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12
Jul

Interconnected rats’ brains create organic computer


Scientists have been experimenting with brain-to-brain interfaces for years. Miguel Nicolelis, a neurobiologist at Duke University Medical Center, in particular, has been making strides with his research on the subject. His team recently created a “Brainet” or a network of interconnected brains with four rats. With microscopic electrodes implanted directly in the cortex region of their brains, each rodent exchanged information with the other in real-time to create an organic computing device. Collectively, they were able to solve computational problems including image processing, storing and recalling information and even predicting precipitation.

Nicolelis first studied connected brains with three macaque monkeys who were assigned the task of operating the arm on a virtual monkey. Each animal sat in a separate room but their brains were hooked up to one another so they could exchange information based on their respective views — each monkey faced a computer sceen. Through a series of experiments and combinations (the researchers tried pairing two monkeys or grouping all three together), the animals were able to collectively move the arm to an assigned target. For each successful task, they were rewarded with juice. Over time and practice, the animals achieved greater coordination and synchronicity.

The researcher then explored the idea of a “superbrain” and experimented with a pack of rats. They worked in pairs, so when one set solved a problem, their brain activity was relayed to the other pair through electrical stimulation. On receiving the electrical clues to solve the problem, the second pair found it easier to complete the task. The interconnected group of rodents learned to recognize brain activity patterns to complete the tasks and they synchronized their activities when given a particular stimulus. In one particular test, they received electrical stimulation that was linked to an increase or decrease in the air temperature and pressure. Based on those cues, the group was able to predict the chance of rain with 41 percent accuracy. The demo concluded that the rats achieved better and faster results than they would individually.

One of Nicolelis’ most fascinating observations was that the rodents figured out a way to divide their workload among the group so one wasn’t bogged down with more work than the other. The demo serves a tool to study social behaviors among animals, but it also reveals the potential of organic computers for human brains. The scientist believes this computing device could eventually help stroke and epilepsy patients. For now his team is working on finding a noninvasive way to create a human Brainet.

[Image credit: Katie Zhuang, Laboratory of Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, Duke University]

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Source: Business Insider

12
Jul

Acoustic sensor could help stop human smuggling


Container Ship Coming in to Port, World Commerce and Travel,container,ship,shipping,freight,freighter,tugboats,water,travel,trad

A number of smugglers sneak living, breathing humans illegally into a country by hiding them inside trucks, train compartments or shipping containers. It’s not easy to detect people behind metal, especially if they keep really, really still, but Franklin Felber from San Diego scientific consulting company Starmark believes he’s found a possible solution. Felber has developed an acoustic sensor sensitive enough to detect a person’s breathing from behind metal walls, after testing off-the-shelf options that didn’t quite work. His $10,000 per unit system uses a hammer-like acoustic transducer, which bangs repeatedly against a thin metal plate designed to be attached to one of the container’s walls.

Here’s an illustration of the system:

The incessant hammer-on-plate sounds resonate at a certain frequency and can pass through metal. This signal then bounces back to an acoustic receiver, which can differentiate between sounds reflected by stationary objects and reflections from ones that move. As we said earlier, it can detect even minute movements, such as the rise and fall of a person’s chest while breathing.

Felber claims this technique can inspect two containers per minute, though it’s unclear if that rate is fast enough when dealing with thousands of ’em on a cargo ship or a dock. Plus, for the system to work as intended, the thin plate has to be securely attached to the wall and there shouldn’t be anything that can distort its signal — inclement weather, for instance. The system obviously still needs some work, but that’s always the case with new technologies anyway.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

Filed under: Science

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Via: MIT Technology Review

Source: Cornell University Library

12
Jul

Disney is closing its first virtual reality attraction


DisneyQuest's 'Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride' VR experience

Disney World broke ground in virtual reality when it launched its DisneyQuest “interactive theme park” back in 1998. To say that times have changed would be an understatement, though — DQ is using primitive VR technology that makes even Google Cardboard look like a quantum leap. Appropriately, the company now plans to close DisneyQuest in 2016 and replace it with an NBA-themed attraction. The exact reasons for the shutdown aren’t clear, but it’s likely a combination of the less-than-impressive technology with mounting support costs. At one point this spring, most of the attractions weren’t working — it’s hard to imagine Disney pouring lots of money into hardware that’s more likely to make you yawn than gasp in awe. You might feel nostalgic if you have fond memories of visiting DisneyQuest as a kid, but it’s hard to mourn the loss when you can have a much nicer experience at home.

