Posts Tagged ‘brain’

Mind control of helicopters now. What might be next?

Mind control of robot helicopterIn this amazing feat of engineering, a person’s thoughts are used to navigate a robot, which makes us wonder about other applications in the future.

Using a brain-computer interface developed by University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor Bin He, several students learned to steer a robotic quadcopter with just their thoughts. As shown in the video, they navigated the craft around a gym, making it turn, rise, dip, and even sail through a ring.

Similar technology may someday allow disabled people to regain speech or mobility lost due to disease or injury. They may be able to control a variety of devices with just their thoughts, including lights, TV remotes, artificial limbs and wheelchairs. The solution is completely noninvasive: brain waves (EEG) are picked up by electrodes in a cap worn on the scalp, not requiring a chip implanted in the brain.

A more detailed report on the technology is available in the Journal of Neural Engineering, and the video is shown below. Read the rest of this entry »

CES 2013, Digital Health Revolution: Body, Mind & Soul

On the first day of CES I attended a Digital Health Summit panel discussion hosted by Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post. To introduce the discussion, she described Americans’ increase in antidepressants, sleep medications, and stress, and how 75% of healthcare spending is spent on preventable diseases, and 80% of medications are for pain. All of these conditions are preventable through other means, she said.

The panel discussed a perfect storm of multiple trends: (1) stress (and I’d add sleep deprivation) is a killer, (2) our broken & expensive sick care system, and (3) technology & wearable devices that can help us focus on health & wellness. Market researchers note that 30 million wearable devices shipped in 2012, going to 60 million in the next year. In addition, 44 million health apps will be downloaded to smartphones and tablets this year.

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CES 2013, GPS for the Soul and Digital Health Revolution

I attended CES in person this year instead of monitoring the show from the comfort of my home office and writing my traditional report, CES in Pajamas. On the first day I attended “The Digital Health Revolution: Body, Mind and Soul,” a  panel discussion hosted by Arianna Huffington and am thrilled that Huffington Post is so prominently promoting conversation and innovation supporting better health & wellness. Its GPS for the Soul smartphone app, for example, complements lifestyle articles around the theme “Less Stress, More Living.” Here’s an article that Arianna published on the first day.

CES 2013, GPS for the Soul and the Digital Health Revolution

By Arianna Huffington, 1/07/2013

Greetings from Las Vegas, where I’ve landed in the midst of a perfect storm. I’m not talking about the weather — it’s a crisp, beautiful day here. No, I’m talking about one of those moments in which several trends converge to create something larger, a moment we will look back on as the time everything changed. Read the rest of this entry »

Bringing Dead Back to Life & Envisioning a Healthy Future

The beginning (or end) of a year is a good time to remember & reflect on the past while pondering & planning the future. So today’s post comes from Huffington Post, with ties into other articles about Personal Memoirs & Memories, Perpetual Websites & Memorials, the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show, and Future Forecasts. It’s about the well-known futurist and inventor, Ray Kurzweil.

Adding Kurzweil to the executive staff at Google may help the company stay vibrant and even increase its impact on information technology. Google also invested in Kurzweil’s Singularity University, which strives to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially-advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges. He envisions using a search engine to access a database of your thoughts, stored in the Cloud, in a way that mirrors your values and personality.

Ray Kurzweil, Google’s Director Of Engineering, Wants To Bring The Dead Back To Life

Inventor Ray Kurzweil hopes to develop ways for humans to live forever, and while he’s at it, bring back his dead father (at least virtually). Behind him is the support of a tech giant. This month, Kurzweil, a futurist, stepped into the role of Director of Engineering at Google, focusing on machine learning and language processing.

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The Benefits of Napping

When was the last time you let yourself have a nice, leisurely nap?

Past articles promoted the health & productivity benefits of good sleep, but what about a short nap? The folks at Patio Productions shared this great infographic on the science and statistics of napping, spent inside or in the majestic outdoors. Enjoy, and pass it along to friends.

 

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You Need More Sleep (INFOGRAPHIC)

I wrote several articles lately about the relationship of Sleep and good Health, including How Light effects Melatonin and Sleep. This infographic emphasizes important statistics, some of which I added to our Health Statistics page. Read the rest of this entry »

How Light effects Melatonin and Sleep

cartoon image depicting restful sleepYou heard me mention color temperature before, and the effect of watching TV or reading on the iPad before bed  (See Sleepy Yet? — How Light from Electronics Effects Sleep), but here’s why it’s important.

This WebMD article examines the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate sleep & wake cycles (the circadian clock). Melatonin production in the body is triggered by darkness and inhibited by light, and that explains why we have trouble with jet lag, shift work, and winter months with fewer daylight hours.

This Wikipedia article describes light therapy and melatonin supplements as treatment for sleep disorders like insomnia. It also describes the light color temperature, from the warm yellow of incandescent light bulbs, to blue light of the new fluorescent and LED bulbs, or the bluish tint of the iPad and TV screens.

One way to fool the body into producing melatonin earlier so you can go to sleep earlier is to select warm-color light bulbs and have them dimmed in the evening. Another way is to wear DARK AMBER or ORANGE sunglasses in the evening to block blue light (short light wavelengths). And of course, that’s why sleep experts advise against using a computer or watching TV shortly before bed.

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The Economic Value of a Good Night’s Sleep

Bruce Meleski, PhD, explains how technology that lets you get restful sleep improves your energy and health.We live such busy lives that we’re stressed out and try to fit too much into each day, ignoring our sleep in hopes of getting more accomplished, but that’s effecting our health, work productivity, and sports performance.

What if I told you that not getting great sleep could easily cost you — an extra $300,000 in medical bills and more than $700,000 in net worth? Not getting great sleep could even cheat you out of some $8 million in lifetime earning capacity? Do I have your attention yet? Read the rest of this entry »

What makes you sick? Ask Dr. Watson

Watson's avatar, inspired by the IBM Watson is IBM’s natural language artificial intelligence supercomputer that last year competed on the quiz show Jeopardy and consistently outperformed two record holding humans, one with the longest winning streak (74 wins), and one winning the most money. Watson can process 200 million times more instructions per second than all of the computers on the recently retired Space Shuttle.

In just 3 seconds, Watson was able to parse and analyze the equivalent of 300 million books to find relevant information. For perspective, if those books were placed on a long bookshelf, the shelf would be longer than 7 football fields.

Watson in Healthcare

WellPoint is pioneering the use of Watson in healthcare, giving physicians better insight to help improve patient outcomes. (See infographic below.)

Related articles on Watson in Healthcare

Watson in Other Industries

The Infographic

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11 Holiday Gift Ideas for Better SLEEP

The gift of Sleep has benefits beyond the gift itself since it can improve your loved one’s health, vitality, productivity, and even earning capacity.

As Dr. Bruce Meleski (Dr. Mell) wrote in previous articles here and here, good quality sleep impacts your life in a positive way. But it’s not just the amount of sleep; it’s also the quality of sleep.  Slow wave sleep allows the body to recover and the cells to rejuvenate.  Without this cellular repair, there’s a higher risk of disease, obesity, depression, and hypertension.  Quality sleep also impacts work productivity, memory recall, focus acuity, athletic performance, and reaction time.

11 gift ideas presented below (Holiday Gift Ideas: Sleep Gifts For Better Zzz’s provides details & high-res photos).

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