tagged:

#spirited away

#animation

softerworld:

A Softer World: 1083
(everything melts.)
buy this print
 tagged:

#comic

#a softer world

neuromorphogenesis:

Mind-controlled robotic suit to debut at World Cup 2014

Shortly before 5pm local time on 12 June at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, a young paraplegic Brazilian will stand up from a wheelchair, walk over to midfield, and take a kick in the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup.

For those hoping for miracles at football’s greatest tournament, the scene may be the closest they get to witnessing one. For Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroengineer based at Duke University in North Carolina, the moment demands faith of another kind. As hundreds of millions tune in for the opening match, they will see the first public demonstration of technology he claims will turn wheelchairs into museum pieces.

The technology in question is a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton. The complex and conspicuous robotic suit, built from lightweight alloys and powered by hydraulics, has a simple enough function. When a paraplegic person straps themselves in, the machine does the job that their leg muscles no longer can.

The exoskeleton is the culmination of years of work by an international team of scientists and engineers on the Walk Again project. The robotics work was coordinated by Gordon Cheng at the Technical University in Munich, and French researchers built the exoskeleton. Nicolelis’s team focused on ways to read people’s brain waves, and use those signals to control robotic limbs.

On Tuesday, the team launches a Facebook page that will document the project in the days leading up to the World Cup. A dedicated website is due to go live later this week.

Nicolelis is training nine paraplegic men and women, aged 20 to 40, to use the exoskeleton at a neurorobotics rehabilitation lab in São Paulo. Three will be chosen to attend the opening ceremony, before the opening game between Brazil and Croatia, with one heading on to the pitch to perform the demonstration.

To operate the exoskeleton, the person is helped into the suit and given a cap to wear that is fitted with electrodes to pick up their brain waves. These signals are passed to a computer worn in a backpack, where they are decoded and used to move hydraulic drivers on the suit.

The exoskeleton is powered by a battery – also carried in the backpack – that allows for two hours of continuous use.

"The movements are very smooth," Nicolelis told the Guardian. "They are human movements, not robotic movements."

Nicolelis says that in trials so far, his patients seem have taken to the exoskeleton. “This thing was made for me,” one patient told him after being strapped into the suit.

The operator’s feet rest on plates which have sensors to detect when contact is made with the ground. With each footfall, a signal shoots up to a vibrating device sewn into the forearm of the wearer’s shirt. The device seems to fool the brain into thinking that the sensation came from their foot. In virtual reality simulations, patients felt that their legs were moving and touching something.

One patient, whose spinal injury meant he could not feel or move his legs, told Nicolelis: “I feel like I’m walking on the beach, that I’m touching the sand.”

Nicolelis likens the effect to the rubber hand illusion, where the mind is tricked into thinking that an inanimate object is part of the person. “It confirms our prediction that we are going to elicit a sensation that the exoskeleton is an extension of their body,” Nicolelis said.

In other trials, patients have used the mind-control system to walk on a treadmill.

Nicolelis said he believed the technology was ripe for turning into everyday devices to help paraplegics and could ultimately replace wheelchairs.

"All of the innovations we’re putting together for this exoskeleton have in mind the goal of transforming it into something that can be used by patients who suffer from a variety of diseases and injuries that cause paralysis," he said.

The system has been through numerous safety tests. The exoskeleton is fitted with multiple gyros to stop it falling over during the balancing act of bipedal walking. As an extra safety measure, it was fitted with multiple airbags.

Last month, Nicolelis and his colleagues went to football matches in São Paulo to check whether mobile phone radiation from the crowds might interfere with the suit. Electromagnetic waves could make the exoskeleton misbehave, but the tests were encouraging. The chances of the exoskeleton malfunctioning, and stomping off into the distance, are apparently slim.

Sethu Vijayakkumar, a roboticist at Edinburgh University, said exoskeletons were a natural progression for rehabilitation and made the most of robotic and human abilities.

