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How to learn things automatically

December 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Decoded Neurofeedback

OK, this one’s right out of The Matrix and The Manchurian Candidate.

Imagine watching a computer screen while lying down in a brain imaging machine and automatically learning how to play the guitar or lay up hoops like Shaq O’Neal, or even how to recuperate from a disease — without any conscious knowledge.

Researchers at Boston University (BU) and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan… read more

How to Live Forever*

May 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

buster

* Results may vary 

I love the premise: take off on a global trek to interview the world’s oldest people, top health and fitness gurus, and smartest life-extension scientists, and ask one question: what’s your secret? 

In How To Live Forever, a new film from Variance Films (opening in New York Friday May 13 and L.A. May 20), producer/director Mark Wexler (Seeing Double, Me & My Matchmaker,read more

How to make movies of what the brain sees

September 23, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

brainstorm

Remember the movie Brainstorm? Imagine watching someone’s dream, or tapping directly into the mind of a coma patient. University of California, Berkeley scientists claim they have finally achieved this classic futuristic movie “mind reading” trope. Sorta.

They’re using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models to decode and reconstruct people’s dynamic visual experiences.

So far, the technology can only reconstruct movie clips you’ve… read more

How to measure emotions

July 6, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Q Sensor Curve is designed to wear on the wrist, so it is comfortable and unobtrusive to wear all day at work, play, or sleep. This makes it ideal for long-term measurement in clinical and therapeutic research. (Credit: Affectiva)

Are you a geek who has trouble “reading” people? Now there new hope.

Research at the MIT Media Lab and the University of Cambridge to help people on the autism spectrum has spawned two new technologies to measure emotional response, along with a company called Affectiva to market them.

In the videos below, MIT’s Dr. Rosalind Picard demonstrates these technologies.

The Affectiva Qread more

How to preserve competing memories by zapping your brain

July 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Attention, mind-control victims: mad scientists want to zap your brain. But you knew that.

It’s a problem every student has when cramming for an exam: some of the information is usually forgotten. The common belief is that your brain simply doesn’t have the capacity necessary to process both memories in quick succession. But is that true?

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) decided… read more

How to Prevent a Global Aging Crisis

July 17, 2010 by David Despain

Chronic diseases and aging. The incidence of major chronic diseases rises exponentially with age, as shown: cardiovascular disease (blue squares) [data from (32) , cancer (red diamonds) [data from (32) , AD (gray squares) [data from (33) , and influenza-associated hospitalization (green triangles)"]. Incidence rates are normalized to the first data point. (Illustration: AAAS)

A handful of forward-thinking biogerontologists has joined together to offer a new direction for aging intervention. Their commentary, published July 14 in Science Translational Medicine, presents the case for preventing what the scientists call an “unprecedented global aging crisis”—a sharp rise in the numbers of retired elderly in developing and industrialized nations across the world.

From both a humane and economic standpoint, a world with too many sick… read more

How to read a mouse’s mind

Could be a useful tool for studying new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's
February 21, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

A tiny microscope<br />
equipped with a microendoscope images cells expressing GCaMP3 (credit: Yaniv Ziv et al./Nature Neuroscience)

Want to read a mouse’s mind — observing hundreds of neurons firing in the brain of a live mouse in real time — to see how it creates memories as it explores an environment?

You’ll just need some fluorescent protein and a tiny digital microscope implanted in the rodent’s head, Stanford University scientists say.

Here’s how:

1. First, you catch your mouse.

2. Light… read more

How to remote-control a robot on another planet

July 4, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

justin_the_robot

Meet Justin, an android on Earth who will soon be controlled remotely by an astronaut in the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. The astronaut will don an exoskeleton to remotely control Justin.

The long-range goal: explore the Moon and planets with tele-operated robots.

How to remotely hack into Wi-Fi networks and cell-phone calls

August 3, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

WASP

Ever want to fly a remote-controlled plane over houses, recording cell-phone conversations and text messages at random and hacking into Wi-Fi networks and computers?

Well, first, click here and report yourself. Then check out the Defcon session (August 4–7, Las Vegas) by Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins on the latest version of their WASP (Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform).

“This session has everything… read more

How to see quantum images and survive (I hope)

March 1, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Sun and Allan test out the Stellerator (credit: Nick Herbert)

Physicists have designed several wild experiments to see if humans can see quantum images.

The latest, just described in the Physics arXiv Blog: Geraldo Barbosa at Northwestern University plans to use a laser beam shaped into an image, such as the letter A.

This laser beam hits a non-linear crystal, generating entangled pairs of photons that retain this image shape and are detected by human eyeballs.

(Hmm,… read more

How to stimulate your brain by shining light through your ears

August 15, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Valkee NPT-1000 bright-light headset (Valkee Ltd)

Ever want to just like, lie down and shine bright white light at the intensity of the Sun into your ears to see if that will wake you up from your deep depression? Me neither.

But Finnish people are apparently desperate. Especially in Winter, when they get as little as four to six hours of Sun a day. So neuroscientists at the University of Oulu in Finland… read more

How to synthesize a new kind of yeast cell — or person

September 19, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Dr._Moreau

Scientists, in theory, could one day create whole new lifeforms, going way beyond simple cloning, new research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests.

The scientists have now replaced the DNA in a yeast chromosome with computer-designed, synthetically produced DNA (structurally distinct from its original DNA), producing a healthy yeast cell.

So perhaps one day, a mad scientist could even create an entirely new… read more

How Watson works: a conversation with Eric Brown, IBM Research Manager

January 31, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

IBM Watson

For nearly two years IBM scientists have been working on a highly advanced Question Answering (QA) system, codenamed “Watson.” The scientists believe that the computing system will be able to understand complex questions and answer with enough precision, confidence, and speed to compete in the first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition, which will air on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011.

We had some questions, so we spoke… read more

How your memories can be twisted under social pressure

July 4, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

False memories show a strong co-activation and connectivity between two brain areas: the hippocampus and the amygdala (credit: Weizmann Institute)

Listen up, Facebook and Twitter groupies: how easily can social pressure affect your memory?

Very easily, researchers at the Weizmann Institute and University College London have proved, and they think they even know what part of the brain is responsible.

The participants conformed to the group on these “planted” responses, giving incorrect answers nearly 70% of the time.

Volunteers watched a… read more

Humanity in jeopardy

"We should spend 1% of GDP studying singularity issues and deciding what to do," says Max Tegmark
January 13, 2014 by Max Tegmark

Watson vs. humans, January 13, 2011 (credit: IBM)

Exactly three years ago, on January 13, 2011, humans were dethroned by a computer on the quiz show Jeopardy! A year later, a computer was licensed to drive cars in Nevada, after being judged safer than a human. (link to article)

What’s next? Will computers eventually beat us at all tasks, developing superhuman intelligence?

I have little doubt that this can happen: our brains are a bunch of particles obeying the laws of… read more

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