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Jay Dinan
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Thanks +Mark Bruce for another scintillating week of science!
 
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 12/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/consciousness-is-global-clip-3d.html

Consciousness is global, CLIP 3D printing, Neuromorphic optical computing, Silicon photonic switches, DNA molecular transport, Magnetised graphene, More drone advances, Robotic arms, Targeted nucleic acids, Nanoparticles click. 

1. Network Theory and Global Consciousness.
Recent brain imaging studies strongly suggest that consciousness, our rich conscious experience, is indeed a global rather than local phenomenon in the brain http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/213466/. Network or graph theory was used in this case to examine the links between various parts of the brain that were related to conscious awareness; in this case subjects reported when they were aware of a small disk flashed briefly on a screen while an fMRI scanner imaged the activity of their brains. The data suggested that the whole of the brain became more functionally connected following reports of awareness. This would also appear to provide experimental support for Tononi’s Integrate Information Theory of Consciousness. 

2. CLIP Optical 3D Printing Technology.
If you missed this one this week you were living under a rock - everyone was sharing and watching the amazing new 3D printing technology unveiled by Carbon3D this week http://3dprint.com/51566/carbon3d-clip-3d-printing. CLIP stands for Continuous Liquid Interface Production and involves the use of a projector to programmably solidify discrete regions of a UV-curable liquid resin as the growing part is pulled out of the resin bath. This is forming solid structures in three dimensions continuously, without a print-head, and is 25x to 100x faster than conventional approaches on the market. A potentially transformative technological evolution, only now emerging from stealth-mode after heavy venture backing. Oh, and it does 1 micron resolution too; be sure to watch the videos if you haven’t already. In related news commercial interests develop open-source algorithms for better 3D printing https://www.llnl.gov/news/america-makes-taps-lawrence-livermore-ge-develop-open-source-algorithms-3d-printing

3. Brain-Like Computing with Light.
Microofibers produced from chalcogenide glasses possess a range of optical properties that allow them to be used to replicate a range of equivalent neuron and brain functions and signal protocols http://www.southampton.ac.uk/mediacentre/news/2015/mar/15_45.shtml#.VQo1Qv4mmyc. These can be thought of as photonic neurons that might one day enabled neuromorphic hardware with ultrafast signal transmission speeds, higher bandwidth and lower power consumption than their biological and electronic counterparts. The paper concluded: “we implemented an optical axon in an amorphous metal-sulphide microfiber that enables photonic synapses to perform analogues of fundamental neurophysiological functions of the mammalian central nervous system.” 

4. Large-Scale Silicon Photonic Switches.
In related photonics news the largest-ever silicon photonic switch has been developed, which enables higher bandwidth and lower energy losses http://www.osa.org/en-us/about_osa/newsroom/news_releases/2015/largest-scale_silicon_photonic_switch_to_be_presen/. Previous photonic switches incorporated just 64 switching elements but the new design manages 2,500 and 10k should be feasible. Existing architectures would never be able to scale to this level due to optical losses, but the new architecture circumvents this problem by incorporating new MEMS switching element that can switch states 1,000 times faster than existing MEMS switches. Applications include computing, networking, data transmission and routing. 

5. Tethered DNA Origami for Molecular Transport.
Advancing on the work of DNA origami “walkers” to transport molecular cargo across a surface this latest work simplifies and accelerates the process by using a tethered DNA origami molecule that is free to swing around and facilitate rapid molecular transport across surfaces in conjunction with natural diffusions processes http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=39476.php. The concept here is to use partial compartmentalisation that is able to rectify and utilise brownian motion to advantage, and the embodiment was a 30nm atomically-precise DNA arm swinging a molecular cargo around on a 90nm x 60nm platform.  Future hurdles to overcome include interfacing with the outside world and other applications include structured DNA sensing and computing arrays. 

