Tag Archives | Cyborg

Secret of NIMH? Memory Implant Boosts Brain Function in Rats

Secret of NIMHThis article reminds me a bit of The Secret of NIMH. Yes, my first awareness of animal experimentation was likely from a(n) Disney animated movie. Benedict Carey writes in the New York Times:

Though still a long way from being tested in humans, the implant demonstrates for the first time that a cognitive function can be improved with a device that mimics the firing patterns of neurons. In recent years neuroscientists have developed implants that allow paralyzed people to move prosthetic limbs or a computer cursor, using their thoughts to activate the machines.

In the new work, being published Friday, researchers at Wake Forest University and the University of Southern California used some of the same techniques to read neural activity. But they translated those signals internally, to improve brain function rather than to activate outside appendages.

“It’s technically very impressive to pull something like this off, given our current level of technology,” said Daryl Kipke, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the experiment.

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Austrian Man Amputates His Hand To Replace It With Bionic One

_52542971_twohandsstillGive this guy a hand for his courage. Won’t someone lend him a hand? … and so on. The BBC reports on our entry into the age of cyborgs, with laser-shooting eye transplants surely right around the corner:

An Austrian man has voluntarily had his hand amputated so he can be fitted with a bionic limb. The patient, called “Milo”, aged 26, lost the use of his right hand in a motorcycle accident a decade ago. After his stump heals in several weeks’ time, he will be fitted with a bionic hand which will be controlled by nerve signals in his own arm.

The patient, a Serbian national who has lived in Austria since childhood, suffered injuries to a leg and shoulder when he skidded off his motorcycle and smashed into a lamppost in 2001 while on holiday in Serbia.

A further operation involving the transplantation of muscle and nerve tissue into his forearm also failed to restore movement to the hand, but it did at least boost the electric signals being delivered from his brain to his forearm, signals that could be used to drive a bionic hand.

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Augment Your Body With Brainwave-Controlled Cat Ears

Completely real and available for purchase now from Japanese startup outfit Neurowear. Being a bionic cyber-feline has never looked cuter. Via Wired UK:
The ears twitch through a range of different positions, which correspond to different brain activity. So when you concentrate, the ears point upwards and when you relax the ears flop down and forwards. Mind control isn't new, but lately advances have been made to make mass market control devices at affordable prices.
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Make Your Own Remote-Controlled CockroachBorg

Slightly modify the circuitry from a remote-controlled toy, attach to a household cockroach, and, voila! A living RoboRoach, whose movements can be controlled via electrical impulses. After watching the below video, this creature/machine will be scuttling through your nightmares for days.
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Professor to Install Camera in the Back of His Head

Wafaa BilalTracy Staedter writes at Discovery News:

According to this article from the Wall Street Journal, Wafaa Bilal, an Iraqi assistant professor at New York University is having a camera surgically embedded in the back of his head.

The unusual act is part of a museum installation called 3rdI. For a year, the camera will take still pictures in one-minute intervals and send them wirelessly to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, which will display them on monitors.

Bilal is known for his provocative art. He has a tattoo on his back that details American and Iraqi casualties, he set up a website where people could shoot him remotely with paint balls and created a suicide-bomber avatar of himself in a video game that hunted down President George W. Bush.

The 3rdI project, which launches December 15, has raised a bunch of privacy concerns that the university is still addressing.

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Camera-Headed Birds Keep Tabs on the Citizens of Dutch City

Cyborg BirdsNo worries, it's just an art project in the Dutch city of Utrecht reported on by Cyriaque Lamar on io9.com:
Has Big Brother begun dabbling in fringe science? No, it's just a mutant street art project by the artist duo Helden. Here's how Helden (a.k.a. Thomas voor 't Hekke and Bas van Oerle) describe their camerabirds: 'panoptICONS' addresses the fact that you are constantly being watched by surveillance cameras in city centres. The surveillance camera seems to have become a real pest that feeds on our privacy. To represent this, camera birds — city birds with cameras instead of heads — were placed throughout the city centre of Utrecht where they feed on our presence. In addition, a camera bird in captivity was displayed to show the feeding process and to make the everyday breach of our privacy more personal and tangible.
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Korean Artist Imagines a Tomorrow of Sentient Machines

Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two predicted this was the year when humanity would make contact with an alien intelligence. But if you’ve seen the work of U-Ram Choe, you know the shocking truth: They’re already here.

The brainchild of the South Korean sculptor, “New Urban Species” is an art show disguised as a natural history exhibit from the future, and it’s one of the most engaging displays on tour this year.

U-Ram Choe builds art that comes from a not-to-distant-tomorrow, where organic life and mechanized objects have become one. His kinetic sculptures are not only creepy-fun marvels, they also create a compelling dialog about machine consciousness and the coming Singularity.

In his book Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology, brain researcher Valentino Braitenberg demonstrates how human beings invest the increasingly complex behaviors of mechanical devices with a range of values and abilities including aggression, creative thinking, personality and free will, and how we project ourselves into these moving forms.… Read the rest

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First Human ‘Infected with Computer Virus’ (Video)

Rory Cellan-Jones reports on BBC News:
A British scientist says he is the first man in the world to become infected with a computer virus. Dr Mark Gasson from the University of Reading contaminated a computer chip which was then inserted into his hand. The device, which enables him to pass through security doors and activate his mobile phone, is a sophisticated version of ID chips used to tag pets. In trials, Dr Gasson showed that the chip was able to pass on the computer virus to external control systems. If other implanted chips had then connected to the system they too would have been corrupted, he said.
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The Health Care Industry Apocalypse In ‘Repo Men’

New HeartAnnalee Newitz reviews Repo Men on io9.com:
With health care a source of fierce debate in America, a movie like Repo Men was bound to be made. A bloody satire of the marriage between medicine and capitalism, it's about repo men who collect on overdue artificial organs. A cult musical about this same topic, called Repo! The Genetic Opera, came out last year, though Repo Men itself was based on a novel called The Repossession Mambo. The idea of scary semi-serial killers who kill to repossess mechanical organs seems to be in the air. Indeed, one of the best parts of Repo Men is the way it captures the sentiments of millions of people who feel dicked over by hospitals and medical insurance companies right now. But the movie's strength is also its problem: Evil medical corporations are a pretty easy target, and Repo Men gives us a black-and-white view of a problem that is in reality all shades of gray.
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