London's Wellcome Collection has an awesome exhibit starting today through June 17: It's all about brains! The image above is a corrosion cast of blood vessels in the brain from the 1980s....
Even among those of us who aren't fluent in geek speak, most are at least casually familiar with the concepts of software and hardware: the digital ghost and the shell. But there is a third computer component without which the other two would be meaningless. We're talking about meatware,* or the tech that connects computers to the meaty organic components, aka you. Today, we access the digital world various types of user interfaces (or a UI): keyboards, touchscreens, Kinect; anything that facilitates information transfer between flesh and silicon. And this tech works well enough. However, compared to the connectivity within a computer or within the brain, contemporary UIs are little more than annoying speed bumps along the road to the Matrix. But fear not, future human batteries in training! Researchers from around the world are hard at work developing ways to mainline the virtual world directly into your brain. No middle man required. Here we present some of the coolest upcoming technology that will collapse the divide between meat and machine.
Question: what do alcohol, cocaine, heroine, marijuana, methamphetamines and ketamine have in common with the Internet? The answer, apparently, is that they all can both change your brain chemistry in the same way, once you've become addicted to them.
Scientists preserve brains or body parts for various reasons. Sometimes the person had an illness that bears further study with more advanced tools than an age supplies; other times the brain in question powered an extraordinary intellect. The brains we'll be talking about belong more to the former, and scientists have found that studying canned gray matter can provide a history of human mental health.
As part of IBM's "5 in 5" forecasts of predictions, the company says that "minding reading" (more like mind control) will no longer be a science fiction dream and that within five years, we'll all be controlling our computers and smartphones by just wiggling our brains.
Remember the last time you walked into a room and forgot what you were there for? Absurd lack of parallelism aside, it's something we all experience, and apparently it isn't just some random occurrence. A team of researchers in the state of Indiana say there's a bona fide, scientific reason for it.
This just in: scientists from Berlin have released results in the journal of Translational Psychiatry that teenagers who play video games frequently have brains with larger pleasure centers.
Rats with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have been completely cured of the disease, using neuronal stem cells that have been modified to produce insulin. This approach should work in humans, too, and all it involves is shoving a needle up your nose into your brain. Yay!
In what the brains at Duke University are calling the "first-ever demonstration of a two-way interaction between a primate brain and a virtual body," two monkeys have been wired up with implants that let them "move and feel virtual objects." This could mean big things for medicine, entertainment and VR anime holodecks.
It's only been in the last few years that things like mental pictures and memories as signals in our brain have become accessible, measurable, and even recordable. An article in Nature this week reveals how memories are actually quantized into little sub-second chunks, and the researchers did it by 'teleporting' rats.