6. The Benefits of Magnetised Graphene.
A simple and robust method for magnetising graphene with hydrogen has been developed http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2015/nrl-researchers-pattern-magnetic-graphine. The magnetism can be controlled by adding or limiting the amount of hydrogenation, and a commercial electron-beam process can then etch away hydrogen to produce precisely defined magnetic patterns on the graphene. Applications include magnetic data storage of course, but it will be quite a stretch to see if they can actually achieve the million-fold improvement over current hard drives that they claim as “possible”. Tightly packed magnetic graphene might also make for much more powerful permanent magnets and this would also be worth exploring. In related news graphene quantum dots get better http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/optoelectronics/new-production-twist-for-graphene-quantum-dots-opens-up-applications

7. More Drone Advancements.
A few of interesting drone developments this week. First, drones can now be used to build high-resolution 3D scans of landmarks and larger areas http://www.technologyreview.com/news/535596/high-resolution-3-d-scans-built-from-drone-photos/, and as drone traffic and capabilities increase this might lead to high resultion 3D maps of the entire planet. Second, a new hybrid gas-electric drone has 13 times the range of a battery electric drone http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/03/hybrid-gas-electric-drone-has-13-times.html, with a flight time of 2.5 hours and a range of 100 miles, which is pretty damn amazing when you think about it. Finally, leading on from last week’s cockroaches, other researchers are flying beetles via remote control http://www.gizmag.com/remote-control-giant-flower-beetles/36588/

8. Easy-to-Program Robotic Arms Take Another Step.
A couple of important robot arm advances this week. First, Universal Robotics launched its new UR3 robotic arm in three different sizes http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/universal-robots-ur3-robotic-arm. This is an easy to program multi-articulated robotic arm for a wide range of repetitive tasks that is safe to work near humans. Rethink Robotics also followed up its previous Baxter robot by launching the new Sawyer Robot which is again an easy to program multi-articulated robotic arm (unlike Baxter’s two) that incorporates a range of improvements to make it smaller, faster, stronger, and more precise http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/sawyer-rethink-robotics-new-robot. It’s great to see competition heating up in this area and ongoing technical improvements delivering ever-better robotic capabilities. 

9. Targeted Nucleic Acid Drugs.
Nanoparticles (of gold or lipid in this case) that are coated with 100+ strands of DNA of specific sequence have been termed “spherical nucleic acids” and recently demonstrated very effective immunomodulatory properties http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2015/03/spherical-nucleic-acids-set-stage-for-new-paradigm-in-drug-development.html. The DNA is designed to target different cell receptors and in the this “spherical” form proves to be one of the most simple, efficient, and potent immunomodulators to be developed, with significant promise against cancer and autoimmune disorders. And also this week we had specific microRNAs being used in tissue regeneration, effectively - and temporarily - boosting cell proliferation to take the place of damaged tissue http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2015/03/morrisey/

10. Nanoparticulate Click Chemistry.
A tough choice for number ten this week, but I went with the deceptively simple and innocuous click chemistry technique developed for easily and controllably joining nanoparticles together and to other surfaces http://phys.org/news/2015-03-click-modern-chemistry-bonds-nanoparticles.html. Click-chemistries are usually used to precisely control the chemical connection of one molecule to another as part of a defined synthetic step, but in this work the concept was adapted to nanoparticles and allowing the quick and permanent bonding of nanoparticles together and to solid substrates. Think ordered arrays of different nanoparticles, even quantum dots, in defined patterns working to perform some function. 

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/consciousness-is-global-clip-3d.html 
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 Some amazing pictures with informative captions.
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Amigo Jay, imagenes muy hermosas, podrias ser explisito en decirme a que corresponden estas fotos?
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Thanks +Chris Robinson  and +OSU MAD Lab for this excellent poster. I have seen links between HRV and the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous sysytem before particularly with depression but never with infants and AV discrimination. 
 
Heart Rate Variability and AV Processing in Infants
We recently presented these preliminary data at the International Conference on Infant Studies. Summary is below or you can click on poster and scroll with mouse wheel to enlarge.

Summary
*Infants were presented with alternating old and new sounds (E1) or old and new AV pairings (E2), and we recorded infants' heart rates.

