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  At the University of Tel Aviv, Matti Mintz with a team has constructed a digital cerebellum that restored motor function in rats. Working with Robert Prueckl of Guger Technologies in Graz, Austria, Mintz analyzed brainstem signals both feeding in and out of a real cerebellum. Using this base data, the team constructed a synthetic version housed outside the rat's skull, electrodes on the brain relay the digital signals.   One of the cerebellum's functions is motor control. The goal ...
"On the left is a colored photo of the UW device overlaid on a graphic of the other components. On the right is a magnified image of the chitosan fibers. The white scale bar is 200 nanometers." (via University of Washington)     The human body has a fully connected electrical network. For years, science has been exploring how to interface that network with traditional electronics. However, the systems are different. Electronics as we know it works by shuttling electron to and fro. The ...
  A robot named iCub is to carry the London 2012 Olympic torch during the torch relay. Aberystwyth University computer scientist James Law made the nomination in honor of Alan Turing, an influential contributor to modern computing. Visiting professor in the Control Systems Centre at Manchester John Gray said, "It's a tremendous coup to have the iCub here in Manchester - this is the first time it has been seen publicly in the UK."   James Law continued, "2012 will mark the 100th annive ...
    Can a Smartphone show you just how smart you really are? The Smartphone Brain Scanner developed by Jakob Eg Larsen and his colleagues at the Technical University of Denmark hopes to at least take a peek.   Although it cannot really show you intelligence quotient, it can show electro activity of the brain. The hardware consists of a head harness with probes for applying to the scalp.  Wireless signals from a Emotiv 14 channel Neuroheadset (MSPR $299 USD) is sent to the N9 ...
Leading-edge battery technologies and efficient temperature management of the battery pack are providing electric vehicles with the keys to success   BY MICHAEL KAWA Electronicproducts.com   The electrification of the automobile has begun. The pace was slow and unsure at first, but it is now gaining steam and ready to take off. At present, every major auto-maker has an electric vehicle (EV) on the market or is in development with plans for release on the docket. Concurrently, leader ...
  Recording one's dreams is the fodder for countless science fiction tales, but the idea may now border on science fact. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have devised a way to monitor a person's brain activity and recreate the images the person is thinking of, into a video. The research team stated that this could be a way to record "dreams and hallucinations."   As the video shows, the process does get the recreation close to the original thought. However, the wa ...
  The University of New Mexico has developed a circuit that will improve human mental performance. It is simple, just apply 2mA at 9v to the cranium.   The DARPA study conducted by the university was to look at how to improve soldiers' mental performance in the battlefield, or as they put it "to sharpen soldiers' minds." Test subjects were to learn and play the game "DARWARS Ambush!" The game puts the player into a hazardous, virtual, environment littered with dilapidated buildings, w ...
  (a) Schematic diagram of the sample used in the experiment by injecting a spin current generation of sound waves directly. (b) Flow due to temperature gradient (c) Experimental photograph of the sample. Magnetic (YIG, Ni81Fe19) from platinum (Pt) and the spin current is injected into the electrode. Electromotive force is generated in the electrode.   Professor Eiji Saitoh and Ph.D Student Ken-ichi Uchida of Tohoku University have developed a way to induce "spin current" of electron ...
Wow.  There isn’t really any way that I can think of to describe the sheer awesomeness of the Open Hardware Summit.  If the quantity and excitement-level of my live tweets during the day wasn’t enough to convince you, I had an amazing time – thanks to element14 for sending me.   The event organization was nothing short of amazing.  I didn’t attend the first summit last year, but from talking to others who did, I gathered that this year was particularly ...
  There has been a new mobility breakthrough in the world of humanoid like robotics at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). The AIST’s HRP-4C, is able to turn approximately 90 degrees in approximately one second by pivoting on the ball of its foot Looking at the robot from a Kinesiology, (the scientific study of human movement) viewpoint is fascinating. When a human wants to turn quickly we usually step, plant and pivot. However bipedal robots u ...
