Analog Computing, Bio hacking, Biological Computation, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Cybernetics, DNA, Science

Mind-controlled transgene expression by a wireless-powered optogenetic designer cell implant

“Mammalian synthetic biology has significantly advanced the design of gene switches that are responsive to traceless cues such as light, gas and radio waves, complex gene circuits, including oscillators, cancer-killing gene classifiers and programmable biocomputers, as well as prosthetic gene networks that provide treatment strategies for gouty arthritis, diabetes and obesity. Akin to synthetic biology promoting prosthetic gene networks for the treatment of metabolic disorders, cybernetics advances the design of functional man–machine interfaces in which brain–computer interfaces (BCI) process brain waves to control electromechanical prostheses, such as bionic extremities and even wheel chairs. The advent of synthetic optogenetic devices that use power-controlled, light-adjustable therapeutic interventions18 will enable the merging of synthetic biology with cybernetics to allow brain waves to remotely control the transgene expression and cellular behaviour in a wireless manner.”

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Art, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Education, Mind, Psychology, Science, Society

Secrets of the Creative Brain

“Part of what comes with seeing connections no one else sees is that not all of these connections actually exist. “Everybody has crazy things they want to try,” that same subject told me. “Part of creativity is picking the little bubbles that come up to your conscious mind, and picking which one to let grow and which one to give access to more of your mind, and then have that translate into action.””

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Anthropology, Art, Biological Computation, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Deep Learning, Music, Neural Networks, Psychology, Science, Social intelligence, Society, Sound

The Neuroscience of Improvisation

Charles Limb has been investigating rap. “It’s what kids are doing spontaneously when growing up… and improvisation is a strong theme. It incorporates language and rhythmic music very equally.” Limb has been scanning the brains of rappers the same way he looked at jazz musicians: comparing fMRIs when they recited memorized passages to when they “freestyled,” or improvised in rhyme. Although the study is still in progress, preliminary data suggest “major changes in brain activity when you go from memorized rap to freestyle.” Can studies of improvisation unlock more general secrets of creativity? Limb hopes to do similar investigations of artists as they draw or paint. The moderator ended with an inevitable question about art and science: “It is worth the effort to measure and quantify something abstract and artistic… to demystify what we enjoy the mystery of?” Limb saw nothing “threatening or reductionist” in the work of neuroscientists. “Humans are hardwired to seek art, and there are very few things that engage the brain on the level that music does. To understand the neural basis of creativity teaches us something fundamental about who we are, why we’re here.” Improvisation “shows us what the mind can do,” Marcus added. “The ability of human beings to improvise tells us a lot about the ultimate scope of our capabilities.”

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Animals, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Farming, Nature, Neural Networks, Science

Cognitive Maps in Bees

“Experimentally captured and displaced bees often depart from the release site in the compass direction they were bent on before their capture, even though this no longer heads them toward their goal. When they discover their error, however, the bees set off more or less directly toward their goal. This ability to orient toward a goal from an arbitrary point in the familiar environment is evidence that they have an integrated metric map of the experienced environment.”

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Algorithm, Animals, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Film, Man/Machine, Medicine, Nature, Neural Networks, Science

Filming the World Laboratory Cybernetic History in Das Netz

“But in the brain as McCulloch and Pitts imagine it, computation does not proceed along an infinite linear tape. Instead, complex series of equations are mapped out as pathways through a finite network of neurons. Patterns of electrochemical impulses correspond to the propositions of symbolic logic, expressed in the mathematical terms developed earlier in the century by logical empiricists such as Carnap (with whom Pitts had studied).7 Thus, the very process of thinking in language becomes equivalent to neural computation. In this way, the two scientists arrived at their fundamental breakthrough, stated in the title of their 1943 paper: “A Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity.”8 What they had done was to map out the possible circuits of feedback in the flesh.”

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Algorithm, Animals, Art, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Education, Man/Machine, Mathematics, Medicine, Nature, Neural Networks, philosophy, Science

Neuro inspired computational elements (Dyson Lecture)

“Alfred Smee (1818-1877) is known for publishing a series of books on a field he called electro-biology, the relation of electricity to the vital functions of the human body. He argued that instinct and reason could be deduced from electro-biology. For Smee, an idea consists of a collection of electrically stimulated nerve fibers. Using the technology of the 19th century, Smee conceived mechanical machines for presenting his ideas. Smee’s Relational Machine (so called because it represented the relationship between the various properties, comprising an idea), was intended to represent one thought, idea, or mental image at a time.”

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Animals, Bio hacking, Biology, Biometrics, Brain, Commons, DIY, Interface, Man/Machine, Medicine, Neural Networks, Science

Open Ephys’ DIY brain tools

“To promote tool-sharing among members of the worldwide systems neuroscience community. Open Ephys will support the development, distribution, and maintenance of open-source hardware and software for collecting and analyzing neuroscientific data. Special focus will be given to tools with expensive or inflexible commercial alternatives, and which serve the needs of a broad user base. Open Ephys strives to make it easier for investigators to share the tools they develop by establishing a centralized tool repository and by coordinating distributed support networks.”

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