Paralysed people have learnt to control robots remotely with their thoughts

“19 people – including nine quadriplegics and 10 participants who weren’t disabled – across Germany, Italy and Switzerland were hooked up to an electrode-covered cap, which analyses their brain signals and converts them into electronic instructions for a robot.

These instructions were sent via the Internet to a remote computer hooked up to a simple, wheeled robot. Using just their thoughts, the patient’s were able to easily move this robot around, seeing everything their robot does through Skype. The patient’s face also appears on the computer screen.

“Each of the nine subjects with disabilities managed to remotely control the robot with ease after less than 10 days of training,” lead researcher José del R. Millán, from the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, explained in a press release. You can see the robots in action here: youtube.com.

Read the full article at sciencealert.com.

Find other reports via google.com.

Find Out if the Government Owes You Money

“USA.gov sent this bulletin at 07/06/2015 01:38 PM EDT

If the government owes you money and you do not collect it, then it’s unclaimed.

Currently, the government does not have one central website for finding unclaimed money by name, Social Security number, or state. To find unclaimed money from the government, you can check various sources.

A word of caution: government agencies will not call you about unclaimed money or assets. Avoid unclaimed money scams by learning how to recognize government impostors.”

Note: In California, one place to check is the Controller’s Office: http://www.sco.ca.gov/upd_msg.html

Bringing GPS, efficiency tracking, and more—to 15-year-old clunkers

“Device-and-app solutions like Automatic and Mojio mean more cars can get to the cloud.

Today, almost any car built after 1996 can join the connected car revolution thanks to aftermarket solutions. We’ve spent the past year or so trying out a couple of such devices, one from Automatic and another from Mojio. Using a 2005 Saab 9-2x Aero as our test vehicle, we set out to discover if it was truly possible to have all the connected luxury of today without shelling out for an entirely new vehicle.

Our experience with both devices over the past year has been almost entirely positive. Neither device caused a noticeable change in our driving or fuel economy, but having easy access to trip-level efficiency has been satisfying if only for curiosity’s sake.

There are other aftermarket connected car systems out there, including ones from Delphi (who also supplied the tech behind GM’s OnStar) and Verizon. And we have to wonder, given Apple’s recent interest in the auto industry and the natural integration with smartphones, could Cupertino be planning to Sherlock everyone? Cars Technica plans to keep an eye on this market and periodically check in on the state of connected cars for the rest of us.”

Read the full article at arstechnica.com.

This Little Seahorse Will Teach Us How To Build Better Robots

“Clemson University mechanical engineer Michael Porter, whose research group is in the business of designing new structures based on biological templates, has for years been fascinated by the seahorse tail’s unique geometry. While studying seahorse skeletons as a PhD student, he discovered the bones are composed of only 40 percent mineral, plus a surprisingly large amount of protein and other organic compounds. When subjected to load tests, he learned that the connective tissue between the bony plates and tail muscles took on most of the pressure, leaving the vertebrae unharmed.

One of the main things seahorses use their tails for is gripping seagrasses or corals. Tails used for anchoring need able to pivot and bend easily without overextending themselves. Twisting their different model tails, the researchers learned that the square-plated tail returned to its original shape faster than the circle-plated tail, and expended less energy doing so. Square plates, they discovered, also interfere with each other when twisting, limiting the tail’s overall range of motion by half compared with round plates. This feature could help protect the seahorse’s spinal cord from mechanical damage. Square tails are also just plain grippier, making more points of contacts with a surface.”

Read the full article at gizmodo.com

The Chemistry of Fireworks, Sparklers, Gunpowder

It’s July 4th. Let’s think about (the peaceful uses of) Fireworks, Sparklers, and Gunpowder. compoundchem.com


“Compound Interest is a site that aims to take a closer look at the chemical compounds we come across on a day-to-day basis. It also provides graphics for educational purposes, both for teacher and student use.

The site is run single-handedly by me, Andy Brunning. I’m a chemistry teacher based in the UK, and create the graphics for the site in my spare time.” compoundchem.com/about


Google search [fireworks chemistry electricity]: google.com, videos: google.com