Prosthetic Arm Which Can Sense Touch and Move with Your Thoughts

Prosthetic Arm Which Can Sense Touch and Move with Your Thoughts

For anyone, picking up an egg is nothing but typical, except for Keven Walgamott who had a good feeling when he picked up an egg without crushing it. It felt like a Herculean task for Walgamott who had lost his left hand in an electrical accident seventeen years ago. He was testing a prototype of a high-tech prosthetic arm with fingers that can do more than just moving; it can proceed with his thoughts.

This was made possible thanks to a biomedical team at the University of Utah. They made it possible for him to feel the egg well enough so his brain can tell the prosthetic arm not to squeeze it. The team led by a biomedical engineering associate professor Gregory Clark developed a way for the LUKE Arm, named after the robotic hand that Luke Skywalker had in ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ to imitate the way human hands feel on objects by sending correct signals to the brain.

According to George, they changed the way we are sending information to the brain so that it matches the human body. He added that by matching the human body, they were able to see improved benefits and is making biologically realistic signs.

This meant that an amputee wearing the prosthetic arm could sense the touch of something hard or soft, understand better how to pick things up and perform delicate tasks which would at times be possible with a standard prosthetic with metal claws or hooks for hands.

According to Walgamott, it almost put him to tears when he used the LUKE Arm for the first time in a clinical test in 2017. He felt that it was terrific, and he never thought he would be able to believe in that hand again. He is a real estate agent from West Valley City, Utah and was one of the seven test subjects at the University of Utah.




Is your supercomputer stumped? There may be a quantum solution

Is your supercomputer stumped? There may be a quantum solution

Some math problems are so complicated that they can bog down even the world’s most powerful supercomputers. But a wild new frontier in computing that applies the rules of the quantum realm offers a different approach.

A new study led by a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), details how a quantum computing technique called “quantum annealing” can be used to solve problems relevant to fundamental questions in nuclear physics about the subatomic building blocks of all matter.

The algorithm that Chang developed to run on the quantum annealer can solve polynomial equations, which are equations that can have both numbers and variables and are set to add up to zero. A variable can represent any number in a large range of numbers.

Chang said that the quantum annealing approach used in the study, also known as adiabatic quantum computing, “works well for fewer but very dense calculations,” and that the technique appealed to him because the rules of quantum mechanics are familiar to him as a physicist.

The data output from the annealer was a series of solutions for the equations sorted into columns and rows. This data was then mapped into a representation of the annealer’s qubits, Chang explained, and the bulk of the algorithm was designed to properly account for the strength of the interaction between the annealer’s qubits. “We repeated the process thousands of times” to help validate the results, he said.

While it will be an exciting next step to work to apply the algorithm to solve nuclear physics problems, “This algorithm is much more general than just for nuclear science,” Chang noted. “It would be exciting to find new ways to use these new computers.”


Can mathematics help us understand the complexity of our microbiome?

How do the communities of microbes living in our gastrointestinal systems affect our health? Carnegie’s Will Ludington was part of a team that helped answer this question.

In order to reveal a potential evolutionary trajectory biologists measure the interactions between genes to see which combinations are most fit. An organism that is evolving should take the most fit path. This concept is called a fitness landscape, and various mathematical techniques have been developed to describe it.

Like the genes in a genome, microorganisms in the gut microbiome interact, yet there isn’t a widely accepted mathematical framework to map the patterns of these interactions. Existing frameworks for genes focus on local information about interactions but do not put together a global picture.

Joswig and Ludington then joined with Holger Eble of TU Berlin, a graduate student working with Joswig, and Lisa Lamberti of ETH Zurich. Lamberti had previously collaborated with Ludington to apply a slightly different mathematical framework for the interactions to microbiome data. In the present work, the team expanded upon that previous framework to produce a more global picture by mapping the patterns of interactions onto a landscape.

But the sheer diversity of species in the human microbiome makes it very difficult to elucidate how these communities influence our physiology. This is why the fruit fly makes such an excellent model. Unlike the human microbiome, it consists of only a handful of bacterial species.

“We’ve built a rigorous mathematical framework that describes the ecology of a microbiome coupled to its host. What is unique about this approach is that it allows a global view of a microbiome-host interaction landscape,” said Ludington. “We can now use this approach to compare different landscapes, which will let us ask why diverse microbiomes are associated with similar health outcomes.”



Tiny motor can ‘walk’ to carry out tasks

Years ago, MIT Professor Neil Gershenfeld had an audacious thought. Struck by the fact that all the world’s living things are built out of combinations of just 20 amino acids, he wondered: Might it be possible to create a kit of just 20 fundamental parts that could be used to assemble all of the different technological products in the world?