*Heart rate slowed down more for novel sounds and novel images, suggesting that heart rate can be used to measure AV discrimination in young infants.

*Infants with more variable heart beats (i.e., increased variability in beat to beat intervals) at the beginning of the study were more likely to detect changes in auditory and visual information.

*Current research is examining if heart rate variability can be used to predict selective and divided attention abilities in young children. 

Robinson, C. W., Miser, T., Williams. D., Thayer, J. F., & Sloutsky, V. M. (2014, July). Heart Rate Variability as a Predictor of Infants’ Auditory and Visual Processing. Poster presented at the Biennial International Conference for Infant Studies, Berlin, Germany.
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Thanks +Mark Bruce  for another great week of review in science. From light activation of genes to genetically modified apples it has been an intriguing week.
 
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 07/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/crispr-via-light-volume-graphene.html

CRISPR via light, Volume graphene production, Spot the robot, Printed DNA hydrogels, Implanted artificial organs, Printing via spinnerets, Scanadu tricorder, Prosthetic arms, Contact lens telescope, GMO apple approval. 

1. Light-Induced CRISPR for Custom Tissue Architectures 
By attaching light sensitive proteins from plants to a specific CRISPR sequence and to gene activation proteins a new controlled gene regulation system has been engineered that enables any desired gene to be switched on and off by simply shining light of a particular wavelength onto the cell http://www.pratt.duke.edu/news/controlling-genes-light. The proof-of-concept showed a dish of cells expressing fluorescent proteins only on those areas that had been exposed to light. Future applications include light-induced control over the variable differentiation of stem cell cultures to facilitate better and more realistic tissue engineering, or even skin-based cell therapies that allow you to activate a particular pathway at will.

2. Towards Volume Production of Graphene
An alteration to conventional chemical vapour deposition techniques has resulted in a new method to enable the scalable production of graphene sheets http://www.rug.nl/news/2015/02/0210-publ-grafeen. The key insight was simply to grow the graphene on a copper oxide substrate; the process of removing or decoupling the graphene from this substrate preserves the graphene structure and properties and circumvents the risks of breakage or contamination. In related graphene fabrication news, 3D printing of complex 3D graphene-based structures is being facilitated by better graphene-loaded inks http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=38965.php

3. Spot, by Boston Dynamics
Leading robotics company Boston Dynamics showed off a new mid-size quadruped robot weighing 160 lbs called Spot this week http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/spot-is-boston-dynamics-nimble-new-quadruped-robot. Smaller but faster and more agile than its big brother Big Dog, Spot is battery powered and actuated by hydraulics, and can recover quickly from even severe knocks - as can be seen in the embedded video and which will test your anthropomorphic tendencies. In other robotics news new flying drone designs prove almost indestructible in most situations http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/aerial-robots/gimball-drones-for-good-competition

4. 3D Printed Self-Assembled Hydrogel Structures
Complementary DNA strands loaded into a gel enable the gel to carry live cells and be 3D printed into custom structures http://phys.org/news/2015-02-synthetic-dna-gel-artificial.html. The complementary DNA self-assembles to impart the mechanical characteristics of the gel, which can be altered as needed by changing the sequence of DNA; this self-assembly obviates the need for high temperatures and so better facilitates the handling of live cells through a print nozzle for tissue engineering applications. In other biological self-assembly news the self-assembled protein coats some microbes use to protect themselves is offering insights for engineering artificial variants for a range of purposes http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/11/bacterial-armor/

5. Artificial Organs in Implantable Capsules
Pancreatic precursor cells loaded into a flexible, biocompatible mesh capsule that blocks white blood cells but allows the passage of nutrients, oxygen, waste products, proteins, and secreted factors, successfully treats diabetes in animals for long periods of time and has already been implanted into one person to kick off clinical trials http://www.technologyreview.com/news/535036/a-pancreas-in-a-capsule/. The device was developed by Viacyte and they aren’t the only group developing similar technologies; future work will improve the life of the device and create full differentiated islet cells rather than a mix. It’s fascinating to think how the function of artificial organs can be provided in this way, or even other custom biological functions perhaps; combined with the light-induced CRISPR you could have a subdermal patch that you switch on when needed to pump out some enzyme like alcohol dehydrogenase for example. 

