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Implantable ‘stentrode’ to allow paralyzed patients to control an exoskeleton with their mind

UC Berkeley spinoff also announces lighter, lower-cost Phoenix exoskeleton
February 10, 2016

(credit: University of Melbourne)

A DARPA-funded research team has created a novel minimally invasive brain-machine interface and recording device that can be implanted into the brain through blood vessels, reducing the need for invasive surgery and the risks associated with breaching the blood-brain barrier when treating patients for physical disabilities and neurological disorders.

The new technology, developed by University of Melbourne medical researchers under DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET)read more

Could humans ever regenerate limbs?

February 10, 2016

finger regrowth ft

Just lopped off your ring finger slicing carrots (some time in the future)? No problem. Just speed-read this article while you’re waiting for the dronebulance. …

“Epimorphic regeneration” — growing digits, maybe even limbs, with full 3D structure and functionality — may one day be possible. So say scientists at Tulane University, the University of Washington, and the University of Pittsburgh, writing in a review article just published in… read more

New cryopreservation procedure wins Brain Preservation Prize

First preservation of the connectome demonstrated in a whole brain
February 9, 2016

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The Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) has announced that a team at 21st Century Medicine led by Robert McIntyre, PhD., has won the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize, which carries an award of $26,735.

The Small Mammalian Brain Preservation Prize was awarded after the determination that the protocol developed by McIntyre, termed Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation, was able to preserve an entire rabbit brain with well-preserved ultrastructure, including… read more

How to ‘weld’ neurons with a laser

February 9, 2016

An illustration of how a femtosecond laser pulse is delivered to the target point between an axon and a neuronal soma (credit: the authors)

University of Alberta researchers have developed a method of connecting neurons using ultrashort laser pulses. The technique gives researchers complete control over the cell connection process and could lead to new research and treatment methods, including physical reattachment of severed neurons right after injury, the researchers say.

The team’s findings are published in the open-access Nature journal Scientific Reports.


After putting two neurons in a special… read more

Powering brain implants without wires with thin-film wireless power transmission system

Avoids risk of infections through skull opening and leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, and allows for free-moving subjects and more flexible uses of brain-computer interfaces
February 8, 2016

wireless power to brain-ft.

A research team at Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan has fabricated an implanted wireless power transmission (WPT) device to deliver power to an implanted neural interface system, such as a brain-computer interface (BCI) device.

Described in an open-access paper in Sensors journal, the system avoids having to connect an implanted device to an external power source via wires through a hole in the skull, which can… read more

Impact of automation puts up to 85% of jobs in developing countries at risk

February 8, 2016

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A new report from the Oxford Martin School and Citi considers the risks of job automation to developing countries, estimated to range from 55% in Uzbekistan to 85% in Ethiopia — a substantial share in major emerging economies, including China and India (77% and 69% respectively).

The report, Technology at Work v2.0: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be, builds on 2013 research by Oxford Martin… read more

Mitochondria trigger cell aging, researchers discover

How to rejuvenate or prevent aging in human and mice cells
February 5, 2016

Components of a typical mitochondrion (credit: Kelvinsong/Creative Commons)

An international team of scientists led by João Passos at Newcastle University has for the first time shown that mitochondria (the “batteries” of the cells) are major triggers for aging, and eliminating them upon the induction of senescence prevents senescence in the aging mouse liver.

As we grow old, cells in our bodies accumulate different types of damage and have increased inflammation, factors that are thought to contribute… read more

CMU announces research project to reverse-engineer brain algorithms, funded by IARPA

A Human Genome Project-level plan to make computers learn like humans
February 5, 2016

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Carnegie Mellon University is embarking on a five-year, $12 million research effort to reverse-engineer the brain and “make computers think more like humans,” funded by the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). The research is led by Tai Sing Lee, a professor in the Computer Science Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC).

The research effort, through IARPA’s… read more

Future of drug delivery seen in a crystal ball

Not flakey --- and a few 100 times stronger than liposomes
February 3, 2016


A Drexel University materials scientist has discovered a way to encapsulate medication to deliver it more effectively inside the body.

Until now, crystals have grown in rigid, structured formations (like the snowflake) — with a web of straight lines connecting to making a grid that grows into the crystalline flake.*

But the formation of a crystal is affected by the environment in which it forms. And Christopherread more

How to efficiently convert carbon dioxide from air to methanol fuel

A twofer: sustainable fuel source from greenhouse gas emissions
February 3, 2016


Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute have created fuel out of thin air — directly converting carbon dioxide from air into methanol at relatively low temperatures for the first time. While methanol can’t currently compete with oil, it will be there when we run out of oil, the researchers note.

The researchers bubbled air through an aqueous solution of pentaethylenehexamine (PEHA), adding… read more

Mayo Clinic researchers extend lifespan by up to 35 percent in mice

February 3, 2016

Aged mice with and without senescent cell clearance (credit: Mayo Clinic)

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have discovered that senescent cells — cells that no longer divide and accumulate with age — shorten lifespan by as much as 35 percent in normal mice.

Removing these aging cells delays tumor formation, preserves tissue and organ function, and extends lifespan without observed adverse effects, the researchers found, writing Feb. 3 in Nature.

“Cellular senescence is a biological mechanism that functions as… read more

NASA engineers to build first integrated-photonics modem

A step toward revolutionary integrated photonics on a chip
February 2, 2016

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A NASA team plans to build the first integrated-photonics modem, using an emerging, potentially revolutionary technology that could transform everything from telecommunications, medical imaging, advanced manufacturing to national defense.

The cell phone-sized device incorporates optics-based functions, such as lasers, switches, and fiber-optic wires, onto a microchip similar to an integrated circuit found in all electronics hardware.

The device will be tested aboard the International Space Station beginning… read more

US could see substantial impact of Zika virus, warns researcher

WHO director declares "public health emergency of international concern"; virus believed to cause microcephaly in newborns, mild flu-like symptoms in adults, children
February 1, 2016

Countries that have past or current evidence of Zika virus transmission (as of January 2016) (credit: CDC)

A researcher at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) warns that Zika virus could spread quickly to the U.S. There is currently no vaccine or cure.

WHO director general Margaret Chan, M.D., declared on Feb. 1 that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in… read more

Swarm of aquatic robots learns to cooperate by themselves

February 1, 2016


Portuguese researchers have demonstrated the first swarm of intelligent aquatic surface robots in a real-world environment.

Swarms of aquatic robots have the potential to scale to hundreds or thousands of robots and cover large areas, making them ideal for tasks such as environmental monitoring, search and rescue, and maritime surveillance. They can replace expensive manned vessels and can put the crew out of danger in many maritime missions.… read more

Scientists discover how the human brain folds

Understanding how the brain folds could help unlock the inner workings of the brain and unravel brain-related disorders, as function often follows form
February 1, 2016

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Folded brains likely evolved to fit a large cortex into a small volume, with the added benefit of reducing neuronal wiring length and improving cognitive function. But how does the brain fold?

A simple mechanical instability associated with buckling, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, collaborating with scientists in Finland and France, have discovered in research published in Nature Physics.… read more

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