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Mind-blowing Advance? Direct Brain-to-Brain Communication Between Humans Demonstrated

In an experiment that one rival scientist dubbed a “stunt,” Spanish researchers claim to be the first to have demonstrated direct brain-to-brain communication between humans. The researchers, led by Giulio Ruffini, CEO of Starlab in Barcelona, successfully transmitted the words “hola” and “ciao” in binary code from the brain of a person in India to the brains of three people in France. Electroencephalography (EEG), which monitors electric currents in the brain, was used to record the information from the sender’s brain, and robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which causes neurons to so fire from an electric current that is generated by a rapidly changing magnetic field, was used to deliver the message to the brains of the receivers in France. 

Researchers have for years been developing noninvasive systems for translating information directly from the human brain to the computer. These systems, called brain-computer interface, often involve brain activity-sensing tools such as EEG, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and functional magnetic resonance imagine (fMRI). Researchers have also, to a lesser extent, experimented with translating information from the computer to the brain, using brain stimulating tools such as TMS — variations of which have also been used to treat depression — and transcranial focused ultrasound (FUS), which has been used to link the brains of rats

The Starlab experiment integrates two of these existing technologies to move a message from human brain to computer to human brain. The experiment was set up like this: While hooked up to an EEG device the sender was asked to imagine moving his hands or feet when shown an image that represented a 1 or 0, respectively. The EEG data was transmitted to the computer, translated into binary code, and emailed to the system at the recipients’ end. The recipients, blindfolded, received electric pulses from the robotized TMS system in the visual cortex of their brains. That triggered the experience of phosphenes: the perception of seeing flashes of light that are not actually there. The recipients reported verbally when they experienced a flash, and this was translated into binary code and then to the message. It’s super slow — the equivalent of telepathic Morse code. Still, the message was delivered.

Continue reading at IEEE Spectrum.

Woah, slow or not, this is some next level shit.

DARPA Project Starts Building Human Memory Prosthetics

The first memory-enhancing devices could be implanted within four years

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is famous for funding the development of the Internet, stealth jets, and GPS. These days, the agency has been giving a lot more attention to the life sciences, and specifically to rehab medical technologies to assist soldiers coming home from battles. Naturally, DARPA has been sponsoring prosthetic limb technologies, with the DEKA Luke Arm recently receiving FDA approval being a major achievement. Now DARPA is aiming for the brain with the hope of developing technologies to help restore memory. 

Brain injury and various neurological diseases prevent neurons from passing their signals properly, often causing memory loss and an inability to retain new memories. To address this, DARPA has allocated $2.5 million to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to develop neural implants able to both record signals coming from neural tissues (single neuron and local field potential recordings) and stimulate others in real time to effectively reconnect damaged sections of the brain. The closed-loop implantable system will initially be used to study how the regions of the brain responsible for memory operate. It will be able to process 64 channels of data coming from a pair of high density electrode arrays. An externally worn device around the ear will be able to communicate with the implant to receive readings and control its functionality.

Designed to last throughout the duration of treatment, the device’s electrodes will be integrated with electronics using advanced LLNL integration and 3D packaging technologies. The microelectrodes that are the heart of this device are embedded in a biocompatible, flexible polymer.

Using the Center for Bioengineering’s capabilities, Pannu [LLNL’s project leader Satinderpall Pannu, director of the LLNL’s Center for Bioengineering] and his team of engineers have achieved 25 patents and many publications during the last decade. The team’s goal is to build the new prototype device for clinical testing by 2017.

Lawrence Livermore’s collaborators, UCLA and Medtronic, will focus on conducting clinical trials and fabricating parts and components, respectively.

“The RAM program poses a formidable challenge reaching across multiple disciplines from basic brain research to medicine, computing and engineering,” said Itzhak Fried, lead investigator for the UCLA on this project and professor of neurosurgery and psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “But at the end of the day, it is the suffering individual, whether an injured member of the armed forces or a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, who is at the center of our thoughts and efforts.”

(via Medgadget)

Aprilli Design Studio’s Urban SkyFarm is a living machine, helping improve environmental quality by filtering water & air, providing edible greens & producing renewable energy. Dense urban developments will benefit from the additional green space by feeling a reduction in heat accumulation, storm water runoff & carbon dioxide. As a net zero facility, its aim is to operate only with renewable solar & wind energy. Harvesting from hydroponic systems, vertical gardens & farming decks, all goods are processed & distributed directly on the farm!

The Urban SkyFarm is a vertical solution that utilizes hydroponic systems as substitution of soil-based agricultural extensions. By using the hydroponic system, the Urban Skyfarm can provide hundreds of light weight farming decks which can be conditioned with supplementary heating, lighting and moisturizing while having the natural light as the main resource.

In order to gain maximum exposure to sunlight, the vertical garden lifts the main outdoor vegetation area higher up in the air in a section known as the “leaf” where mostly medium-based hydroponic fruit trees and larger scale vegetables needing more exposure to outside air and sunlight can be produced. The lower portions are controlled indoor environments using solution-based hydroponic farming with artificial lighting which are more suitable for indoor products such as basil, arugula, bok choy, etc..

It also serves as a community garden hub where urban dwellers can easily visit, grow their own vegetations and participate in the final production by bringing it home or selling it to the community. The central food market will host local mobile farmer markets around the neighborhood which will circulate through the city to facilitate producing and trading local food products grown by the community.


(via parkstepp)

Aphex Twin - minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]

Hold on to your panties if you’ve been snoozing under a rock like I’ve been. Aphex Twin resurfaces after 13 years with a new LP, due later this month! Warp has decided to give us a taste of new blood… here it is.

I doubt anyone believes the most pressing issues facing the nation include an insufficient understanding of the origins of the universe.

Republican Representative Sherwood Boehlert on cancelling the superconducting super collider being built in Texas in 1993. (via roscoemcnally)

You can thank idiots like this for everything the utterance ‘Merica conjures.

Before I went to elementary school, my mother started telling me biblical stories. She told me “If we are good we’ll go to paradise, and we will stay there forever.” And when she said “forever,” I started panicking. I kept asking, “Forever? Forever? You mean it never ends? Like, you wake up and you go back to sleep and it never ends?” I started crying. She told me, “What is wrong with you? This is paradise, it will be lot of fun. You will be very happy there.” But this idea of eternity, something infinite, scared me.

Savas Dimopoulos, particle physicist at Stanford University (via magnetronnie)