6. Robotic Bio-Mimicking Spinnerets for Amazing 3D Printing
A new 3D printer demonstration combines a robotic arm and an innovative 3D printer that includes multiple dynamically moving print heads that each continuously extrude print filament in a system that mimics a spider’s spinnerets extruding silk fibres http://gizmodo.com/this-incredible-robotic-arm-prints-plastic-like-a-spide-1685397572. The machine can extrude or “print” custom 3D fibres or structures, suspended in space, on the go and results in fibres comprising an internal core fibre surrounded by three looping fibres that help convey structural strength and flexibility. Check out the video; it’s pretty amazing. Think of this attached to a mobile robot or mobile swarm of robots. 

7. Scanadu Personal Medical “Tricorder” Ships
Starting out as a successful Indiegogo crowd-funding project Scanadu has finally launched and shipped their Scout product, a small round device that is held to the forehead and very quickly sends readings to your smartphone with measurements of heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, oxygen level, and ECG http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/12/tech/mci-scanadu-tricorder/index.html?eref=edition. Early users will help with real world calibration and testing and if the measurements are confirmed as accurate (an FDA submission is also in the works) then this would be a pretty powerful consumer device and one I’d definitely buy. They are also working on a “Scanaflo” product, intended to be a urine test kit for measuring  wide range of metabolic factors.

8. Prosthetic Arms by DARPA & OSRF
DARPA and its partners including the Open Source Robotics Foundation continue to develop advanced prosthetic arms and hands for amputees http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/medical-robots/darpa-and-osrf-developing-nextgen-prosthetic-limbs-in-simulation-and-reality. In a couple of recent demonstrations of the ongoing work we can see a man using a prosthetic arm to climb a rock wall, while other amputees use the prosthetic arms to pick grapes, spoon-feed themselves, “hand” objects between each other, pour drinks into glasses and other feats. The ultimate goal of the program is to create artificial limbs that behave like, are controlled like, and for the user feel like, a normal biological arm. 

9. Telescope in a Contact Lens
Another DARPA collaboration, this time with the EPFL, has resulted in the production of a new type of contact lens embedded with thin aluminium mirrors that, in conjunction with a pair of LCD glasses function as a telescopic lens http://gizmodo.com/this-contact-lens-can-zoom-in-with-a-wink-of-the-eye-1685695869. Light passing through the LCD in one polarisation appears normal and conveys normal vision, but switch the LCD to produce a different polarisation that interacts with the contact lens and the result is telescopic magnification. Future work will improve the oxygen permeability of the lens for greater eye comfort and perhaps seek incorporate the switchable liquid crystal elements directly. 

10. Genetically Modified Apples Approved by Regulators
For the first time genetically engineered apples have been granted regulatory approval by the US Department of Agriculture http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/13/8035775/gmo-apples-usda-commercial-farming-genetically-modified. The genetic modifications are pretty simple, and involve altering the activity levels of a particular gene / enzyme to ensure the apples will greatly resist browning when cut or dropped. I can only hope that this paves the way for greater varieties and greater numbers of different GM foods that convey a range of different nutritional benefits such as more vitamins, etc as opposed to the usual pesticide resistance that we usually see with staple crops. 

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/crispr-via-light-volume-graphene.html
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Thanks +Mark Bruce for another recap of an amazing week in science.
 
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 06/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/embryo-on-chip-multi-organ.html 

Embryo on a chip, Multi-organ microfluidics, 2D materials, Smartphone diagnostics, Videos & deep learning, RNA gene switch, Nano optics antennas, Rapid genome analysis, 1.5nm ruler, Aviation additive manufacturing. 

