I read about this show in passing a few weeks ago so I asked TiVo to get it for me, and watched the first Episode (101) over the weekend.  I have to say it is probably the most interesting, intelligent, and still entertaining science show on TV right now (if you know of others, let me know).

http://www.pbs.org/kcet/wiredscience/episode

The episode I watched showed a demo (with the designer/author) of Photosynth.  I first saw this software demoed on a TED video and then I downloaded the demo to try it out myself.  If you haven’t seen this technology yet it is really worth looking at.  It basically takes a bunch of pictures of a particular building or object and combines them to create a mosaic of the pictures in three dimensions – very cool idea and technology.

The show checked out a visual “face reader” that attempts to read the mood, thoughts, and attitude of a person on camera from their facial expressions.  They started out looking for software that would help with user interaction, but ended up considering it for use with people with forms of autism that can not read other people’s faces very well and therefore are awkward socially.

The segment that most got to me was one called “Dangerous Science” which was well researched and presented the case that chemistry sets that kids get “nowadays” have removed some of the most exciting (and compelling) experiments because of the potentially dangerous outcomes (which was always true, but why ruin it for everyone?). They even showed how modern “chemistry sets” come with no chemicals at all (just some plastic “labware” and instructions on where to find the “chemicals” in most kitchens).  There has to be some compromise possible between just making another vinegar/baking soda volcano and being called a terrorist for wanting to make a little contact explosive.  Anyway ….

I am sure they will rerun these – TiVo taped mine in the middle of the night.  A few segments are available online.