DARPA links brain waves, sensors and algorithms to detect targets

September 20, 2012


DARPA has linked human brainwaves, better sensors, and cognitive algorithms to improve target detection with its Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS).

For warfighters operating in the field, the ability to detect threats from standoff distances can be life-saving. When advanced radar and drone coverage is not available, warfighters typically rely on their own vision to scan their surroundings.… read more

Human brains share a consistent genetic blueprint and possess enormous biochemical complexity

First extensive analysis of Allen Human Brain Atlas has implications for basic understanding of the human brain and for medicine
September 20, 2012

3D rendering from the Allen Human Brain Atlas

The same basic functional elements are used throughout the cortex and understanding how one area works in detail will uncover fundamentals that apply to the other areas as well, scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

Human brains share a consistent genetic blueprint, and possess enormous biochemical complexity, they said, based on the first deep and large-scale… read more

Makerbot Replicator 2 review

September 20, 2012


The Makerbot Replicator 2, a second generation of MakerBot’s wildly popular Replicator 3D printer, is now faster, quieter, and more rigid than the original, Make reports.

The Replicator now sports a sleek modern look with an all-black sheet metal frame and PVC side panels that are removable, customizable, and allow for easy cleaning of any excess material.

A larger, more responsive LCD panel on the front… read more

Google spans entire planet with GPS-powered database

September 20, 2012


Wired Enterprise reports that Google has published a research paper (open access) detailing Spanner, which Google says is the first database that can quickly store and retrieve information across a worldwide network of data centers while keeping that information “consistent” — meaning all users see the same collection of information at all times.

Spanner borrows techniques from some of the other massive software platforms Google built for its data centers,… read more

A step towards total autopilot

Will this solve the drone-collision problem?
September 20, 2012


Will planes someday fly without pilots? Three EPFL laboratories are working on a completely automated aerial collision-avoidance system by developing collision-prediction, avoidance, and real-time vision algorithms.

The project is a formidable technological challenge. It will first be used for small airplanes or drones in non-military applications, such as forest fire surveillance or monitoring access to industrial sites and borders. And it could prove invaluable in missions that are hazardous or simply… read more

What happens during the brain’s ‘resting state’?

September 20, 2012

fMRI images

Over the past few years, some researchers have been adding a bit of down time to their study protocols, Nature News reports. While subjects are still lying in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners, the researchers ask them to try to empty their minds. The aim is to find out what happens when the brain simply idles. And the answer is: quite a lot.

Some circuits… read more

Self-forming biological scaffolding

A model system that can interpret the role of cross-linking proteins
September 20, 2012


A new model system of the cytoskeleton (cellular skeleton) of living cells is akin to a mini-laboratory designed to explore how the cells’ functional structures assemble.

Physicist Volker Schaller and his colleagues from Technical University in Munich, Germany, presents one hypothesis concerning self-organization. It hinges on the finding that a homogeneous protein network, once subjected to stresses generated by molecular motors, compacts into highly condensed fibers.… read more

Why your memory is like the telephone game

Each time you recall an event, your brain distorts it
September 21, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Remember the telephone game where people take turns whispering a message into the ear of the next person in line? By the time the last person speaks it out loud, the message has radically changed. It’s been altered with each retelling.

Turns out your memory is a lot like that, according to a new Northwestern University Medicine study.

Every time you remember an event from the… read more

Russian diamonds: Siberian meteorite crater said to hold trillions of carats

September 21, 2012

Artist's impression of asteroid hitting Earth (Credit: Don Davis/NASA)

Russian scientists are claiming that a gigantic deposit of industrial diamonds found in a huge Siberian meteorite crater during Soviet times could revolutionize industry, Huffington Post reports.

The Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences said that the Popigai crater in eastern Siberia contains “many trillions of carats” of “impact diamonds” — good for technological purposes, not for jewelry, and far exceeding the currently known global… read more

Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria

Positive results shown for cancer, Alzheimer’s and obesity drugs
September 21, 2012

nanoparticle drug delivery

Researchers at the University of Georgia have refined the nanoparticle drug delivery process further by using nanoparticles to deliver drugs to a specific organelle within cells.

By targeting mitochondria, “the powerhouse of cells,” the researchers increased the effectiveness of mitochondria-acting therapeutics used to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity in studies conducted with cultured cells.

“The mitochondrion is a complex organelle that is very difficult… read more

Creating self-assembling nanomaterials in space

September 21, 2012

(A) Schematic of the flight experiment. Sample images are shown<br />
taken from the (B) ST camera view, which is parallel to the external field,<br />
and the (C) RTcamera, which is perpendicular to the field. (D) The experiment<br />
in the ISS Microgravity Sciences Glovebox.<br />

Imagine a computer chip that can assemble itself.

Engineers and scientists are closer to making this and other scalable forms of nanotechnology a reality as a result of new milestones in using nanoparticles as self-assembling building blocks in functional materials, says professor Eric M. Furst at the University of Delaware,

Furst and his postdoctoral researchers, James Swan and Paula Vasquez, along with colleagues at NASA,… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s How to Create a Mind to be published Nov. 13

September 21, 2012


Ray Kurzweil’s next book — How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed* — will be published Nov. 13, Viking announced today. It can now be pre-ordered.

In the book, Kurzweil explores the most important science project since the human genome: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create vastly intelligent machines.

read more

How to erase fear from your brain

September 24, 2012

Amygdala activity predicts return of fear and correlates with recall of fear. (A) In the 6 hours group (top), activity in the amygdala (where fear memories are stored) predicted return of fear 2 days later.  In the 10 min group (bottom), an area in the right temporal claustrum extending into the amygdala was also related to SCR (x, y, z = 33, 2, –23; Z = 2.49; P = 0.006; 324 mm3). Because fear did not return in the 10 min group, the correlation may reflect individual brain-behavior relations unrelated to fear and the experimental manipulation. (B) In the 6 hours group (top), recall of fear during extinction covaried with the strength of amygdala activity bilaterally (x, y, z = 24, –1, –20; Z = 2.35; P = 0.009; 378 mm3; x, y, z = –15, 4, –17; Z=2.27; P = 0.012; 189mm3). No covariation existed in the 10min group (bottom).(Credit: T. Agren, J. Engman, A. Frick, J. Bjorkstrand, E.-M. Larsson, T. Furmark, M. Fredrikson/Science)

Newly formed emotional memories can be erased from the human brain, Uppsala University researchers have shown.

When a person learns something, a lasting long-term memory is created with the aid of a process of consolidation, which is based on the formation of proteins. When we remember something, the memory becomes unstable for a while and is then restabilized by another consolidation process.

In other words,… read more

Virtual-reality simulator helps teach surgery for brain cancer

NeuroTouch system provides 3D graphics and tactile feedback during simulated brain surgery
September 24, 2012

NeuroTouch (credit: NRC)

A new virtual-reality simulator — including sophisticated 3D graphics and tactile feedback — provides allows neurosurgery trainees to practice essential skills and techniques for brain cancer surgery.

The prototype system, called “NeuroTouch,” uses 3D graphics and haptic (sense of touch) technology to provide a realistic look and feel for practice in performing common tasks in brain cancer surgery. Lead author Sébastien Delorme, PhD, of the National Research Council… read more

Automatic building mapping could help emergency responders

A prototype sensor array that can be worn on the chest automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors
September 24, 2012


To help emergency responders coordinate disaster response, MIT researchers have built a wearable sensor system that automatically creates a digital map of the environment through which the wearer is moving.

In experiments, a student wearing the sensor system wandered the MIT halls, and the sensors wirelessly relayed data to a laptop in a distant conference room. Observers in the conference room were able to track the… read more

close and return to Home