The image above is being drawn by Stephan Wiltshire, an autistic young man, who can draw city skylines accurately after taking one helicopter ride. Since 2009, Wiltshire has traveled to Tokyo, Rome, Hong Kong and other cities to perform his magic.
Leveling “Photographic Memory” Playing Field
Spanish researchers recently reported in Science that they have isolated a substance tested on mice that dramatically improves the ability to remember objects seen. The group has been studying a region of the visual cortex and found if they boost the availability of a protein called RGS-14, mice can more easily remember objects. Normal healthy mice have a memory capacity of about one hour; when given RGS-14 memory capacity increases to two months. If RGS-14 boosts visual memory in humans, we might be able to remember whatever we have seen: books, people, maps, architectural drawings or maybe even beautiful panoramic vistas like Wiltshire draws.
The March Of Science Continues To Amaze & Astound
According to researchers, the lion’s share of scientific knowledge has been discovered in just the past 10 years. Not only that, but the most groundbreaking and original results have appeared in the past year. As daily we read about progress in engineering, design, science and technology, “grand slams” seem to be the rule rather than the exception, with plenty of singles, doubles and triples mixed in for good measure.
As we have reported in IndustryTap, much of the progress comes from the increasing accumulation of knowledge through digitization and the Internet and new ways of processing, networking and sharing ideas. We are witnessing discoveries and insights that were not within the realm of possibility just a couple decades ago before information became freely available, shared and integrated.
In the following video, we follow Wiltshire as he visits Rome to draw it.
The fact is, scientific progress seems to have a mind of its own, or rather, a method to its madness. Practitioners continually ask questions, building on hypotheses proven as fact. They also clean the slate and clear away clutter by disproving theories that once held promise.
While space travel, fast cars and fancy gadgets are impressive, nothing seems to raise awareness and wonder like improvements or augmentation of human capabilities through genetics, synthetic biology or other disciplines. Will we all one day have perfect memories? We’ll have to wait and see, but we can take some comfort from humans like Wiltshire to whom it is second nature.