the Webb team is already putting the Rift to the test.
In May 2012, a programmer named John Carmack — who, as a cofounder of id Software and the man behind games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, is widely seen as the father of 3D gaming — tweeted a picture of what looked like steampunk bifocals made out of a black shoebox. “This is a lot cooler than it looks,” read the caption.
He was right.
With projects such as a system that creates 360-degree VR imagery, a headset that uses eye-tracking to build immersive experiences, and an embedded-in-VR journalism project, the 13 startups were the first group that Rothenberg Ventures’ River selected for its accelerator.
Gaming tech firm Razer has revealed its answer to the Oculus Rift--a $200 virtual reality headset with head-tracking capabilities and a 1080x1920 display. Known as the OSVR headset, the open-source dev kit can work with "all VR devices, including the Oculus DK 2," meaning that engines and software built with Oculus in mind are theoretically supported.
Razer says the OSVR will be released, at least as a dev kit, in June 2015. It carries two 5.5-inch displays, as well as a 100-degree field-of-view, and internal sensors for head tracking (accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass)
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is now the best big phone you can buy, but it's also something more. It's the first smartphone designed with virtual reality in mind — just slot it into the Gear VR headset and a whole new world opens up.
"For virtual reality to really cross into the mainstream, it's gotta be more than just really awesome, killer games," Samsung’s VR vice president Nick DiCarlo says. "What is the most important use case in VR? We haven't figured it out yet, but there are lots of ideas."
Why Virtual Reality Will Break Out in 2015
Virtual Reality (VR) is about to become mainstream and could be a $7 billion market by 2018.
Numerous head-mounted displays are in development (but not commercially available) with Facebook’s Oculus, Samsung, and Sony leading the pack, and Nintendo not far behind.
Avegant Raises More Than $9 Million to Beam Video Directly to Eyeballs
At Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference this week, Michael Leyva handed a pair of Epson Moverio BT-200 smartglasses to a visitor and directed him to look at an industrial water pump about 4 feet way.
After a couple of seconds, the glasses recognized the pump. That triggered a 3-D virtual image overlaid on the actual pump. The virtual image gave step-by-step instructions for how to take the pump apart — beginning with an animated wrench loosening bolts.
In announcing its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus back in March, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that he felt virtual reality was computing's "platform of tomorrow," which would soon supplant the handheld mobile devices dominating the tech space today. In a recent interview with Ars, though, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe suggested that Zuckerberg might not have gone far enough, saying that virtual reality "actually may be the final compute platform."
How the makers of Second Life are using VR to build the next generation of virtual worlds
We're not really here to talk about the future too much, but I'm going to tell you that our biggest investment by far will be a next-generation virtual world. Something in the spirit of Second Life."
I'm sitting at Linden Lab ready to see Second Life running on an Oculus Rift and suddenly I'm being thrown into something totally different by company CEO Ebbe Altberg—something far crazier.
The Kickstarter-funded Oculus Rift headset gets most of the credit for the groundswell of interest, but the company Facebook recently purchased for over $2 billion, has become the poster child for a much larger movement. A movement that promises to inflict the single most important shift in the way we experience videogames, since they moved from the arcade to the home.
Virtual Reality is about to get a whole lot more awesome...
Clever Oculus Project Lets You Live Your Life In Third Person
Ever wished you could tap the “Change Camera View” button in real life to switch to a third-person view?
These guys made it happen. Sure, it requires the user to wear an Oculus Rift and a big ol’ dual camera rig built into a backpack — and sure, it’s probably only fun (and not nauseating) for about a minute. But it works!
Built by a Polish team of tinkerers called mepi, the rig uses a custom-built, 3D-printed mount to hold two GoPros just above and behind the wearer’s head. With a joystick wired up to an Arduino and a few servos, the wearer is able to control where the camera is looking.
Immersing yourself in an Oculus Rift can transport you to majestic fantasy worlds you otherwise might never get to experience, but virtual reality could soon be used to help facilitate more quotidian tasks, too -- like staring out at a cascade of financial data flying at you from all angles.
