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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category

Feb 10, 2016

Wirelessly supplying power to brain

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics, engineering, neuroscience

Human and animal movements generate slight neural signals from their brain cells. These signals obtained using a neural interface are essential for realizing brain-machine interfaces (BMI). Such neural recording systems using wires to connect the implanted device to an external device can cause infections through the opening in the skull. One method of solving this issue is to develop a wireless neural interface that is fully implantable on the brain.

However, the neural interface implanted on the brain surface should be of small size and minimally invasive. Furthermore, it requires the integration of a power source, antenna for wireless communication, and many functional circuits.

Now, a research team at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering at Toyohashi University of Technology has developed a wafer-level packaging technique to integrate a silicon large-scale integration (LSI) chip in a very thin film of a thickness 10 µm (Sensors, “Co-design method and wafer-level packaging technique of thin-film flexible antenna and silicon CMOS rectifier chips for wireless-powered neural interface systems”).

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Feb 10, 2016

Mammal brain successfully returned from cryopreservation for the first time

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cryonics, life extension, neuroscience

A rabbit’s brain has been successfully returned from long-term cryogenic storage, marking the first time a whole mammalian brain has been recovered in near-perfect condition.

It marks a significant breakthrough in the field of cryonics and boosts the prospect of one day bringing frozen human brains back to life.

Researchers from 21st Century Medicine (21CM) used a new technique called Aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation that filled the vascular system of the rabbit brain with chemicals that would allow it to be cooled to −211 degrees Fahrenheit (−135 degrees Celsius). When it was thawed, the cell membranes, synapses, and intracellular structures remained intact.

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Feb 10, 2016

Top U.S. Intelligence Official Calls Gene Editing a WMD Threat

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Although I hate to admit it; there is some truth to the US Intelligence concerns that Gene Editing. Such as biological weapons could be enhanced with gene editing. However, my verdict is still out on some of the other concerns that were highlighted.


Easy to use. Hard to control. The intelligence community now sees CRISPR as a threat to national safety.

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Feb 9, 2016

Brain Preservation Breakthrough Could Usher in a New Era in Cryonics

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cryonics, life extension, neuroscience

Researchers from 21st Century Medicine have developed a new technique to allow long term storage of a near-perfect mammalian brain. It’s a breakthrough that could have serious implications for cryonics, and the futuristic prospect of bringing the frozen dead back to life.

By using a chemical compound to turn a rabbit’s brain into a near glass-like state, and then cooling it to −211 degrees Fahrenheit (−135 degrees Celsius), a research team from California-based 21st Century Medicine (21CM) showed that it’s possible to enable near-perfect, long-term structural preservation of an intact mammalian brain. The achievement has earned not just accolades from the scientific community, but a prestigious award as well; the 21CM researchers are today being awarded the $26,735 Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize, which is run by the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF).

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Feb 9, 2016

The Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize Has Been Won

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cryonics, life extension, neuroscience

The Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) announced that the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize has officially been won. The spectacular result achieved by 21st Century Medicine researchers provides the first demonstration that near-perfect, long-term structural preservation of an intact mammalian brain is achievable.

A team from 21st Century Medicine, spearheaded by recent MIT graduate Robert McIntyre, has discovered a way to preserve the delicate neural circuits of an intact rabbit brain for very long-term storage using a combination of chemical fixation and cryogenic cooling. Proof of this accomplishment, and the full “Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation” (ASC) protocol, was recently published in the journal Cryobiology and has been independently verified by the BPF through extensive electron microscopic examination conducted by the two official judges of the prize: BPF President Ken Hayworth and Princeton neuroscience professor Sebastian Seung, author of “Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are.”

“Every neuron and synapse looks beautifully preserved across the entire brain,” said Hayworth. “Simply amazing given that I held in my hand this very same brain when it was frozen solid… This is not your father’s cryonics.”

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Feb 9, 2016

Scientists Found a Way to Control Machines With Your Mind, No Brain Surgery Required

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, military, neuroscience

The US military is looking for ways to insert microscopic devices into human brains to help folks communicate with machines, like prosthetic limbs, with their minds. And now, DARPA’s saying scientists have found a way to do just that—without ripping open patients’ skulls.