A few weeks ago I checked out Ben Bova’s Able One from my library in the format of a preloaded digital audio player.  The device is like a portable MP3 player dedicated to playing a single book.   I found the player did not work on a NiMH cell but worked fine on an alkaline. I mention this in an offhand tweet.  The manufacturer, Playway,  responded immediately offering to help in any way possible.  I decided to test the unit on the bench first.   I powered t ...
Electrified roads pave science fiction. It is an easy conclusion for many when they think about powering electric vehicles (EV). I remember it was the main feature of the video game Quarantine. Where all the major cities had electric roads powering all the cars. Go off the grid, and it would be a short time before you were stranded. The street gangs would soon be upon you. However, let's talk about science-present.   Toyohashi University of Technology, in Aichi Japan, is currently develop ...
Image via Wikipedia "Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible," said President Barack Obama. "This is the kind of action we need to get the economy going."   September 8th, 2011 makes the day when the USA changes from "first to invent" to the "first to file" patent law. The U.S. Senate passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) by a vote of 89 to 9. Washington boasts ...
Lately I have come across articles about Congressional measures to improve public safety communication interoperability in the event of a disaster like the Sept 11 attacks.  The narrative goes that the 9/11 Commission recommended public safety radio equipment be made interoperable so members of different police and fire departments could communicate with one another, and this plan is simply implementing the recommendations.   The legislation would auction two 5 MHz segments of spectr ...
This past week my local section of the IEEE hosted a talk by Tom Coughlin on consumer data storage.  One thing that struck me is the sheer amount of data consumers are storing.     The survey shows storage doubling every two years and starting at a larger amount than I would have guessed. New technologies for creating content, such as video recording on phones, increase the need for storage.  An example of increased storage is the 750GB hard drive made for the iPod. ...
(Diagram via Tokyo Metropolitan University and Shinsuke Takagi)     At the Tokyo Metropolitan University and the Japan Science and Technology Agency, researcher Shinsuke Takagi led a team in realizing an artificial light-harvesting system (LHS) that achieves up to 100% efficiency. The LHS, or "artificial leaf," works off the same principle of real leaves, by arranging molecules to collect the light and carry the energy to the system's "reaction center."   Two types of porphyrin d ...
Here’s how to use analog components to manage power in low-power solar systems BY MARTIN TOMASZ, Principal Sageloop Designs, San Francisco, CA sageloopdesigns.com   From large panels to harvested microwatts from a few photodiodes, solar power is increasingly prevalent in autonomously powered systems. With the worldwide evolution toward lower power operation using more “green” energy sources, emphasis on deploying solar power in a greater variety of environments has been o ...
The year was 1990.  Some friends and I marveled at one of the first handheld transmitters in the 800MHz band.  We had all used handheld transmitters at lower bands, but somehow transmitting close to 1000MHz made it “microwave” and therefore scary.  In a display of teenage bravado, a friend grabbed the antenna in his hand, keyed the PTT, and said he could feel it warming his hand after a few seconds.  We figured if these “handheld microwave transmitters” ...
(Pictures via Etham Erkan Aktakka and the University of Michigan)     Electrical devices connected to the nervous system controls him. It makes him move, do things, and all the energy from every movement is harvested for their controller. Sound like a science fiction plot with humans at the mercy of technologically, and energy deficient, overlords? No, it is real. In reality, we are the ones levering our technical might over lesser creatures.   At the University of Michigan (UM), ...
BY BRIAN DIPERT Principal Sierra Media   RAM, i.e., "random access memory," is a commonly interchanged term for "volatile memory," i.e., memory that loses its stored data when power is removed. Yet RAM is not an acronym with which I'm particularly fond. Several decades ago when first coined, it admittedly was reasonably accurate, in contrast to ROM (read-only memory). ROMs, specifically mask ROMs (programmed at the fab) and PROMs and EPROMS (programmed in dedicated lab bench hardware, or ...

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