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Jul 15, 2009


Solar - by Rejane Cantoni and Leonardo Crescenti

(under development)

Solar is a robotic installation, immersive and interactive, designed to simulate qualities and measures of solar light in relation to man-space time.
 The interactor can agency the machine in two ways: he can control his geographic position with his feet and/or he can speak with it. 
Agencying via positioning make it possible for the interactor to inform his geographic position to a data bank. One possible example of this type of user-system interaction could be: 
You enter the machine – a black rotunda of 6.30 in diameter x 3.50 high. In the center, there is a movable platform. Upon stepping on it, the gravitational force of the body is interpreted by the system that, in function of the relative latitude and longitude, alters the original setup.


For example, when you step in front of the platform, the system advances to the north, i.e., it produces, on the plasma wall, visual feedbacks that appear as modifications in the latitudes of the imaginary lines which, in this case, advance from Equador to the North Polar Circle (see on video an example of navigating in the inverse direction, south). 
Agencying via voice command, on the other hand, makes it possible for the interactor to particularize a date and a moment of an event. For example: when the interactor says “August 03 at 3 p.m.”, the system associates to this command the information to his relative position, which makes it possible to simulate the solar light intensity relative to the space-time solicited. 
To the eyes of the outside observer, without movement or without the interactor’s voice command, time, in this machine, stops.



Rejane Cantoni and Leonardo Crescenti

Jul 10, 2009

Neuroscience and the military: ethical implications of war neurotechnologies

Super soldiers equipped with neural implants, suits that contain biosensors, and thought scans of detainees may become reality sooner than you think.

In this video taken from the show "Conversations from Penn State", Jonathan Moreno discusses the ethical implications of the applications of neuroscience in modern warfare.

Moreno is David and Lyn Silfen professor and professor of medical ethics and the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and was formerly the director of the Center for Ethics at the University of Virginia. He has served as senior staff member for two presidential commissions and is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Jul 06, 2009

Thought-controlled wheelchairs

Via Sentient Development

The BSI-Toyota Collaboration Center (BTCC) is developing a wheelchair that can be navigated in real-time with brain waves. The brain-controlled device can adjust itself to the characteristics of each individual user, thereby improving the efficiency with which it senses the driver's commands. That way, the driver is able to get the system to learn his/her commands (forward/right/left) quickly and efficiently; the system boasts an accuracy rate of 95%.

Jul 05, 2009

Magnetic Liquid

Nice video of magnetic liquid (ferrofluids) created by Sachiko Kodama and Minako Takeno that reminds me to some sort of artificial life

12:47 Posted in Cyberart | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: cyberart

Jul 01, 2009

Toward Participatory Sensing

In this interesting paper Burke and coll. describe how the massive proliferation of mobile devices and sensors may give raise to interactive, participatory sensor networks that enable users to gather, analyze and share local knowledge.

The authors also explain how the vision of Participatory Sensing can inspire new applications in different domains, such as healthcare or urban planning.


A virtual reality-based system integrated with fmri to study neural mechanisms of action observation-execution

A virtual reality-based system integrated with fmri to study neural mechanisms of action observation-execution: A proof of concept study.

Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2009;27(3):209-23

Authors: Adamovich SV, August K, Merians A, Tunik E

Purpose: Emerging evidence shows that interactive virtual environments (VEs) may be a promising tool for studying sensorimotor processes and for rehabilitation. However, the potential of VEs to recruit action observation-execution neural networks is largely unknown. For the first time, a functional MRI-compatible virtual reality system (VR) has been developed to provide a window into studying brain-behavior interactions. This system is capable of measuring the complex span of hand-finger movements and simultaneously streaming this kinematic data to control the motion of representations of human hands in virtual reality. Methods: In a blocked fMRI design, thirteen healthy subjects observed, with the intent to imitate (OTI), finger sequences performed by the virtual hand avatar seen in 1st person perspective and animated by pre-recorded kinematic data. Following this, subjects imitated the observed sequence while viewing the virtual hand avatar animated by their own movement in real-time. These blocks were interleaved with rest periods during which subjects viewed static virtual hand avatars and control trials in which the avatars were replaced with moving non-anthropomorphic objects. Results: We show three main findings. First, both observation with intent to imitate and imitation with real-time virtual avatar feedback, were associated with activation in a distributed frontoparietal network typically recruited for observation and execution of real-world actions. Second, we noted a time-variant increase in activation in the left insular cortex for observation with intent to imitate actions performed by the virtual avatar. Third, imitation with virtual avatar feedback (relative to the control condition) was associated with a localized recruitment of the angular gyrus, precuneus, and extrastriate body area, regions which are (along with insular cortex) associated with the sense of agency. Conclusions: Our data suggest that the virtual hand avatars may have served as disembodied training tools in the observation condition and as embodied "extensions" of the subject's own body (pseudo-tools) in the imitation. These data advance our understanding of the brain-behavior interactions when performing actions in VE and have implications in the development of observation- and imitation-based VR rehabilitation paradigms.

Positive impact of cyclic meditation on subsequent sleep

Positive impact of cyclic meditation on subsequent sleep.

Med Sci Monit. 2009 Jul;15(7):CR375-381

Authors: Patra S, Telles S

Background: Cyclic meditation (CM) is a technique that combines yoga postures interspersed with supine rest. This combination is based on ancient texts and is considered easier for beginners to practice. Material/Methods: Whole-night polysomnographic measures and the self-rating of sleep were studied on the night following a day in which 30 male participants practiced CM twice (ca. 23 minutes each time). This was compared with another night when they had had two sessions of supine rest (SR) of equal duration on the preceding day. The sessions were one day apart and the order of the sessions was randomized. Recordings were from the F4, C4, and O2 electrode sites referenced to linked earlobes and bipolar electroculography and electromyography sites. Results: In the night following CM, the percentage of slow-wave sleep (SWS) was significantly higher than in the night following SR, whereas the percentage of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and the number of awakenings per hour were less. Following CM the self-rating of sleep based on visual analog scales showed an increase in the feeling that the sleep was refreshing, an increase in feeling "good" in the morning, an overall increase in sleep duration, and decreases in the degree to which sleep was influenced by being in a laboratory as well as any associated discomfort. Conclusions: Practicing cyclic meditation twice a day appeared to improve the objective and subjective quality of sleep on the following night.