Mark Gasson, at the University of Reading, just caught something. A computer virus. Gasson claims to be the first man in the world to become infected with a computer virus.
But by “caught,” we mean he gave the virus to himself, and by “virus,” we mean a program that he designed.
Gasson put the virus in an RFID tag that was then implanted in Gasson’s hand. The tag—like the microchips used to track down missing dogs and cats—had allowed Gasson to open security doors and unlock his cell phone automatically. When infected, the tag spread its virus to other devices, for example, that door-opening system. If other people then used their own hand tags to open the door they could, hypothetically, also catch the virus.
Last night DiscoBlog traipsed down to the fairly swanky headquarters of giant advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, where the British-based ad folks recognized 10 “world-changing ideas”—inventions to improve people’s lives in one way or another.
The winner among the finalists was the LifeStraw, a foot-long filtering tube that purports to let you (or your friends in the developing world) drink even the filthiest, most microbe-infested water without getting sick. We’re not sure what the criteria were for winning this award—the LifeStraw isn’t exactly new, having been named a Best Invention of the Year by Time in 2005—but it seems a legitimately great item. Wiley event attendees insist they knew it would win because it fit in with what Saatchi chose in the past.
Whereas LifeStraw may indeed be the most world-changing “idea” at the event, it did not have the most compelling presentation. (Perhaps it was handicapped in this regard by the fact that the plentiful Saatchi-provided wine seemed to be downright hygienic.)
Some other finalists’ presentations were both more future-looking and more exciting for the short-attention-spanned blogger in all of us.
Bad at remembering names? What if all you had to do to remind yourself was center a crosshair on a person’s face and his name-perhaps even his Facebook profile-would pop into your field of view?
Engineers at the University of Washington have pushed our technologically primitive world closer to this Terminator-esque dream of augmented reality: They’ve manufactured contact lenses that contain electronic circuits and red LEDs-and taken pretty sweet pictures of rabbits showing them off. Read More