Bloomberg's vaunted terminals can cost as much as $24,000 per user, and now, the company has found a way to conjoin all that real-time information with Facebook's new $2 billion financial headset.
“I just see two spaces: physical and virtual. The best solution would be to connect these two naturally and find the fitting content from both spaces.” – Santeri Koivisto, Finland
Santeri Koivisto was trained as an educator in Finland, one of the small percentage of applicants accepted into teacher training there. An avid gamer himself, Koivisto was disappointed by the quality of educational games out there, and decided to try a different approach. Rather than inventing new games that mimicked traditional pedagogy, he wanted to start with what was already an immensely popular game – Minecraft – and stretch it to work for education. Because the game already connected with kids, the MinecraftEdu learning version had a built-in audience.
They’ve also introduced a second learning game, KerbalEdu, based on the popular Kerbal Space Program. In today’s Daily Edventure, Koivisto talks about what’s wrong with more traditional approaches to GBL, and the importance of using teaching tools that students already find compelling. Enjoy!
At a higher level, some are looking at Minecraft as a technology-teaching tool, particularly in computer science and computer-aided design (CAD), both critical building blocks for the emerging maker movement of 3D printing, amateur electronic design and high-tech craft. While companies like Autodesk are developing basic versions of critical CAD tools to fuel citizen and student efforts in this so-called maker economy, Minecraft is accidentally, but quite stealthily, teaching some of the basics of engineering software to its millions of players. As Cody Sumter of MIT Lab recently put it in Wired UK, “Notch hasn’t just built a game, he’s tricked 40 million people into learning to use a CAD program.
the main campus of the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris. Known now as Mines ParisTech, this venerable school was set up in 1783 by decree of Louis XVI as the center of education for the finest civil engineers in France. Nearly 230 years later, just an hour’s drive to the east at Disneyland Paris, some of the next generation of the world’s most innovative mining and industrial engineers convened this past weekend—but not for a seminar on metal stress or a lecture on geology. At this gathering, over 4,500 teens, pre-teens and some brave adults swapped server addresses and toted 8-bit pick axes around Minecon, the second annual gathering of hardcore players of Minecraft, possibly the hottest, yet one of the most low-tech games on the market today.
Shree Bose is still a student at Harvard University, but she's already accomplished more than many people do in their entire professional lives. At age 17, Bose scooped up $50,000 for winning the Google Science Fair. Her project: improving ovarian cancer outcomes for patients who had become resistant to chemotherapy. Once she got to Harvard, Bose continued her research, investigating cancer metabolism and DNA repair at a lab in Massachusetts General Hospital.
Now, Bose and her colleagues have raised over $67,000 (and counting) on Kickstarter for a project called Piper—a kit that allows kids to build real-world electronics while playing Minecraft.
"At the beginning, Mark and I and another software developer created a preliminary web coding game. We took it to a bunch of schools and we heard from kids that 'this is really cool, but we play Minecraft. That’s what we like and want to play,'" she explains.
The plot involves the player sending a robot to a new planet, but his hardware becoming damaged. In order to control him on-screen, kids must add in his controller, along with buttons and wires.
In 2011, a group of online gamers solved a 15-year-old biochemical problem in 10 days. Using a simple online puzzle game called Foldit, it took them a little over a week to decipher the crystal structure of the AIDS-causing monkey virus Mason-Pfizer, something scientists had been trying unsuccessfully to do for more than a decade in the hope of gaining insights into the design of antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV.
Winfree is involved in the National Science Foundation’s Molecular Programming Project, which applies computer science principles to information-bearing molecules like DNA and RNA—basically, working out how to program molecules to do what you want. His particular focus is making DNA process information like a computer, which could lead to new ways of treating illnesses or, as is NanoCrafter’s aim, result in the creation of molecular machines that carry out different tasks within the body.
INformation Innovation Office
To facilitate this approach, ENGAGE has focused initially on interactive technologies for K-12 students, including those served by the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), a government-sponsored organization responsible for educating the children of military personnel around the world. It is anticipated that the same techniques used in the ENGAGE program to optimize educational content and instruction in math and science can be applied to a wide variety of military and civilian training contexts.