"This is something that will happen, and needs to happen. Humans are very good at high-level decisions and making sense of ambiguous situations, but robots are very good at very precise, repetitive, accurate movements,” he said. “Exoskeletons are the way to marry these two together.”

 tagged:

#science

Now we’re going to get infinitely serious about infinite series.
Calculus professor (via mathprofessorquotes)
we-did-an-internet:

arcaneimages:

This taxidermy was found inside a late 19th-century French mansion which has been sealed up for more than 100 years. Via National Geographic.

Good to know people were just as fucking weird before the internet.

we-did-an-internet:

arcaneimages:

This taxidermy was found inside a late 19th-century French mansion which has been sealed up for more than 100 years. Via National Geographic.

Good to know people were just as fucking weird before the internet.

heaven-if-there-is-one:

rhymeswithrad:

Paul Fryer

Lucifer (Morning star), 2008

Anodized aluminum, silicon rubber cord,

wax work figure, feathers, concrete

this is the single most painfully beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

It’s stunningly terrifying. And the location.

 tagged:

#art

#sculpture

#paul fryer

the-actual-universe:

The Moon in Color This stunning image of the moon was captured by Sean Parker of Sean Parker Photography and shows a slighty colored Moon. How the Moon appears to us here on Earth is largely determined by our atmosphere. Particles in the atmosphere scatter certain wavelengths of light, typically in the blue area of the spectrum, and allow some in (red area of the spectrum). The lunar surface is composed of several different elements including oxygen, silicon, magnesium, iron, calcium and aluminum, which give it the gray color we are used to seeing. Some portions of the Moon contain a rare mineral known as Olivine, giving off a green hue. When the Moon appears higher in the sky, its light passes through a smaller percentage of the atmosphere and appears to be yellow; however, when the light from the Moon is lower in the sky (closer to the horizon), the light has to travel through more of the Earth’s atmosphere and appears redder in color. On April 15, 2014, there will be a total lunar eclipse. What this means is that the Earth will pass between the Sun and the Moon. During this time, the Moon will be in the Earth’s shadow and will appear red to us. Be sure to check out the lunar eclipse in a couple weeks. Any of you photographers out there, send us your eclipse photos. We would love to see them. Make sure you check out Sean Parker Photography for more of his awesome work. You can find him on Facebook, the web and Instagram. See links below. Specs on this awesome image:Taken through a 12” LX Meade with a Canon T3i. Colors were brought out by saturating the RGB Channels.-ALTImage Credit: Sean Parker PhotographySean’s siteInstagram: @seanparkerphotography

the-actual-universe:

The Moon in Color 

This stunning image of the moon was captured by Sean Parker of Sean Parker Photography and shows a slighty colored Moon. How the Moon appears to us here on Earth is largely determined by our atmosphere. Particles in the atmosphere scatter certain wavelengths of light, typically in the blue area of the spectrum, and allow some in (red area of the spectrum). 

The lunar surface is composed of several different elements including oxygen, silicon, magnesium, iron, calcium and aluminum, which give it the gray color we are used to seeing. Some portions of the Moon contain a rare mineral known as Olivine, giving off a green hue. When the Moon appears higher in the sky, its light passes through a smaller percentage of the atmosphere and appears to be yellow; however, when the light from the Moon is lower in the sky (closer to the horizon), the light has to travel through more of the Earth’s atmosphere and appears redder in color. 

On April 15, 2014, there will be a total lunar eclipse. What this means is that the Earth will pass between the Sun and the Moon. During this time, the Moon will be in the Earth’s shadow and will appear red to us. Be sure to check out the lunar eclipse in a couple weeks. Any of you photographers out there, send us your eclipse photos. We would love to see them. 

Make sure you check out Sean Parker Photography for more of his awesome work. You can find him on Facebook, the web and Instagram. See links below. 

Specs on this awesome image:
Taken through a 12” LX Meade with a Canon T3i. Colors were brought out by saturating the RGB Channels.

-ALT

Image Credit: Sean Parker Photography
Sean’s site
Instagram: @seanparkerphotography

 tagged:

#astrophotography

artchipel:

Mikael Aldo - Day 239/366 Nobody came
 tagged:

#photography

#mikael aldo


by notbecauseofvictories
 tagged:

#poetry

the-actual-universe:

50 years onCiaran Duffy is commemorating 50 years of female astronauts through art.Inspired by the womeninspace Tumblr, Duffy started with a portrait of Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman in space), and followed with Eileen Collins (the first female commander of a shuttle), Sally Ride (the first American woman in space), Mae Jemison (first coloured woman in space), Svetlana Savitskaya (the first woman to do a spacewalk), Peggy Whitson (first female commander of the International Space Station) and the date April 14th 2010 (the date with the highest number of women in space simultaneously).The paintings are almost cartoon like, but also serene and reflective. We just thought you’d like them as much as we do.-CBImage: three of the portraits, Credit: Ciaran Duffy (here or hellociaran link above)

the-actual-universe:

50 years on

Ciaran Duffy is commemorating 50 years of female astronauts through art.

Inspired by the womeninspace Tumblr, Duffy started with a portrait of Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman in space), and followed with Eileen Collins (the first female commander of a shuttle), Sally Ride (the first American woman in space), Mae Jemison (first coloured woman in space), Svetlana Savitskaya (the first woman to do a spacewalk), Peggy Whitson (first female commander of the International Space Station) and the date April 14th 2010 (the date with the highest number of women in space simultaneously).

The paintings are almost cartoon like, but also serene and reflective. We just thought you’d like them as much as we do.

-CB

Image: three of the portraits, Credit: Ciaran Duffy (here or hellociaran link above)

 tagged:

#art

#science

#ciaran duffy

artchipel:

Jacob van Loon | on Tumblr

Station I. Graphite, watercolor and acrylic on paper, 14x14” (2013)
Station II. Graphite, watercolor and acrylic on paper, 14x14” (2013)
Station III. Graphite, watercolor and acrylic on paper, 14x14” (2013)
Station IV [triptych]. Graphite, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 14x42” (2013)

[art discussion hosted by Artchipel]

 tagged:

#art

#jacob van loon

It must be a wonderful thing to be so sure that you love somebody.
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood (via pussinboots-)

biomedicalephemera:

Two-Faced Chick and Two-Headed Calf

Two-faced (diprospus) and two-headed (dicephalic) animals may look similar, but they’re different on the most fundamental of levels. Two-headed animals are simply conjoined twins that stopped separating very early in the process. They generally have two fully-formed cephalic regions, though sometimes one head is much less responsive than the other.

Two-faced animals, on the other hand, have a mutation in the Sonic Hedgehog (yes, it looks like a hedgehog and was named after Sonic) homologue gene. This gene regulates the symmetry and width of the head and facial features, and when the gene is mutated in a way that causes too much of the correlating proteins to be produced, diprospus animals are formed. As this gene is also responsible for brain and upper neural tube development, it’s uncommon for diprospus creatures or humans to live very long after birth.

When the SHH gene doesn’t create enough of its proteins, cyclopia (one-eyed, one-nosed) occurs.

Watch Emily and Anna dissect a two-faced calf on The Brain Scoop!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_diEm6st6o

thenewenlightenmentage:

Oxytocin Boosts Dishonesty
The so-called “love hormone” can make people more dishonest when it serves the interests of their group. 
The hormone oxytocin is usually associated with positive traits like trust, cooperation, and empathy, but scientists have now found that it can make people more dishonest when their lies serve the interests of their group.
“This is the best evidence yet that oxytocin is not the ‘moral molecule,’” said Carsten de Dreu from the University of Amsterdam, who co-led the study, which was published today (March 31) in PNAS. “It doesn’t make people more moral or immoral. It shifts people’s focus from themselves to their group or tribe.”
Continue Reading

thenewenlightenmentage:

Oxytocin Boosts Dishonesty

The so-called “love hormone” can make people more dishonest when it serves the interests of their group. 

The hormone oxytocin is usually associated with positive traits like trust, cooperation, and empathy, but scientists have now found that it can make people more dishonest when their lies serve the interests of their group.

