In a rather unsettling sounding experiment, scientists have managed to create a brain implant which allows one monkey to control the body of another monkey using thought alone. Working under the study author Ziv Williams, a neuroscientist and neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, the researchers developed a brain to spinal cord prosthesis that connected the two monkeys in an “Avatar” inspired setup. From LiveScience:
The monkey that served as the master had electrodes wired into his brain, while the monkey that served as the avatar had electrodes wired into his spine. The avatar’s hand was placed onto a joystick that controlled a cursor displayed on the master’s screen.
The avatar monkey was sedated so that he had no control over his own body. Computers decoded the brain activity of the master monkey and relayed those signals to the spinal cord and muscles of the avatar monkey. This allowed the master to control the cursor by moving the hand of the avatar. The master received a reward of juice if he successfully moved the cursor onto a target.
While this may sound chilling, the scientists have emphasized that their goals are to help develop treatment for patients with spinal cord injuries and paralysis. Currently, brain to machine interfaces exist that have allowed patients to control computer screens or mechanical limbs, but the hope is that patients will one day be able to regain control of their own limbs.
“the hope is to create a functional bypass for the damaged spinal cord or brainstem so that patients can control their own bodies,” Williams told Live Science.
“We envision putting a microchip into the brain to record the activity behind the intent for movement and putting another microchip in the spinal cord below the site of injury to stimulate limb movements, and then connecting the microchips,” Williams said.
Belgian brand Kipling, known for its bags in crinkled nylon fabric and the monkey figure on the key hanger, has designed a 3D printed bag with a network of plastic monkeys. Named “Monkey Madness”, the bags were printed in polyamide and epoxy using 3D printing technology. The design is based on its iconic Monkey Madness collection as well as the mascot of the brand: monkey.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
NEW PRODUCT – Hacking Electronics by Simon Monk – You don’t need an electrical engineering degree to start hacking electronics! This intuitive guide shows how to wire, disassemble, tweak, and re-purpose everyday devices quickly and easily. Packed with full-color illustrations, photos, and diagrams, Hacking Electronics teaches by doing–each topic features fun, easy-to-follow projects. Discover how to hack sensors, accelerometers, remote controllers, ultrasonic rangefinders, motors, stereo equipment, microphones, and FM transmitters. The final chapter contains useful information on getting the most out of cheap or free bench and software tools.
Safely solder, join wires, and connect switches
Identify components and read schematic diagrams
Understand the how and why of electronics theory
Work with transistors, LEDs, and laser diode modules
Power your devices with a/c supplies, batteries, or solar panels
Get up and running on Arduino boards and pre-made modules
Use sensors to detect everything from noxious gas to acceleration
Build and modify audio amps, microphones, and transmitters
Fix gadgets and scavenge useful parts from dead equipment
This 300 page book is a nice review of the most common skills and techniques a maker needs to hack electronics, and the color photos are awesome.
NEW PRODUCT – Programming Arduino By Simon Monk. Using clear, easy-to-follow examples, Programming Arduino: Getting Started with Sketches reveals the software side of Arduino and explains how to write well-crafted sketches using the modified C language of Arduino. No prior programming experience is required! The downloadable sample programs featured in the book can be used as-is or modified to suit your purposes.
Understand Arduino hardware fundamentals
Install the software, power it up, and upload your first sketch
Learn C language basics
Write functions in Arduino sketches
Structure data using arrays and strings
Use Arduino’s digital and analog inputs and outputs in your programs
Work with the Standard Arduino Library
Write sketches that can store data
Program LCD displays
Use an Ethernet shield to enable Arduino to function as a web server
Write your own Arduino libraries
Make Great Stuff!
TAB, an imprint of McGraw-Hill Professional, is a leading publisher of DIY technology books for makers, hackers, and electronics hobbyists.
This wickedly inventive guide shows you how to program and build a variety of projects with the Arduino microcontroller development system. Covering Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, 30 Arduino Projects for the Evil Genius gets you up to speed with the simplified C programming you need to know–no prior programming experience necessary.
Using easy-to-find components and equipment, this do-it-yourself book explains how to attach an Arduino board to your computer, program it, and connect electronics to it to create fiendishly fun projects. The only limit is your imagination!
