Science, technology & design

Brain downloads

Sony's PlayStation 3 is 35 times more powerful than its predecessor. If this rate of development continues, PlayStation 5 could be as powerful as the human brain. To put this into perspective, PlayStation 3 has the computing power that you would have expected to find in a supercomputer back in 1997 - but for US $300. Moreover, by the half-century mark, it should be possible for people to download the contents of their brain according to Ian Pearson, head of BT's futurology unit. After that, the next technology goal will probably be to replicate human consciousness.
Ref: Harrow Technology Report (US) 20 June 2005. ' Of games &  robots & brains...'

Sleep smart

Sanyo Electric in Japan has produced a 'smart blanket' that works like an alarm clock. Simply set the time that you want to wake up and press the 'go' button when you go to bed. The blanket then slowly lowers your body temperature and heartbeat thus inducing deep sleep. About half an hour before the pre-set wake-up time, the blanket then increases the temperature again to help the body wake-up 'naturally'.
Ref: Nikkei Weekly (Japan) 5 September 2005 ' Smart blanket'.