A study published in the journal eLife describes three participants that broke new ground in the use of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) by people with paralysis. One of the participants, a 64-year-old man paralyzed by a spinal cord injury, “set a new record for speed in a ‘copy typing’ task, ” reports IEEE Spectrum. “Copying sentences like ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog, ‘ he typed at a relatively blistering rate of eight words per minute.” From the report: This experimental gear is far from being ready for clinical use: To send data from their implanted brain chips, the participants wear head-mounted components with wires that connect to the computer. But Henderson’s team, part of the multiuniversity BrainGate consortium, is contributing to the development of devices that can be used by people in their everyday lives, not just in the lab. “All our research is based on helping people with disabilities, ” Henderson tells IEEE Spectrum. Here’s how the system works: The tiny implant, about the size of a baby aspirin, is inserted into the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for voluntary movement. The implant’s array of electrodes record electrical signals from neurons that “fire” as the person thinks of making a motion like moving their right hand — even if they’re paralyzed and can’t actually move it. The BrainGate decoding software interprets the signal and converts it into a command for the computer cursor. Interestingly, the system worked best when the researchers customized it for each participant. To train the decoder, each person would imagine a series of different movements (like moving their whole right arm or wiggling their left thumb) while the researchers looked at the data coming from the electrodes and tried to find the most obvious and reliable signal. Each participant ended up imagining a different movement to control the cursor. The woman with ALS imagined moving her index finger and thumb to control the cursor’s left-right and up-down motions. Henderson says that after a while, she didn’t have to think about moving the two digits independently. “When she became facile with this, she said it wasn’t anything conscious; she felt like she was controlling a joystick, ” he says. The man with the spinal cord injury imagined moving his whole arm as if he were sliding a puck across a table. “Each participant settled on control modality that worked best, ” Henderson says. You can watch a video about the study here. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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Sony’s upcoming SF-G series of SD cards will be available this spring, the company announced today . When that time comes, Sony said they “will be the world’s fastest SD cards.” Boasting a maximum write speed of 299 MB/s, that claim is right on point. The cards (available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB sizes) also have a slightly higher top read speed of 300 MB/s. Speed is a priority, so the cards also support the UHS-II interface, which adds a second row of connecting pins to the card for increased transfer rates on compatible hardware. More than any card before it, the SF-G series will be able to handle quick-shooting cameras smoothly, as well as capturing 4K video and other technically demanding uses. To fully take advantage of the tremendous speed, Sony also revealed it will offer a specialized card reader so users can quickly transfer files to and from their computers. The SF-G series will take good care of your files, too. In addition to being compatible with Sony’s file rescue software , these SD’s are also waterproof, temperature resistant, shockproof and X-Ray proof. For comparison, B&H Photo Video says that two of the fastest SD card lines out there today, SanDisk’s Extreme PRO UHS-II series and Lexar’s Professional 2000x UHS-II series, can achieve read speeds of 300 MB/s and write speeds of 260 MB/s. For the more casual user, Amazon’s best-selling card, the 32GB SanDisk Ultra Class 10 SDHC UHS-I , tops out at 80 MB/s for read and write speeds. Sony has yet to announce the pricing for these cards, but the 32GB version of the aforementioned SanDisk card sells for about $60 . The SF-G cards are technically superior, though, so expect them to retail for a bit more than that. Source: Sony
After a deluge of teasing press releases and premature speculation , we can finally share some Very Important NASA News: Today, the agency announced that a team of scientists has confirmed seven Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, a star located just 39 light-years away from our Sun. The six inner planets are… Read more…
Artificial sweeteners be damned; these naturally occurring, safe proteins are thousands of times sweeter than sugar
High school teacher Joe Howard made another excellent math video. This time, he shows how Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth in 200 BC. In one of the dopest displays of critical thinking in history, Erotosthenes estimated the circumference of the Earth. All he had was a pole, the sun, knowledge of a famous well in Egypt, and potentially money to pay someone to walk the distance between two cities. This story demonstrates the beauty of trigonometry.
TRAPPIST-1 is a star that’s 39 light years away from us. The journal Nature reports that it has seven warm, Earthlike planets orbiting it. From Washington Post : The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents the first time astronomers have ever detected so many terrestrial planets orbiting a single star. Researchers say the system is an ideal laboratory for studying alien worlds and could be the best place in the galaxy to search for life beyond Earth. “Before this, if you wanted to study terrestrial planets, we had only four of them and they were all in our solar system,” said lead author Michaël Gillon, an exoplanet researcher at the University of Liège in Belgium. “Now we have seven Earth-sized planets to expand our understanding. Yes, we have the possibility to find water and life. But even if we don’t, whatever we find will be super interesting.” Images: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton) Specs at a glance: Zotac Zbox EN1080 (barebones) CPU Intel Core i7-6700 GPU Nvidia GTX 1080 Networking Dual gigabit LAN, 802.11ac/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 Ports Microphone, headphone, 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Type-A RAM 2 x DDR4-1866/2133 SODIMM Slots (up to 32GB) Storage 1x 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps HDD/SSD bay, 1x M.2 PCIe x4 slot (22/42,22/60,22/80) Price £2000 / $2000 Size 225mm x 203mm x 128mm Last year Zotac released its tiny, gaming-ready Zbox EN1060 mini-PC. Featuring an Intel Core i5-6400T processor and Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card, the EN1060 is more than fast enough for high settings 1080p gaming at 60FPS or more. But for those that demand more frames, more resolution, and more powerful hardware inside a console-sized chassis—particularly as Sony raised the game somewhat with the PlayStation 4 Pro —Zotac has another option. Enter the Zotac Zbox Magnus EN1080, a ventilated black cube that packs a fully watercooled Skylake Intel Core i7-6700 processor (note the lack of the unlocked “K” designation) and Nvidia GTX 1080 inside a case just 225mm wide and 203mm deep. Such powerful hardware means the EN1080 is capable of playing games at a native 4K resolution with near maximum settings at over 60FPS. Even better, thanks to the clever watercooling setup inside, it does so while remaining quieter than any console or desktop PC with a standard cooling setup. It’s seriously impressive stuff. Naturally, there’s a price to pay for such a setup—and it’s not cheap. A barebones EN1080—where you supply your own storage, memory, and operating system—costs around £2,000 / $2,000 . A more conventional desktop system with the same components plus storage, RAM, OS, and a decent all-on-one liquid cooler comes in at under £1500. Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments
U.S. Homeland Security staff were unable to access DHS computer network because the security certificates expired
Verizon isn’t going to let AT&T’s 5G plans go unanswered. The carrier (and our corporate overlord) says it will pilot the gigabit-class wireless in 11 cities by the middle of 2017, including major urban hubs like Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Seattle and Washington, DC. These will be “pre-commercial services” offered to specific customers, so don’t expect to try extra-fast cellular data in your neighborhood. Instead, this is about investigating “scenarios and use cases” before Verizon is ready to ask for money. It’s not certain when you’ll see honest-to-goodness paid service, although Verizon has been aiming for sometime in 2017. However, any widespread deployment is likely to be contingent on a formal 5G standard, which doesn’t exist yet — and that’s not including the necessary hardware . You might not want to get too excited, then. While 5G may well usher in an era where your smartphone data speeds are as fast as a fiber optic line, the technology is still very much in the early stages. Source: Verizon