Gershenfeld and his students have been making steady progress in that direction ever since. Their latest achievement, presented this week at an international robotics conference, consists of a set of five tiny fundamental parts that can be assembled into a wide variety of functional devices, including a tiny “walking” motor that can move back and forth across a surface or turn the gears of a machine.

Previously, Gershenfeld and his students showed that structures assembled from many small, identical subunits can have numerous mechanical properties. Their work offers an alternative to today’s approaches to constructing robots, which largely fall into one of two types: custom machines that work well but are relatively expensive and inflexible, and reconfigurable ones that sacrifice performance for versatility.

Using this simple kit of tiny parts, Langford assembled them into a novel kind of motor that moves an appendage in discrete mechanical steps, which can be used to turn a gear wheel, and a mobile form of the motor that turns those steps into locomotion, allowing it to “walk” across a surface in a way that is reminiscent of the molecular motors that move muscles.

The new system is a significant step toward creating a standardized kit of parts that could be used to assemble robots with specific capabilities adapted to a particular task or set of tasks.



How you and your friends can play a video game together using only your minds

Telepathic communication might be one step closer to reality thanks to new research from the University of Washington. A team created a method that allows three people to work together to solve a problem using only their minds.

In BrainNet, three people play a Tetris-like game using a brain-to-brain interface. This is the first demonstration of two things: a brain-to-brain network of more than two people, and a person being able to both receive and send information to others using only their brain.

As in Tetris, the game shows a block at the top of the screen and a line that needs to be completed at the bottom. Two people, the Senders, can see both the block and the line but can’t control the game. The third person, the Receiver, can see only the block but can tell the game whether to rotate the block to successfully complete the line.

The team asked five groups of participants to play 16 rounds of the game. For each group, all three participants were in different rooms and couldn’t see, hear or speak to one another.

The Senders wore electroencephalography caps that picked up electrical activity in their brains. The lights’ different flashing patterns trigger unique types of activity in the brain, which the caps can pick up. So, as the Senders stared at the light for their corresponding selection, the cap picked up those signals, and the computer provided real-time feedback by displaying a cursor on the screen that moved toward their desired choice.

The team hopes that these results pave the way for future brain-to-brain interfaces that allow people to collaborate to solve tough problems that one brain alone couldn’t solve.



Ultra-small nanoprobes could be a leap forward in high-resolution human-machine interfaces

Machine enhanced humans — or cyborgs as they are known in science fiction — could be one step closer to becoming a reality, thanks to new research Lieber Group at Harvard University, as well as scientists from University of Surrey and Yonsei University.

Researchers have conquered the monumental task of manufacturing scalable nanoprobe arrays small enough to record the inner workings of human cardiac cells and primary neurons.

The ability to read electrical activities from cells is the foundation of many biomedical procedures, such as brain activity mapping and neural prosthetics. Developing new tools for intracellular electrophysiology (the electric current running within cells) that push the limits of what is physically possible (spatiotemporal resolution) while reducing invasiveness could provide a deeper understanding of electrogenic cells and their networks in tissues, as well as new directions for human-machine interfaces.

If our medical professionals are to continue to understand our physical condition better and help us live longer, it is important that we continue to push the boundaries of modern science in order to give them the best possible tools to do their jobs. For this to be possible, an intersection between humans and machines is inevitable.

This work represents a major step towards tackling the general problem of integrating ‘synthesised’ nanoscale building blocks into chip and wafer scale arrays, and thereby allowing us to address the long-standing challenge of scalable intracellular recording.

Along with the possibility of upgrading the tools we use to monitor cells, this work has laid the foundations for machine and human interfaces that could improve lives across the world.”

Dr Yunlong Zhao and his team are currently working on novel energy storage devices, electrochemical probing, bioelectronic devices, sensors and 3D soft electronic systems.



This computer made history – and you’ve never heard about it

Look at your microwave. It has more brain power than the computer that flew Apollo astronauts to the moon. Nonetheless, we are not bound to see microwaves flying spaceships anytime soon. The comparison is to show you how engineers and programmers made use of the little they had back in the 1960s.

This computer continues to affect our everyday life. NASA knew just how hard it would be to control the speed, motions, to make the math that would control the Apollo and how fast the calculations ought to be. Before building rockets, spacesuits or spaceships, engineers and programmers were tasked with designing an Apollo guidance computer. This came days after President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon.

In the Instrumentation Lab, Charles Stark Draper helmed the project. He was regarded as a genius. The lab had a stellar 20-year history of creating sophisticated navigation systems. It was the lab that built the first submarine to navigate the North Pole. As such, NASA concluded that the lab would deliver on the project.

