Artificial synapse bridges the gap to brainier computers

The human brain is nature’s most powerful processor, so it’s not surprising that developing computers that mimic it has been a long-term goal. Neural networks, the artificial intelligence systems that learn in a very human-like way, are the closest models we have, and now Stanford scientists have developed an organic artificial synapse, inching us closer to making computers more efficient learners.

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Researchers create robot that can learn, think and act by itself

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC2TTslf_YM&hd=1[/youtube]

At the Tokyo Institute of Technology researchers with the Hasegawa Group have created a robot that is capable of applying learned concepts to perform new tasks. The Self-Organizing Incremental Neural Network (SOINN) uses a type of self-replicating neural technology.  The research team has released a video demonstrating the robot’s ability to understand it’s environment and to carry out instructions that it previously didn’t know how to do.

 

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Experts Claim Insects May Be As Intelligent as Larger Animals

bees

A honeybee’s brain weighs one mg and contains fewer than a million nerve cells

Insects with minuscule brains may be as intelligent as much bigger animals and may even have consciousness, it was claimed today.  Having a brain the size of a pinhead does not necessarily make you less bright, say researchers.

 

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tDCS Helps Repair Brain Damaged By Stroke

tDCS Helps Repair Brain Damaged By Stroke

Mild noninvasive electrical current to brain could help stroke patients 

A simple, inexpensive device that delivers electrical current to the brain noninvasively could help stroke patients recover lost motor ability. According to a new study, the treatment–transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)–in combination with occupational therapy boosted recovery better than either treatment on its own.

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Chronic Pain Can Be Treated With Tiny Injectable Implants

Chronic Pain Can Be Treated With Tiny Injectable Implants

RFID technology allows neural stimulators to get really small.

A tiny injectable implant, smaller than a grain of rice, might one day take the place of large neural stimulators used to treat chronic pain and other neurological disorders. The novel device, under development by MicroTransponder, a Dallas-based startup, owes its small size to the use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology like that used to tag clothes to prevent shoplifting.

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Hooked On Light – Could Reveal The Biochemistry Of Addiction

Hooked On Light - Could Reveal The Biochemistry Of Addiction

mouse responding to light 

A newly created set of light-sensitive proteins grants scientists unprecedented control over the brain’s biochemistry, potentially shedding light on addiction and other complex neural processes. To demonstrate the potential of this novel molecular toolbox, researchers from Stanford University engineered mice to carry light-sensitive proteins in the brain’s reward center, which responds to drugs of abuse. Using pulses of light delivered directly to the brain, researchers were able to induce a druglike state, ultimately conditioning the mice to behave like drug-addicted animals.

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Transplanted Stem Cells Undo Birth Defects

Transplanted Stem Cells Undo Birth Defects 

 Neural stem cells, tagged green with a fluorescent dye, have been transplanted among the brain cells (red) of a mouse born with brain damage after its mother was given heroin during pregnancy.

By injecting stem cells directly into the brain, scientists have successfully reversed neural birth defects in mice whose mothers were given heroin during pregnancy. Even though most of the transplanted cells did not survive, they induced the brain’s own cells to carry out extensive repairs.

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Are Optical Illusions Caused By The Brain Or The Eye?

Are Optical Illusions Caused By The Brain Or The Eye?

 (Left) Isia Leviant’s Enigma. Most viewers say the purple rings appear to fill with rapid illusory motion. (Right) A simplified version that the researchers used in the study. Most viewers report illusory motion lengthwise along the gray stripe.

When viewing the famous optical illusion painting Enigma by Isia Leviant, many people claim to see motion within the colored circles moving against the black and white striped background. Although this optical illusion has been known for a long time, its physiological origins are still unknown.

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