“This is the best evidence yet that oxytocin is not the ‘moral molecule,’” said Carsten de Dreu from the University of Amsterdam, who co-led the study, which was published today (March 31) in PNAS. “It doesn’t make people more moral or immoral. It shifts people’s focus from themselves to their group or tribe.”

Continue Reading

 tagged:

#science

sciencesoup:

Van der Waals helps geckoes scale walls
Face it, it would be totally cool if we could clamber up surfaces as easily as geckoes do. We could scale skyscrapers, never fear when climbing ladders, and could completely eliminate that tacky dramatic moment in movies where the hero dangles precariously over the street a hundred storeys below. Of course, their sweaty fingers would never slip if they had some kind of adhesion mechanism—they could just climb right back up.
So how do geckoes manage it?
Well, unlike humans, geckoes have millions of microscopic hairs on the bottom of their feet, called setae. The tips of each of these setae are split into 100-1000 spatulae, which are so small that they’re narrower than the wavelength of visible light—less than 300 nano metres.
Clearly, some kind of intermolecular force between the gecko’s feet and a surface is responsible for adhesion, but it wasn’t until research in 2002 that we fully understood what was going in—for a while, scientists were throwing around theories like suction and chemical bonding. 
Turns out, geckoes take advantage of the Van der Waals force.
Named after a nineteenth century Dutch physicist, Van der Waals forces are weak electrodynamic forces that act over tiny distances, yet bond almost any material. They’re created by fluctuations in charge distributions between molecules.
These weak forces can be strengthened as more and more of one surface touches the other—like, say if you had billions of spatulae coating your feet. These tiny hairs increase surface density, so on contact with the wall the gecko experiences a strong adhesive force
Essentially, this force means we can improve adhesion simply by increasing surface density, like subdividing a surface into countless small protrusions. It means that geometry—not chemistry—is the driving mechanism. A single setae can lift an ant; a million could lift a 20 kg child; and if geckoes used every setae simultaneously, they could support 130 kg.
These forces open up to a lot of applications in adhesives. Engineers at Berkeley and Stanford have developed biologically inspired synthetic adhesives that adhere like gecko pads, which have even been used on robotic climbers.

sciencesoup:

Van der Waals helps geckoes scale walls

Face it, it would be totally cool if we could clamber up surfaces as easily as geckoes do. We could scale skyscrapers, never fear when climbing ladders, and could completely eliminate that tacky dramatic moment in movies where the hero dangles precariously over the street a hundred storeys below. Of course, their sweaty fingers would never slip if they had some kind of adhesion mechanism—they could just climb right back up.

So how do geckoes manage it?

Well, unlike humans, geckoes have millions of microscopic hairs on the bottom of their feet, called setae. The tips of each of these setae are split into 100-1000 spatulae, which are so small that they’re narrower than the wavelength of visible light—less than 300 nano metres.

Clearly, some kind of intermolecular force between the gecko’s feet and a surface is responsible for adhesion, but it wasn’t until research in 2002 that we fully understood what was going in—for a while, scientists were throwing around theories like suction and chemical bonding.

Turns out, geckoes take advantage of the Van der Waals force.

Named after a nineteenth century Dutch physicist, Van der Waals forces are weak electrodynamic forces that act over tiny distances, yet bond almost any material. They’re created by fluctuations in charge distributions between molecules.

These weak forces can be strengthened as more and more of one surface touches the other—like, say if you had billions of spatulae coating your feet. These tiny hairs increase surface density, so on contact with the wall the gecko experiences a strong adhesive force

Essentially, this force means we can improve adhesion simply by increasing surface density, like subdividing a surface into countless small protrusions. It means that geometry—not chemistry—is the driving mechanism. A single setae can lift an ant; a million could lift a 20 kg child; and if geckoes used every setae simultaneously, they could support 130 kg.

These forces open up to a lot of applications in adhesives. Engineers at Berkeley and Stanford have developed biologically inspired synthetic adhesives that adhere like gecko pads, which have even been used on robotic climbers.

 tagged:

#science