Back then, small computers were the size of fridges, but Apollo’s needed a tiny computer. Additionally, it needed to work instantly and in real time. And the computer ought to have a keyboard and a display unlike conventional computers of those days.

As such, MIT was on the verge of creating the most nimble, portable, and most reliable computer. Besides, it would have to be tested in some of the most challenging situations, such as running a plant. The Apollo computers had two fundamental abilities, decision making and restart in an eyelash in case it shuts down or there is an interruption.

The whole process took a whopping eight years, and the MIT did deliver. They created a computer that had 73 kB memory, small enough, and during the 100 days in space, it experienced no glitch or software error.



Manassas- area Students Awarded Math, Science Scholarships

In a bid to enable these four students further their math and science students, Bull Run Rotary Club awarded them with $10,000 worth of scholarships. The four include:

  • Kaitlyn Agostini

Stonewall Jackson High School

Kaitlyn is an all rounded student with stellar credentials. She was named the most outstanding student in IB math, IB History, IB Spanish, IB Biology, and many more. She also a member of the National Honor Society.

She has also made a mark in sports; she has captained the cross country and indoor and outdoor track. She was also awarded Most Outstanding Player in Cross Country and Indoor Track.

Ranked 5th in a class of 522 students, she plans to attend James Madison University to pursue Mathematics Education.

  • Zachary Nowak

Osbourn High School

He is currently a member of National Honor Society where he was once the secretary. He is also a member of the Math Honor Society and the founder and president of the Math Modelling Club. Zachary was also the captain of Cross Country and Track team.

He has a 4.55 GPA making his the highest ranked in his graduating school. He is set to study Mathematics and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University this fall.

  • Diksha Jothi

Manassas Park High School

Diksha has numerous roles; he is vice-president of student government, secretary of Math Honor Society, president of the Beta Club and member of National Honor Society. As the president of DECA, his team is placed 20 globally.

He has a GPA of 4.5 and ranked 1st in his class. This fall, he will be attending the University of Virginia to study Computer Science.

  • Mallika Datta

Osbourne Park High School

Mallika is President of Hospital Occupations for Students of America. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Vics-President of Biotechnology Specialty Program and Club.

She is ranked first in her class with a GPA of 4.8. She set to attend Virginia Commonwealth University in fall.






New Legislation Poised to expand Computer Science

New legislation helmed by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk aims to develop computer science in all schools across the state in a bid to equip the students with the much-needed skills for tomorrow.

To this end, a question was asked, “Why do you think students should study computer science?” this question sparked a discussion in Chinma Uche’s class at the CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor Thursday.

Since the students have all taken computer science, they saw it as a necessary skill for other students to acquire. “I think computer science should be in all schools because computers are everywhere in this world,” said student Nya Bentley.

“Computer science seems to be becoming a new fundamental skill. You learn, read, write, and soon code,” said Adittya Patil, a student in Uche’s class. The legislation is bound to expand computer science access in kindergartens and 12th-grade schools throughout the entire state.

Chinma Uche, a math and computer science teacher, says that she has seen the growth in interest among her students. “One of the things I saw in my class was students doing what they like and learning while doing it,” she said.

She says that there is a high demand for people with computer science skills. “I have students who graduated from our school and have gone ahead to work for big industries. Some have gone to work on projects for Apple, Google, just because they had a chance to take computer science in this school,” she said.

Some of the main goals in the legislation are to introduce computer science to students early enough. Shannon Marimon, executive director of the Connecticut Council of Education Reform, played a vital role in pushing the bill.



The Key To Computer Science are Teachers, Not Online Courses, Says Governor

Having a teacher in class teaching computer science rather than online courses is crucial in building students’ interest in the course, according to Gov. Asa Hutchinson. He said this during an event Monday, June 10 that celebrated Arkansas leadership in CS.

The event pooled educators from 30 states plus governors of South Carolina and Lowa. During his 2014 race, he vowed to introduce computer science in every school. His inspiration came from a project by her granddaughter, who made an app to run his campaign.

The proposal saw the light of day during his 2015 session. The law requires schools to offer CS either as a math or science credit. To facilitate this, the state provides $5 million every two years. It also includes cash prizes, pays training teachers, and grants for equipment, among other benefits.

Since the passing of the law students taking the course rose from 1,100 to 8,000 while the number of teachers teaching the discipline rose from 20 to 370. 63% of Arkansas schools have a student taking the course compared to 35% of state schools offering it.

This embracing of the course made Arkansas become a leader in student coding movement. And how else to oversee this success than Anthony Owen. He is the state director of computer science, and he was in attendance.

Despite the success, 37% of schools in Arkansas are yet to offer the course since no student is interested. Hutchinson said that it is due to their unbelief that they can’t make it in computer science that keeps them from pursuing the discipline.