Nanotech and Biotech Research at Singularity University, Silicon Valley – inspiring stuff!


Last night while flicking through the channels I stumbled on a 60 minutes story about the Singularity University (Silicon Valley) and two brothers from New Zealand who, out of 3000 applications worldwide, were accepted in to 2 of only 120 places at the university.

For starters, it blew me away to think these guys grew up minutes from where I spent a few of my childhood years – that would be the little ol’ sleepy suburban area of Torbay on the North Shore (Auckland, NZ) – and even went to nearby Rangitoto College. But how awesome is it that not one but two people from the same family, could turn out to be such amazing scientists as to be accepted in to the very epicenter of the technology and research world for their outstanding biotech and nanotech skills! It easily intrigued me enough to want to do a little more research on the Singularity University and Luke and David Hutchison, and to blog about it…

Singularity University
Founded in 2008 and located on the site of NASA’s research facility Ames campus in the Silicon Valley, the Singularity University, is the school of the future. The major corporate founders providing $250K + are Google, Inc, Autodesk and ePlanet Ventures, while many more big names make up the lesser amounts.

The Singularity University’s mission (from their website) is:

“to assemble, educate and inspire leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges. With the support of a broad range of leaders in academia, business and government, Singularity University hopes to stimulate groundbreaking, disruptive thinking and solutions aimed at solving some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.”

Their CEO said in the story last night that they ‘gather the really top entrepreneurs, brightest students, people interested in the world’s biggest problems’ and get them to look at where technology is today and predict where it will be in 5, 20, or more years down the track.

Both Luke and David Hutchison were graduate students from top US universities; here’s a bit of background of what they’re working on at Singularity: 

Luke Hutchison – Biotechnology focus
Fluent in English, French, Korean, and Chinese with a strong interest in North Korean human rights. “If you lose an arm you should be able to grow a new arm…grow a second heart in your chest cavity when the old one runs out.” In the future we become “hybrid machine organisms – we’re already there – we use machines every day of our lives to make them better.” Blog: Luke Huchison and MetaLev Twitter: @metalev

David Hutchison – Nanotechnology focus
Graduated from Brigham Young University, currently a Ph.D Candidate at Cornell University. The future is the “creation of small nano machines that are running around inside our body carrying oxygen to our cells.” David is already manipulating matter on the atomic scale and says the creation of microscopic robots is just around the corner. Blog: Singularity University 2010 Twitter: @davidnhutch

Singularity University Co-Founder and Chariman Peter Diamandis and Chancellor Ray Kurzweil (author, inventor and futurist) both feature in the story as well. If topics such as nanobots mapping your brain to provide ‘back-ups’, immortality sustained by technology, colonizing space to avoid overcrowding on Earth, and the merging of human/machine has got you intrigued, I’d definitely recommend checking out the video report for a start.

Here’s a final quote from Peter Diamandis:

“Humans are in one sense machines that wear down…so what if you had the ability to rearrange your heart, lung, skin, anything back to how you were when you were 20?…Basically immortality is one consequence of nanotechnology…the ability to literally live long enough to live forever, where you would have the option to choose to live as long as you wish”.

 He predicts this is only 30-50 years from now…

You can watch the full 15 minute story on the TV3 website here:  The brain boxes and the university like no other.