To date, ENGAGE has created several interactive learning sites, with new programs debuting every few months for both desktop and mobile devices. ENGAGE highlights include:
Computer Science Student Network
CS2N Virtual Robot Worlds
CMU’s ETC Helios
Washington State Algebra Challenge
If you’re one of the many fans of The Surrogates comic book (soon to be a Bruce Willis movie), then Honda’s new human-to-robot brain interface technology will be welcome news. The Honda Research Institute Japan, ATR and Shimadzu Corporation have come up with a non-invasive control mechanism called the Brain Machine Interface (BMI).
The technology uses electroencephalography (EEG) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to allow a human to control a robot, in this case the Honda ASIMO, using mere thought. The technology offers up to 90 percent control accuracy without the use of physical implants, a huge milestone in human-to-robot interface that the research group hopes will yield new advances in robotics and artificial intelligence.
The Navy's latest high-tech destroyer is basically a floating Xbox. At $3 billion a ship.
Game publishers spend a lot of time and money designing the interface of their games so that players are able to quickly perceive and react to data. Why shouldn’t the military take advantage of this model?
Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee: FY11 National Defense Authorization Budget Request for Department of Defense's Science and Technology Programs
However, the military agency's latest program actually wants to make it harder to find folks and their valuable data. Named after right-to-privacy pioneer, Supreme Court Judge Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the Brandeis program "would allow individuals, enterprises and US government agencies to keep personal and/or proprietary information private." We imagine that the emphasis is on "government agencies," though DARPA said its systems would work for everybody. Reading between the lines, we'd say the US government has seen one too many cyber-attacks, and wants its top eggheads on the job protecting confidential information.
DARPA said that with current methods of protection, "most consumers do not have effective mechanisms to protect their
own data, and the people with with whom we share data are often not effective at providing adequate protection.
Read more: http://engadget-online.webnode.com/news/darpa-is-trying-to-reinvent-online-privacy/
Create your own website for free: http://us.webnode.com
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is building a virtual firing range in cyberspace -- a replica of the Internet on which scientists can test how successfully they can thwart feared foreign- or domestic-launched attempts to disrupt U.S. information networks.
It will also apparently help train cyberwarriors such as those in the U.S. military's Cyber Command, ordered up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in June 2009 after he concluded the threat of digital warfare had outgrown existing U.S. defenses.
The cyber range actually will be a collection of "testbeds" that can carry out independent drills or be woven into one or more larger pieces, depending on the challenge.
The range is to test such things as new network protocols plus satellite and radio frequency communications.
A key goal is to run classified and unclassified experiments in quick succession, "in days rather than the weeks it currently takes," said Eric Mazzacone, a DARPA spokesman.
That would require a system capable of being completely reset after an experiment -- reconfiguring it and purging all data from related memory, hard drives and storage devices.
Such an ability to reboot and start over is central to the plan, keeping the facility available "at all times for both experimentation and training," without fear of corruption or compromise, Mazzacone said by email.
Reuters has learned that the National Cyber Range is expected to be fully up and running by mid-2012, four years after the Pentagon approached contractors to build it. It cost an estimated $130 million.
Yeah, they're setting up an entire simulation of the Internet to train hackers. Sure, with the increase in hacking activity around the globe, and the recent high profile attacks, this seems like a logical step, but personally, I'm getting a little skynet vibe here. Seems to me the U.S. government, while increasing it's own protection is aiming to police the Internet
Yes, this is definitely an interesting topic as of late. Only recently (within the past month or so I believe) the US officially declared that the act of cyber attacks would qualify the same way a physical act of traditional violence would. This is a huge statement. It's also yet another sign of the type of warfare that this century will be seeing.
The Oculus Rift is a virtual-reality headset that makes wearers feel as if they're in a video game. It might also help United States military personnel feel like they're "in" the Internet.
