neuroscience

Fight or flight: the veterans at war with PTSD

From Youtube: One hundred years on from the end of the first world war, a group of veterans in Dorset are torn between their pride in their military careers and their anger over the lack of psychological support provided to them by the Ministry of Defence. With many feeling abandoned and left to battle significant mental health issues such as PTSD alone, former soldier Andy Price decides to take matters into his own hands, launching the Veteran’s Hub, a peer-to-peer support network for veterans and their families. Over the course of a year, the Guardian's Richard Sprenger follows Andy on his journey.

This Brain Implant Could Change Lives

From Youtube: It sounds like science fiction: a device that can reconnect a paralyzed person’s brain to his or her body. But that’s exactly what the experimental NeuroLife system does. Developed by Battelle and Ohio State University, NeuroLife uses a brain implant, an algorithm and an electrode sleeve to give paralysis patients back control of their limbs. For Ian Burkhart, NeuroLife’s first test subject, the implications could be life-changing.

What People See in a Robot: A New Look at Human-Like Appearance

From Youtube: What People See in a Robot: A New Look at Human-Like Appearance. A long-standing question in HRI is what effects a robot’s human-like appearance has on various psychological responses. A substantial literature has demonstrated such effects on liking, trust, ascribed intelligence, and so on. Much of this work has relied on a construct of uni-dimensional low to high human-likeness. I introduce evidence for an alternative view according to which robot appearance must be described in a three-dimensional space, encompassing Body/Manipulators (e.g., torso, arms, legs), Facial Features (e.g., head, eyes), and Surface Look (e.g., eyelashes, skin, genderedness). The broad human-likeness concept can thus be decomposed into more concrete appearance dimensions, and robots’ degrees of human-likeness are constituted by different combinations of these dimensions. In a study using 24 robots selected from this three-dimensional appearance space, I then show that the different dimensions separately predict inferences people make about the robot’s affective, social-moral, and physical capacities.

Force Jacket - Pneumatically-Actuated Jacket - Disney Research

From aeon.co magazine: Immersive experiences seek to engage the full sensory system in ways that words, pictures, or touch alone cannot. With respect to the haptic system, however, physical feedback has been provided primarily with handheld tactile experiences or vibration-based designs, largely ignoring both pressure receptors and the full upper-body area as conduits for expressing meaning that is consistent with sight and sound. We extend the potential for immersion along these dimensions with the Force Jacket, a novel array of pneumatically-actuated airbags and force sensors that provide precisely directed force and high frequency vibrations to the upper body. We describe the pneumatic hardware and force control algorithms, user studies to verify perception of airbag location and pressure magnitude, and subsequent studies to define full-torso, pressure and vibration-based feel effects such as punch, hug, and snake moving across the body. We also discuss the use of those effects in prototype virtual reality applications.

What do the chemical signatures of deadly nerve agents tell us about their origins?

From Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Ian Sample talks to two fellow Guardian reporters and a professor of environmental toxicology about the Salisbury spy poisoning. Last week, the city of Salisbury was thrust into the spotlight when two people were found in critical condition in a local park. Details began to emerge that the man, in his late sixties, was a former Russian spy. The woman found in a comatose state beside him, his daughter. Speculation mounted that they were poisoned, but by what? And by whom?

Is it possible to enhance and rewire the adult brain?

From Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Nicola Davis asks: can we increase the window of brain plasticity in the later stages of life? And what do we know about the implications of doing so? In early development, the brain is hard at work making new connections between neurons, based on the new experiences we’re having. But the science around brain plasticity – ie the mind’s ability to learn, change and reorganise itself – is advancing. Research looking at people with severe neurological or physical damage tells us a lot about the possibility of enhancing the ability for our brain to rewire.

Creative brains

From radio.seti.org: Your cat is smart, but its ability to choreograph a ballet or write computer code isn’t great. A lot of animals are industrious and clever, but humans are the only animal that is uniquely ingenious and creative. Neuroscientist David Eagleman and composer Anthony Brandt discuss how human creativity has reshaped the world. Find out what is going on in your brain when you write a novel, paint a watercolor, or build a whatchamacallit in your garage. But is Homo sapiens’ claim on creativity destined to be short-lived? Why both Eagleman and Brandt are prepared to step aside when artificial intelligence can do their jobs.

Past, present, and future of neuroscience

From unsupervisedthinkingpodcast.blogspot.com: In this very special episode of Unsupervised Thinking, we bring together a group of neuroscientists and neuroscience enthusiasts to have a semi-structured discussion on the past, present, and future of the field of neuroscience. The group includes your three regular hosts plus Yann, Alex, and Ryan (whose voice you may recall from our Deep Learning episode) and we each give our thoughts on what got us into neuroscience, what we feel the field is lacking, and where the field will be in 20 years. This leads us on a path of discussing statistics, emergence, religion, depression, behavior, engineering, society, and more!

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