In the Future, We Will Wear the Internet

Michio Kaku: We all love the movie, The Matrix and the holodeck. And the question is, when will we be able to enter a room and create this imaginary scenario that’s so realistic that it seems as if we are really there?  It turns out that we scientists are making progress in that direction even as we speak. 

First of all, in the future, the internet will be in your contact lens. You will blink and you will go online. You will see individuals and their biography will appear and subtitles will appear if they speak in Chinese. So you will always know who you’re talking to and what they are saying even if they speak in a different language..

Now think about this: if you have internet contact lenses, then you can imagine and conjure up different kinds of bizarre universes. Just like in “The Matrix,” you can be thrust into an alien environment. You could have shoot outs with aliens. You can have all sorts of wondrous things take place inside your contact lens.  But then the trick is what happens if you move?  What happens if you touch things?  Well, the military has constructed something called "omni-directional treadmills."  It’s a treadmill in any direction.

Now I had a chance to take a film crew from the Science Channel down to Ft Benning, Georgia, where we filmed me inside the omni-directional treadmill. I was surrounded by 360 degree screens showing the image of Baghdad. I had a backpack and then as I walked, I could walk in any direction and always wind up in the same place.  But as I moved, everything around me moved. The streets of Baghdad changed every time I ran in any direction.

The last thing that’s missing is a sense of touch. That’s where haptic technology comes in. Haptic technology is the ability to create the feel of a virtual reality.  Now how does that work? Let’s say you have a platform with thousands of vertical pins such that when you put your hand on this platform, the pins then conform to the fingers because each pin is governed by a computer.  Therefore, if you put your hand on this set of pins, you can duplicate any texture that you want. 

So in some sense if you’re surrounded by these haptic devices, you’ll be able to touch objects and think that you’re actually touching skin or touching wood or touching metal.  And then you have the internet contact lens and then you’re surrounded by 360 degree screens with an omni-directional treadmill, you’re getting awfully close to “The Matrix.”

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

When will we be able to enter a room and create an imaginary scenario so realistic that it seems as if we are really there? Sooner than you think, says Dr. Kaku.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

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  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.