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Feb 26, 2017

Brain-machine interfaces: Bidirectional communication at last

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI

Since the early seventies, scientists have been developing brain-machine interfaces; the main application being the use of neural prosthesis in paralyzed patients or amputees. A prosthetic limb directly controlled by brain activity can partially recover the lost motor function. This is achieved by decoding neuronal activity recorded with electrodes and translating it into robotic movements. Such systems however have limited precision due to the absence of sensory feedback from the artificial limb. Neuroscientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, asked whether it was possible to transmit this missing sensation back to the brain by stimulating neural activity in the cortex. They discovered that not only was it possible to create an artificial sensation of neuroprosthetic movements, but that the underlying learning process occurs very rapidly. These findings, published in the scientific journal Neuron, were obtained by resorting to modern imaging and optical stimulation tools, offering an innovative alternative to the classical electrode approach.

Motor function is at the heart of all behavior and allows us to interact with the world. Therefore, replacing a lost limb with a robotic prosthesis is the subject of much research, yet successful outcomes are rare. Why is that? Until this moment, brain-machine interfaces are operated by relying largely on visual perception: the robotic arm is controlled by looking at it. The direct flow of information between the brain and the machine remains thus unidirectional. However, movement perception is not only based on vision but mostly on proprioception, the sensation of where the limb is located in space. “We have therefore asked whether it was possible to establish a bidirectional communication in a brain-machine interface: to simultaneously read out neural activity, translate it into prosthetic movement and reinject sensory feedback of this movement back in the brain”, explains Daniel Huber, professor in the Department of Basic Neurosciences of the Faculty of Medicine at UNIGE.

Providing artificial sensations of prosthetic movements.

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Feb 26, 2017

10 Dangerous Brain-Damaging Habits to Stop Immediately

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, neuroscience

Need a new excuse for not working too late and or studying to hard well you have one as it can create brain damage.


The only organ in our body that ‘thinks’ is often the one we think the least about.

Our brain is the single most important organ in our body, controlling everything we do, from breathing, walking, eating, sleeping, etc. It’s the central processor for all our bodily functions, the part that interprets what we see and hear, smell and taste, and even a place where the chemical reaction associated with love occurs.

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Feb 26, 2017

IARPA Wants Ways to Protect Nation from Genome Editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food

Sorry, you’re way, way too late as that genie is already in the hands to so many (good and bad) if we were going to control this; were over 2 years too late.


Gene editing could create pest-resistant crops, but it could also create new organisms that threaten humans, according to IARPA.

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Feb 26, 2017

Nano-Satellites Getting Closer to Take-Off

Posted by in category: satellites

This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Enhancing situational awareness is a vital mission also in space. The US Department of Defense’s Strategic Command Joint Space Operations Center got Sky and Space’s signature on an agreement ahead of the company’s planned launch of 200 nano-satellites into space, as space junk continues to be a big issue.

The agreement provides for Sky and Space to receive “space situational awareness services” from the US Department of Defence so the company’s nano-satellites will be able to avoid objects like space junk and other satellites.

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Feb 26, 2017

5 books the head of MIT Media Lab thinks you should read

Posted by in category: futurism

I agree as I have read 3 of the books in the list and all 3 were excellent”

The Seventh Sense, Change Agent, and Industries of the Future. I plan to get Wonderland next.


As 2016 winds to a close, Facebook called on 62 global influencers to share the books that made the greatest impact on them this year.

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Feb 26, 2017

The human brain makes fructose, researchers discover – here’s why that might be a big deal

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, neuroscience

Researchers at Yale University have discovered that the brain is capable of making fructose – a simple sugar, usually found in fruit, vegetables and honey.

Not all sugars are equal. Glucose is a simple sugar that provides energy for the cells in your body. Fructose has a less important physiological role and has been repeatedly linked to the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. When there is excess glucose the processes that break it down can become saturated, so the body converts glucose into fructose instead, using a process known as the “polyol pathway”, a chemical reaction involved in diabetic complications. The researchers at Yale reported in the journal, JCI Insight, that the brain uses the polyol pathway to produce fructose in the brain.

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Feb 26, 2017

Scientists test deep brain stimulation as potential anorexia therapy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, neuroscience

Now this is what I am talking about when brain stimulation can treat disease and disorders were often better off.


LONDON: A small study in 16 people with severe anorexia has found that implanting stimulation electrodes into the brains of patients could ease their anxiety and help them gain weight.

Researchers found that in extreme cases of the eating disorder, the technique — known as deep brain stimulation (DBS) — swiftly helped many of those studied reduce symptoms of either anxiety or depression, and improved their quality of life.

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Feb 26, 2017

How Nobel physicists could revolutionise computers

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

I remember a year ago when this 1st came out; nice they are highlighting 1 yr later as a reminder.


British scientists David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”. The reference to “theoretical discoveries” makes it tempting to think their work will not have practical applications or affect our lives some day. The opposite may well be true.

To understand the potential, it helps to understand the theory. Most people know that an atom has a nucleus in the middle and electrons orbiting around it. These correspond to different energy levels. When atoms group into substances, all the energy levels of each atom combine into bands of electrons. Each of these so-called energy bands has space for a certain number of electrons. And between each band are gaps in which electrons can’t flow.

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Feb 26, 2017

Toy Fair ‘17: Highlights from Quantum Mechanix

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Something for the kid in all of us.


While I was at Toy Fair, I swung by the Quantum Mechanix booth to check out their newest Q-Fig offerings, as it’s one of my favorite vinyl statue lines these days. I was not disappointed, as I got to see new addition to the Marvel, DC, and Harry Potter collections, as well as one from ANIMANIACS!

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Feb 26, 2017

Q: Does quantum mechanics really say there are other “mes”? Where are they?

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Quantum Mechanics for Dummys.


Physicist: As much of a trope as “Other Quantum Worlds” has become in sci-fi, there are reasons to think that they may be a real thing; including “other yous”. Here’s the idea.

Superposition is a real thing (on small scales at least)

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