The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on a 3D visualization of online networks called Plan X — the idea is that hacking enemy networks would be easier if the data were arranged spatially, as in a video game
The US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has turned to gamers in an attempt to improve the security of its software - through web-based puzzle gaming.
Traditionally the military organisation, responsible for research and development projects which brought the world, among other things, the modern Internet, has relied upon analysing software code using powerful computer systems and highly-trained engineers in order to find security vulnerabilities. While it won't be giving that up just yet, DARPA has chosen to augment its traditional methods with something new: a crowd-sourced team of bug-finders who believe they're actually playing a game.
"We’re seeing if we can take really hard math problems and map them onto interesting, attractive puzzle games that online players will solve for fun," explained Drew Dean, DARPA programme manager, of the company's Verigames project. "By leveraging players’ intelligence and ingenuity on a broad scale, we hope to reduce security analysts’ workloads and fundamentally improve the availability of formal verification."
The system works by mapping some of the more basic, yet still computationally complex aspects of formal verification of commercial, off-the-shelf software products to puzzle-format titles. As the player solves the puzzle, they are also verifying the accuracy of the software code - potentially flagging up any security concerns for later review by a professional.
At launch, the Verigames platform includes five titles: CircuitBot, a robot-based interstellar exploration game; Flow Jam, a Pipe-Mania like flow-maximisation title; Ghost Map, which asks the player to plot a course through a brain-like network; StormBound, which requires the sorting of symbols from a wind storm; and Xylem, which looks to categorise various species of plants using mathematical formulae.
"This is one of the most ambitious development projects in the history of gaming," said Andrew Keplinger, president of CircuitBot creator Left Brain Games. "CircuitBot synergizes the thrill of interstellar exploration with the tactical decision-making of the strategy genre, while incorporating a hidden real-world crowdsource program that goes unnoticed, because gamers are having fun!"
So when scientists from the military’s future-science arm Darpa and the University of Pittsburgh’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories approached her in 2012 about plugging her brain into a robotic arm, the most she hoped for was the ability to serve herself some candy. Two years later, towards the end of her stint as a neuromotor guinea pig, the scientists changed the game. Instead of connecting Sheuermann’s brain interface to a robotic arm, they connected her to a flight simulator. She’d use the same neural connections to pilot an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter—the military’s next-gen attack jet
The idea of a neural interface for computers isn’t new. The first brain-controlled videogames go back to 2006, when a team of scientists at Washington University in St. Louis built an interface that let a teenager with epilepsy control Space Invaders. The idea is that instead of using purpose-specific neurons to control a purpose-specific device—like a cochlear implant, or some prostheses—you could build an interface between the brain and any computer, and then the computer could do a range of tasks—from gripping a candy bar to performing a barrel roll.
Sheuermann’s imaginary fighter jet flight wasn’t her first foray into controlling virtual objects with her mind. She trained to use the robot arm by controlling a virtual one on a computer screen
And even if one day they were to figure our which neurons triggered which motions, these connections rewire themselves day to day, as the brain gets better at new tasks. This matters when using those neurons to control things outside the body, because the microelectrodes on the interface are each assigned to a specific group of cells.
Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds
Neuroscience breakthroughs could be harnessed by military and law enforcers, says Royal Society report
A growing body of research suggests that passing weak electrical signals through the skull, using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), can improve people's performance in some tasks.
One study cited by the report described how US neuroscientists employed tDCS to improve people's ability to spot roadside bombs, snipers and other hidden threats in a virtual reality training programme used by US troops bound for the Middle East.
"Those who had tDCS learned to spot the targets much quicker," said Vince Clark, a cognitive neuroscientist and lead author on the study at the University of New Mexico. "Their accuracy increased twice as fast as those who had minimal brain stimulation. I was shocked that the effect was so large."
Clark, whose wider research on tDCS could lead to radical therapies for those with dementia, psychiatric disorders and learning difficulties, admits to a tension in knowing that neuroscience will be used by the military.
"As a scientist I dislike that someone might be hurt by my work. I want to reduce suffering, to make the world a better place, but there are people in the world with different intentions, and I don't know how to deal with that.
