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Bat House Project - Winners

The Bat House Project competition ended recently and the winners have been announced. Good to see bats regaining some habitat.

Invention: Microsoft mind reader

Invention: Microsoft mind reader: "This week's patent applications include Microsoft's plans to read your thoughts, a metamorphic amphibious vehicle and a wearable medical sensor network.

(Via New Scientist - Latest Headlines.)

DARPA Testing Numenta's Brain Tech

DARPA Testing Numenta's Brain Tech: "lousyd writes 'CNN Money reports that DARPA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency have given $4.9 million to Lockheed Martin to develop an image recognition system that will be used to scan satellite images and photographs for familiar objects. Called Object Recognition via Brain-Inspired Technology (ORBIT), the system will fuse commercial airborne EO and LIDAR sensor data into a three-dimensional, photo-realistic model of the landscape. The brains of the system, so to speak, will be Numenta's Hierarchical Temporal Memory technology, modeled on the technology growing inside human heads. The system is expected to increase image analysts' productivity by 100 times.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

(Via Slashdot: Science.)

Brain-computer interface for Second Life

Brain-computer interface for Second Life: "

Brain-computer interface controls Second Life avatar --

While recent developments in brain-computer interface (BCI) technology have given humans the power to mentally control computers, nobody has used the technology in conjunction with the Second Life online virtual world — until now.

A research team led by professor Jun’ichi Ushiba of the Keio University Biomedical Engineering Laboratory has developed a BCI system that lets the user walk an avatar through the streets of Second Life while relying solely on the power of thought. To control the avatar on screen, the user simply thinks about moving various body parts — the avatar walks forward when the user thinks about moving his/her own feet, and it turns right and left when the user imagines moving his/her right and left arms.

The system consists of a headpiece equipped with electrodes that monitor activity in three areas of the motor cortex (the region of the brain involved in controlling the movement of the arms and legs). An EEG machine reads and graphs the data and relays it to the BCI, where a brain wave analysis algorithm interprets the user’s imagined movements. A keyboard emulator then converts this data into a signal and relays it to Second Life, causing the on-screen avatar to move. In this way, the user can exercise real-time control over the avatar in the 3D virtual world without moving a muscle.

Future plans are to improve the BCI so that users can make Second Life avatars perform more complex movements and gestures. The researchers hope the mind-controlled avatar, which was created through a joint medical engineering project involving Keio’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and the Tsukigase Rehabilitation Center, will one day help people with serious physical impairments communicate and do business in Second Life.

(For video of the Second Life BCI, check the links on the Ushida & Tomita Laboratory news page, right above the first photo.)

[Source: Nikkei Net]

(Via Pink Tentacle.)

Macrophotography... Capturing Snowflakes

Duncan ran across this today and deemed it worthy of blog mention. I totally agree, especially now with winter coming we can refresh our memories of what snowflakes really look like. These photos are remarkable for both their definition and depth of field. This series nicked shamelessly from "maZm.com".