Wow, tons of work to do on my end here, so with the exception of Super Paper Friday tomorrow, this will probably be the last post until Monday. Here are a bunch o' stories, in no particular order.
- Telepresence/Virtual Reality: An omnidirectional treadmill. Going nowhere fast? Better get one of these!
- Stem cell therapy: Large numbers of human embryonic stem cells turned into neurons. File under "You can be anything you want to be!"
- Alternative input paradigm: Sweet, sweet interactive awesomeness. The ReacTable synth. Watch the video.
- Stroke rehab: Using a Nintendo Wii! As one Digg commenter said, "Wiihabilitation!"
- Mirror Neurons and Gestures: A nice writeup of two conflicting papers, pointing out some of the general flaws of MNS.
- Story follow-up: More details from Keirstead on the whole situation with Geron and the treatments being researched. You might remember his from a previous post. I think this statement speaks volumes about the guy's personal integrity:
I promise that my research team will push towards the goal of treating spinal cord injured people with intellectual rigor and tremendous personal intensity. We understand that our job is to invent safe and effective treatments that may then be evaluated in the clinic. I expect that we will fail and succeed along the way, and thank you in advance for allowing us to do both.Sounds like an awesome guy all around.
- Neurophilosophy: From, surprise, the Neurophilosopher's blog, some Q & A. I agree with his conclusions about the current state of neurotechnology, but think that many of the issues discussed will work themselves out. Here's a curveball for ya: If we could create a little 'widget' that perfectly mimicked the activity of a single neuron, and we plucked a neuron out of your head, replacing it, and all its synapses, with this little widget, would 'you ' cease to exist? What if we did it with 5 widgets the next day? A thousand the next? A million the next? Your whole brain the next day?
- Epilepsy chip: Purdue researchers are working on an implantable system for detecting epileptic seizures across multiple locations. Just an implantable EEG system, with work being done on the transmitter and pattern discriminator. Nothing for actually TREATING the condition. That'll be a tough sell. More invasive than surface EEG, greater chance on infection, no benefit to the participants, and marginally better data collected. (Okay, significantly better data, but still. Not THAT great.)
- Walking: A Nature Neuroscience paper is stepping up to propose two independent networks for walking. This stride might provide a crucial step for making great leaps and bounds in the area of locomotion. Alright, out of foot puns. I'll post the paper tomorrow in SPF.