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Brainless slime mold uses external spatial ‘memory’ to navigate complex environments

Slime mold smarter than some robots
October 9, 2012

Photograph of P. polycephalum plasmodium showing (A) extending pseudopod, (B) search front, (C) tubule network, and (D) extracellular slime<br />
deposited where the cell has previously explored. The food disk containing the inoculation of plasmodial culture is depicted at (E).

They only have a single cell — no brain, but slime molds “remember” where they’ve been.

How? The brainless slime mold Physarum polycephalum constructs a form of spatial “memory” by avoiding areas it has previously explored, researchers at University of Sydney and Université Toulouse III have discovered.

“As it moves, the plasmodium leaves behind a thick mat of nonliving, translucent, extracellular slime,” the scientists said in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 8.… read more


November 13, 2007

In the Brain2Robot project, an international team of researchers has developed a robot control system that works on the basis of electroencephalograph (EEG) signals.

This could enable patients with severe motor disabilities to regain some of their lost autonomy.

The software is capable of detecting changes in brain activity that take place even before a movement is carried out. It can recognize and distinguish between the patterns of… read more

Brain-wave boost sets us to slow motion

October 5, 2009

Increasing the activity of beta brain waves can make people move in slow motion, University College London researchers have found, suggesting possible new treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other disorders that affect movement.

Brain-watching helps suppress pain

May 4, 2004

People can learn to suppress pain when they are shown the fMRI activity of a pain-control region of their brain, a new study suggests.

The technique might prove useful not only for training patients to control pain, but perhaps also for treating other illnesses where brain activity is altered, such as depression or dementia. It might even help boost normal brain function.

Brain-to-brain interface via Internet replicated, improved

November 6, 2014

The sender (left) is hooked to an electroencephalography machine that reads brain activity. A computer processes the brain signals and sends electrical pulses via the Web to the receiver (right) across campus.A transcranial magnetic stimulation coil is placed over the part of the brain that controls the receiver’s right hand movements.(Credit: Mary Levin, U of Wash.)

University of Washington researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team’s initial demonstration a year ago, reported on KurzweilAI.

In the newly published study, which involved six people (instead of two), researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of… read more

Brain-to-brain communication demonstrated

October 7, 2009

Brain-to-brain (“B2B”) communication has been achieved for the first time by Dr. Christopher James of the University of Southampton.

While attached to an EEG amplifier, the first person generated and transmitted a series of binary digits by imagining moving their left arm for zero and their right arm for one. That data was sent via the Internet to another PC. The second person was also attached to an EEG… read more

Brain-mimicking circuits to run navy robot

June 8, 2004

Researchers are building electronic circuits that mimic the brain, producing an agile controller that can maneuver robot vehicles with speed and precision.

The new technology imitates the olivocerebellar circuit, which controls balance and limb movement.

Brain-machine interface allows precise control of coma and general anesthesia or sedation

November 13, 2013

The BMI system records the EEG, segments the EEG into a binary time-series by filtering and thresholding, estimates the BSP or equivalently the effect-site concentration level based on the binary-time series, and then uses this estimate as feedback to control the drug infusion rate.

Researchers have developed a brain-machine interface (BMI) that monitors a patient’s brain activity and adjusts the anesthetic infusion rate to precisely control the level of brain activation in a medically induced coma or for general anesthesia, according to a study published online Oct. 31 in the journal PLoS Computational Biology (open access).

The team includes lead author Maryam Shanechi, a visiting professor and an incoming assistant professor in… read more

Brain-machine interfaces to restore motor function and probe neural circuits

May 2, 2003

“Recent studies have shown that it is possible to create functional, bidirectional, real-time interfaces between living brain tissue and artificial devices. It is reasonable to predict that further research on brain–machine interfaces will lead to the development of a new generation of neuroprosthetic devices aimed at restoring motor functions in severely paralysed patients. In addition, I propose that such interfaces can become the core of a new experimental approach with… read more

Brain-like computing on an organic molecular layer

April 26, 2010

MRI mages of a human brain during different mental activiies (top). Similar evolving patterns have been generated on the molecular monolayer (bottom). (Anirban Bandyopadhyay)

An organic molecular layer that can evolve continuously to solve complex problems, similar to neurons, has been created by an international research team from Japan and Michigan Technological University.

The molecular layer processor is self-healing, is capable of massively parallel computing, and can produce solutions to problems for which algorithms are unknown, like predictions of natural calamities and outbreaks of disease.

More info: Michiganread more

Brain-in-a-dish flies simulated plane

October 25, 2004

A University of Florida scientist has grown a living “brain” that can fly a simulated plane, giving scientists a novel way to observe how brain cells function as a network.

The “brain” — a collection of 25,000 living neurons taken from a rat’s brain and cultured inside a glass dish — gives scientists a unique real-time window into the brain at the cellular level.

By watching the brain… read more

Brain-implant enables mind over matter

July 13, 2006

A man paralyzed from the neck down by knife injuries sustained five years ago can now check his email, control a robot arm and even play computer games using the power of thought alone, according to John Donoghue of Brown University, who led the work reported in Nature.

Electrodes implanted in Matt Nagle’s brain measure the neural signals generated when he concentrates on trying to move one of his… read more

Brain-hacking art: Making an emotional impression

September 23, 2010


The popularity of impressionist art could be caused by the ambiguous images forcing the brain to create a more personal interpretation of the work, says Harvard neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh.

The blurry shapes and splashes of color mean that people have to draw on their own memories to fill in the missing visual details, he says.

These paintings may also be attractive because their blurred forms speak directly to the… read more

Brain-controlled cursor doubles as a neural workout

February 17, 2010

Researchers at the University of Washington looked at signals on the brain’s surface while using imagined movements to control a cursor, finding that watching a cursor respond to one’s thoughts prompts brain signals to become stronger than those generated in day-to-day life.

The finding holds promise for rehabilitating patients after stroke or other neurological damage. It also suggests that a human brain could quickly become adept at manipulating an… read more

Brain-controlled computer switches on in a heartbeat

January 10, 2008

Graz University of Technology scientists have developed a more effective on-switch for a brain-computer interface: voluntary spikes in the user’s heart rate.

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