The human brain knows no limits. The fact that we only use 10% of it remains a myth, as antennas and bendable batteries are furthering biomedical engineering. Lately, researchers at Wits University in Johannesburg have made the greatest breakthrough yet with the “Brainternet.” (But it’s not exactly what you might think!)
The project works by taking brainwave EEG signals gathered by an Emotiv EEG device connected to the user’s head. The signals are then transmitted to a low cost Raspberry Pi computer, which live streams the data to an application programming interface and displays the data on an open website where anyone can view the activity.
In essence, you can download information about your brain and pretty much study the thing. So, no, you can’t update your Twitter in your sleep. However, the technology is still potentially valuable in transferring brain data.
“Brainternet can be further improved to classify recordings through a smart phone app that will provide data for a machine-learning algorithm. In [the] future, there could be information transferred in both directions – inputs and outputs to the brain,”
Sorry to disappoint you, millennials, but keep in mind that understanding brain functions could make mind-controlling Facebook possible eventually. For now, stick to a MacBook.
The new generation of innovators is getting younger by the decade. If a thirteen-year-old can generate clean energy from traffic, what more can other kids do? Apparently this high school junior invented an artificial intelligence system to diagnose her grandfather’s eye disease.
Eyeagnosis [is] a smartphone app plus 3D-printed lens that seeks to change the diagnostic procedure from a 2-hour exam requiring a multi-thousand-dollar retinal imager to a quick photo snap with a phone.
[Kavya] Kopparapu and her team… trained an artificial intelligence system to recognize signs of diabetic retinopathy in photos of eyes and offer a preliminary diagnosis.
Medical jargon aside, the device would make testing more efficient and accessible. Kopparapu is also passionate about empowering young girls interested in computer science. She not only founded the Girls Computing League, she regularly hosts coding workshops for marginalized kids.
In order to create Eyeagnosis, Kopparapu did a lot of Googling and contacted numerous experts. She then taught a retired system to do the work.
In November, she shipped her first 3D-printed prototype for the system’s lens to the hospital. When fitted onto a smartphone, the lens focuses the phone’s diffuse, off-centered flash to best illuminate a retina. The complete Eyeagnosis system has already been tried on five patients at the hospital, and in each case it made an accurate diagnosis.
It may be intimidating to the older, non-techie generation, but the world of science could use more kids like Kopparapu.
I find that the world’s most difficult task is getting my niece to put down her smartphone. Enticing her with a book is impossible. Kicking a ball in my sister’s backyard is no longer something she finds interesting. If we can’t get kids to experience the ‘real world’, Tech Toys has come up with a different solution. The Kitronik MOVE mini and Piper Computer Kit are bring the “learn by building” concept to a whole new level.
The Kitronik MOVE mini for BBC micro:bit is an autonomous (or remote controlled), two-wheeled robot that provides an introduction to basic programming and robotics.
In English, the Kitronik MOVE mini is an entry-level lesson on robotics. Kids can follow a standard code or choose to write their own.
The Piper build starts with a Top Secret message giving you a mission to save the world… The sturdy wooden case is really fun and the screen, Raspberry PI, battery, speaker and circuitboard all connect easily.
The Piper integrates storytelling technology and, to put it simply, looks really cool.
Children’s gadgets are far from what they used to be. They are no longer just a means of entertainment, but a method of learning.
While both products target children, I can’t say I’m not looking to get my hands on both!