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Oct 23, 2010

Potential for new technologies in clinical practice

Potential for new technologies in clinical practice.

Curr Opin Neurol. 2010 Oct 18;

Authors: Burridge JH, Hughes AM

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Cost-effective neurorehabilitation is essential owing to financial constraints on healthcare resources. Technologies have the potential to contribute but without strong clinical evidence are unlikely to be widely reimbursed. This review presents evidence of new technologies since 2008 and identifies barriers to translation of technologies into clinical practice. RECENT FINDINGS: Technology has not been shown to be superior to intensively matched existing therapies. Research has been undertaken into the development and preliminary clinical testing of novel technologies including robotics, electrical stimulation, constraint-induced movement therapy, assistive orthoses, noninvasive brain stimulation, virtual reality and gaming devices. Translation of the research into clinical practice has been impeded by a lack of robust evidence of clinical effectiveness and usability. Underlying mechanisms associated with recovery are beginning to be explored, which may lead to more targeted interventions. Improvements in function have been demonstrated beyond the normal recovery period, but few trials demonstrate lasting effects. SUMMARY: Technologies, alone or combined, may offer a cost-effective way to deliver intensive neurorehabilitation therapy in clinical and community environments, and have the potential to empower patients to take more responsibility for their rehabilitation and continue with long-term exercise.

Oct 19, 2010

Neurocognitive systems related to real-world prospective memory

Neurocognitive systems related to real-world prospective memory.

PLoS One. 2010;5(10):

Authors: Kalpouzos G, Eriksson J, Sjölie D, Molin J, Nyberg L

BACKGROUND: Prospective memory (PM) denotes the ability to remember to perform actions in the future. It has been argued that standard laboratory paradigms fail to capture core aspects of PM. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We combined functional MRI, virtual reality, eye-tracking and verbal reports to explore the dynamic allocation of neurocognitive processes during a naturalistic PM task where individuals performed errands in a realistic model of their residential town. Based on eye movement data and verbal reports, we modeled PM as an iterative loop of five sustained and transient phases: intention maintenance before target detection (TD), TD, intention maintenance after TD, action, and switching, the latter representing the activation of a new intention in mind. The fMRI analyses revealed continuous engagement of a top-down fronto-parietal network throughout the entire task, likely subserving goal maintenance in mind. In addition, a shift was observed from a perceptual (occipital) system while searching for places to go, to a mnemonic (temporo-parietal, fronto-hippocampal) system for remembering what actions to perform after TD. Updating of the top-down fronto-parietal network occurred at both TD and switching, the latter likely also being characterized by frontopolar activity. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, these findings show how brain systems complementary interact during real-world PM, and support a more complete model of PM that can be applied to naturalistic PM tasks and that we named PROspective MEmory DYnamic (PROMEDY) model because of its dynamics on both multi-phase iteration and the interactions of distinct neurocognitive networks.

HRP-4C cybernetic human dance

Dance Robot LIVE! is a performance recently shown at the Digital Content Expo in Tokyo. The performance features AIST's feminine HRP-4C robot and four humans. The routine was produced by renowned dancer/choreographer SAM-san and the lip-synced song is a Vocaloid version of "Deatta Koro no Yō ni" by Kaori Mochida (Every Little Thing).

00:00 Posted in AI & robotics | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: robotics, hrp4c, dance

Oct 18, 2010

Nature Neuroscience features crowdfuding in science

The September issue of Nature Neuroscience has an editorial about the use of microfinance for scientific research.

The editorial is a sign of growing interest from the research community toward this strategy, which I and my colleague Giuseppe Riva described in a letter to Science [Gaggioli, A, Riva, G. (2008) Working the Crowd, Science 321, 5895, 1443]

Recently, we have teamed up with the Institute of Physiology of the National Research Council and the Italian Federation of Rare Diseases to develop Open Genius, a crowdfunding platform for research in rare diseases.

We have also created a website (in Italian and English) where you can find updated information about the project.



Open Genius is a not-for-profit initative of the scientific community that partners with like minded entities including academic, philantropic, government funding agencies.