In the DARPA-funded study, researchers at the University of Melbourne have developed a device that could help people use their brains to control machines. These machines might include technology that helps patients control physical disabilities or neurological disorders. The results were published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

In the study, the team inserted a paperclip-sized object into the motor cortexes of sheep. (That’s the part of the brain that oversees voluntary movement.) The device is a twist on traditional stents, those teeny tiny tubes that surgeons stick in vessels to improve blood flow.

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Feb 8, 2016

Emergent Chip Vastly Accelerates Deep Neural Networks

Posted by in categories: computing, economics, neuroscience, robotics/AI

Stanford University PhD candidate, Song Han, who works under advisor and networking pioneer, Dr. Bill Dally, responded in a most soft-spoken and thoughtful way to the question of whether the coupled software and hardware architecture he developed might change the world.

In fact, instead of answering the question directly, he pointed to the range of applications, both in the present and future, that will be driven by near real-time inference for complex deep neural networks—all a roundabout way of showing not just why what he is working toward is revolutionary, but why the missing pieces he is filling in have kept neural network-fed services at a relative constant.

There is one large barrier to that future Han considers imminent—one pushed by an existing range of neural network-driven applications powering all aspects of the consumer economy and, over time, the enterprise. And it’s less broadly technical than it is efficiency-driven. After all, considering the mode of service delivery of these applications, often lightweight, power-aware devices, how much computation can be effectively packed into the memory of such devices—and at what cost to battery life or overall power? Devices aside, these same concerns, at a grander level of scale, are even more pertinent at the datacenter where some bulk of the inference is handled.

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Feb 8, 2016

New algorithm improves speed and accuracy of pedestrian detection

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, neuroscience, robotics/AI, transportation

What if computers could recognize objects as well as the human brain could? Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have taken an important step toward that goal by developing a pedestrian detection system that performs in near real-time (2−4 frames per second) and with higher accuracy (close to half the error) compared to existing systems. The technology, which incorporates deep learning models, could be used in “smart” vehicles, robotics and image and video search systems.

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Feb 8, 2016

Minimally Invasive “Stentrode” Shows Potential as Neural Interface for Brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, neuroscience, transhumanism

A DARPA-funded research team has created a novel neural-recording device that can be implanted into the brain through blood vessels, reducing the need for invasive surgery and the risks associated with breaching the blood-brain barrier. The technology was developed under DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, and offers new potential for safely expanding the use of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) to treat physical disabilities and neurological disorders.

In an article published in Nature Biotechnology, researchers in the Vascular Bionics Laboratory at the University of Melbourne led by neurologist Thomas Oxley, M.D., describe proof-of-concept results from a study conducted in sheep that demonstrate high-fidelity measurements taken from the motor cortex—the region of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary movement—using a novel device the size of a small paperclip.

This new device, which Oxley’s team dubbed the “stentrode,” was adapted from off-the-shelf stent technology—a familiar therapeutic tool for clearing and repairing blood vessels—to include an array of electrodes. The researchers also addressed the dual challenge of making the device flexible enough to safely pass through curving blood vessels, yet stiff enough that the array can emerge from the delivery tube at its destination.

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Feb 8, 2016

‘Bionic spine’ could enable paralysed patients to walk using subconscious thought

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, health, neuroscience, transhumanism

Australian scientists hope that a tiny device just 3cm long and a few millimetres wide will enable paralysed patients to walk again by allowing them to control bionic limbs with the power of subconscious thought.

The new device, dubbed the “bionic spine”, is the size of a small paperclip and will be implanted in three patients at the Royal Melbourne hospital in Victoria next year. The participants will be selected from the Austin Health spinal cord unit, and will be the first humans to trial the device, which so far has only been tested in sheep.

Doctors will make a tiny cut in the neck of the patients and feed a catheter containing the bionic spine up through the blood vessels leading into the brain, until it rests on top of the motor cortex, the part of the brain where nerve impulses that initiate voluntary muscle movements come from. The catheter will then be removed, leaving the bionic spine behind.

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