One of the report's most striking scenarios involves the use of devices called brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) to connect people's brains directly to military technology, including drones and other weapons systems.
The work builds on research that has enabled people to control cursors and artificial limbs through BMIs that read their brain signals.
"Since the human brain can process images, such as targets, much faster than the subject is consciously aware of, a neurally interfaced weapons system could provide significant advantages over other system control methods in terms of speed and accuracy," the report states.
The US military research organisation, Darpa, has already used EEG to help spot targets in satellite images that were missed by the person screening them. The EEG traces revealed that the brain sometimes noticed targets but failed to make them conscious thoughts. Staff used the EEG traces to select a group of images for closer inspection and improved their target detection threefold, the report notes.
Work on brain connectivity has already raised the prospect of using scans to select fast learners during recruitment drives.
Research last year by Scott Grafton at the University of California, Santa Barbara, drew on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to measure the flexibility of brain networks. They found that a person's flexibility helped predict how quickly they would learn a new task.
Other studies suggest neuroscience could help distinguish risk-takers from more conservative decision-makers, and so help with assessments of whether they are better suited to peacekeeping missions or special forces, the report states.
"Informal assessment occurs routinely throughout the military community. The issue is whether adopting more formal techniques based on the results of research in neuroeconomics, neuropsychology and other neuroscience disciplines confers an advantage in decision-making."
DARPA is also researching new technologies that could make real-time tracking possible through a number of sources. DARPA is developing sensors that “use signals of opportunity” such as television, radio, cell towers, satellites, and even lightning, for real-time tracking. The effort, called ASPN (All Source Positioning and Navigation) alleviates issues related to fixing locations in buildings, deep foliage, underwater or underground, where GPS access can be limited.
“The focus is on malevolent insiders that started out as ‘good guys.’ The specific goal of ADAMS is to detect anomalous behaviors before or shortly after they turn.”
— DARPA document announcing a new program seeking algorithms to identify troops that may be disgruntled and dangerous. In the wake of the massacre at Fort Hood, or the Wikileaks debacle for the U.S. military, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has code-named the project ADAMS, or Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales. DARPA is inviting interested parties to an Arlington,
You've no doubt heard of Project Ara. Initially developed by the Advanced Technologies and Products (ATAP) team at Motorola Mobility, Project Ara aims to build the foundation for a completely modular smartphone that will cost only about $50. It's the realistic attempt to bring the pie-in-the-sky the dream of PhoneBloks into the real world.
As head of DARPA's TransApp program, Doran's been on the front lines of the military's battle to apply the undeniable utility of consumer smartphone technology and adapt it for use by the tactical community.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is hoping to implement a global infrastructure for storing mission-critical objects and payloads at the "bottom of the sea"—a kind of stationary, underwater FedEx that will release mission-critical packages for rendezvous with passing U.S. warships and UAVs.
It's called the Upward Falling Payloads program.
WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has developed a new search engine that can reach into the deep, dark recesses of the World Wide Web
For more than a year now, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been working on Memex, a search engine that can gather information from the 90 to 95 percent of the Internet that Google’s search crawlers cannot reach.
The search engine, which gets its name from a combination of “memory” and “index,” was designed to explore the unchartered terrains of the Internet, including the databases of information not indexed by Google and the darker part of the web where criminal activities, such as sex trafficking and drug dealing, take place.
“We’re envisioning a new paradigm for search that would tailor content, search results, and interface tools to individual users and specific subject areas, and not the other way around,” said DARPA program manager Chris White in a statement. “By inventing better methods for interacting with and sharing information, we want to improve search for everybody and individualize access to information. Ease of use for non-programmers is essential.”
Aside from going after human traffickers, terrorists and other criminals, DARPA says Memex can become particularly useful to government, military, and commercial organizations in finding and organizing “mission critical” information on the Internet. Emergency responders, for example, can quickly find information on the worst hit areas in the event of a natural disaster.
A bit of fiction to top it of as well, or we might run out of fantacy after all that possibilities..
