Neurologists working with monkeys at Washington University in St. Louis to decode brain activity have stumbled upon a rather surprising result. While working to demonstrate that multiple parameters can be seen in the firing rate of a single neuron (and that certain parameters are embedded in neurons only if they are needed to solve the immediate task), they also found that they could read their monkeys’ minds.
Despite being one of the most alien-looking things on Earth, the mechanism jellyfish use to swim is similar in some ways to the beating human heart. That inspired researchers to build a sort of cyborg jellyfish from the ground up, using heart muscle cells from a rat and silicone polymer. And it's actually only a little more odd-looking than a regular jelly.
To conduct experiments, researchers can change a variable in an organism and watch the results unfold. But life is messy, and it's difficult to understand the underlying processes that explain the data. Digitizing the process could help, and now we're starting small: researchers have successfully made a computer model of Mycoplasma genitalium, the world's tiniest free-living bacterium.
We know CFL bulbs are world-changingly efficient, producing the same level of light as their incandescent parents while using a quarter of the energy. But they're still a relatively new device, and few long-term studies have been carried out on them. One of the most recent, a new report from a team at Stony Brook, suggests CFLs might cause damage to skin by releasing UV rays.
At Manhattan's New Museum of Contemporary Art this morning, Adidas and Major League Soccer announced a huge new initiative that'll make the MLS perhaps the most high-tech sports league in the world. Every single player will be wearing a small sensor that'll track their movements and their health, which'll be kicked back to the coaches in real-time, for monitoring on an iPad.
Earlier this year, a Russian media mogul named Dmitry Itskov formally announced his intention to disembody our conscious minds and upload them to a hologram--an avatar--by 2045. In other words he outlined a plan to achieve immortality, removing the human mind from the physical constraints presented by the biological human body. He was serious. And now, in a letter to the members of the Forbes World’s Billionaire’s List, he’s offering up that immortality to the world’s 1,266 richest people.
By Laura Geggel
Posted 07.19.2012 at 10:05 am 1 Comment
Every year, as many as 300,000 Americans with traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed, often because they brush off their symptoms or because nothing unusual appears on CT scans of their brains. Without a diagnosis, people risk getting another concussion on top of the one they already have, increasing the chance of complications such as coma and death. But a new blood test could spot a brain injury within a few hours, enabling people to take time off to recover properly.
For humans, few things are as ubiquitous as the common cold. We catch it more than any other infectious disease and it's been with us as about as long as we've existed. But while there isn't a cure, our technology is constantly improving, and now in our corner we have Australia's fastest supercomputer helping to work out a solution.
Something like 90 percent of melanomas--the most serious kind of skin cancer--are visible to the naked eye, no MRI, CT scan, or other kind of sophisticated scanning or imaging necessary. So why bother getting screened at a clinic? The University of Michigan has created an iPhone app that allows you to inspect yourself for skin cancer. All you have to do is take 23 nude pictures of yourself with your smartphone.
In a milestone announcement, today the FDA approved the use of Truvada, the first drug to be used for HIV prevention in the 30-plus year battle against the virus. To be used as part of safe sex practices and continued testing, the drug, which was first approved in 2004, has already shown promise in preventing infection, with some figures placing protection rates as high as 90 percent.
By Arnie Cooper
Posted 07.16.2012 at 4:50 pm 7 Comments
A new bionic eye implant could allow blind people to recognize faces, watch TV and even read. Nano Retina’s Bio-Retina is one of two recent attempts to help patients with age-related macular degeneration, which affects 1.5 million people in the U.S.
In an effort to outfox antibiotic resistance, a team of researchers based out of U.C. Berkeley--and including none other than Nobel laureate Steven Chu--want to build a wrecking ball that tears down bacterial cities. It’s not quite there yet, but in a paper released today the research group announced that via a new imaging technique it has for the first time revealed the structure of these biofilms -- and where they are vulnerable to attack.
Because we don't spend a large chunk of time up there, we haven't done too much research on the long-term health effects of living on the moon. But a paper titled "Toxicity of Lunar Dust," covering several aspects of the effects of moon dust on the human body, offers some insight: the moon is basically trying to kill you.
Using a smartphone and ultra wide band (UWB) transmission technology, Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) and Fujitsu have teamed to create a realtime positioning system for the blind that works indoors where GPS can’t reach. Using base stations to triangulate a user’s position, the system is accurate to within 30 centimeters, or roughly one foot.
Texting while driving is enough of a problem that it's been pinned as more dangerous than drunk driving, so it was only a matter of time before we started to see technology better able to shut it down. Now on that list: researchers have found a way to detect when a phone is being used in a moving car, then jam it.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.