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On the Therapist’s Couch, a Jolt of Virtual Reality

February 19, 2004

A Georgia-based company called Virtually Better creates virtual environments with 3-D imaging software for use by psychologists, psychiatrists and researchers.

The scenes combine video images of real people with special effects. A patient wears a helmet with screens extending over each eye that create a lifelike stereoscopic view, a motion sensor that adjusts the scene to correspond to the head position, and audio headset. Vibrating platforms and odors optional.… read more

U. scientist links one gene to intelligence

April 22, 2010

A research team led by University of Utah neuroscientist Julie Korenberg has identified a gene, STX1A (which helps control electrochemical processes at synapses), whose expression can be linked to intelligence.

In studies of Williams Syndrome patients, they found the STX1A gene can account for 15.6 percent of variation in cognitive function, according to findings published Wednesday in the on-line journal PLoS ONE.

U.S. Not Ready for Georgia-Style Computer Attacks

August 18, 2008

The federal government and private sector are not prepared for cyber attacks from China and Russia, according to national intelligence officials, and a 2007 Department of Defense report said the Chinese government sees cyber war as part of its first strike.

Silky brain implants may help stop spread of epilepsy

July 29, 2013

Example of Silk Implant Used in the Study. Silk implants designed to release adenosine were placed into rat brains to stop the spread of epilepsy. Image courtesy of Dr. Boison, from Legacy Research Institute and OHSU.

A NIH-funded study suggests a role for adenosine in molecular processes involved in epilepsy.

Silk has walked straight off the runway and into the lab. According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, silk implants placed in the brain of laboratory animals and designed to release a specific chemical, adenosine, may help stop the progression of epilepsy.

The research was… read more

A Better Artificial Skin

January 12, 2007

University of Cincinnati scientists have grown artificial skin cells, using collagen scaffolds. They could ultimately produce a type of artificial skin that can sweat, tan, and fight off infection more effectively.

Artificial emotion

March 1, 2004

Sherry Turkle will host a Symposium at MIT on March 5 to discuss “Evocative Objects.”

We become attached to sophisticated machines not for their smarts but their emotional reach, she says. “They seduce us by asking for human nurturance, not intelligence.”

The market for robotics in health care is about to explode, Turkle says. The question is: Do we want machines moving into these emotive areas?… read more

Potentially Dangerous Asteroid Spotted Passing Earth

April 30, 2010

Asteroid 2005 YU55 — about 1,300 feet (400 meters) in size — came within 1.5 million miles (2.4 million km) of the Earth and is expected back Nov. 8, 2011.

New observations at Arecibo have allowed astronomers to rule out any chance of 2005 YU55 hitting Earth in the next 100 years.

Intel Moves to Free Gadgets of Their Recharging Cords

August 21, 2008

Intel has made progress in a technique for wirelessly powering consumer gadgets and computers, using “resonant induction” to transmit power several feet without wires.

See also: Charging Batteries without Wires

Nano-wheels seen rolling at last

January 23, 2007

Researchers created a carbon molecule resembling a pair of wheels just 0.8 nanometers in diameter, joined together by an axle only four carbon atoms long.

They used the tip of a scanning tunnelling electron microscope to push individual molecules across a copper surface, which provided a direct readout that shows the wheels only roll when pushed in the right direction.

Digital doctoring

February 5, 2012


The digital revolution can spur unprecedented advances in the medical sciences, argues Eric Topol in The Creative Destruction of Medicine.

With the aid of technology, Dr. Topol says, medical progress may well begin to resemble modern computers’ own astonishing surge in processing power and data storage.

Scientists find ’10th planet’

March 15, 2004

Cal Tech astronomers may have discovered the solar system’s 10th planet, “Sedna,” more than 3 billion kilometers further away from the sun than Pluto.

The planet has a diameter of almost 2,000 km. The discovery will be presenting during a NASA briefing on Monday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Google introduces image-based text translation on Android phones

May 7, 2010

Google introduced Thursday a new feature for the Google Goggles app for Android phones that allows you to point your phone at a word or phrase and get an instant text translation from English, French, Italian, German and Spanish to many more languages.

More info: Google Mobile Blog

Textured graphics can be captured in a flash

August 28, 2008

University of Manchester scientists have developed a simple technique to add depth to textured surfaces displayed as backdrops in computer games and digital dome presentations.

They found they could reconstruct the depth of a surface simply by taking two photos of it — one with a flash and one without — and processing the resulting shading patterns to capture the surface’s 3D texture.

Homo Futurus: How Radically Should We Remake Ourselves — Or Our Children?

February 1, 2007

Futurists see a conflict forming over our dominion over the human body, and over the choices we make about our biological future, and that of our children. Some call it a clash between “bioliberals” and “bioconservatives,” and frame it as a debate over individual rights.

Transhumanists — those who advocate the use of science to alter the human future — may be playing an instrumental role in reshaping our… read more

Boosting memory by electrically stimulating the brain

February 9, 2012

UCLA neuroscientists have demonstrated that they can strengthen memory in human patients by stimulating the entorhinal cortex. in the brain. The finding could lead to a new method for boosting memory in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.

Considered the doorway to the hippocampus, which helps form and store memories, the entorhinal cortex plays a crucial role in transforming daily experience into lasting memories.

Dr.… read more

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