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Dec 27, 2010

Brain-computer interface research comes of age: traditional assumptions meet emerging realities

Brain-computer interface research comes of age: traditional assumptions meet emerging realities.

J Mot Behav. 2010 Nov;42(6):351-3

Authors: Wolpaw JR

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) could provide important new communication and control options for people with severe motor disabilities. Most BCI research to date has been based on 4 assumptions that: (a) intended actions are fully represented in the cerebral cortex; (b) neuronal action potentials can provide the best picture of an intended action; (c) the best BCI is one that records action potentials and decodes them; and (d) ongoing mutual adaptation by the BCI user and the BCI system is not very important. In reality, none of these assumptions is presently defensible. Intended actions are the products of many areas, from the cortex to the spinal cord, and the contributions of each area change continually as the CNS adapts to optimize performance. BCIs must track and guide these adaptations if they are to achieve and maintain good performance. Furthermore, it is not yet clear which category of brain signals will prove most effective for BCI applications. In human studies to date, low-resolution electroencephalography-based BCIs perform as well as high-resolution cortical neuron-based BCIs. In sum, BCIs allow their users to develop new skills in which the users control brain signals rather than muscles. Thus, the central task of BCI research is to determine which brain signals users can best control, to maximize that control, and to translate it accurately and reliably into actions that accomplish the users' intentions.

Post-apocalyptic Tokyo scenery

fantastic photo manipulations by Tokyogenso. See more here

Best of 2010 --

Zilok: peer to peer renting

From Mauro Cherubini's Moleskine

Zilok is a startup that offers an interesting service: peer to peer renting.

How it works? Users post possessions they are willing to rent out, along with a price. The web site processes the fee, track the reputation of your renting partner and issues insurance for the item.


Metaverse Creativity

Intellect has announced the publication of the groundbreaking new journal Metaverse Creativity, which is the first refereed journal focusing on the examination of creativity in user-defined online virtual worlds such as Second Life.

While such creative activity includes artistic activity, this definition should in no way be limited to artistic output alone but should encompass the output of the various disciplines of design – such as fashion and object design, landscaping and virtual architecture – that are currently all amply manifest in Second Life.

Creativity in a metaverse manifests under unique conditions and parameters that are engendered by the virtual environment itself and it is intrinsically related to these in its very act of realization. Thus metaverse creativity cannot be separated from the underlying Metanomic system (metaverse economy), the legal issues of ownership and copyright, the very geography and related atmospheric/lighting conditions upon which the output is rendered, or the underlying computational system which generates this.

The inaugural issue includes a fascinating editorial by Elif Ayiter and Yacov Sharir.

For a complete list of articles with accompanying abstracts visit: http://www.atypon-link.com/INT/toc/mecr/1/1.

Issue 1 is FREE to view online: http://www.atypon-link.com/INT/toc/mecr/1/1

To subscribe please visit the journal's page for details: http://bit.ly/epvHg3

A Call for Papers is available here

Dec 26, 2010

Call for papers for Journal of Participatory Medicine: Special issue on Mental Health

Open to consumers, clinicians, researchers and all interested in mental health issues

Flexible deadline: February 15, 2011 ( ~4-6 weeks for response)

Submission Categories: Research Articles, Reviews, Case Studies, Narratives, Commentary, Letters to the Editor, Innovations in Participatory Medicine, Books & Literature, On the Web, Conference Reports See www.jopm.org/submissions for specific guidelines concerning word count and expected components for each category.

For more information please contact organizers: Marcela Musgrove, musgrove[AT]ohsu.edu; Leticia Villarreal Sosa, leticia.villarr[AT]gmail.com; or Madalyn Marcus, madalyn[AT]yorku.ca.

Participatory medicine is centered around the concept that "e-patients" (meaning equipped, enabled, empowered and engaged), are valued by their providers as full partners. We hope in this special issue to elicit contributions that will open discussion and establish mental health within the wider participatory medicine community.

The Journal of Participatory Medicine (JoPM), the online peer-reviewed, open access publication of the Society for Participatory Medicine, is the result of the belief that health care must involve much more active collaboration between patients and providers.

For more information about JoPM, visit: www.jopm.org.

22:29 Posted in Call for papers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dec 12, 2010

Contacting the brain aspects of a technology assessment of neural implants

Contacting the brain aspects of a technology assessment of neural implants.

Biotechnol J. 2008 Dec;3(12):1502-10

Authors: Decker M, Fleischer T

The public interest in neural implants has grown considerably in recent years. Progress within related research areas in combination with increasing--albeit overly optimistic and indiscriminate--mass media coverage have led to the impression that the possibilities of neural prosthetics have grown enormously. But a closer look reveals that the reasons for the intensified interest are varied and cannot be attributed to technical progress alone. Some neural prostheses that have been under development for many years have not left the clinical development phase despite intensive research activities. Other implants, like cardiac pacemakers and cochlea implants, are mature products that have already been implanted in a large number of patients. From the public perspective and in media reports, progress in the development of neural implants is associated with new achievements in other fields of neuroscience. Communications on new applications of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) may suggest that a number of cognitive functions are now easily accessible with technological means. The fact that the interpretation of the results of fMRI studies depends on many conditions and is partly disputed also within the scientific community has been discussed in many publications but only very limited, in the general media. Besides this, research results and implementations in the area of electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography have sparked further debate on the question of free will, on determinism and indeterminism, and have attracted a large media response. The purpose of this paper is to discuss some societal and ethical aspects of neural implants from a technology assessment perspective. Technology assessment (TA) aims at providing knowledge about impacts and consequences of (new) technologies as well as about political and societal ways of dealing with them. It reflects about implementation conditions of technology and potential technology conflicts. Over the last years, neural implants became a subject for TA since they have gained a higher attention in both the political arena and the general public. Especially the ethical and social implications of technologies that electrically stimulate the brain and the possibilities of changing personality traits, changing moods, and perhaps enhancing human cognitive capabilities are central issues in related discussions. In this paper, we want to briefly summarize some of the key arguments as well as topics for future discussion and research.

Recorded future

Via KurzweilAI.net

Recorded Future, a startup jointly funded by CIA and Google, has developed a temporal analytics engine that elaborates real-time data from the Internet to predict what will happen in the future.

That is done using a constantly updated index of “streaming data,” including news articles, filings with government regulators, Twitter updates, and transcripts from earnings calls or political and economic speeches. Recorded Future uses linguistic algorithms to identify specific types of events, such as product releases, mergers, or natural disasters, the date when those events will happen, and related entities such as people, companies, and countries.

The company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.” The idea is to figure out for each incident who was involved, where it happened and when it might go down. Recorded Future then plots that chatter, showing online “momentum” for any given event.