1. Embryos on a Chip
With the development of a new PDMS biomimetic system there is now such a things as an embryo-on-a-chip http://phys.org/news/2015-02-transparent-soft-pdms-eggshell-embryo.html. PDMS was used to create artificial transparent shells with the same shape and curvature of real egg shells within which it is possible to culture and grow embryos, which in the proof-of-concept were chick embryos, and allows new ways to study embryo development. Compounds of interest can be introduced as needed into the embryo by use of the device. I also wonder whether this will aid the development of artificial uteruses. 

2. Organism on a Chip and Microfluidics
In related news we had the latest development of microfluidic chips designed to host multiple organs at the same time connected with a circulatory system, and working towards a complete organism-on-a-chip http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2015/february/mini-synthetic-organism-instead-of-test-animals.html. The promise here is to greatly accelerate clinical drug development by allowing rapid chip-based testing of drugs instead of animal studies and lengthy human trials. A novel and very clever microfluidic pumping mechanism was also unveiled this week that involved a simple vibrating saw-toothed grating to propel fluids around the chip https://photos.aip.org/publishing/journal-highlights/industrial-pump-inspired-flapping-bird-wings

3. This Week in 2D Materials
First, transistors have been made from silicene for the very first time, proving various models and confirming ballistic electron transport, despite the technique currently being impractical for everyday use http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/transistor-made-from-silicene-for-first-time. Second, a new allotrope of carbon called penta-graphene has been discovered in theoretical models; comprised of tiled pentagons (instead of hexagons) it should be stable, strong, and naturally semiconducting but first they’ll have to synthesise it http://phys.org/news/2015-02-penta-graphene-variant-carbon.html. Third, and related to the second, it seems grain boundary defects in graphene sheets, which are usually comprised of 5 or 7 member rings appear to provide a nice semiconducting bandgap for graphene http://phys.org/news/2015-02-borders-graphene.html

4. Smartphone-Powered Diagnostic Testing
A new device that plugs into the audio jack of a smartphone for power and data transfer is able to accurately test a person’s blood sample to diagnose syphilis or HIV, and to top it off the device costs just $34 http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/diagnostics/34-diagnostic-tool-for-stds-plugs-into-smartphone-rivals-18000-lab-equipment. The test accuracy matches that of far more expensive equipment, and while it competes with cheaper paper-based tests it also might be easily expanded to handle a range of other diagnostics as well. The modular utilisation of smartphones is a big plus in my opinion, and marks yet another step towards portable, personal, tricorder-like medical devices.

5. Applying Deep Learning Analysis to Video Footage
A couple of new companies have launched new software, powered by deep learning techniques, to automatically analyse, breakdown, and characterise video footage http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534631/a-startups-neural-network-can-understand-video/. Videos lasting minutes can be processed in seconds to produce timelines for the appearance or presence of different objects, compositions, landscapes, or activity. Interesting applications for embedded video advertising, personal and public video search for short relevant sections of video buried in long videos, and also real-time analysis of surveillance footage. The capabilities are already impressive and can be expected to get much better. 

6. Genetic On-Off Switch Made of RNA
A new system allows controlled activation of desired genes simply with specific sequences of RNA; one sequence is tailored to bind to a region of DNA upstream of the gene of interest and block the transcription or activation of that gene, while a second sequence is tailored to the first and when present binds to and removes the first strand to allow gene activation to continue http://phys.org/news/2015-02-genetic-exclusively-rna.html. This sounds similar to CRISPR-style mechanisms. A nice and simple solution to control the activation of a particular gene, provided the RNA strands can be effectively and efficiently introduced / delivered into the cells of interest. 

7. Light Emission Gains on Light Stimulation for Applications
A new nano-scale antenna made of gold boosts the spontaneous light emission of a specific nanorod by 115 times, which is getting close to the 200-fold improvement that stimulated light (e.g. lasers) have typically enjoyed over spontaneous emission light http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/03/rediscovering-spontaneous-light-emission/. The group believe they can greatly improve this performance and this would make it possible to replace wires on microchips with LEDs for significant on-chip performance gains. As noted by the authors we’ve only just started to fabricate and utilise antennas in optics. 