If you want to collaborate or propose a partnership you can write us to:




19:13 | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: crowdfunding

Oct 17, 2010

Mapping virtual content on 3d physical constructions

Via Augmented Times

This video shows the results achieved in the paper "Build Your World and Play In It: Interacting with Surface Particles on Complex Objects" presented at the conference ISMAR 2010 by Brett Jones and other researchers from the University of Illinois. The paper presents a way to map virtual content on 3d physical constructions and "play" with them. Nice stuff.

When your liver blogs

Imec Netherlands has demonstrated a new type of wireless body area network (BAN). The Human++ BAN platform converts Imec's ultra-low-power electrocardiogram sensors into wireless nodes in a short-range network, transmitting physiological data to a hub (the patient's cellphone). From there, the readings can be forwarded to doctors via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.

Body sensing comes to smartphones

Via New York Times

BodyMedia FIT (BodyMedia)

BodyMedia has announced that its armband sensors will be able to communicate with smartphones, and wirelessly, using Bluetooth. Its health sensors will be one of the first devices, other than ear buds, that link to smartphones with Bluetooth short-range communications.

It opens the door to allowing a person to monitor a collection of the 9,000 variables — physical activity, calories burned, body heat, sleep efficiency and others — collected by the sensors in a BodyMedia armband in real-time, as the day goes on.







GoWear fit Armband (BodyMedia)

The Bluetooth-enabled armband costs $249 and the BodyMedia data service costs $7 a month and go on sale next month. In the past, BodyMedia users had to consult personal data downloaded to a Web site or observe a few measurements on a special watchband display, sold for $100.

19:55 Posted in Self-Tracking | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: self-tracking

Growing neurons on silicon chips

Via Robots.net

Researchers at University of Calgary have developed neurochips capable of capable of interfacing to and sensing activity of biological neurons in very high resolution. The new chips are automated so it's now easy to connect multiple brain cells eliminating the years of training it once required. While researchers say this technology could be used for new diagnostic methods and treatments for a variety of neuro-degenerative diseases, this advancement could ultimately lead to the use of biological neurons in the central or sub-processing units of computers and automated machinery.



Oct 12, 2010

New issue of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation now online fulltext

The new issue of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation magazine (3/2) is now online and available for full-text download. Topics covered by this issue include brain-computer interface, cognitive enhancement and trainers and the use of massive multiplayer online games in rehabilitation and therapy.






Oct 07, 2010

Raytheon shows off the XOS2 Exoskeleton robotic suit

03:04 Posted in AI & robotics | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: robotic suit

Oct 05, 2010

Patient self-monitoring technology could save needed funds in Britain

Via Telemedicine and E-Health Journal newsletter

Britain's National Health Service could meet a substantial part of its $31.6 billion [USD] cost savings program simply by using technology that enables patients to monitor their own conditions, according to the health department's chief information officer. DOH CIO Christine Connelly said patients need 21st century technology to help them make informed health choices and "take control of their health and experiences." Experts note that home-based technology could reduce hospital admissions, physician call-outs and patients with repeat problems, however current access to health information is too hard, jargon-ridden and fails to reach people in their homes. The challenge, they note, is for software developers to create applications that can overcome these issues.

Oct 04, 2010

Crowdfunding science: utopia or reality?

Several initiatives are exploring the potential of crowdfunding for supporting scientific research. In this approach, that I described in a letter to Science donors can choose from a list of public projects. Projects seeking funding are stored in an online repository. Investors (either people or funding agencies) can decide which projects to fund.

The closest example of crowdfunding science is Cancer Research UK's MyProjects scheme (http://myprojects.cancerresearchuk.org/). Launched in October 2008, MyProjects allows Cancer Research UK donors to search projects by type of cancer and location to find a specific research project to donate money.

I am also running a crowdfunding-science project in Italy, called Open Genius. The website is available only in Italian, but you can find the essential info about the project in this presentation.



I wish to hear your comments about this!

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The system was launched publicly in March 2010 on an invite-only basis, and then opened up to the public in August 2010.

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You pay a small monthly amount (using either Moneybookers or PayPal) and then click buttons on sites to share out the money you paid in among those sites, sort of like an Internet tip jar. The minimum to pay is 2 euros per month. The money payed each month is spread evenly among the buttons you click in a month. In this way, users share not only money, but also content. For the service, Flattr keeps 10% of all the users monthly flatrate.

What is interesting about this service is that not only sites which support Flattr, but all sites, can have Flattr buttons.

Good Flattr to everybody!

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