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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Coffee break: Why two heads are better than one

From: Reporter's Notebook

The New Scientist reports that two people have successfully steered a virtual spacecraft by combining the power of their thoughts – and their efforts were far more accurate than one person acting alone. It speculates that one day groups of people hooked up to brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) might work together to control complex robotic and telepresence systems, maybe even in space. BCI systems use EEG – which is commonly employed in neuromarketing studies. The researchers found that combining signals from two people “eradicates the random noise that dogs EEG signals”. Might this pave the way to more accurate readings of emotional response?

Read: Mind-meld brain power is best for steering spaceships

3D printing promises to revolutionise the manufacturing process, allowing consumers to produce their own goods in the future based on designs bought from companies. But there’s always a downside to all technological advance and the New York Times reports the comments of New York Representative Steve Israel, who warns: “We now have 3D printers that can manufacture firearms components in the basement. It’s just a matter of time before a 3D printer will produce a weapon capable of firing bullets.”

Read: Tools of modern gunmaking: Plastic and a 3D printer

From the New York Times Dealbook – The Justice Department has sued to block Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $20.1 billion deal to buy Grupo Modelo, the Mexican maker of Corona beer, saying that the merger would cement Anheuser-Busch InBev’s control of the market and enable it to continue to raise beer prices. “This is the sort of product that matters to consumers,” William J. Baer, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in a conference call with reporters. “If you have a very slight price increase that happens because of this deal, it could mean that consumers will pay billions of dollars more.”

Read: Justice Dept. seeks to block Anheuser’s deal for Modelo

Netflix today premieres House of Cards, the first TV series to be produced specifically for the video-streaming service. But rather than stick to the traditional broadcast format of releasing one episode a week, the whole 13-part run of the Kevin Spacey political drama will be available from the off. Speaking to showrunner and playwright Beau Willimon, The NY Times wrote: “As television becomes less beholden to the schedule and more acclimated to the Web, [Willimon] said, ‘it might even dispense with episodes altogether. You might just get eight straight hours or 10 straight hours, and you decide where to pause.’”

Read: New way to deliver a drama: All 13 episodes in one sitting

In others news:

Sony to unveil PS3 successor

BSkyB to tailor adverts to users depending on postcode

HMV staffer claims responsibility for tweeting mass sacking

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg insists site is not making a phone

Samsung gains tablet market share as Apple lead narrows

Jessops brand sold to Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones

China manufacturing growth in slowdown

Readers' comments (1)

  • I always knew that the Borg were a force to be reckoned with.

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