I know everyone has already seen this but it’s one of my favorites and is the most epic demonstration of a Rube Goldberg machine I’ve ever seen. Happy Monday.
I’m on a bio-interface kick today. This is pretty neat.
New Scientist | A model helps to visualize how a new neural implant device reads brain signals and interprets them to control a prosthetic arm. The yellow spikes represent firing motor neurons in the brain. Each neuron is tuned to recognize a different direction in space, so as the arm moves, the spikes change to reflect the changing direction. By combining the output of all the neurons, the direction of the arm’s movement — represented by the blue arrow — can be predicted.
This system, developed by Daniel Moran of Washington University in St. Louis, uses a grid of disc-shaped electrodes, inserted between the brain and the skull, to read electrical activity in the brain. It’s more precise than electrodes placed outside of the skull but less invasive than probes inserted directly in the brain. The system could eventually give amputees better control over prosthetic limbs without overly invasive surgical implants.
I’m intrigued by bio-interfaces, and while I’m not the biggest fan of Under Armor, I must admit this is pretty neat. Definitely a step in the right direction!
USC engineers build synthetic synapse with carbon nanotubes! [rad] This brings us one step close to BRAIN INTERFACES!!! can. not. wait.
May 2, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
Synthetic synapse using field effect transistor built with carbon nanotubes, titanium/platinum contacts, and silicon dioxide gate dielectric (credit: USC Viterbi School of Engineering)
“This is a necessary first step in the process,” said Professor Alice Parker, who began the complex project of looking at the possibility of developing a synthetic brain in 2006.
“We wanted to answer the question: Can you build a circuit that would act like a neuron?,” she said.
“The next step is even more complex. How can we build structures out of these circuits that mimic the neuron, and eventually the function of the brain, which has 100 billion neurons and 10,000 synapses?”
Parker emphasized that the fabricated synapse is simplified. The actual development of a synthetic brain is decades away, and she said the next hurdle for the research centers on reproducing brain plasticity in the circuits.
She believes the ongoing research of understanding the process of human intelligence could have long-term implications for everything from developing prosthetic nanotechnology that would heal traumatic brain injuries to developing intelligent, safe cars that would protect drivers in bold new ways.
I am honored and gratified to receive the Priestley Medal. This highest honor of the American Chemical Society comes from a society I have been associated with for decades and with which I continue to have strong relations, not only as a member and fellow, but also with its institutions, the board of directors, the society journals, and the super-dynamic Executive Director & CEO Madeleine Jacobs. Recently, Madeleine asked me to preside over the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad, and as many of you know, when Madeleine calls you with her typical affection and enthusiasm, you simply cannot say no!
When ACS was established in 1876, its founders were luckily unaware of, or perhaps chose to ignore, the words of the sage Thomas Jefferson, who in 1809 wrote in a letter to his nephew, “If you are obliged to neglect any thing, let it be your chemistry. It is the least useful and the least amusing to a country gentleman of all the ordinary branches of science.”
Jefferson went on to promote the virtues of farming over chemistry! Fortunately, many people have not shared Jefferson’s preference for farming, including a certain graduate of the Oregon Agricultural College by the name of Linus Pauling. Linus famously said, “Chemistry is wonderful! I feel sorry for people who don’t know anything about chemistry. They are missing an important part of life, an important source of happiness, satisfying one’s intellectual curiosity.” Pauling received the Priestley Medal at the age of 83, so make sure to live long! Read the rest of this entry »
the whole talk is worthwhile but it gets rad at 11:00 -> we can drive our own evolution! count me in
Medical ethicist Harvey Fineberg shows us three paths forward for the ever-evolving human species: to stop evolving completely, to evolve naturally — or to control the next steps of human evolution, using genetic modification, to make ourselves smarter, faster, better. Neo-evolution is within our grasp. What will we do with it?