The Twitter Monkey is powered by an Arduino and two servo motors. He patiently monitors Twitter for a specified keyword, and when he sees that keyword, he goes bananas, flapping his arms up and down like a maniac. (For his debut at Web414, the keyword is web414.)
In a remarkable demonstration of brain-machine interface technology, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have taught a monkey to use just its thoughts to control an advanced robotic arm and perform elaborate maneuvers with it.
It’s not the first time a monkey with sensors implanted in its brains has controlledmachines with its mind. But this seven-degrees-of-freedom robot arm is probably the most complex system a monkey has ever mastered with its thoughts alone.
Ever wish you had a monkey that would give you permission to avoid work?
Apparently, Marek Bereza does…he got together with some friends to make a stuffed money that will generate a random excuse whenever its glowing bellybutton is pressed.
I’ve been a fan of Seinfeld for a long time. After purchasing the Oculus rift I started imagining what my first project might be. I decided to pick a project that would gradually introduce me to Unity without being overly complex. I was not new to 3D modeling, however this would be my first project in Unity. I came up with the idea of recreating Jerry’s apartment, in it’s entirety for virtual reality. Television is virtual reality in some ways. We make believe that Jerry’s place is actually a Manhattan studio and Monks Cafe is just down the street. We suspend the reality that his apartment is just a set in Hollywood, with tons of cameras and lighting dangling overhead. I thought it would be a novel virtual reality experience to take a place that only exists in Hollywood magic, and make it for the Oculus Rift as if it were real. Virtual Reality Virtual Reality.
This will be pretty pervasive soon, explore movie sets and TV shows with Rifts.
PBS has a wonderful collection of Curious George videos where the beloved monkey explores the basic concepts of STEM. The videos are accompanied by resources and curriculum topics, via pbslearningmedia.
Active learning begins with curiosity! The Curious George STEM Collection is a great way to help young children understand science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts, such as measuring, building, and simple machines. Lesson plans with Curious George videos offer hands-on investigations and exciting new learning opportunities that will inspire children to explore the world around them. As students ask questions, predict outcomes, share observations, and formulate theories, they establish the science skills and “habits of mind” that lead to academic success and lifelong learning. You may also want to check out the interactive whiteboard games specifically designed for teachers!
When Adafruit started offering a free Raspberry Pi with orders over $350, I thought I’d never be able to justify ordering that many components at once. I asked myself, “what could I possibly even do with $350 worth of switches, LEDs, breakout boards, etc?” Months later, I dreamed up a project big enough in scale that I not only crossed the free Pi threshold, but I had a blast building and learned a ton in the process. I built a homework desk for my son that flips up to reveal a Mission Control style console built from a big box of Adafruit parts, among other things. I thank you for the excellent selection and service, and I thank John De Cristofaro for his terrific guide to photographing LEDs, which helped me show off the 12-segment bargraphs to their full awesomeness. Incidentally, I did the build right at the tail end of the bargraph availability, and didn’t order enough in time, so if you see the blank spot in my INCO panel, it will soon be filled when I order another pair of those cuties. Thanks for bringing them back, I’m intrigued to try the i2c controller with them.
Read details of each of the sections of the control board here! We are a bit obessessed…
There are people making amazing things around the world, are you one of them? Join the 75,193 strong! And check out scores of projects they shared this week after the jump!
1885 – Happy Birthday to Umberto Nobile, Italian aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer
Umberto Nobile’s story is truly incredible, so much so that they made a movie about it called The Red Tent starring Sean Connery.
Nobile was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airships during the Golden Age of Aviation between the two World Wars. He is primarily remembered for designing and piloting the airship Norge, which may have been the first aircraft to reach the North Pole, and which was indisputably the first to fly across the polar ice cap from Europe to America. Nobile also designed and flew the Italia, a second polar airship; this second expedition ended in a deadly crash and provoked an international rescue effort.
USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine. She was the first vessel to complete a submerged transit to the North Pole on 3 August 1958. Sharing names with the submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and named after another USS Nautilus (SS-168) that served with distinction in World War II, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954. Because her nuclear propulsion allowed her to remain submerged far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation, and traveled to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines. In operation, she revealed a number of limitations in her design and construction. This information was used to improve subsequent submarines.