And fiction of fan:
InFinity: A world of which is hidden (Sorry guys, I'm done with this)
To most the twenty first century is a time of technology, A time of knowledge, And especially a time where we think we know what's real and what's not. But there are a few that know the truth. The whole U.S. Military knows. Many of them don't have faith, yet they know. So when a sixteen year old is sent into minecraft to save the world... What will truly happen? FMF Approved.
><p>To most the twenty first century is a time of technology. A time of knowledge. And especially a time where we think we know what's real and what's not. But there are a few that know the truth. The whole U.S. Military knows. Many of them don't have faith, yet they know.</p><p>In 2022 there was a massive boom heard over the whole globe. It set millions in mystery. Until a satelite showed pictures of earth before and after. The Mojang building was wiped from the planet. During MineCon. A select few in the American government were warned about this by Markus Alexej Persson. The file marked 'Classified' had the following data in it:</p><p><em>Markus Alexej <strong>"Notch"</strong> Persson (born June 1, 1979) was a Swedish video game programmer and designer. Persson is the owner of Mojang, the video game company he founded alongside Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser in late 2010. His principle venture for founding Mojang was Minecraft, a first-person sandbox video game that has gained popularity and support since its tech demo in 2009. Since the release of Minecraft, Persson has gained significant notability within the video game industry, having won multiple awards and establishing relations with the industry's figureheads. Persson retained his position as the lead designer of Minecraft until the game's official launch in 2011, after which he transferred creative authority to Jens Bergensten. After the release of Minecraft version 1.3.1 for the computer in 2012 Markus started studying theories on 'dimension travel', 'how to create wormholes', 'how to create portals', 'portals', 'dimensions', 'wormholes' and others of the sort were found on his computer's history. He found out information that he wouldn't tell anyone else; "...For the sake of our race, the... ...Info I learned must be kept secret." He then proceeded to warn the U.S. that during a MineCon certain people would be allowed to volunteer to "Experience my game as if it were real." Seven thousand people from around the globe showed up at the 2022 MineCon. This included, but was obviously not limited to, Jordan <strong>"CaptainSparklez"</strong> Maron, Martyn <strong>"InTheLittleWood"</strong> Littlewood, Lewis <strong>"Xepos"</strong> Brindley, and Simon <strong>"Honeydew"</strong> Lane a.k.a 'Honeydew the Dwarf'. Seven thousand people disappeared. Markus Persson was then dubbed a terrorist and anyone to see him was to kill on sight. But he was gone from the place he called <strong>"The first realm"</strong> and we called "Earth". </em></p>
The US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has carried out what it says is its most successful test yet of a bullet that can steer itself towards moving targets.
Darpa testers have used the technology to hit targets that were actively evading the shot, and even novices that were using the system for the first time were able to hit moving targets.
The project, which is known as Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance weapon or Exacto.
“True to DARPA’s mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target,” said Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager. “This live-fire demonstration from a standard rifle showed that EXACTO is able to hit moving and evading targets with extreme accuracy at sniper ranges unachievable with traditional rounds.
"Fitting EXACTO’s guidance capabilities into a small .50-caliber size is a major breakthrough and opens the door to what could be possible in future guided projectiles across all calibers.
Named after right-to-privacy pioneer, Supreme Court Judge Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the Brandeis program "would allow individuals, enterprises and US government agencies to keep personal and/or proprietary information private.
The potential benefits of such data protection are huge, according to the mad science division. For one, if researchers could access your genetic information with no risk of revealing your identity, they could tailor medical therapy to your individual genetics. In another example, cities could be made more energy- and traffic-efficient if data from companies, individuals and government could safely be crowdsourced.
While DARPA has no specific plan, it's now soliciting private proposals with the aim of running three 18-month trial phases. It "seeks to explore how users can understand, interact with and control data in their systems and in cyberspace... (with) intended benefits such as 'only share photos with approved family and friends.' " The goal is to completely remake data privacy within four-and-a-half years -- a tall order, but DARPA has a pretty decent track record in difficult projects.
For end note: