Reblogs for 20100924

  • 5 Incredible Kinetic Sculptures | The Creators Project

    Shared by Felix

    Testing a new “Share” functionality via Google Reader… Plus, these sculptures are rad!

    Mechanics meet art. 5 mind-blowing sculptures that move.

  • Brain-hacking art: Making an emotional impression

    Monet's Water Lilies

    The popularity of impressionist art could be caused by the ambiguous images forcing the brain to create a more personal interpretation of the work, says Harvard neuroscientist Patrick Cavanagh.

    The blurry shapes and splashes of color mean that people have to draw on their own memories to fill in the missing visual details, he says.

    These paintings may also be attractive because their blurred forms speak directly to the amygdala, a brain region involved in the processing of emotions, suggests Cavanagh. The amygdala acts like an early warning system, on the lookout for unfocused threats lurking in our peripheral vision, and it tends to react more strongly to things we haven’t yet picked up consciously.

  • Brain Coprocessors

    “We are entering a neurotechnology renaissance, in which the toolbox for understanding the brain and engineering its functions is expanding in both scope and power at an unprecedented rate,” says Ed Boyden, an Assistant Professor, Biological Engineering, and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the MIT Media Lab..

    “Consider a system that reads out activity from a brain circuit, computes a strategy for controlling the circuit so it enters a desired state or performs a specific computation, and then delivers information into the brain to achieve this control strategy. Such a system would enable brain computations to be guided by predefined goals set by the patient or clinician, or adaptively steered in response to the circumstances of the patient’s environment or the instantaneous state of the patient’s brain.

    “Some examples of this kind of ‘brain coprocessor’ technology are under active development, such as systems that perturb the epileptic brain when a seizure is electrically observed, and prosthetics for amputees that record nerves to control artificial limbs and stimulate nerves to provide sensory feedback. Looking down the line, such system architectures might be capable of very advanced functions–providing just-in-time information to the brain of a patient with dementia to augment cognition, or sculpting the risk-taking profile of an addiction patient in the presence of stimuli that prompt cravings.

    “In the future, the computational module of a brain coprocessor may be powerful enough to assist in high-level human cognition or complex decision making.”