[Image credit: Dave Pape, Wikimedia Commons]

Filed under: Displays, Wearables

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Via: Road to VR

Source: Orlando Sentinel

12
Jul

Disney is closing its first virtual reality attraction


DisneyQuest's 'Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride' VR experience

Disney World broke ground in virtual reality when it launched its DisneyQuest “interactive theme park” back in 1998. To say that times have changed would be an understatement, though — DQ is using primitive VR technology that makes even Google Cardboard look like a quantum leap. Appropriately, the company now plans to close DisneyQuest in 2016 and replace it with an NBA-themed attraction. The exact reasons for the shutdown aren’t clear, but it’s likely a combination of the less-than-impressive technology with mounting support costs. At one point this spring, most of the attractions weren’t working — it’s hard to imagine Disney pouring lots of money into hardware that’s more likely to make you yawn than gasp in awe. You might feel nostalgic if you have fond memories of visiting DisneyQuest as a kid, but it’s hard to mourn the loss when you can have a much nicer experience at home.

[Image credit: Dave Pape, Wikimedia Commons]

Filed under: ,

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Via: Road to VR

Source: Orlando Sentinel

12
Jul

[Deal] Woot selling ‘factory reconditioned’ LG G Watch for $69


LG_G_Watch_Main_Screen_On_TA

Nervous about getting into Android Wear? That’s understandable with any platform that you’ve never invested in or tried. Now, though, is seemingly the time to get into Google’s wearable platform as one retailer has a launch device for less than $100.

On Woot, the LG G Watch is available for $69. While this is not for a brand new model, it is ‘factory reconditioned’ and Woot notes that this means the device is as close to being new as possible. Woot also offers a one-year protection plan for an additional $11.

[LG G Watch]

Come comment on this article: [Deal] Woot selling ‘factory reconditioned’ LG G Watch for $69

12
Jul

[Deal] Woot selling ‘factory reconditioned’ LG G Watch for $69


LG_G_Watch_Main_Screen_On_TA

Nervous about getting into Android Wear? That’s understandable with any platform that you’ve never invested in or tried. Now, though, is seemingly the time to get into Google’s wearable platform as one retailer has a launch device for less than $100.

On Woot, the LG G Watch is available for $69. While this is not for a brand new model, it is ‘factory reconditioned’ and Woot notes that this means the device is as close to being new as possible. Woot also offers a one-year protection plan for an additional $11.

[LG G Watch]

Come comment on this article: [Deal] Woot selling ‘factory reconditioned’ LG G Watch for $69

12
Jul

Twitch on Android can stream ‘Hearthstone’ while you play


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Twitch loves Android. Following its persistent player that debuted on Google’s mobile OS this past April, the game-broadcasting outfit’s premiering a pop-out player window on the platform. Once popped, you can adjust the size at will and when you’re done, go back to the app to find the next broadcast to jump into. The implications of such, as noted on the Twitch blog, are that you could effectively watch someone play Hearthstone while you play a game of it yourself. Yo dawg.

What’s more, the outfit also recently announced that it’s added more transcode servers. The idea behind that being it’ll give broadcasters more flexibility for their shows, and viewers have the chance to choose the video quality that their connection can handle best. Twitch says that the plan is to make sure every one of its Partner streamers has the option available. Since it over-allotted the necessary hardware on its end, it’s providing the transcode option to the “most popular” non-Partners. The company writes that this brings the viewership numbers necessary to gain access to the feature to an all-time low, but as the number of Partners and the service itself grows, that low number is going to increase. So! Maybe take this opportunity to grow your follower count and hopefully insulate yourself, Twitch streamers.

Filed under: Gaming, Home Entertainment, HD, Mobile

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Source: Twitch (1), (2)

12
Jul

PIXELS Defense: protect your city from 8-bit classic video game characters


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The movie Pixels is set to be released this month. With all the hype building up, Bandai Namco wants to make sure you are not left stranded until the film’s launch. The arcade and video game publisher has released a new mobile game that ties into the movie and will give you plenty of entertainment until July 24th.

For those who may not know, Pixels is a movie in which aliens mistakenly decipher our messages of peace as a threat. This is followed by an attack on earth, in which said extraterrestrials send pixelated game characters to attack the planet. Said classic character include Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger and others. Here’s the movie’s trailer:

Your mission in the PIXELS Defense game would be to protect cities around the world from these classic game characters. The system works just like in any other tower defense title. Simply build towers all over the map, strategically placing them where they would cause the most damage.

• Move your Arcaders into any strategic position you want to
• Setup Arcaders to target enemies by, nearest, weakest,toughest, first enemy, or completely random
• Call upon the mighty Lady Lisa of Dojo Quest for help in times of need!
• Three difficulty levels per stage to put your defender skills to the ultimate test

pixels-defense

The game sounds great, but the fact that it is completely free makes it all that more exciting. No in-app purchases or tricks; just pure fun. It’s available right now from the Google Play Store, so have a blast spending all your free weekend time playing PIXELS Defense!

Download PIXELS Defense from the Google Play Store

12
Jul

Android M Developer Preview 2 fixes snoozing alarm clock bug


google_clock_app_gallery_3The original Android M Developer Preview had an ugly bug with its alarm clock that would sometimes cause the snooze button to delay your alarm by a full 24 hours instead of a few minutes. Needless to say, that’s a pretty serious problem that could screw up someone’s entire day. You probably shouldn’t be trusting beta software to wake you up for your job every day, but somebody has to test these things before they go live for everyone else, right?