The Little Joe 1B was a Launch Escape System test of the Mercury spacecraft, conducted as part of the U.S. Mercury program. The mission also carried a female Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) named Miss Sam in the Mercury spacecraft. The mission was launched January 21, 1960, from Wallops Island, Virginia. The Little Joe 1B flew to an apogee of 9.3 statute miles (15.0 km) and a range of 11.7 miles (18.9 km) out to sea. Miss Sam survived the 8 minute 35 second flight in good condition. The spacecraft was recovered by a Marine helicopter and returned to Wallops Island within about 45 minutes. Miss Sam was one of many monkeys used in space travel research.
The now retired aircraft has its introduction to commercial service in 1976 and continued to fly until it was retired in 2003 due to a downturn in the aviation industry after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde is a retired turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner or supersonic transport (SST). It is one of only two SSTs to have entered commercial service; the other was the Tupolev Tu-144. Concorde was jointly developed and produced by Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) under an Anglo-French treaty. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.
A total of 20 aircraft were built in France and the United Kingdom; six of these were prototypes and development aircraft. Seven each were delivered to Air France and British Airways. Concorde’s name reflects the development agreement between the United Kingdom and France. In the UK, any or all of the type—unusually for an aircraft—are known simply as “Concorde”, without an article. The aircraft is regarded by many people as an aviation icon and an engineering marvel.
Did you know there’s a company in Texas making these again?
The DeLorean DMC-12 (commonly referred to simply as The DeLorean as it was the only model ever produced by the company) is a sports car manufactured by John DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company for the American market in 1981–82. Featuring gull-wing doors with a fiberglass “underbody”, to which non-structural brushed stainless steel panels are affixed, the car became iconic for its appearance as a modified time machine in the Back to the Future film trilogy.
The first prototype appeared in October 1976, and production officially began in 1981 in Dunmurry, a suburb of south west Belfast, Northern Ireland (with the first DMC-12 rolling off the production line on January 21). During its production, several features of the car were changed, such as the hood style, wheels and interior. Approximately 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production halted in early 1983.
Our tiny little buddy Gemma turns 1 year old today!
Love Flora but want a bite-sized version? Look no further, Gemma is a tiny wearable platform board with a lot of might in a 1″ diameter package. Powered by a Attiny85 and programmable with an Arduino IDE over USB, you’ll be able to realize any wearable project!
Pictured here are just 3 of the 10 women highlighted in this moving tribute from scientific american. These women are truly inspirational and deserve to be remembered.
Pioneering scientists and engineers are often overlooked in popular retrospectives commemorating the year’s departed. In particular, women in such fields tend to be given short shrift. To counter this regrettable circumstance, I present here a selection of 10 notable women in science who left us in 2013. Each of these individuals contributed greatly to her field and should be remembered for her exceptional accomplishments.
A dual expert in physics and psychology, Eleanor Adair was a trailblazing American researcher in the field of microwave radiation safety. She carried out numerous controlled studies in which she exposed monkeys and human volunteers—including herself—with microwave radiation. Her conclusions were always the same: environmental microwaves such as those emitted by cell phones, microwave ovens, and power lines have no adverse effects on health. Adair’s work ultimately helped set international standards for microwave exposure. She died on April 20 at age 86.
Austrian-born British immunologist Brigitte “Ita” Askonas contributed many influential works on the nature of the human immune system. She is best known for her groundbreaking studies elucidating the behavior of antibody-producing B cells and determining the role of T lymphocytes in viral infections. Askonas served for 12 years as head of the Division of Immunology at the National Institute for Medical Research in London and was both a fellow of the UK’s Royal Society and a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Askonas was 89 when she died on Jan. 9, 2013.
Holder of 55 patents and a 2008 inductee to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Ruth R. Benerito was an American chemist best known for her invention of “easy-care” permanent press cotton, a staple of modern fabrics. Her work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in New Orleans focused on chemically bonding cotton fibers in a way that would prevent wrinkling. Today, many think of her inventions as having saved the cotton industry. Benerito passed away at age 97 on Oct. 5, 2013.
The Raspberry Pi does not have any analog inputs, but that does not mean that you can’t use some types of analog sensors. Using a couple of resistors and a capacitor, you can use a “step response” method to measure resistance. Which is just great if you are using a pot, photoresistor or thermistor.
…Open an editor (nano or IDLE) and paste in the following code. As with all the program examples in this book, you can also download the program from the Code section of the Raspberry Pi Cookbook website, where it is called pot_step.py….