Friday, July 17, 2009

While I was gone...

Here are a few stories worth noting from the last few weeks along with some random ramblings.

Now you see it, now you don't (remember)!
First, I'm watching a really interesting piece from 60 minutes on how flawed eyewitness testimony can be. What's most interesting is the way that psychologists can alter the report of an eyewitness in a predictable manner. To sum up one technique, present two faces that are similar to the perpetrator, present the previously chosen face and another that is very different, present the reaffirmed face and the perpetrator. These little psychological tricks provide important clues to the inner workings of memory and an important bridge between experimental and applied psychology. Whether they will be equally useful for neuroscience, we'll have to wait and see. Think of these types of stories as similar to the barrage of visual illusions you would see in an intro to neuroscience course (like these). Part 1 sets up the case, Part 2 is where it gets interesting (those pressed for time can skip to part 2).

Eat it ASIMO!
Toyota has been trumpeting the creation of a noninvasive BCI (EEG) for controlling a wheelchair. Basically, it sounds like a 3 state decoder (forward, left, right), with an emergency stop signal (the user puffs out their cheek). Usually this isn't too exciting (like that Honda media circus the previous month), but the 125ms lag is actually pretty good for EEG. Worth looking into more for those even slightly interested in EEG based systems.

v0.9 (and now v0.9.1 which fixes a problem with PDF linking), is now available. PDF reader with annotation tools, more control over syncing collections, and a bunch of other features. Go get em, tiger!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Perfect storm

If it seems quiet here, it's because I have had something of a 'Perfect Storm" lately (all my various projects have gone into overdrive mode at the exact same time). Just for the hell of it, here's the rundown...

As mentioned in the last post, the BrainGate2 clinical trial is moving forward. That means oodles of behind the scenes things - everything from website redesign, logo design (not even decided on yet), and preparing for a location move to assembling tasks, getting approvals and shoring up sub projects take time. I've kept out of many of the logistical preparations (plenty of experience there from my days at Neural Signals), but I tend to get called in for consultation on tech issues. That and I like to make sure that the 'modern' bases' are covered (registering the Twitter/Flickr/etc accounts, researching collaboration tools, etc.).

I will be helping with two younger students' projects, so meetings galore, and some preliminary data collection in the current participant should be ready by the end of next week (hopefully at the end of this week). This has been my highest priority, and actually the most fun and frustrating time in grad school so far.

Mendeley has released version 0.9, and it is awesome. I have a number of things on the docket for them which need to be finished this week (webcast and focus group meeting).

My friends' film project is shooting at an undisclosed time and location, but as you might be able to guess that's moving along int he near term.

Digital Trends has moved to a really schwank location in downtown Portland, OR. I have had zero time for them, which I really feel bad about, so that guilt is working into the mix.

Throw in a little non-school/non-work drama/fiascoes/whatever, and I am running on adrenaline during every waking hour. At least my sleep schedule is actually normalized by the exhaustion experienced in the 'early' evening (3am for me).

Anyhow, the one thing I have been keeping up to date on, mostly, is the Papers RSS Feed. No time for SPF (the summary post at least - those papers are always in the RSS feed), Toyota's silly 3 state decoder, etc. I'm looking into some ways of making the whole blogging thing a little easier to integrate into my regular schedule, but first I have to do the same for Mendeley. Hang in there. I'm still alive, and so is DNI. Our activity is just inversely related.