In the latest Android M Preview, it looks like Google has patched that issue up, which should prevent anymore oversleeping accidents for those of you testing out Android M. Or if you do oversleep, you just won’t be able to blame it on your phone anymore. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

One bug squashed, one step closer to an official Android M release.

source: Android Police

Come comment on this article: Android M Developer Preview 2 fixes snoozing alarm clock bug

12
Jul

GIV Mobile improves their affordable plans by adding more 4G LTE data


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The big 4 carriers may be all about raking in the most cash they can get their hands on, but there are some great companies out there trying to help the consumer, as well as the world. One of them is GIV Mobile. Their name says it all, and they are turning their philosophy into action by improving their already affordable plans, offering more 4G data to their users.

GIV Mobile may be an obscure carrier most people don’t know about, but the way they do business is something to admire. Not only are their cellphone plans generous, but 8% of users’ monthly plan income will go towards up to 3 charity organizations of their choice. We can’t think of many other companies doing something similar.

About these new rates – they are pretty great, all things considered. Plans start at $20 and go all the way up to $60. These all include unlimited talk and text. The most affordable option only grants 250 MB of data at 3G/4G speeds. Every other plan offers unlimited data, with the only difference being the speeds at which one can surf the web. Here’s the pricing table.

giv-mobile-plans

This is impressive, especially considering users even get a certain amount of credit for international dialing included in their plan. Also, you really can’t scoff at 10 GB of LTE data for $60 a month! It can’t get much cheaper and convenient than this for a casual user looking for an affordable prepaid service. There are no contracts or commitments, either.

GIV Mobile takes advantage of T-Mobile’s network, a service that continues to grow rapidly, making this a deal that will only get better with time. Their selection of handsets is not the best, but you can buy a SIM card and bring your own device. Not to mention, they are giving out phones for free, or at a discount, if you purchase a couple months of service from the start. You can always go to GIV Mobile’s website and catch all the details. We say they are worth at least considering.

Are any of you willing to dump your current carrier to go with GIV Mobile?

Show Press Release
GIV MOBILE ADDS SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNTS OF 4G LTE DATA TO ITS PREMIUM PLAN
New No-Contract Plans Offers GIV Mobile Customers More Options At a Better Value
(CHICAGO) – GIV Mobile <http://www.givmobile.com/>, the first consumer conscious no-contract wireless service, has increased the amount of high-speed data to their existing affordable plans as well as lowered the price of many plans. GIV Mobile now offers 10 GB of 4G high-speed data on their $60/month plan.

“We have made shifts in our plans to offer more data at a lower price to give our subscribers more bang for their buck,” says Omar Aqel, co-founder of GIV Mobile. “By reducing our original plan prices and adding additional data, GIV Mobile now has affordable plan options to fit every user’s needs from casual cell phone users to heavy users that need more data.”

GIV Mobile operates on the fast and dependable nationwide 4G LTE network <https://www.givmobile.com/coverage> of T-Mobile USA, Inc., which reaches approximately 96% of Americans. In addition to providing fast and affordable mobile service, GIV Mobile partners with a number of charities <https://www.givmobile.com/charities/view> ranging from the Alzheimer’s Association to American Forests to receive a donation from every customer’s plan amount each month. After signing up with GIV Mobile, customers are given the option to select up to 3 charity organizations to receive 8% of their monthly plan amount.

GIV Mobile’s five unlimited plans now include:

$20/month Unlimited Talk and Text – talk, text, International text and 250 MB of 3G/4G data
$25/month Unlimited Everything – talk, text, MMS, International text and web (unlimited 2G speeds)
$30/month Unlimited Everything – talk, text, MMS, International text and web (first 1 GB up to 4G LTE speeds)
$40/month Unlimited Everything – talk, text, MMS, International text and web (first 2 GB up to 4G LTE speeds)
$60/month Unlimited Everything – talk, text, MMS, International text and web (first 10 GB up to 4G LTE speeds)

For more information about GIV Mobile’s unlimited wireless plans, please visit
https://www.givmobile.com/plans/ <https://www.givmobile.com/plans/>.

ABOUT GIV MOBILE

GIV Mobile <http://www.givmobile.com/> is the first consumer conscious, no-contract service dedicated to giving 8% of a customer’s monthly plan amount (starting at $20/month) to a non-profit charity of the customer’s choice. Utilizing the 4G LTE network of T-Mobile USA, Inc. GIV Mobile’s five affordable Unlimited no-contract plans allow users to have fast and reliable connections from nearly anywhere in the U.S.  Along with providing a great mobile service, GIV Mobile collaborates with extraordinary
charities to create a community that is dedicated to giving back. GIV Mobile’s wireless service is exclusively available at
http://www.givmobile.com <http://www.givmobile.com/>.

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