8. Whole-Genome Analysis in 90 Minutes
The time taken to analyse a single person’s genome has been drastically reduced after the development and demonstration of new software called “Churchill” that is able to analyse a genome to find mutations and other differences of interest in under 90 minutes http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/news-room-articles/new-software-analyzes-human-genomes-faster-than-other-available-technologies-empowering-population-scale-genomic-analysis?contentid=137732. The accuracy of the software was demonstrated as 100% reproducible, and to have the highest sensitivity (99.7%), accuracy (99.99%), and diagnostic effectiveness (99.66%) compared to other competing computational genomic analysis techniques. Rapid personalised genomics takes another step towards realisation. 

9. 1.5 Nanometer Ruler for Extending Moore’s Law
 The finest ever nanoscale ruler has been fabricated with line measurements of just 1.5nm, and is intended to aid the development of the next semiconductor nodes at 11nm and 7nm required for the continuation of Moore’s Law http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1325587. The ruler will be used as a test pattern to calibrate and test the instruments used to fabricate next generation semiconductor technology. Measuring just 6x6 micrometers, samples of the new ruler will be critical not just for advanced semiconductor fabs but also for making better scanning microscopes, atomic force microscopes, and soft x-ray microscopes. 

10. Pushing Additive Manufacturing and New Materials
Aircraft and jet engine manufacturers continue to push additive manufacturing to enable transformative performance improvements in aviation by using laser or electron beam sintering of metal to make lighter, stronger parts http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534726/additive-manufacturing-is-reshaping-aviation/. In addition they are trying to transform engine design so that engines contain drastically fewer parts and are cheaper to make while performing better; the new technology allows the consideration of wild alterations such as many smaller engines embedded along the wings themselves. In related materials news, new iron-aluminium steel alloys overcome brittle problems to provide tensile strength and ductility performance greater than titanium alloys http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/02/ultrastrong-low-density-steel-with.html

Archived:
http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/02/embryo-on-chip-multi-organ.html
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Jay Dinan

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This was a particularly exciting week of science stories. From printable skin sensors to biomolecular quantum criticality, just a lot of mind blowing science stories. As always a big hi and thank you to +Mark Bruce  our intrepid editor of this fine blog.
 
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 10/2015.
Permalink here: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/virtual-simulated-mouse-mind-controlled.html

Virtual simulated mouse, Mind controlled flight, Tensegrity robot, Amazing drones, Printable skin sensors, Biological quantum criticality, Conducting microbial nanowires, CRISPR germline engineering, Quantum error correction, Graphene. 

1. Simulated Mouse Brain in Virtual Mouse Body
A new neurorobotics platform developed by the Human Brain Project involves a single simulation that houses both a model mouse brain and model mouse body that interact with each other https://www.humanbrainproject.eu/-/a-simulated-mouse-brain-in-a-virtual-mouse-bo-2. To build the virtual mouse brain the team integrated data from the Allen Brain Institute and the Blue Brain Project, which included the positions of the 75 million neurons in a mouse brain plus neuron shapes, sizes, and connectivity patterns, and mapped this to different parts of the mouse body. This is a prototype of course, a simplified version with just 200,000 neurons, but still very exciting to see such a platform demonstrated and especially to see it develop into the future. 

2. Intimate Mind Control Over Plane Flight
A woman with electrodes implanted into her brain who previously demonstrated the ability to control a robotic arm by thinking, has now demonstrated the ability to fly a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter simulator with her thoughts http://defensetech.org/2015/03/02/this-woman-flew-an-f-35-simulator-with-her-mind/. The team claims an important distinction: in this case the woman wasn’t thinking about controlling a joystick or robotic arm, but rather more naturally thinking about controlling the plan directly, in a seemingly far more intuitive fashion. If true this marks a fairly significant development for seamless brain computer interfaces. 

