Not a lot of free time during the week, so this will be a short one. Implants are slowly getting there, the fashion world draws from video games, Halloween is almost here, the James Webb keeps delivering, and a cool story about the oldest night sky map ever found. Let’s start:
This year I have shared the development of light-based hearing implants, and this week I found this incredible brain implant to recover the sense of smell. It is actually a very trendy topic, because there has been a huge surpluss on people being unable to smell after suffering from COVID since the pandemic started.
The idea is quite simple: you build a sensor that detects odors and identifies them, and then a signal is sent to your brain, exciting your olfactory bulb with the correct signals related to specific scents. Of course, this is easier said than done, and technology is still far from perfect. But we are getting close.
Costanzo says he’s wary of hype and doesn’t want to give people the impression that a commercial device will be available any day now. But he does want to offer hope. Right now, the team is focused on getting the sensors to detect more than a few odors and figuring out how best to interface with the brain. “I think we’re several years away from cracking those nuts,” Costanzo says, “but I think it’s doable.”
WITH THIS BIONIC NOSE, COVID SURVIVORS MAY SMELL THE ROSES AGAIN, on IEEE Spectrum
This one made me think. It started as a simple article about the cross-influences between clothing and video games. With games becoming more and more realistic, it has become super common for designers to look up for clothing models in order to bring their creations alive. But inspiration goes both ways, and many designers have started to create clothing that looks like something out of a cyberpunk dystopian RPG. At first I thought the article to be quite superficial, and the clothing just the typical trend to sell overpriced jackets at a huge profit, but I think there is one point that grew on me: the gamification of clothing. The idea that people have started choosing clothes by considering not only fashion, but also the perks that a given piece could provide them, just like someone would use an ugly armour set in an action fantasy video game just because their health bar would be bigger.
It might seem like a crazy/stupid XXI century trend, but I think everyone will remember the feeling of jumping on a puddle with your new rain boots as a kid. I also vividly recall feeling faster while using a new suim suit in the pool. And that’s the interesting point here. It does not matter whether I really swam faster or not, the feeling was 100% real. And maybe that’s just what many people need nowadays.
Best holiday of the year is around the corner, and some websites already started giving recommendations on media to enjoy during Halloween. The people at The Verge made a list with very cool ideas (House of Leaves is a classic everyone should read at least once), but I would like to add a couple things I have watched this year. First, the opening season of The Sandman was fantastic, and it has one of the best horror episodes I have ever seen (titled “24/7”). Moreover, the second arc of the season revolves around a big group of serial murderers, with incredible scenes. Last, Mad God is a one way ticket beyond the sickest nightmares I could imagine (sensitive people, you have been warned).
The Verge’s favorite spooky Halloween entertainment, on The Verge
The Pillars of Creation
Astonishing images this week by the James Webb telescope. The Pillars of Creation with a level of detail never seen before. Also, a very interesting story on the search of the Hipparchus cataloge, involving archelogy expeditions on Egypt, multispectral imaging, and image processing techniques.
First known map of night sky found hidden in Medieval parchment, on Nature
NASA’s Webb Takes Star-Filled Portrait of Pillars of Creation, on NASA
And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!
Featured image: Pillars of Creation – James Webb telescope
Currently watching: The Bear