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Wheelchair Makes the Most of Brain Control

September 13, 2010


A robotic wheelchair that combines brain control via EEG with artificial intelligence to make it easier for people to maneuver it using only their thoughts has been developed by researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

The approach, known as “shared control,” could help paralyzed people gain new mobility by turning crude brain signals into more complicated commands.

Patients don’t need to continuously instruct the… read more

What’s Missing From Our Cognitive Toolkit’?

January 20, 2011

(National Institute of Mental Health)

There’s a rich discussion of aspects of this question (proposed by Steven Pinker) on What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?

What’s wrong with the electric grid?

October 10, 2003

Experts widely agree that failures of the power-transmission system such as the recent Northeast United States blackout are a nearly unavoidable product of a collision between the physics of the system and the economic rules that now regulate it.

To avoid future incidents, the nation must either physically transform the system to accommodate the new rules, or change the rules to better mesh with the power grid’s physical behavior.

What’s the purpose of life?

May 15, 2002

Ray Kurzweil and Gregory Stock debated “BioFuture or MachineFuture?” at the recent Foresight meeting.

What’s Next?

June 11, 2002

Twelve scientists have predicted the next great inventions.
They include:

  • Ray Kurzweil: A three-dimensional molecular computer and a system for sending microscopic intelligent robots into the human bloodstream to fight pathogens, rebuild bodies, provide full-immersion VR and establish direct mental connections to the Internet.
  • Daniel Branagan, Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory: Nanotech alloys to create a new class of highly wear- and
  • read more

    What’s Next In Augmented Reality?

    October 21, 2009

    At this week’s International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality, researchers will present systems designed to push the boundaries of AR–allowing users to interact with and manipulate virtual data, share real and virtual space with others, and see real time information around them.

    What’s next for the Internet

    July 5, 2007

    If you think of the World Wide Web as a cloud of largely undifferentiated information, the mission of Radar Networks is to take that cloud and impose order on it via the semantic Web — moving from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0.

    What’s next for NASA? 10 wild newly funded projects

    August 19, 2012


    What’s next for NASA now that Curiosity has touched down on Mars?

    For a sneak peek into what the space agency has in store, take a look at the 28 proposals for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, which gives out awards of $100,000 and $500,000 for ideas that have the potential to “transform future aerospace missions.”

    Here are 10 of the most fantastic projects that… read more

    What’s Next for E Ink

    June 2, 2010

    The picture on E Ink’s latest prototypes has a better color gamut, and a higher-resolution black and white screen with better contrast. The company expects to create screens that can also do video by the end of the year.

    What’s Next for Computer Interfaces?

    December 11, 2008

    A project called nanoTouch, developed at Microsoft Research, tackles the challenges of adding touch sensitivity to ever-shrinking displays. A gadget would have a front that is entirely a display, a back that is entirely touch- sensitive, and a side that features buttons.

    Perceptive Pixel describes software that recognizes how hard a user is pressing a surface. If they press hard on an image of, say, a playing card and… read more

    What’s killing supercentenarians? Amyloidosis, suggest two gerontologists

    May 28, 2012


    In a newly published review, Dr. Stephen Coles and Robert Young of the UCLA Gerontology Research Group have identified what may be killing supercentenarians: amyloidosis — and drugs to treat it could extend lifespan beyond current limits, Extreme Longevity reports.

    Supercentenarians are persons who have lived beyond the age of 110. Currently there are only about 80 such known individuals in the world whose age is verified. The world… read more

    What’s Augmented Reality’s Killer App?

    September 23, 2009

    With Mobilizy’s just-released Augmented Reality Mark-up Language (ARML), programmers can more easily create location-based content for AR applications — the equivalent of HTML for the Web.

    Whatever happened to machines that think?

    April 21, 2005

    “I believe we are heading towards a singularity and we will see it in less than 10 years,” says Doug Lenat of Cycorp, which is putting an artificial brain called Cyc online for the world to interact with.

    Opening Cyc up to the masses is expected to accelerate the rate at which it learns, giving it access to the combined knowledge of millions of people around the globe as… read more

    What zebrafish can teach us about healing brain damage

    November 11, 2012


    The zebrafish regenerates its brain after injury, unlike mammals. Is there something we can learn about the process that might help with traumatic brain injury  and neurodegenerative disorders?

    A research team at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), Germany decided to investigate.

    They found that that in zebrafish — in contrast to mammals — inflammation is a positive regulator of neuronal regeneration in the… read more

    What would you prefer: a robot that takes care of you, or the opposite?

    July 9, 2013

    Robot butler Nao, a social robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics vs. robot-simulating mom (credit:  Aldebaran Robotics)

    To determine how human perception of a robot changes based on its role, Penn State researchers observed 60 interactions between college students and Nao, a social robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics, a French company specializing in humanoid robots.

    Each interaction could go one of two ways. The human could help Nao calibrate its eyes, or Nao could examine the human’s eyes like a concerned eye doctor and make suggestions to… read more

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