3. A Whole Bunch of Freaking Amazing Robots & Drones
First, check out this amazing tensegrity robot developed by NASA, called the Super Ball Bot, and consisting of an array of rods connected by an array of cables http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/military-robots/nasa-super-ball-bot. Check out the video; this thing looks ungainly but comes with a range of design benefits and I’ve been waiting to see more tensegrity principles incorporated into robotics for a while now. The latest robotics Video Friday is also a gem http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/humanoids/video-friday-drones-3d-printed-arm-atrias-biped, with my favourites being first-person-view drone racing crashes, “weaponised” drone dog fights, robotic Oculus Rift surrogate telepresence, and the Taurus II telepresence manipulation system. 

4. More Drones: Bug Vision & Object Tracking
Leading on from some of the cool drone demonstration videos of existing capabilities in the last item I couldn’t help but include some new drone technological developments from this week. First, the development and demonstration of drones with biomimetic insect vision capable of autonomous navigation without on-board inertial control systems http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/robotics/aerial-robots/a-drone-with-bug-vision; the system is powered by optic-flow sensors that measure changes in the surrounding environment. Second, Perceptiv’s Shift technology represents a new level in autonomous drone autopilot capabilities for easy-to-use and seamless tracking of moving objects and smooth, stabilised video recording http://www.forbes.com/sites/frankbi/2015/02/25/perceptivs-shift-kit-helps-amateur-drone-pilots-shoot-professional-quality-video/; the team is working on advanced object-sense-and-avoid technology. Be sure to check out the video. 

5. Printable Skin Sensors
New conductive bio-inks have been developed that can be applied with an ordinary pen to create sensors on a variety of surfaces including human skin and leaves, and which can measure the presence of different molecules http://www.gizmag.com/bio-ink-sensors/36363/. Using fairly standard materials, in the demonstrations so far the inks could measure glucose beneath the skin and pollutants on leaves provided a reading device is brought in contact with the sensor. In related news a new flexible sensor material has been developed called iSkin intended for people to wear as multi-purpose customisable computer touch interfaces https://embodied.mpi-inf.mpg.de/research/iskin/

6. The Edge of Conduction: Quantum Criticality in Biological Molecules
A new discovery seems to show that most biomolecules are quantum critical conductors whose electronic properties are precisely tuned to the transition point between a metal and an insulator https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552. The electronic states of these molecules are balanced between conduction and insulation and typified by unpredictable currents that flow in avalanches whose size can vary significantly. The insight was enabled by new molecular measurement and modelling tools able to analyse the charge and energy distribution, which revealed that a few biomolecules are conductors and a few are insulators but the vast majority are quantum critical conductors, which was a significant surprise, considered statistically very unlikely and implying that these properties were selected by evolution. A fascinating result and implications. 

7. Conducting Microbial Nanowires
In news perhaps related to biological quantum criticality we have the latest experimental evidence suggesting that protein-based microbial nanowires do indeed possess metal-like conductivity http://phys.org/news/2015-03-theory-debate-microbial-nanowires.html. There has been a lot of debate over the last few years whether this is indeed the case. But if this is indeed true then the promise is that these protein-based conductive nanowires are now a tool that might be added and engineered into other cells in order to perform useful functions for example, converting chemical energy into electricity, using electricity to power related or re-engineered enzymes such as artificial photosynthesis, and interfacing with our electronic technologies and devices. 

8. Riding the Slope Towards Germline Engineering
This week we had a fascinating article exploring the rise of CRISPR technology and the fact that it is the easiest germline engineering tool we have ever developed http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/535661/engineering-the-perfect-baby/. Germline engineering refers to altering the genetic material that will develop into an embryo and subsequent human baby, whether for purposes of fixing disease-causing mutated genes, or for making genetic enhancements. This is already being done in animals, will soon be done in monkeys, and is a matter of when not if it will be done in humans, and could well form a standard part of IVF procedures; a number of companies are already pursuing opportunities in this space that are already tinkering with human egg cells. Personally, I believe we have a moral obligation to correct disease-causing genes for new people if it is possible to do so, and I support the pursuit of human enhancement using these technologies for a range of reasons within certain constraints. 

