Episode 5 Technobytes


Episode 5

Investigating new and future technology. This episode explores new tech in music-making, and whether humans will be able to live forever.


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Transcript


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This is Technobytes.

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You could call this show the perfect diet,

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all the flavour of Technobabble, but with less than half the calories.

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Time to check out the latest tricky tech topic via our randomly named

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messaging app.

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Vlogster, what is the future of music?

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Sound question. I love music.

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# Happy birthday to you! #

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# Congratulations! #

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# Celebrate good times, come on! #

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Loads of great music out there.

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Marcus is me man for this.

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I'm sending Marcus to an exciting London design company,

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who've been working on a new kind of musical instrument.

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He's going to meet the top dog, Roland Lamb,

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to discover everything there is to know about their radical keyboard.

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So this is a Seaboard, then?

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Sounds pretty exciting. What exactly does it do?

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Instead of having all those old school separate keys,

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you've got this one continuous wavelike surface.

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So we took the keys of the keyboard and made it into these waves

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-of a Seaboard.

-Right.

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How do you play it?

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We've come up with these five different dimensions of touch.

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-Right.

-So the first dimension is how you strike.

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I can strike, like gently, or I can strike it hard.

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-Right.

-Then secondly,

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you can control how you press after you've had your strike.

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Then you can glide to the left or the right,

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or you can slide up or down on the key.

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And then also, how you lift off, you can change the sound.

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That is so cool.

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How does the technology behind this actually work?

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The Seaboard has, like, a huge array of sensors

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underneath this soft surface.

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So it can detect exactly how you're touching it

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and where you're touching, all those dimensions of touch.

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And then the electronics read that information,

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and they turn it into data that can be read by our software.

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And then our software turns that data into sound.

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So what does this tech mean for the future of music?

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Well, I think it's going to make it much easier for people to make,

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like, all the different possible sounds

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that different instruments can make with one instrument.

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So it makes it easier for people to, like, make music at home,

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or in their bedrooms, because instead of having to, like,

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learn all these different instruments,

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they can learn the Seaboard

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and access this huge palette of possible sounds.

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I'm really excited about this.

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-Can I please have a go?

-Absolutely!

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Yeah, we have one set up in the studio,

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-why don't you come take a look?

-Thank you.

-All right.

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And to help you, Marcus, is a virtuoso called Marco.

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Can you show me how to play a Seaboard rise, please?

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Let's say we can play C.

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-And so you can play.

-I see what you did there, see!

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C, then G, middle.

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And then C again. So we can play...

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HE PLAYS A HIGH NOTE THAT GETS LOWER

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-Every note is good.

-All right.

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You do the low bit, and I'll do the high bit. Let's go.

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THEY PLAY THE SEABOARD

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I've never played an instrument like it.

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-I love it. Thank you very much, Marco.

-My pleasure.

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I'll tell you what, Vlogster, after all of that talk about music,

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I'm right in the mood for a bit of karaoke!

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Marcus, I thought you'd never ask!

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# Never going to give you up, never going to let you down,

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# Never going to run around and hurt you. #

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Maybe something a little bit more up-to-date, Vlogs?

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Hey, I can do modern!

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How about a piece of music you can hold in your hand?

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A company in New York has developed tech that transforms sound

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into a sculpture you can see, hear, feel and touch.

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Making an object out of music?

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That blows my mind a little bit, Vlogster.

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A bit too abstract for you, young Marcus?

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Well, how about this?

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Music straight from your brain.

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-My brain?

-Maybe not your brain.

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A slightly more brilliant brain.

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American artist Lisa Park makes music

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using a special headset that reads her brain's electrical activity

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and minuscule eye movements

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then clever computer software translates her brain waves

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into sound and vibrations to make thought music!

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I think that's awesome!

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-Like, totally.

-Tortilla, did you say?

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Well, here's another slice of hi-tech genius -

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-music you can eat.

-What?

-That's right.

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Dwight Chia from San Diego has taken the humble flour tortilla

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and turned it into a playable record,

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using a laser etching machine.

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It takes half an hour for the laser to cut the track's grooves

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into the tortilla, then the record will play for about 30 seconds.

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As ideas go, Vlogster, that's hard to BURRITO!

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Sorry, Marcus. Let's call that a WRAP(!)

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Marcus and I should really TACO 'bout our jokes!

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Hee-hee. Time to hear from you again.

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You know it's NACHO problem when you send in your questions.

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Hey, Vlogster, is there a chance I could live forever?

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Oh, deep. Let's see.

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Some people who want to live forever choose to have their bodies,

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or even just their heads, frozen, using liquid nitrogen.

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This is known as cryonic suspension.

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By supercooling things down this way, bacteria can't multiply,

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so cells in the body can survive much longer.

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But as yet, no-one has ever been successfully unfrozen.

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And though the clever cooling people are hopeful it will happen one day,

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they don't think that will be any time soon.

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There's another problem with cryonic suspension.

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You need to have popped your clogs first.

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So even if you could be successfully thawed out,

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you'd have to be brought back to life too,

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after potentially a few hundred years!

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Australian scientists have been doing tests on mice

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to rebuild the broken cells and muscles that cause ageing.

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They've been able to restore a two-year-old mouse

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back to the health of a six-month-old.

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That's the same as making your grandma as fit and as active

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as she was when she was 25!

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Tests on humans are now taking place,

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and some scientists think that one day

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all you'll need to do to stop from growing old is take a few tablets.

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Although that could set you back £20,000 a day.

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Other life-preserving boffins from around the world

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are working on a map of the human brain called the connectome.

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By better understanding how memories are made,

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researchers hope to make a computer model of the human brain

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that can store and recall old memories.

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In the future, it might mean that your grandchildren could see

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your memories well after you've gone.

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The next step would be for people to make a copy of their brain

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on a computer.

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Then, by uploading it into a robot,

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humans could essentially live forever!

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Imagine that! My jokes could live forever, and ever, and ever!

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Oh, no, we've run out of time.

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Typical! Ta-ta for now.

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Technobtyes is the snack-size version of CBBC's Technobabble which investigates new and future technology. This episode explores new tech in music-making, and whether humans will be able to live forever.


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