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Archive for the ‘cyborgs’ category: Page 9

Jun 6, 2019

How Two Paralyzed Patients Walked Again Without Surgery

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI, space

The protocol, dubbed Walk Again Neuro-Rehabilitation (WA-NR), first uses EEG to record and control virtual avatars and robotic exoskeleton walkers while the patient wears a “tactile shirt” that offers them sensory feedback. This stimulation theoretically teaches damaged nerves to reroute their motor functions to healthy ones. Following the program for just three years, the patients—some paralyzed for decades—dramatically regained sensation in their lower limbs. They could feel where their legs were in space and better control their lower limbs. Some even reported feelings of normal, welcomed pain after a sharp jab.

The current study, published in Scientific Reports, takes neurorehab a step further. In two patients from the original cohort, the team further trained and examined their neuro-recovery in detail. Patient P1 was a middle-aged man paralyzed for 4.5 years at the onset of the study; P2, a 32-year-old, had been paralyzed for a decade. Although trained with WA-NR, both patients scored on the low end of overall movement, with the ability to extend their knees at most.

For each training session, the patients wore an EEG cap to measure movement intent and had eight electrodes placed on the skin of each leg to stimulate muscles. Simultaneously they wore a haptic shirt, which gave them a sense of their body in space by stimulating their forearms.

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Jun 6, 2019

First-of-its-kind platform aims to rapidly advance prosthetics

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI, transhumanism

A new open-source, artificially intelligent prosthetic leg designed by researchers at the University of Michigan and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is now available to the scientific community.

The leg’s free-to-copy design and programming are intended to improve the quality of life of patients and accelerate by offering a unified platform to fragmented research efforts across the field of bionics.

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Jun 5, 2019

DARPA’s New Project Is Investing Millions in Brain-Machine Interface Tech

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, Elon Musk, military, robotics/AI

When Elon Musk and DARPA both hop aboard the cyborg hypetrain, you know brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are about to achieve the impossible.

BMIs, already the stuff of science fiction, facilitate crosstalk between biological wetware with external computers, turning human users into literal cyborgs. Yet mind-controlled robotic arms, microelectrode “nerve patches”, or “memory Band-AIDS” are still purely experimental medical treatments for those with nervous system impairments.

With the Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program, DARPA is looking to expand BMIs to the military. This month, the project tapped six academic teams to engineer radically different BMIs to hook up machines to the brains of able-bodied soldiers. The goal is to ditch surgery altogether—while minimizing any biological interventions—to link up brain and machine.

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May 30, 2019

The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, internet, robotics/AI

This post by Prof. Kevin Warwick originally appeared at OpenMind.

Article from the book There’s a Future: Visions for a Better World

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May 29, 2019

Sensor-packed glove learns signatures of the human grasp

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI

Wearing a sensor-packed glove while handling a variety of objects, MIT researchers have compiled a massive dataset that enables an AI system to recognize objects through touch alone. The information could be leveraged to help robots identify and manipulate objects, and may aid in prosthetics design.

The researchers developed a low-cost knitted glove, called “scalable tactile glove” (STAG), equipped with about 550 tiny sensors across nearly the entire hand. Each sensor captures pressure signals as humans interact with objects in various ways. A processes the signals to “learn” a dataset of pressure-signal patterns related to specific objects. Then, the system uses that dataset to classify the objects and predict their weights by feel alone, with no visual input needed.

In a paper published in Nature, the researchers describe a dataset they compiled using STAG for 26 common objects—including a soda can, scissors, tennis ball, spoon, pen, and mug. Using the dataset, the system predicted the objects’ identities with up to 76 percent accuracy. The system can also predict the correct weights of most objects within about 60 grams.

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May 28, 2019

Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum at the Nevada State Legislature — May 15, 2019

Posted by in categories: business, computing, cyborgs, employment, geopolitics, mobile phones, policy, Ray Kurzweil, transhumanism

The Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum at the Nevada Legislature on May 15, 2019, marked a milestone for the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the Nevada Transhumanist Party. This was the first time that an official transhumanist event was held within the halls of a State Legislature, in one of the busiest areas of the building, within sight of the rooms where legislative committees met. The presenters were approached by tens of individuals – a few legislators and many lobbyists and staff members. The reaction was predominantly either positive or at least curious; there was no hostility and only mild disagreement from a few individuals. Generally, the outlook within the Legislative Building seems to be in favor of individual autonomy to pursue truly voluntary microchip implants. The testimony of Anastasia Synn at the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 26, 2019, in opposition to Assembly Bill 226 — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXGessk5c24 — is one of the most memorable episodes of the 2019 Legislative Session for many who heard it. It has certainly affected the outcome for Assembly Bill 226, which was subsequently further amended to restore the original scope of the bill and only apply the prohibition to coercive microchip implants, while specifically exempting microchip implants voluntarily received by an individual from the prohibition. The scope of the prohibition was also narrowed by removing the reference to “any other person” and applying the prohibition to an enumerated list of entities who may not require others to be microchipped: state officers and employees, employers as a condition of employment, and persons in the business of insurance or bail. These changes alleviated the vast majority of the concerns within the transhumanist and cyborg communities about Assembly Bill 226.

This Cyborg and Transhumanist Forum comes at the beginning of an era of transhumanist political engagement with policymakers and those who advise them. It was widely accepted by the visitors to the demonstration tables that technological advances are accelerating, and that policy decisions regarding technology should only be made with adequate knowledge about the technology itself – working on the basis of facts and not fears or misconceptions that arise from popular culture and dystopian fiction. Ryan Starr shared his expertise on the workings and limitations of both NFC/RFID microchips and GPS technology and who explained that cell phones are already far more trackable than microchips ever could be (based on their technical specifications and how those specifications could potentially be improved in the future). U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II introduced visitors to the world of transhumanist literature by bringing books for display – including writings by Aubrey de Grey, Bill Andrews, Ray Kurzweil, Jose Cordeiro, Ben Goertzel, Phil Bowermaster, and Mr. Stolyarov’s own book “Death is Wrong” in five languages. It appears that there is more sympathy for transhumanism within contemporary political circles than might appear at first glance; it is often transhumanists themselves who overestimate the negativity of the reaction they expect to receive. But nobody picketed the event or even called the presenters names; transhumanist ideas, expressed in a civil and engaging way – with an emphasis on practical applications that are here today or due to arrive in the near future – will be taken seriously when there is an opening to articulate them.

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May 24, 2019

Neuroprosthetics and deep brain stimulation: Two big neuroscience breakthroughs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, neuroscience, robotics/AI

Researchers have developed a brain-computer interface the size of a baby aspirin that can restore mobility to people with paralysis or amputated limbs.

How does it work? It rewires neural messages from the brain’s motor cortex to a robotic arm, or reroutes it to the person’s own muscles. In this video, Big Think contributor Susan Hockfield, president emerita of MIT, explains further.

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May 21, 2019

The Army Is Spending Millions on Powered Exoskeletons

Posted by in category: cyborgs

No Iron Man suits yet; most exoskeletons mainly help soldiers carry heavy loads.

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May 21, 2019

Six Paths to the Nonsurgical Future of Brain-Machine Interfaces

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cybercrime/malcode, cyborgs, robotics/AI, wearables

DARPA has awarded funding to six organizations to support the Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N) program, first announced in March 2018. Battelle Memorial Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Rice University, and Teledyne Scientific are leading multidisciplinary teams to develop high-resolution, bidirectional brain-machine interfaces for use by able-bodied service members. These wearable interfaces could ultimately enable diverse national security applications such as control of active cyber defense systems and swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles, or teaming with computer systems to multitask during complex missions.

“DARPA is preparing for a future in which a combination of unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, and cyber operations may cause conflicts to play out on timelines that are too short for humans to effectively manage with current technology alone,” said Al Emondi, the N program manager. “By creating a more accessible brain-machine interface that doesn’t require surgery to use, DARPA could deliver tools that allow mission commanders to remain meaningfully involved in dynamic operations that unfold at rapid speed.”

Over the past 18 years, DARPA has demonstrated increasingly sophisticated neurotechnologies that rely on surgically implanted electrodes to interface with the central or peripheral nervous systems. The agency has demonstrated achievements such as neural control of prosthetic limbs and restoration of the sense of touch to the users of those limbs, relief of otherwise intractable neuropsychiatric illnesses such as depression, and improvement of memory formation and recall. Due to the inherent risks of surgery, these technologies have so far been limited to use by volunteers with clinical need.

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May 17, 2019

Exoskeleton Suits Are Expected To Become Commonplace

Posted by in category: cyborgs

Experts at Vanderbilt University are working on exoskeleton suits for everyday life.

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