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Smart implants may alleviate neurological conditions

September 14, 2009


Medtronics and Neuropace have developed neurostimulators that monitor electrical activity via electrodes implanted deep in the brain so the devices can deliver the electrical stimulation needed to suppresses seizures (as opposed to stimulation on a fixed schedule).

Human trials are years away.

First-ever face transplant surgery is completed

December 1, 2005

Surgeons in France claim to have performed the world’s first face transplant, although not of a whole face. A 38-year-old woman severely disfigured in May by a dog attack received a “partial” triangular graft, consisting of the chin, lips and nose from a dead woman donor.

Genome is a snip at $60,000

March 26, 2008

Applied Biosystems has sequenced the genome of a Nigerian man at a cost of less than $60,000, excluding labor, compared to $350,000 today.

Google Music launches without label deals

May 12, 2011

Google announced it will launch a cloud-based digital music service without securing licensing agreements with record labels or music publishers.

Google’s free service, Music Beta, will let users upload their music library to Google’s computers to stream their songs from any Web browser or Internet-connected cellphone running Google’s Android operating system.

Google will continue its talks with the labels and publishers to build a platform for… read more

Scientists of Very Small Draw Disciplines Together

February 10, 2003

Nanotechnology, biotechnology, electronics and brain research are converging into a new field of science vital to the nation’s security and economic clout: NBIC (nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science).

Scientists Make Paralyzed Rats Walk Again After Spinal-cord Injury

September 21, 2009

A combination of drugs, electrical stimulation and regular exercise can enable paralyzed rats to walk and even run again, UCLA researchers have discovered — regeneration of severed nerve fibers is not required/

The finding may have implications for human rehabilitation after spinal cord injuries.

The scientists administered drugs that act on the neurotransmitter serotonin and applied low levels of electrical currents to the spinal cord below the point… read more

Thought control brings pain into line

December 13, 2005

Researchers have managed to teach people suffering chronic pain to reduce their own discomfort simply by controlling their thoughts.

Patients were able to reduce pain by about 50 percent by viewing real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging of the activity in their rostral anterior cingulate cortex.

A Prosthesis for Balance

April 1, 2008

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary neuroscientists have built a prosthesis to replace the balance function of the inner ear’s vestibular system and are testing it in monkeys.

The prosthesis mimics the orientation-sensing semicircular canals. An external motion sensor measures body rotation and a microprocessor processes and transfers that data to an electrode implanted into the inner ear. This is similar to how a cochlear implant works for hearing.

‘Smart’ cities will likely link devices intelligently

May 17, 2011

Smart City

The Cocoon (Cooperative Sensor Communications) project, based on the vision of “smart” cities in which all devices within municipal areas are intelligently linked to one another, is being implemented by researchers at TU Darmstadt and the University of Kassel in Germany.

The backbone of a “smart” city is a communications network consisting of sen­sors that receive streams of data, or signals,… read more

A Thin Line Between Film and Joystick

February 23, 2003

Enter the Matrix, the first commercial video game based on the world and characters of The Matrix, represents the closest collaboration so far between moviemaking and game production.

“There are scenes that start in the video game and will complete the movie,” Joel Silver, the films’ producer, noting that the game was conceived to “feel like it’s a part and experience of the movie.” Some of the plot lines… read more

Photon ‘machine gun’ could power quantum computers

September 28, 2009

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers have designed a blueprint for a “photonic machine gun” that could fire out 12 qubits on demand.

It uses a quantum dot (nanoscale crystal within a semiconducting device) chilled to a low temperature. When a short, strong pulse of light hits the dot, one of the electrons inside is raised to an excited state. As it “relaxes” back to its resting energy state it… read more

Better than people

December 25, 2005

Japanese find robots less intimidating than people.

“The prevailing view in Japan is that the country is lucky to be uninhibited by robophobia. With fewer of the complexes that trouble many westerners, so the theory goes, Japan is free to make use of a great new tool, just when its needs and abilities are happily about to converge.

“What seems to set Japan apart from other countries is… read more

Sequencing single molecules of DNA

April 4, 2008

Helicos BioSciences has developed the first single-molecule DNA sequencer out on the market.

Its machine reads individual letters from single molecules of DNA without requiring it to be “amplified” (copied into multiple, identical strands).

The amplification step can introduce errors into the sequence and does not work well for some DNA fragments, making it difficult to sequence a genome’s full complement of DNA. By avoiding these complications, single-molecule… read more

Square launches iPad point-of-sale service

May 24, 2011

Card Case

Mobile commerce company Square has launched Square Register iPad app, which allows merchants to use an iPad instead of a cash register or credit card terminal. Now available to download, the app facilitates retail checkout, sales tracking, and customer communication.

Square also launched Card Case, a consumer app for both iPhone and Android users that complements the Square Register merchant app. Card Case stores virtual merchant-branded… read more

The Future That Wasn’t

March 6, 2003

A new collection of images from the ’50s evokes a technologic optimism that makes the dotcom craze look conservative.

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