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Nov 4, 2016

New bionic eye implant connects directly to brain, allowing blind woman to see shapes & colors

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

Scientists may have made a significant breakthrough in restoring human sight, as a woman who had been blind for seven years has regained the ability to see shapes and colours with a bionic eye implant.

The 30-year-old woman had a wireless visual stimulator chip inserted into her brain by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) surgeons in the first human test of the product. As a result, she could see colored flashes, lines, and spots when signals were sent to her brain from a computer.

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Nov 4, 2016

New ‘Digital Life’ Initiative at UMass Amherst Aims to Create 3D Models of All Living Creatures

Posted by in category: futurism

AMHERST, Mass. – Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by biologist Duncan Irschick who created the Beastcam Array, a rapid-capture, field portable tabletop system for making high-resolution, full-color 3D models of living organisms, now plan to use it in an ambitious effort to create 3D models of all living organisms.

The Beastcam Array consists of 10 fixed arms, each of which can mount three G-16 Canon cameras for a 30-camera array. Small animals placed in the array’s center can be quickly and conveniently modeled in 3D by the cameras aided by software. Using this technology, Irschick and colleagues have created a new multimedia platform they call “Digital Life,” and have already created 3D models of sharks, scorpions, toads and lizards.

In coming months, they hope to use the BeastcamArray, funded in part by the National Science Foundation and developed at UMass Amherst’s Center for Evolutionary Materials, to create 3D models of two groups facing significant survival threats: frogs and sea turtles.

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Nov 4, 2016

Complicating the Picture for Aging, Cellular Senescence, and Bcl-xL

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, life extension

More news on senolytics.

Efforts to build rejuvenation therapies that work by selectively destroying senescent cells are very much in the news of late. One class of senolytic drug candidates works by inducing apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, via reduced levels of Bcl-2 family proteins, such as Bcl-2 itself, Bcl-xL, and Bcl-W, all of which normally act to suppress apoptosis. Senescent cells are inclined towards apoptosis already, so a modest nudge in that direction can destroy a fair proportion of these unwanted cells without causing harm to healthy cells. These apoptosis-related proteins have numerous other roles as well, however, since evolution is very much in favor of reusing the tools to hand. For example, Bcl-xL is also involved in mitochondrial damage protection, the immune response, cellular respiration and DNA repair: quite the portfolio, and all items that are connected to aging in one way or another. I noted an open access paper today that muddies the water considerably on the topic of Bcl-xL, as it shows that more Bcl-xL rather than less (a) reduces incidence of cellular senescence in tissue cultures, (b) extends life in nematode worms, and © is found in human centenarians, but not younger individuals.

Ordinary somatic cells, the vast majority of the cells in the body, become senescent when they reach the Hayflick limit at the end of their replicative life span, or in response to damage, or a toxic local environment, or as a part of the wound healing process. Senescent cells cease dividing, and most either self-destruct or are destroyed by the immune system soon afterwards. This behavior has evolved because it suppresses cancer incidence, at least initially, by removing those cells most at risk. Unfortunately not all are destroyed, and those that linger cause harm to surrounding tissues via a potent mix of inflammatory signals known as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Given enough senescence cells, as few as 1% or less of all the cells in an organ, significant dysfunction and inflammation is the result, contributing to the development and progression of age-related disease.

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Nov 4, 2016

Ballbot, an omidirectional single-wheeled balancing robot

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

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Nov 4, 2016

Enhanced Viral Replication

Posted by in category: life extension

Senescent cells once again implicated in the aging process this time in increased viral replication rates.

Kim JA, et al. Immune Netw. 2016 Oct;16:286–295.

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Nov 4, 2016

Artificial Intelligence At Work

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Watch Vicarious founder Dileep George’s EmTech MIT talk about artificial intelligence’s next leap forward:

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Nov 3, 2016

Time Crystals Break The Continuity Of Time

Posted by in category: physics

In September 2016, a team of researchers from the University of Maryland announced that they had experimentally confirmed the existence of time crystals. That is, crystals that break the continuity of time. Confused? Let’s break this down.

In physics, “spatial symmetry” refers to the way a feature stays the same no matter which way you observe it. If you were to walk all the way around a sphere, it would look the same at each point in your journey. That’s because it has continuous spatial symmetry. A cube, on the other hand, would look slightly different as you passed from one face to the next, but would look identical at each face. This means it “breaks” continuous spatial symmetry and instead has discrete spatial symmetry: you can only see the same thing from specific directions. That’s the essence of a crystal: it breaks continuous spatial symmetry.

Symmetry also applies to laws of physics like gravity (you’d see an apple fall the same way no matter how you were watching it) and, importantly, time. The gears on a clock, for example, move continuously at any given rate as they spin on an axis of rotation, so they have a kind of continuous temporal symmetry. Just as a crystal breaks continuous spatial symmetry, a time crystal would break continuous temporal symmetry: its “gears” spin on an axis, but only with specific rates of rotation.

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Nov 3, 2016

Male birth control study halted due to ‘mood swings’ in participants

Posted by in category: neuroscience

However, researchers halted the study when 20 men dropped out complaining of adverse side effects including depression, mood disorders, pain at injection site, muscle pain, increased libido and acne. Despite these issues, more than 75 per cent of participants said they would be willing to use this form of birth control.

The male birth control method had showed a stunning 96 per cent success rate.

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Nov 3, 2016

Who really invented Iraq’s ‘Al Robot’ combat drone?

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

Iraqi militia forces debuted an unmanned ground combat vehicle this week — but was it really invented by two nameless Iraqi brothers?

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Nov 3, 2016

Glucosepane Crosslinks and Routes to Cleavage (Yale University)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

This was a huge step forward for rejuvenation biotechnology earlier this year. Synthetic glucosepane can now be created on demand in the lab thanks to SENS research foundation and the work at Yale it is funding. Glucosepane is thought to be involved in hypertension and diabetes and so this research has important implications for these diseases as well as aging in general.

At Yale, we’re funding Dr. Spiegel’s essential work to characterise the molecular crosslink glucosepane, which stiffens blood vessels and skin as we age.

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