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How to use mind-controlled robots in manufacturing, medicine

December 6, 2013

robot control via bci

University at Buffalo researchers are developing brain-computer interface (BCI) devices to mentally control robots.

“The technology has practical applications that we’re only beginning to explore,” said Thenkurussi “Kesh” Kesavadas, PhD, UB professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of UB’s Virtual Reality Laboratory. “For example, it could help paraplegic patients to control assistive devices, or it could help factory workers perform advanced… read more

It might be possible to restore lost memories

Memories not stored in synapses, neurobiologist finds
December 22, 2014

Synapse (credit: Curtis Neveu/Wikimedia Commons)

New UCLA research indicates that lost memories can be restored, offering hope for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

For decades, most neuroscientists have believed that memories are stored at the synapses — the connections between brain cells, or neurons — which are destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. The new study provides evidence contradicting the idea that long-term memory is stored at synapses.

“Long-term memory is not… read more

Brainwave training boosts brain network for cognitive control

October 25, 2012

eeg_amplitide_change_during_feedback

Researchers at  University of Western Ontario and the Lawson Health Research Institute have found that functional changes within a key brain network occur directly after a 30-minute session of noninvasive, neurofeedback training.

Background

Dysfunction of this cognitive-control network has previously been implicated in a range of brain disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

During neurofeedback, users learn to… read more

A virus that kills cancer: the cure that’s waiting in the cold

September 5, 2012

oncolytic_virus

Professor Magnus Essand has developed a virus that may kill cancer cells, The Telegraph reports.

Cheap to produce, the virus is exquisitely precise, with only mild, flu-like side-effects in humans. But Ad5[CgA-E1A-miR122]PTD is never going to be tested to see if it might also save humans, due to lack of funding.

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New multilayer graphene structure allows ‘ultraprecise,’ ‘ultrafast’ water filtering

Next step: reduce the filter size to filter out even the smallest salts like in seawater for drinkable water -- "no longer science fiction"
February 18, 2014

graphene_water

University of Manchester researchers have taken another key step toward a seawater filter: they’ve developed one-atom-wide graphene-oxide (GO) capillaries by building multilayer GO membranes (laminates).

As described in Science, these new laminates allow for “ultraprecise” selection of molecules that can go through the filter and “ultrafast” flow of water.

The new GO filters have an “astonishingly” accurate mesh that allows them to distinguish between atomic species… read more

Self-braking cars will save thousands of lives

October 8, 2012

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How effective are systems that warn a driver about an impending front collision, then slam on the brakes if the driver doesn’t act quickly enough?

A lot, says a paper recently published in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, IEEE Spectrum Tech Talk reports.

Researchers at Virginia Tech’s Center for Injury Biomechanics studied systems that rely on radar to tell the car when it is coming… read more

Controlling heat like light

New approach using nanoparticle alloys allows heat to be focused or reflected just like electromagnetic waves
January 15, 2013

An MIT researcher has developed a technique that provides a new way of manipulating heat, allowing it to be controlled much as light waves can be manipulated by lenses and mirrors.

The approach relies on engineered materials consisting of nanostructured semiconductor alloy crystals.

Heat is a vibration of matter — technically, a vibration of the atomic lattice of a material — just as sound… read more

The Human Brain Project has officially begun

Scientists from the 135 partner institutions meeting in Switzerland this week
October 7, 2013

BlueBrain_web

On Monday, October 7, 2013, scientists from the 135 partner institutions of the Human Brain Project — “the world’s most ambitious neuroscience project”— met at EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), the coordinating institution, in Switzerland.

Over the course of the coming week, neuroscientists, doctors, computer scientists, and roboticists will fine-tune the project’s details.

Six months after its selection by the EU as one… read more

Fukushima fuel pool is urgent national security issue for America, ‘top threat facing humanity’

May 7, 2012

Fukushima

After visiting Fukushima, Senator Ron Wyden warned that the situation was worse than reported, Washington’s Blog reports … and urged Japan to accept international help to stabilize dangerous spent fuel pools.

Wyden said that the spent fuel is a national security threat to the U.S.: “The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West… read more

Over-65s at increased risk of developing dementia with benzodiazepine

October 1, 2012

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Patients over the age of 65 who begin taking benzodiazepine (a popular drug used to treat anxiety and insomnia) are at an approximately 50% increased risk of developing dementia within 15 years compared to never-users, an open access study published on bmj.com suggests.

The authors say that “considering the extent to which benzodiazepines are prescribed and the number of potential adverse effects, indiscriminate widespread use… read more

Cosmo Wenman’s mind-blowing 3D-printed sculptures

October 22, 2012

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Cosmo Wenman is a California artist who has just reminded us not to limit our imaginations when it comes to what can be made, MakerBot Blog reports.

The horse head and human bust you see here were made entirely of MakerBot PLA Filament (White) on the original MakerBot Replicator.

“We believe so strongly in the potential of the… read more

With evolved brains, robots creep closer to animal-like learning

February 7, 2013

aracna

Get ready for four-legged bots of all shapes and sizes — and for all sorts of uses — that learn how to maneuver through landscapes with the grace of a cheetah, Fast Company reports.

The most nightmare-inducing characteristic of Big Dog, DARPA’s robotic military mule, might be the way it moves so stiffly, yet unrelentingly, over treacherous battleground. Turns out the repetitive mechanical gait that… read more

Sony announces PS4 PlayStation

February 21, 2013

Sony PS4 controller (credit: Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.)

The PlayStation 4, as you’d expect for a seven-years-later follow-up, has impressively bumped specs. An eight-core X86 AMD “Jaguar” CPU and a 1.84 Teraflop AMD Radeon graphics engine (with “18 compute units”) comprise the central processing on the PS4, CNET reports.

There’s also 8GB of fast GDDR5 memory. The PS4 will use a hard drive for storage versus an SSD, but the included capacity in the box… read more

New type of molecular tag makes MRI 10,000 times more sensitive

Could detect biochemical processes in opaque tissue without requiring PET radiation or CT x-rays
March 25, 2016

Duke scientists have discovered a new class of inexpensive and long-lived molecular tags that enhance MRI signals by 10,000-fold. To activate the tags, the researchers mix them with a newly developed catalyst (center) and a special form of hydrogen (gray), converting them into long-lived magnetic resonance “lightbulbs” that might be used to track disease metabolism in real time. Credit: Thomas Theis, Duke University

Duke University researchers have discovered a new form of MRI that’s 10,000 times more sensitive and could record actual biochemical reactions, such as those involved in cancer and heart disease, and in real time.

Let’s review how MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) works: MRI takes advantage of a property called spin, which makes the nuclei in hydrogen atoms act like tiny magnets. By generating a strong… read more

White House announces new US ‘open access’ policy

A "massive sellout" to big publishers, with 12-month embargo on research, says a PLOS founder
February 25, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

The White House said Friday that publications from taxpayer-funded research should be available to you, but only after a year’s delay.

“The Obama Administration is committed to the proposition that citizens deserve easy access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for,” the memo said.

But that doesn’t mean fast access. And the policy would, strangely, only apply to Federal agencies with more… read more

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