December 2005 archive

Dec 28 2005

Neuron Growth Occurs in Adult Brains

Neurons

Researchers from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT have recently found that contrary to popular belief, neurons do grow in mature brains. It had been widely accepted that structural remodeling of neurons does not occur in adult brains, but the discovery that it does could lead to advances in treatments of spinal …

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Dec 22 2005

Scientists Can Predict Your Thoughts

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have done a study confirming a long held belief by most neuroscientists that during memory recall the brain “time travels” back to the state it was in when the memory was formed. As reporterd by LiveScience.com today, the scientists have found that by recording the brain activity of people …

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Dec 21 2005

Scientists Create a Self Aware Robot

Self Aware Robot

The Discovery Channel has a story today about researchers from the Meiji University in Japan that have created a robot able to tell the difference between looking at its own image reflected in a mirror and looking at an identical robot. The research, led by Junichi Takeno, is a big advance towards understanding human consciousness …

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Dec 20 2005

Retrograde Signal Strengthens Synapses

Researchers from MIT studying brain plasticity, the reorganization of brain cells and their connections over time, have recently discovered a “backtalk” or retrograde signal from post-synaptic to pre-synaptic neurons that plays a crucial role in synapse development. It has long been known that synaptic strength, the strength of the connections between neurons, plays a central …

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Dec 16 2005

Sony Announces QRIO Upgrade

Sony's QRIO humanoid robot

Hot on the heels of Honda’s Asimo update announced this past Tuesday, Sony today introduced the world to the newest version of their humanoid robot, QRIO. The enhancements to the QRIO include an additional camera mounted in its forehead, mechanical improvements to its arms and hands, and better machine vision algorithms and AI. Like its …

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Dec 14 2005

Robot Snail Conquers Walls and Ceilings

MIT's Snail Robot

Nature.com is reporting today that researchers from MIT have created a robotic snail capable of climbing vertical walls and traveling upside down across ceilings. The team, led by Anette Hosoi, developed the mechanical slug primarily to study the locomotive mechanisms of biological snails, although they believe the results of their research will eventually end up …

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Dec 13 2005

Mice With Human Brain Cells

A mouse

It was announced yesterday that in an effort to create better models for studying neurological disorders, a team of scientists from the Salk Institute led by Dr. Fred Gage have successfully bio-engineered mice to be born with a small percentage of human brain cells. The process involves injecting 2-week-old mouse embryos with roughly 100,000 human …

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Dec 13 2005

An Asimo for the Office

Asimo serves coffee

Honda Motor Co. introduced the second-generation Asimo today. While walking and obstacle avoidance were considered highlights of the previous model, the new Asimo includes many advancements that science fiction has groomed us to expect from humanoid robots. The five-year old Asimo can now handle simple office tasks like greeting visitors and showing them to meeting …

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Dec 12 2005

Honeybees Can Recognize Human Faces

Honeybee

World Science is reporting about a surprising discovery made by researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany who have determined that honeybees can not only be taught to recognize human faces, but can also remember them for several days. The study re-opens a human neuroscience question thought by many to be already definitively answered …

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Dec 10 2005

ROBOTIS Modular Robot Kit

ROBOTIS modular robot

I’m finally getting through posting about the robots at IREX last week, but the one that is left on my list, the ROBOTIS Bioloid robot kit, may be of the most interest to amateur roboticists. There are several robot kits available these days, and they run the gamut from relatively simple and cheap to expensive …

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