Danny Hillis, founder of Thinking Machines, spoke at eTech today, where he described his current company, Applied Minds, and the kinds of consulting and design work they perform. He showed some fascinating videos of some of the mobile robots they’ve worked on, but there wasn’t much real content beyond that. Still, the video of the mobile snake robot made this talk worth attending. The hi-tech SUV he showed must be seen to be believed!
Ahh, now for some serious stuff: Danny describes some of their work in analyzing the blood of cancer patients with an eye towards developing custom, personalized drug treatments.
Another interesting project revolves around shareable electronic maps. The video for this showed a very large electronic map, complete with layers and controlled using his hands. It was shown at a map-makers conference that would dwarf this one: 15,000 attendees! (I’m fascinated by maps, but had no idea that so many others shared this interest.)
The last short video of a 3D map that actually deformed to represent mountains, etc. It wasn’t a 3D view on a computer screen, but rather an actual physical map under computer control. Wow!
He concluded with some thoughts about the current world of blogs, wikis, APIs, etc. Essentially, we less and less live in a static world anymore, but rather work in a shared, collaborative, interactive and remixed world.