LAST week, under my car’s dashboard, I installed a small wireless gadget that would monitor my driving. I wanted to see how it felt to have my driving behavior captured, sent to an insurance company and analyzed. More drivers, seeking discounts on auto insurance, are voluntarily doing just that.Insurers are offering these discounts as they aim to abandon the crude proxies they have long used to guess the likelihood that a particular policyholder will have an accident. These have included age, sex, marital status, miles driven (as reported by the driver) — and even credit scores, which can penalize those guilty of driving while poor.
Driving data is collected with a device that policyholders must be persuaded to install; it connects to the car’s computer system via a diagnostic port found in all cars since 1996. Such “user-based insurance,” the name for individualized pricing based on data collected from a vehicle, is spreading. Drivewise from Allstate is in 10 states; Drive Safe and Save, from State Farm, is in 16, with 11 more to be added next month; and Snapshot, from Progressive, is in 43.
CogniMem Technologies Inc. has developed a greater than 40,000-neuron, scalable cognitive memory computing system based on CogniBlox, a memory-based parallel processing capability that architecturally implements how the human brain processes data.
Medical devices seem to get smaller every year. Think of something as simple as a pacemaker or hearing aid. Like their bretheren PCs, these gadgets that help enhance and extend our lives continue to shrink.
Amputees with a new prosthetic arm must learn how to use their device to perform everyday tasks that were once second nature. Taking off a shirt becomes a conscious, multistep effort: grasp the shirt, lift the shirt over the head, pull arms through the sleeves, place the shirt on the table, let go of the shirt.
“I’m so thankful the internet was not in wide use when I was in high school”, this article begins, a common refrain among people who grew up without social media sites from Friendster to Facebook, Photobucket to Instagram. Even those using email, chatrooms, Livejournal, multiplayer games and the like did not have the full-on use-your-real-name-ultra-public Facebook-like experience.
Behind many of the “thank God I didn’t have Facebook back then!” statements is the worry that a less-refined past-self would be exposed to current, different, perhaps hipper or more professional networks. Silly music tastes, less-informed political statements, embarrassing photos of the 15-year-old you: digital dirt from long ago would threaten to debase today’s impeccably curated identity project. The discomfort of having past indiscretions in the full light of the present generates the knee-jerk thankfulness of not having high-school digital dirt to manage. The sentiment is almost common enough to be a truism within some groups, but I wonder if we should continue saying it so nonchalantly?
When a paralyzed person imagines moving a limb, cells in the part of the brain that controls movement still activate as if trying to make the immobile limb work again. Despite neurological injury or disease that has severed the pathway between brain and muscle, the region where the signals originate remains intact and functional.
In recent years, neuroscientists and neuroengineers working in prosthetics have begun to develop brain-implantable sensors that can measure signals from individual neurons, and after passing those signals through a mathematical decode algorithm, can use them to control computer cursors with thoughts. The work is part of a field known as neural prosthetics.
A team of Stanford researchers have now developed an algorithm, known as ReFIT, that vastly improves the speed and accuracy of neural prosthetics that control computer cursors. The results are to be published November 18 in the journal Nature Neuroscience in a paper by Krishna Shenoy, a professor of electrical engineering, bioengineering and neurobiology at Stanford, and a team led by research associate Dr. Vikash Gilja and bioengineering doctoral candidate Paul Nuyujukian.
In side-by-side demonstrations with rhesus monkeys, cursors controlled by the ReFIT algorithm doubled the performance of existing systems and approached performance of the real arm. Better yet, more than four years after implantation, the new system is still going strong, while previous systems have seen a steady decline in performance over time.
"These findings could lead to greatly improved prosthetic system performance and robustness in paralyzed people, which we are actively pursuing as part of the FDA Phase-I BrainGate2 clinical trial here at Stanford," said Shenoy.
Sight, sound, touch, smell, taste. We interact with the world and navigate through it thanks to our senses. But what if we could add to that repertoire? A British scientist and a small group of enthusiasts are exploring ways to do just that.
augmented reality http://www.mobilegeeks.com Who doesn't love shopping online? But when it comes to big purchases like a couch or TV you can never really be sure how they will look in your home before you make the big commitment. Augment is looking to change that, this French startup has launched a free app for Android and iOS that lets you integrate augmented reality into any online site so that you can see how your new Ikea couch looks in your home. We also got to check out Amazon integration as well as some fun photos with characters.
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