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Jun 2, 2016

Neural Dust — ultra small brain interfaces — is being used to make cyborg insects

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, electronics, energy, neuroscience

As the computation and communication circuits we build radically miniaturize (i.e. become so low power that 1 picoJoule is sufficient to bang out a bit of information over a wireless transceiver; become so small that 500 square microns of thinned CMOS can hold a reasonable sensor front-end and digital engine), the barrier to introducing these types of interfaces into organisms will get pretty low. Put another way, the rapid pace of computation and communication miniaturization is swiftly blurring the line between the technological base that created us and the technological based we’ve created. Michel Maharbiz, University of California, Berkeley, is giving an overview (june 16, 2016) of recent work in his lab that touches on this concern. Most of the talk will cover their ongoing exploration of the remote control of insects in free flight via implantable radio-equipped miniature neural stimulating systems.; recent results with neural interfaces and extreme miniaturization directions will be discussed. If time permits, he will show recent results building extremely small neural interfaces they call “neural dust,” work done in collaboration with the Carmena, Alon and Rabaey labs.

Radical miniaturization has created the ability to introduce a synthetic neural interface into a complex, multicellular organism, as exemplified by the creation of a “cyborg insect.”

“The rapid pace of computation and communication miniaturization is swiftly blurring the line between technological base we’ve created and the technological base that created us,” explained Dr. Maharbiz. “These combined trends of extreme miniaturization and advanced neural interfaces have enabled us to explore the remote control of insects in free flight via implantable radio-equipped miniature neural stimulating systems.”

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Jun 2, 2016

Elon Musk’s craziest idea is the AI-beating Neural Lace

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, robotics/AI, sustainability, transportation

RANCHOS PALOS VERDES, California — Are you ready to interface with your digital self at neural level? Elon Musk wants you to. In fact, he thinks it’s the only way we can prevent becoming our artificial intelligence overlords’ house cats.

Musk laid our this wild, new digital vision during a late evening chat at the annual Code Conference.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model 3 won’t get free Supercharger access, Musk says.

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Jun 2, 2016

This Incredible ‘Star Trek’ Visor Could Help The Blind See Again

Posted by in category: futurism

This ‘Star Trek’ Visor Could Help The Blind ‘See’ Again.

UK trials are set to begin this year.

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Jun 2, 2016

Why people who believe in God ‘are more likely to have a lower IQ’

Posted by in category: futurism

Stupid people are more likely than eggheads to believe in God, a controversial new study claims.

In a move that is bound to offend millions of churchgoers, a British psychologist says he has found a link between having a high IQ and being an atheist.

The discovery helps explain why university academics are less likely to be religious than almost anyone else, he says.

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Jun 2, 2016

DARPA moving forward with drone ‘space plane’

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI, satellites

The US military’s research arm says its robotic “space plane” program has received funding for the next phase of development. Aiming to provide a quicker and cheaper way to launch satellites, the still-conceptual vehicle may fly as early as 2019.

The Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program is intended to prove that “routine and responsive access to space can be achieved at costs an order of magnitude lower than with today’s systems,” according to Jess Sponable, program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

After reviewing studies submitted by several aerospace conglomerates, DARPA has now issued a call for design proposals. The deadline for submissions is July 22.

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Jun 2, 2016

Behind the Commonwealth Bank’s investment in quantum computing

Posted by in categories: business, computing, finance, government, quantum physics

Excellent story; glad that this bank in Australia is getting prepared for Quantum now instead of later which will be too late for some. Good news is that Wall Street as well as the US Government are getting educated on Quantum Computing. I do hope more and more businesses and institutions start developing their own internal QC expertise so that they are prepared for the switch that is coming across all industries.

The Commonwealth Bank’s decision to contribute millions of dollars to quantum computing research is not just about the significant commercial potential of the technology itself but also about developing its own in-house expertise in the area, according to chief information officer David Whiteing.

