In an effort to unlock the speech capacity in patients who cannot speak because of so-called “locked-in syndrome,” University of Utah researchers have successfully demonstrated that they can translate brain signals into words using electrode grids placed beneath the skull. Sort of.
Researchers at Texas Southwestern Medical Center have discovered a compound that could potentially render Alzheimer's a thing of the past. After testing 1,000 different molecules on the memory hubs of rats suffering from memory loss, scientists there have come up with a compound that protects memory-forming cells in the hippocampus, which could lead to promising treatments for Alzheimer's and other memory affecting disorders.
Researchers in Buffalo are bringing us a step closer to being controlled by machines. Or magnetized nanoparticles, at least: Heated magnetic nanoparticles targeted to cell membranes could control your behavior, according to a new paper in Nature Nanotechnology.
The researchers, led by University of Buffalo physics professor Arnd Pralle, used magnetic fields to activate neurons in a cell culture and steer the movement of nematode worms.
DARPA's ardent desire to realize every sci-fi concept ever dreamed of continues with a biologically-inspired computer project which aims for feline brain functionality. But this time it's pinning its hopes on memristor devices which can simulate the behavior of biological synapses in the brain.
Electrode implants which zap areas of the brain have mysteriously helped ease the symptoms of crippling diseases such as depression and Parkinson's. Now brain scans could help predict who exactly might benefit from deep brain stimulation (DBS), based on seeing which interconnected regions of the brain "light up" at the same time, New Scientist reports.
Moral judgments often have less to do with outcome and more to do with intention. Take murder, for instance: The U.S. legal system makes distinctions between a crime committed in the heat of the moment and one that is planned ahead of time. But moral judgments may not be as sacrosanct as we believe: MIT scientists have shown that they can alter our moral judgments simply by magnetically interfering with a certain part of the brain.
Even a stutter-gait zombie might turn up its nose at a 13th-century fossilized brain, but neuroscientists probably have good cause for excitement. An amazingly well-preserved 800-year-old infant brain found in northwestern France contains recognizable remnants of brain cells, according to a new study covered by Neurophilosophy.
Neurologists love picking the brain, but getting in there can be both difficult and dangerous, and once inside it's tough to make the brain do exactly what you want. But researchers at medical device maker Medtronic are developing a neural implant that uses light to manipulate the neurons in the brain in a far more controlled fashion than current electrical therapies. All they need to do is genetically tamper with your brain first; no big deal.
Biological brains have classically represented the gold standard for artificial intelligence research, but only recent efforts have seriously begun trying to replicate the brain's seemingly chaotic neural networks and connections. Now French scientists say they have created the first computer transistor that works like a brain's synaptic connection. Physicsworld.com reports that this could lead to new brain-based computers and help artificial devices connect more seamlessly with biological tissue.
Many next-gen supercomputers try to imitate how brain cells communicate and build digital versions of neural networks. Now the BBC brings word of the most ambitious project yet -- a "wet computer" that will literally simulate neurons and signal processing on the chemical level.
A few weeks ago we wrote about the naked mole rat, a repugnant little subterranean creature possessing a unique immunity to cancer. Now it turns out that the hardy little rodents are resistant to strokes as well, a finding that may help researchers figure out better treatments for brain injuries arising from heart attacks and strokes.
Cats may retain an aura of mystery about their smug selves, but that could change with scientists using a supercomputer to simulate the the feline brain. That translates into 144 terabytes of working memory for the digital kitty mind.
According to Kwabena Boahen, a computer scientist at Stanford University, a robot with a processor as smart as the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate. That's the amount of energy produced by a small hydroelectric plant. But a small group of computer scientists may have hit on a new neural supercomputer that could someday emulate the human brain's low energy requirements of just 20 watts--barely enough to run a dim light bulb.
Tiny surface electrodes could help paralyzed people move
By Carina Storrs
Posted 11.04.2009 at 11:17 am Comments
Bundles of microelectrode wires fan out over a small area of a human brain. These electrodes were placed by neurosurgeons at the University of Utah to see if they could detect precise brain activity associated with motor movements. To their surprise, the hair’s-width microelectrodes, originally designed to study epilepsy, picked up the firings of small groups of neurons despite being merely set on the surface of the brain.
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.