Rerouting Brain Circuits with Implanted Chips

November 2, 2006

A new, implantable and wireless brain chip can create artificial connections between different parts of the brain, paving the way for devices that could reconnect damaged neural circuits. Scientists say the chip sheds light on the brain’s innate ability to rewire itself, and it could help explain our capacity to learn and remember new information. “We have a chance of manipulating and repairing [specific] regions of the brain that might be damaged,” says Joseph Pancrazio, director of the neural-engineering program at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, MD. “To be able to repair these kinds of lesions on a neuron-by-neuron basis is extraordinary.”

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What if Bionics Were Better?

September 27, 2006

Garner is part of a tiny population of early adopters eager to test bionics by choice rather than out of need. Any company that comes out with, say, a bio implant for Wi-Fi connectivity or devices that interact directly with the brain, can put Garner on the waiting list, she said. Such desire for radical body transformation remains very much on the fringe, and represents behavior that many if not most people would consider taboo.

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Bush vetoes stem cell bill, to scientists’ dismay

July 21, 2006

President George W Bush has kept his promise to veto a bill supporting stem cell research, much to the dismay of scientists across the country and prominent members of his own Republican party. The bill, which would have loosened restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research, had just received approval from the Senate by a vote of 63 to 37 (see Senate passes stem cell Act, but Bush may veto it) on Tuesday.

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When humans transcend biology

July 11, 2006

WITH EVERYTHING else that’s happening in the world today, debates about whether humanity should embrace as yet nonexistent technologies that could enhance our physical and intellectual abilities and someday make us “more than human” may seem frivolous. Nonetheless, a debate on “transhumanism” has been going on for the past few years, with naysayers and doomsayers on one side, optimistic futurists on the other, and too little in between.

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Look into my mind

July 10, 2006

Ever wondered what’s going on in the tiny mind of a newborn baby, or how a footballer takes that perfect kick? Or even why brain scanning kits often look like mental torture instruments from a sci-fi B-movie?

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Reprogramming Biology

June 29, 2006

Biology is now in the early stages of an historic transition to an information science, while also gaining the tools to reprogram the ancient information systems of life. Few of us go more than a few months without changing the software programs we use in our electronic devices, yet the 23,000 software programs inside our cells called genes have not changed appreciably in thousands of years (although recent research suggests that a few have changed as recently as a few hundred years ago).

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Biometric Payment Arrives in a Store Near You

June 24, 2006

A chain of Florida convenience stores has begun accepting fingerprints as payment, using a biometric system called Pay By Touch. The company is a Bay-area startup backed by $130 million in VC cash and the acquisition of BioPay, a Virginia-based biometrics firm that’s already done $7 billion in European transactions.

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