The bank last year committed to contributing $10 million over five years to UNSW’s Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T). That was in addition to $5 million it announced in December 2014 that it would put towards the centre.

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Jun 1, 2016

World’s First Human Head Transplant Will Take Place in 2017

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Italian neurosurgeon Dr. Sergio Canavero is firm on his promise to deliver the first human head transplant to the world. He says a Chinese man will be the first patient in 2017, and now all he needs is approval and funding. Other experts are highly skeptical.

Last year, Dr. Sergio Canavero created quite the ruckus (to put it mildly) when he vowed to be the first person to transplant a human head onto a deceased donor’s body. Yes, he is planning on attempting the world’s first human head transplant (or body transplant, depending on how you look at it).

In fact, it has been about a year since his initial proclamation, and the Italian neurosurgeon still stands firm on his declaration, despite claims from other experts that it is nothing but a PR Stunt (at best) or a hoax. Some have even hypothesized it’s all just a plot meant to promote Metal Gear Solid.

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Jun 1, 2016

Bill Gates talks about why artificial intelligence is nearly here and how to solve two big problems it creates

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

I get a kick out of stories like this one.

The real challenge is ensuring humans stay in control.

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Jun 1, 2016

“Two Worlds of Spacetime” –Physicists Voyage Into the Quantum Foam (Wednesday’s Most Popular)

Posted by in category: quantum physics

“Astronomy has been a tool of discovery since the dawn of civilization. For thousands of years, humans used the stars to navigate and find their place in the universe,” said physicist Eic Perlman on the Florida Institute of Technolgy in an post on NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory blog. “Astronomy made possible the travels of the ancient Polynesians across the Pacific Ocean as well as measurements of the Earth’s size and shape by the ancient Greeks. Today, astronomers search for hints about what the universe was like when the universe was much younger. So imagine, for a second, what life would be like – and how much less we would know about ourselves and the universe – if the microscopic nature of space-time made some of these measurements impossible.”

Our experience of space-time is that of a continuous object, without gaps or discontinuities, just as it is described by classical physics. For some quantum gravity models however, the texture of space-time is “granular” at tiny scales (below the so-called Planck scale, 10–33 cm), as if it were a variable mesh of solids and voids (or a complex foam). One of the great problems of physics today is to understand the passage from a continuous to a discrete description of spacetime: is there an abrupt change or is there gradual transition? Where does the change occur?

The separation between one world and the other creates problems for physicists: for example, how can we describe gravity — explained so well by classical physics — according to quantum mechanics? Quantum gravity is in fact a field of study in which no consolidated and shared theories exist as yet. There are, however, “scenarios”, which offer possible interpretations of quantum gravity subject to different constraints, and which await experimental confirmation or confutation.

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Jun 1, 2016

Can A Brain-Machine Interface Help Train Your Mind?

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, wearables

Walk into any workout facility and, odds are, you’ll see plenty of people working with a personal fitness trainer. It’s common practice to hire a trainer who can help improve your physical fitness, but is it possible to find a trainer for better mental fitness? Entrepreneur Ariel Garten founded her company, InteraXon, around this very idea. Bolstered by new advances in non-invasive brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) that can help people practice ways to reduce stress and improve cognitive abilities, Garten believes this is just the beginning of a lucrative industry.

Garten’s company manufactures a BMI called the Muse, an EEG sensor headband that monitors occipital and temporal brain waves. According to Ariel, the goal of the device is to help people understand their mental processes while at the same time learning to calm and quiet their mind at any time, with the same convenience of carrying around an iPhone.

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“We don’t measure stress (with the Muse). What we’re actually measuring is a state of stable, focused attention,” Garten said. “When you hone your mind into a state of stable focused attention, what you’re able to do is resist the thoughts that you have and the distractions that you have. That helps you improve your cognitive function and attention. And, it also helps you decrease your stress, anxiety and all of the downstream physiological responses of that stress.”

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