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Dec 2, 2016

The Neuroscientist Who’s Building a Better Memory for Humans

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

In an epidsode of the dystopian near-future series, Black Mirror, a small, implantable device behind the ear grants the ability to remember, access, and replay every moment of your life in perfect detail, like a movie right before your eyes.

Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California, can’t promise that level of perfect recall—perhaps for the better—but he is working on a memory prosthesis. The device, surgically implanted directly into the brain, mimics the function of a structure called the hippocampus by electrically stimulating the brain in a particular way to form memories—at least in rats and monkeys. And now, he’s testing one that could work in humans.

Berger’s device hinges on a theory about how the hippocampus transforms short-term memories, like where you deposited your keys, into long-term memories—so you can find them later. In his early experiments, he played a tone and then puffed air in a rabbit’s face, causing it to blink. Eventually, just playing the tone would make the rabbit blink, just like Pavlov’s famous salivating dogs. Berger recorded the hippocampus’ activity with electrodes, and as the rabbits learned to associate the tone with the air puff, patterns in those signals changed in a predictable way.

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Dec 1, 2016

A.I. Can Teach Itself to Recognize Faces Now

Posted by in categories: biological, information science, mathematics, robotics/AI

The goal of roboticists has long been to make A.I. as efficient as the human brain, and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology just brought them one step closer.

In a recent paper, published in the journal Biology, scientists were able to successfully train a neural network to recognize faces at different angles by feeding it a set of different orientations for several face templates. Although this only initially gave the neural network the ability to roughly reach invariance — the ability to process data regardless of form — over time, the network taught itself to achieve full “mirror symmetry. Through mathematical algorithms, the neural network was able to mimic the human brain’s ability to understand objects are the same despite orientation or rotation.

The brain requires three different layers to process image orientation.

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Dec 1, 2016

An Indian startup could be the first private entity to land on the moon

Posted by in category: space

It is literally a moonshot.

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Dec 1, 2016

Sydney high school students ‘show up’ Martin Shkreli, recreating price-hiked pill for $2

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education

Last fall, the biotech executive Martin Shkreli became widely reviled for hiking the price of a life-saving drug by more than 4,000 percent overnight, to $750 per pill.

Public outrage at Shkreli has apparently reverberated all the way to a high school science lab in Australia, where a group of 11th grade students claim to have proven a point: the drug can be made for much, much cheaper.

The group of 11 high school students, ages 16 and 17, successfully recreated the drug, Daraprim, for a mere $2 a pill, according to scientists from the University of Sydney.

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Dec 1, 2016

Potential Breakthrough In Alzheimer’s Research — and What You Can Do Now

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

New research at MIT might be a game-changer for Alzheimer’s. But you don’t have to wait to strengthen your brain’s memory system.

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Dec 1, 2016

Quantum computing breakthrough: UK scientists develop technique to greatly simplify trapped ions

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

University of Sussex physicists have found a new way to create quantum gates – apply voltage to microchips.

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Dec 1, 2016

Hospital Will Open First Dedicated 3D Bioprinting Facility

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioprinting, biotech/medical

The future for hospitals.

The new facility will build tissues like bones and cartilage for surgery patients as a first step toward printers in every operating room.

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Dec 1, 2016

To fix its failing veteran healthcare system, the US Dept. of Veteran Affairs looks to AI

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, robotics/AI

AI (someday once things are more secured) is going to drastically reduce our cost of government. At least the VA believes AI is going to make them better at treating folks; my guess it’s a mix of cost saving potential via automation and improving diagnosis.

Flow Health and the VA are building a medical knowledge graph with deep learning to inform medical decision-making and train AI to personalize care plans.

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Dec 1, 2016

Is BRAIN HACKING the future of war? Experts predict drone control chips, ‘neural dust’ to treat PTSD and remote weapons to disrupt soldier’s thoughts all set to become commonplace

Posted by in categories: computing, drones, neuroscience

This has been worked on since WWII using various methods that never fully worked out. However, our technology has advance; so it could be within reach this time.

An expert from Rutgers University Newark explores the proper role of neuroscience in defense and war efforts, and how technologies designed with this science can be misused to harm people.

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Dec 1, 2016

Artificial Intelligence Invades the Home … In Toys

Posted by in categories: government, habitats, robotics/AI

The first thing I learned about Cozmo is that it doesn’t like to stay put very long. Roused from slumber, the little robot’s face illuminates, and it begins zooming around the table in front of me. A moment later, it notices I’m watching and turns to greet me, saying my name with a computerized chirp.

Cozmo, which came out on Oct. 17, is the latest toy from six-year-old San Francisco startup Anki. It’s also an attempt to bring the burgeoning fields of robotics and artificial intelligence to consumers. While companies large and small work on both, applications tend to be in high-end computing, defense and government. Anki is betting toys will give the technologies a foothold at home. And Gartner predicts sales of such smart toys will grow, globally, from 8 million units this year to 421 million by 2020.

Toymakers have been cramming circuit boards and wireless chips into their products for years. Mattel and Hasbro, for example, sell high-tech versions of classics Barbie and Furby. But toys like Cozmo differ in the way they interact with the people and objects around them, changing their behavior over time as their software “learns.” Right out of the box, cameras and sensors allow Cozmo to recognize individuals, avoid falls or bumping into obstacles and play simple games like keep-away. But Anki says it will evolve; in December it will be able to recognize pets and learn new words. “Every input trigger, no matter what happens to him, will influence his future behavior,” says Hanns Tappeiner, Anki’s president.

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