9. Google’s Quantum Computing Error Correction
Research supported by Google has resulted in the development of the ability to program qubits to detect certain types of quantum error and prevent these errors from ruining a quantum calculation http://www.technologyreview.com/news/535621/google-researchers-make-quantum-computing-components-more-reliable/. The proof-of-concept only used nine qubits, but successfully demonstrated the ability to monitor and prevent bit-flip errors (a 1 flips to a 0) caused by environmental noise from contaminating the calculation. Future work will focus on other errors caused by environmental noise such as phase alterations and also demonstrate error correction larger arrays of qubits. 

10. Some Interesting Graphene Developments
First, graphene nanoribbons formed into a three dimensional aerogels turn out to be excellent catalysts for fuel cells http://news.rice.edu/2015/03/02/aerogel-catalyst-shows-promise-for-fuel-cells/. Second, when graphene is stretched or strained, external electric and magnetic fields can precisely control and switch the movement of electrons that exhibit almost photon-like behaviour in graphene http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/semiconductors/materials/electrons-are-snake-charmed-across-graphene. Third, graphene seems to form one of the most efficient thermionic energy conversion materials ever discovered, in which a heat source evaporates electrons that are collected on a condenser anode http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=39283.php. Finally, modified buckminsterfullerene might produce high-energy buckybomb explosive materials http://phys.org/news/2015-03-buckybomb-potential-power-nanoscale-explosives.html

Archived: http://www.scitechdigest.net/2015/03/virtual-simulated-mouse-mind-controlled.html 
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Yes it certainly did turn out to be a big week!'

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"Two areas of the brain — the hippocampus (yellow) and the prefrontal cortex (blue) — use two different brain-wave frequencies to communicate as the brain learns to associate unrelated objects."
Two brain regions that are key to learning -- the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex -- use two different brain-wave frequencies to communicate as the brain learns to associate unrelated objects, researchers have discovered.
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Thanks for reminding me of a quote :-)
"“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” 
― Nikola Tesla"
http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/278.Nikola_Tesla

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Fred and Donna were my roommates on and off for 10 years back in the 1990's when I lived in Boston. I was drinking and drugging too much, and at a time when I wasn't very kind to myself, there were two people who were always kind to me. It breaks my heart to know that one of them is now gone. From his sharp wit to his deep passions(politics, hockey, and family) Fred was Irish through and through and of course he did hold the occasional grudge. But above all else, Fred was a soft touch and a generous one at that. Whether it was a place to stay, a few bucks, or a meal,  Fred could always be counted on to help you out with whatever he had. There was never an expectation of being paid back. For Fred this is simply what people do, they help each other out particularly the less fortunate. He was a proud, card carrying Democrat and he was the living embodiment of the best of the Democratic Parties principle's.
    Fred was a great cook and storyteller too. Some of my fondest memories were of us(Fred, Donna, Sable, Rocky, et al) just hanging around the kitchen table at Sycamore street shooting the breeze as Fred cooked or grilled on the porch with his beloved Tonny Bennett or classical music playing in the background.  I am still stunned and numb by the news of his unexpected passing. Fred you are missed and loved and gone way too soon. My deepest condolences to his wife Donna and his daughters Sheila and Sarah.
Read the Obituary and view the Guest Book, leave condolences or send flowers. | WHITE, Frederick E. Age 56, of Boston and formerly of Everett, passed away on February 18, 2015. He was the owner of the North End Skate Shop and Snack Bar. He was the son of the late Frederick D.
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Mi mas Sentido Pesame Jay  Dinan
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A short but very illuminating article on the role of acetylcholine in memory and also Alzheimer's.
Nicotine's primary metabolite supports learning and memory by amplifying the action of a primary chemical messenger involved in both, researchers report.
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For the foodies out there, the five classic mother sauces which are a real mother to make but have an amazing layered taste.
The five sauces every home cook should know how to make and customize.
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