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Transhuman week: exploring the frontiers of human enhancement

September 5, 2012

Ekso exoskeleton

Wired U.K.‘s Transhuman Week seeks to navigate transhumanist issues through a series of features, galleries and expert guest posts from September 3 to 7.

Transhumanism explores the application of technology and science to enhance human bodies and minds regardless of whether they are perceived to have any disabilities, and extending human life. It  may include low-level biohacking, physical augmentation, performance-enhancing drugs and even genetic modification.

The London 2012… read more

Brain signals from a primate directly move paralyzed limbs in another primate ‘avatar’

February 24, 2014

Neural activity signals recorded from pre-motor neurons (top) are decoded and played back to control limb movements in a functionally paralyzed primate avatar (bottom) --- a step toward making brain-machine interfaces for paralyzed humans to control their own limbs using their brain activity alone (illustration adapted) (credit: Maryam M. Shanechi et al./Nature Communications)

Taking brain-machine interfaces (BMI) to the next level, new research may help paralyzed people move their own limb just by thinking about it.

Previous research has been limited to controlling external devices, such as robots or synthetic avatar arms.

In a paper published online Feb. 18 in Nature Communications, Maryam Shanechi, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University, working with Ziv Williams,… read more

World’s most human-like android head

April 26, 2013

GF2045

Dr. Dmitry Itskov, founder of the 2045 Initiative and Global Future 2045 congress (GF2045), announced Thursday that he will unveil Dr. David Hanson’s latest android, the Dmitry Avatar-A head — the “world’s most human-like android head” — at the GF2045 congress, scheduled for June 15–16 at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The new android, a robotic replica of Itskov’s head, is being created by… read more

Researchers prove that memories reside in specific brain cells

March 23, 2012

Mouse Hippocampus

In a new MIT study, researchers used optogenetics to show that memories reside in very specific brain cells, and that simply activating a tiny fraction of brain cells can recall an entire memory — explaining, for example, how Marcel Proust could recapitulate his childhood from the aroma of a once-beloved madeleine cookie.

“We demonstrate that behavior based on high-level cognition, such as the expression of a specific memory, can… read more

Scientists and bankers — a new model army

April 12, 2012

450px-New_York_City_Stock_Exchange_NYSE_03

Bankers must surrender more information on their activities to scientists to use it to build better system-wide financial models, says John Liechty, director of the Center for the Study of Global Financial Stability and Professor of Marketing and Statistics at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Existing financial models failed to predict the crisis of 2008 and the follow-on crisis of 2011–12. They missed the huge system-wide risks that… read more

Eureka! When a blow to the head creates a sudden genius

May 20, 2012

Stephen Wiltshire

How can we explain “acquired savants” — people with extraordinary talent who’ve miraculously developed artistic, musical, or mathematical abilities as a result of a brain injury, or temporarily from a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) session — since they weren’t born with the talent and didn’t learn it later?

For example, how is it that somebody like Derek Amato (video below), who’d never demonstrated any musical talent before hitting his head at the… read more

Gigabit Internet may be coming to 35 US cities

February 20, 2014

Google Fiber projects in the U.S. (credit: Google)

Google has invited cities in nine metro areas around the U.S. — 34 cities altogether — to “work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber” at gigabit speeds — “100 times faster than what most of us live with today,” said Milo Medin, VP, Google Access, writing on the Google Fiber blog.

“We aim to provide updates by the end… read more

Could synthetic fuels eliminate entire US need for crude oil, create ‘new economy’?

December 7, 2012

Graphical representation of the locations of selected facilities for 50% replacement of petroleum fuels. The facilities are represented by dark brown circles with corresponding sizes. The amounts of coal, biomass, and natural gas feedstock in the United States are represented by the proposed color scheme in the map legend. (Credit: Josephine A. Elia, Richard C. Baliban, and Christodoulos A. Floudas/Princeton University)

The U.S. could eliminate the need for crude oil by using a combination of coal, natural gas, and non-food crops to make synthetic fuel, a team of Princeton researchers has found.

Besides economic and national security benefits, the plan has potential environmental advantages. Because plants absorb carbon dioxide to grow, the United States could cut vehicle greenhouse emissions by as much as 50 percent in… read more

First personal thermal-imaging device for consumers

See-in-the-dark device acts as case for iPhone 5/5s; app captures photos, videos
January 9, 2014

FLIR ONE (Credit: FLIR)

FLIR Systems launched at CES the FLIR ONE, the first consumer-oriented thermal imaging system for a smartphone.

Acting as a case for the Apple iPhone 5 or 5s smartphone, the FLIR ONE displays a live thermal image on the phone’s screen, letting you see in complete darkness.

FLIR ONE senses heat rather than light, using the same professional thermal imaging technology that FLIR uses in its… read more

Radical genome recoding

First-ever entirely genomically reprogrammed organism
October 24, 2013

ChurchRecodingEColi360

In two parallel projects by Harvard’s Wyss Institute, researchers have created new genomes inside the bacterium E. coli in ways that test the limits of genetic reprogramming and open new possibilities for increasing flexibility, productivity. and safety in biotechnology.

The work was led by Dr. George Church, Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and founding core faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.… read more

Americans’ media consumption to soar in 2015

Predicts by 2015, average media consumption will be 15.5 hours a day per person
November 4, 2013

HMM

A total of 6.9 zettabytes of media flows to individuals and households in a year — that’s 6.9 million million gigabytes.… read more

Using large-scale brain simulations for machine learning and AI

June 27, 2012

unsupervised_icml2012_cat_and_face

The Google research team has been working on some new approaches to large-scale machine learningGoogle Official Blog reports.

Today’s machine learning technology takes significant work to adapt to new uses. For example, say we’re trying to build a system that can distinguish between pictures of cars and motorcycles.

In the standard machine learning approach, we first have to collect tens of thousands of pictures that have already been

read more

Desktop-printing electronic circuits, other nanofabricated devices

To replace multibillion-dollar centralized facilities with desktop printers for nanofabrication of electronic and biotech devices in two years
July 23, 2013

Inductors, capacitors and a SAW sensor created by actuated BPL. The scale bar is 1 mm.

A much-anticipated, low-cost, high-resolution desktop nanofabrication tool promises to revolutionize fabrication of electronic circuits and other nanofabricated devices, according to a new study by Northwestern University researchers.

“With this breakthrough, we can construct very high-quality materials and devices, such as processing semiconductors over large areas, said Chad A. Mirkin, senior author of the study and a world-renowned pioneer in the field of nanoscience.

And… read more

Capturing black hole spin could further understanding of galaxy growth

August 1, 2013

black hole spin courtesy of nasa-jpl-caltech

Durham University Astronomers have found a new way of measuring the spin in supermassive black holes, which could lead to better understanding about how they drive the growth of galaxies.

The astronomers observed a black hole — with a mass 10 million times that of our Sun — at the center of a spiral galaxy 500 million light years from Earth while it was feeding on the… read more

IBM to take Watson to the cloud, opens to app developers

November 14, 2013

A hypothetical Watson medical app (credit: IBM)

IBM announced today that it will make its IBM Watson technology available to developers in the cloud so they can build apps using Watson.

IBM will be launching the IBM Watson Developers Cloud, a cloud-hosted marketplace for resources including a developer toolkit, educational materials, and access to Watson’s application programming interface (API).

Resources for developers

App providers can use their own company’s data, or access the IBM Watson Contentread more

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