Update 6:42 a.m. PST: Added more video segments from the report.
In a 60 Minutes segment titled "Brain Power," the CBS TV news magazine follows Andrew Schwartz, a neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh who has implanted a grid of electrodes inside a monkey's brain in order to listen to the different brain cells (or neurons) in an attempt to decode the language of the brain.
By implanting a grid of electrodes inside the brain of monkey, Schwartz has found a relationship between how fast a neuron fires and the way the monkey moves its hand. … Read more
Today, Dead Space producer Rich Briggs joins us for the second half of the show to talk about one of the scariest games we've played in recent memory.
But first, we dish out the dirt on video gamer enemy No. 1, Jack Thompson. It seems old Jacky has finally been disbarred from practicing law in the great state of Florida; good riddance. Next, Wilson enlightens us as to why the Internet may be killing our brains and how he knows the guy who can help.
The second half of the show features an interview with Dead Space producer Rich Briggs. We ask Rich all about his terrifyingly good game and what went into making one of the creepiest games of all time. We take live questions from that chat room and see what horror movies influenced Rich and the rest of the Dead Space team.
Finally, our Dan Ackerman contest winner is announced and Zen from Arizona has taken first prize. Check one of his winning submission (Ackerman/Palin), along with some other entries below.
EPISODE 216 Download today's podcast … Read more
The University of California at Los Angeles this week gave us the perfect antidote to Nick Carr's musings in The Atlantic about how the Internet is turning us into multitasking scatterbrains with diminishing attention spans.
A group of scientists found that searching the Internet doesn't make computer-savvy, middle-aged and older adults stupid. It actually triggers key centers in the brain that control decision making and complex reasoning. In other words, we might not have to resort to word puzzles and pinochle to fend off senility.
The study, reportedly the first of its kind to assess the impact of … Read more
If you've always thought you were a wonderful singer, but somehow failed to produce your best in karaoke bars, scientists may have found a solution.
At last, some of the world's finest brains have gotten together to release the finest parts of everyone's brain.
Yes, soon you may be able to buy your own thinking cap, put it on, and be the person you always thought you could be.
The cap looks a little like a hairnet, but please don't let that put you off. The theory behind the incredible thinking cap is that it will … Read more
For years, Amy Jo Kim has been a well-known and respected member of the video game design community, as well as the author of perhaps the best book ever written on building online community.
But for the most part, through years of working on other peoples' projects--Ultima Online, The Sims, the virtual world There.com, Rock Band, and many others, as well as consulting for countless companies--Kim has played a supporting role.
That's all set to change. Kim, along with her husband and consulting partner, Scott Kim, are in the midst of what might be their most ambitious project ever: Building their own game company from the ground up.
Their start-up, known as ShuffleBrain, plans to announce the public beta of its first effort, a Facebook game called PhotoGrab, in a matter of weeks. On the one hand, PhotoGrab is a puzzle game, tasking players with matching small snippets of photographs with the full pictures they're taken from--and doing so against a clock that's quickly counting down. The more accurate the placement and the more snippets you can match, the higher the score.
But PhotoGrab is also a social platform that is built around the idea of encouraging photographers to upload groups of their own pictures and make their own games from them.
So, for example, after playing for a little while with a few of the games already in the system, I uploaded five pictures I took last summer while visiting the Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Ky., on my CNET Road Trip 2008 project, and then spent a few minutes selecting small circular pieces of the photos for players of my game to identify. … Read more
Cell phones may or may not mess with our brains, but now our brains can mess with them.
NeuroSky, a San Jose, Calif.-based company that focuses on developing brain-controlled interfaces, recently created a prototype of a system that reads brain waves and uses them to control mobile phone applications. Basically, the brain dictates the action of the device without the help of the middleman: the fingers.
This is how it works: software algorithms deduce from your brain waves what you intend to do and pass on the appropriate commands to the cell phone. During the demo of the prototype, … Read more
In the news today, NBC fails to medal in its online streaming of the Olympics, but Google never fails to meddle (by driving up and down your private roads). OK, that was a Tom joke. Also, the Obama text dissected (but not in a political way), the Pentagon and its fake cat brains, and how to vote better. Listen now: Download today's podcastEPISODE 795
FCC outs HTC Dream’s dimensions: It’s smaller than the iPhone 3G http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/25/fcc-outs-htc-dreams-dimensions-its-smaller-than-the-iphone-3g/
iPhone 3G reception just fine, say curious Swedes with engineering degrees http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/25/iphone-3g-reception-just-fine-say-curious-swedes/ … Read more
A robot using biological brain matter from rodents to control its movements is helping researchers learn more about human neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, according to University of Reading researchers in the U.K.
The robot represents a multidisciplinary effort within the University of Reading, whose team includes Kevin Warwick, head of Cybernetics in the School of Systems Engineering, and Ben Whalley, pharmacist and professor in the School of Pharmacy.
The neuron culture being used to control the robot operates from what is essentially a sophisticated, temperature-controlled Petri dish with electrodes called a multi electrode array (MEA).
The MEA, in which the delicate brain matter is kept in an incubated environment and fed, consists of 60 electrodes. After about one to two weeks of growth, the brain matter is mature enough to start learning and use the MEA to communicate with the robot. The MEA both stimulates the brain matter by sending electrical signals to it and responds to the electrical impulses sent out by the cultured neurons.
"We feed them every couple of days, a pink liquid with nutrients not too dissimilar to what the Olympians might drink for energy," Warwick said in a phone interview. "It keeps the neurons alive and allows them to grow. Within 24 hours they make connections. Within a week there is a brain-like activity. If you stimulate one electrode you get spontaneous firing. We then use that basic operation by linking it up to the robot body."
The electrical output from the brain received by the MEA is transferred to the robot via ultrasonic sonar. The sonar signal causes the robot's wheels to move forward, left, or right, depending on the signal. In return, the brain is sent signals to stimulate it when it nears an object in the hopes that it will respond to avoid colliding with it.… Read more
The cap is designed to analyze the brain's electroencephalogram (EEG) waves, determining whether you're too fatigued to drive safely. It is just one use for a device developed by researchers at various Taiwan universities and the University of California at San Diego, who hope to expand the technology for applications in myrid other facets of everyday life.