rechargable brain…?

In brain, neurology, rd, robotics, terminator on 02/21/2008 at 12:28 pm

As we speak there are laboratories and teams working all over the world on systems that will directly connect circuits from silicone chips to our neural circuits, and it may come as a surprise to you that some are just about ready for commercial launch, at least according to a new report from the World Technology Evaluation Center and announced by a news release of the University of Southern California (USC). Some of the conclusions of this report about brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are quite surprising at least to a jaded mind like mine.
For example, North America researchers focus almost exclusively on invasive BCIs while European and Asian labs tend to examine non-invasive BCI systems. (hmm…). If you don’t have enough time to read the 234-page report between late night exams crams and latte dates at starbucks, not to worry, here is a cheat note version of the more exciting excerpts from the weighty tome:)

And for those of you research oriented, here’s the link to this report, “International Assessment of Research and Development in Brain-Computer Interfaces” (PDF format, 234 pages, 5.90 MB), available online on the World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) website. Basically the report contains the three noteworthy perspectives on Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) work worldwide:
As you can imagine R&D on Brain-Comp Interface, or BRaCO (an acronym that I much prefer over BCI which always sounded vaguely like a telecom company or maybe it just reminds me of that ill fated MCI🙂 research is extensive and rapidly growing, as is exponential expansion in the interaction between multiple key scientific areas, including biomedical engineering, neuroscience, gen-comp circuitry mapping, materials science and nanotechnology, not to mention neurphysiology and neurosurgery.
BRaCO research is rapidly approaching Generation One clinical trials of invasive BRaCO technologies and widely commercialized use of noninvasive, electroencephalography (EEG) BRaCo devices. The panel predicts that BRaCOs soon will markedly influence the emerging biomedical tech industry (think robotics here), enabling prototype version of the ‘Terminator’ and inevitably of course progressing to non-medical arenas of commerce as well, arguably in weapons industry, gaming, transport.

Frankly the idea of a functional let alone benevolent T1 robot sounds overly optimistic to me at this point, given that the focus of BRaCO research throughout the world is decidedly uneven, with invasive BRaCOs almost exclusively centered in United States (hmm..military budget?), noninvasive BRaCO systems evolving primarily from European and Asian efforts. BRaCO research in pacific rim nations, particularly China surprise surprise, is accelerating, with advanced algorithm development for EEG-based systems currently a pivotal linchpin of China’s BRaCO program. Future BCI research in China is clearly developing toward invasive Brain-Computer Interface systems, so BCI researchers in the US will soon have a strong competitor, thus raising the specter of a new ‘BRaCO arms race’ between the two superpowers, and no we definitely are not talking about russians here:((


In bodyguard, kacs, loginova on 01/31/2008 at 1:18 am

Russia’s most famous bodyguard, 29 year-old former model Anna Loginova, has been in killed in a carjacking. The glamorous 29-year-old died from head injuries after clinging on to the door handle of her Porche Cayenne and being dragged along the street at high speed as the car screeched away.

Loginova ran an agency for female bodyguards, some trained by the ex-KGB, to give discreet protection to Moscow’s billionaires and their wives and mistresses…
“A normal man gets sick and tired of male bodyguards around him all the time,” she said.
Her most famous client was rumored to be Kosta Tszyu, the Russian-Australian welterweight boxing champ.

Pravda reports that, on Sunday night, Loginova “arrived on her prestigious car to Moscow’s Novomarinskaya Street to purchase a kitten from someone. The next moment a Russian-made car stopped near the silvery Porsche. A young dark-haired man stepped out of the car and ran towards Anna’s vehicle.”

The man pulled the door open, grabbed the woman and dragged her our of the car. Afterwards, he quickly got into her Porsche Cayenne and shut the door. Everything happened in an instant. However, the young woman did not intend to give up without a fight. She got up onto her feet and gripped the handle on the door of her car. The woman did not let it go even when the car tore away.

The hijacker dragged the Porsche owner several meters before she released her hands. The woman hit her head on the asphalt road and died of a serious cranial injury. It turned out later that it was not the first incident, when hijackers attempted to steal Anna Loginova’s car. In December of 2007, the model said in an interview with Maxim magazine that she had already been a victim of such street attacks.

“I stepped out of my car and closed the door when I suddenly saw a young man near me. He grabbed me by the arm in which I was holding the car keys. By reflex, I used a Jiu-Jitsu technique. I twisted his arm and hit him on the face with my elbow. The guy obviously was not expecting such a reaction. He fell down on the rear windshield, which gave me enough time to grab my gun. He immediately jumped into his Honda and drove away,” the model said in an interview.

The second time around, she was not so lucky 😦

another sign winter has arrived…

In fundraising, mcgill clubs, mcgill issues on 01/20/2008 at 2:25 pm

Sigh.. so you know we would love to do anything for a good cause, but this is a tad little too risqué even for us brainwash gals 😦 Thankfully not everyone feels the same way, as witness this ringing endorsement from a motivated Swim Team member; (granted it does benefit the Swim Team..but still!~)

“..the rousing highlight of the winter: Most definitely stripping on the street to help raise money for the McGill Varsity Swim team. We were all standing on the street in their swimsuits freezing in the streets (temperature? -14degrees! Wow!) They were so stoked when we stripped off our clothes, (all except undies) and started collecting money. People on the street didn’t know what to think but they gave us money. Everyone was shivering but laughing.”