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Sense of direction is hard-wired

June 18, 2010

The brain comes hard-wired with working navigational neurons, research with rat pups by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience suggests.

These neurons sense heading, place, and grid (where the animal is in space and how far it has traveled).

More info: Norwegian University of Science and Technology news

Sensing individual biomolecules with optical sensors inside ‘nanoboxes’

June 12, 2013


Researchers at the Fresnel Institute in Marseille and ICFO, Institute for Photonic Sciences in Barcelona have designed and built the smallest optical device capable of detecting and sensing individual biomolecules at concentrations similar to those found in cells.

The device consists on a tiny dimer (dual) sensor made out of two gold semi-spheres, separated from each other by a gap as small as 15nm (size… read more

Sensing neuronal activity with light

September 23, 2014

Archer1 fluorescence in a cultured rat hippocampal neuron. By monitoring changes in this fluorescence at up to a thousand frames per second, researchers can track the electrical activity of the cell. (Credit: Nicholas Flytzanis, Claire Bedbrook and Viviana Gradinaru/Caltech)

Caltech researchers have developed a new optogenetics material  for mapping brain activity.

Optogenetics uses light to sense or control neurons that have been genetically sensitized to light.

The work — a collaboration between Viviana Gradinaru, assistant professor of biology and biological engineering, and Frances Arnold, the Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry—was described in two separate… read more

Sensitive robots taught to gauge human emotion

January 8, 2003

Robotics designers are working with psychologists at Vanderbilt University to improve human-machine interfaces by teaching robots to sense human emotions.

The researchers measured electrocardiogram profiles for specific mental states and performed preliminary analysis of the profiles using signal-processing algorithms and experimental methods like fuzzy logic and wavelet analysis. They have found two EKG frequency bands vary predictably with changes in stress. They are now looking at skin conductance and… read more

Sensitive Synthetic Skin in the Works for Prosthetic Arms

January 9, 2008

By combining carbon nanotubes with a specially designed polymer, researchers are making a material that looks, feels, and functions like human skin, able to send heat and pressure signals.

The project is part of DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics program, which aims to build by 2010 a strong, lightweight mechanical arm that can touch and feel just like the real thing, send signals to amputees’ brains, and respond to direct brain… read more

Sensor data up for grabs

April 19, 2011

Sensor Data

Pachube (pronounced “patchbay”) has developed a sensor gateway that collects data feeds in many different formats and converts them into commonly used standards in real time. The company wants to kick-start a revolution in new apps and services by providing ways for anyone to share and access all this sensor data.

Pachube processes six million data points per day, and recently built its own cloud-based storage platform… read more

Sensor detects emotions through the skin

October 27, 2010

The Q Sensor measures skin conductance, temperature, and motion to record a wearer’s reactions to events.  (Affectiva)

A new device developed by Affectiva detects and records physiological signs of stress and excitement by measuring slight electrical changes in the skin.

Affectiva’s Q Sensor is worn on a wristband and lets people keep track of stress during everyday activities. The Q Sensor stores or transmits a wearer’s stress levels throughout the day, giving doctors, caregivers, and patients themselves a new tool for observing reactions.

She… read more

Sensor in artery measures blood pressure

January 26, 2009
(Fraunhofer IMS)

A 1 millimeter-wide blood-pressure sensor inserted directly into the femoral artery in the groin has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems.

It provides remote monitoring by a doctor, replacing a burdensome inflatable sleeve on the patient’s arm.

Sensor Listens to Cells for Cancer

November 29, 2005

A tiny sensor that can hear the subtle electrical signals naturally emitted from cells could be used one day to listen for cancer.

The “microelectrode cell array” has the potential to detect tumors much earlier than current methods and help develop drugs that effectively kill cancerous cells.

The sensor is a specially designed semiconductor chip that contains an array of electrodes, each no wider than a human hair,… read more

Sensors for bat-inspired spy plane under development

March 14, 2008
(Eric Maslowski, University of Michigan)

The US Army is sponsoring research to build a bat-like, six-inch robotic spy plane dubbed “the bat” that will use quantum-dot solar cells for power and have an autonomous navigation system that’s 1,000 times smaller and more energy-efficient than current systems.

The bat will use low-power miniaturized radar and a very sensitive night navigation system. It will recharge its lithium battery by energy-scavenging from solar, wind, vibration… read more

Sensors Gone Wild

October 27, 2002

The real goal of a $40 million experiment is to explore the uses of intelligent sensors, a technology whose promise suddenly seems huge. The applications for this “embedded intelligence” are vast and profound. Eventually large swaths of the earth will communicate with the digital realm using millions of miniature sensors. Sensors will be placed in bridges to detect and warn of structural weakness and in water reservoirs to spot hazardous… read more

Sensors guard privacy

July 22, 2003

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder have addressed the privacy problem with a way to set up networks of tiny sensors that allows users to gain useful traffic statistics but preserves privacy by cloaking location information for any given individual.

Sensors of the World, Unite!

July 1, 2003

Imagine sprinkling tiny sensors on road and fields for surveillance, putting them in buildings and bridges to monitor structural health, and installing them in industrial facilities to manage energy, inventory and manufacturing processes. That’s the idea behind the emerging technology of wireless sensor networks.

During 2001, there were 150 million CPU class chips sold. But during the same period of time, 7.5 billion embedded microcontrollers were sold.

Sensory hijack: rewiring brains to see with sound

August 17, 2010

A new device, vOICe, that translates visual images into “soundscapes” to restore a form of sight to the blind, is turning our understanding of the senses upside down. Some long-term users of the device eventually report complete images somewhat akin to normal sight, thanks to a long-term rewiring of their brains.

Sensory illusions dazzle at graphics conference

August 3, 2006

Inventions on display at the SIGGRAPH 2006 computer graphics conference, which opened in Boston, on Monday,
include a toy house that appears to warp into surreal shapes, a handheld device that “pulls” a person around, and a display that generates holographic illusions using scores of hidden projectors.

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