Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Toyota Demonstrates Brain Control of Wheelchair


By Antone Gonsalves
June 29, 2009 03:11 PM

Toyota (NYSE: TM) researchers in Japan have built a brain/machine interface (BMI) that has been demonstrated to control a wheelchair using a person's thoughts.

The system enables a person to make a wheelchair turn left or right to move forward simply by thinking the commands. The response time is in 125 milliseconds. One millisecond is equal to 1/1000 of a second.

The BMI was developed at the BSI-Toyota Collaboration Center (BTCC), a 2-year-old research center established by Japan's government research unit RIKEN and Toyota Motor, Toyota Central R&D Labs, and Genesis Research Institute. Japan has focused on the control of devices through brain waves as a way to deal with the projected shortage of healthcare workers to tend to Japan's large aging population.

The BTCC's system uses several sensors placed over the areas of the brain that control motion to measure electrical activity in the region. The electical impulses triggered by the rider thinking of turning or moving the wheelchair are picked up and analyzed by an onboard laptop that passes the commands on to the wheelchair.

The system has an emergency stop that can be activated by the user puffing his cheeks.

The BMI adjusts itself over time to the characteristics of each driver's brainwaves. If a person dedicates three hours a day to using the system, the BMI can reach 95% accuracy in a week, researchers said.

A videotape of a researcher demonstrating the system has been posted on YouTube. The video shows the researcher navigating the wheelchair around a half dozen chairs in a room.

Plans are underway to use the technology in a wide-range of applications centered around medicine and nursing care, the BTCC said in a statement issued Monday . Researchers are working on increasing the number of commands that can be given to contol different devices.

In the future, the BMI technology is expected to be applied to other types of brain waves that generate various mental states and emotions, the BTCC said.

Toyota is not the only carmaker to develop thought-control systems. Honda recently demonstrated a BMI system that could command a robot to perform one of several predefined motions. One demonstration showed a researcher using his thoughts to make the robot raise its right arm.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Doctors Baffled, Intrigued by Girl Who Doesn't Age


Photos here:http://abcnews.go.com/2020/popup?id=7881955

"Brooke Greenberg is the size of an infant, with the mental capacity of a toddler. She turned 16 in January. Brooke hasn't aged in the conventional sense. Dr. Richard Walker of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, in Tampa, says Brooke's body is not developing as a coordinated unit, but as independent parts that are out of sync. She has never been diagnosed with any known genetic syndrome or chromosomal abnormality that would help explain why. Brooke's hair and her nails are the only two things that grow, Howard said. 'She has pajamas and outfits that are 10 or 12 years old,' he said."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Church video shows 'casting out' of gay 'demon'


"You homosexual demon, get up on outta here!"

"You demon, loose yourself!"

"You sex demon ... you snake!"

The link appeared in the 'More News' section of CNN's main page.

Not to make light of the psychological trauma to the 16 year old, but the headline brings such an image to mind. Did the gay demon leap out and swish around the room in a red dress slapping the deacons between jazz hands and singing show tunes or what? See for yourself, video included.

A good example of where race is not the dividing line between so called liberal and conservative attitudes. And in terms of funny, this is one area where Obama does not need to spread any wealth. No shortage here.

China's argues to replace US Dollar as reserve currency


"The report from the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said a "super-sovereign" currency should take its place.

Central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan has loudly led calls for the dollar to be replaced during the financial crisis.

The bank report called for more regulation of the countries that issue currencies that underpin the global financial system.

"An international monetary system dominated by a single sovereign currency has intensified the concentration of risk and the spread of the crisis," the Chinese central bank said.

The dollar fell after the report was released. The US currency dropped 1% against the euro to $1.4088, and declined 0.8% versus the British pound to $1.6848."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Possible N. Korea Missile Launch Toward Hawaii June 25 - July 10


"North Korea plans to hold military shooting practice in the waters northeast of Wonsan, on the country's eastern coast, from June 25 to July 10, according to the e-mail, Suzuki said.

The reclusive communist nation did not specify consequences of ships entering those waters during the drill, but the dates fall within the timeframe cited by Japanese media last week for a possible North Korea missile launch toward Hawaii."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

U.S. tracking N. Korea ship with possible weapons, official says


"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military is tracking a North Korean ship believed to be carrying illicit weapons or technology, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

The ship, the Kang Nam, is a North Korean-flagged ship, according to two senior U.S. officials, and is currently in the Pacific.

While the United States does not know what specifically is on the ship, the Kang Nam is a "repeat offender," known for having carried "proliferation materials," one senior defense official said."

US 'prepared' for N Korea missile


So, hoping these 'missles and radar' provide the 'support' we need to keep Hawaii afloat. Or maybe if N. Korea blows Japan out of the water the UN will frown sternly on North Korea or search a ship again.

"North Korea has stepped up its missile programme in recent weeks

The US is "in a good position" to protect its territory from a potential North Korean missile strike, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said.

His comments came in response to a report that North Korea was considering launching a missile towards Hawaii.

"We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile to the west in the direction of Hawaii," Mr Gates said.

The US has approved the deployment of missiles and radar to "provide support" in the event of an attack, he added."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama warns doctors over reforms


This was yesterday's news - It is perhaps telling that after lobbying the AMA and getting a mixed reception Obama promptly issued a warning.

Quote: "If we do not fix our healthcare system, America may go the way of GM - paying more, getting less, and going broke"

In "go(ing) the way of GM, his comparison of outcomes might have included..."seizure by the US govt and costing trillions of dollars".

Whatever the method, I would prefer to see a cooperatively designed plan resulting from consultation with healthcare providers rather than strong handed government coercion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama to lobby doctors on reforms


"In his speech to the AMA, President Obama will make his case for "a health insurance exchange where private plans compete with a public option that drives down costs and expands choice," a senior administration official was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

But many groups - including the AMA - have expressed concern that a public plan would have competitive advantages that would ultimately drive private insurers out of the market.

An AMA board member told a Senate panel hearing last week that the group "strongly opposes" a public, government-run insurance plan that pays physicians at the rates of the Medicare programme for the elderly.

Dr Samantha Rosman said the AMA is in favour "of a new option that is market-based and not run by the government".

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Open Source Car — 20 Year Lease, Free Fuel For Life


"The eco-friendly vehicle will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and made from carbon composites. Riversimple predicts the car will achieve the energy equivelent of more than 300 miles to the gallon."

The idea to build an open source car isn't a new one, but you've got to give vehicle design company Riversimple credit for originality. The company plans to unveil its first car in London later this month, a small two-seater that weighs roughly 700 pounds. If you agree to lease one for 20 years (yes, 20), Riversimple will throw in the cost of fuel for the lifetime of the lease.

The team decided to release the car's designs under an open source license in order to speed up the time it takes to develop the vehicle while also driving down the cost of its components."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unanimous UN Sanctions on N Korea


"BBC Diplomatic Correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, says it is far from clear if the latest moves at the UN will achieve the desire outcome of bringing North Korea back to the negotiating table.

He says much depends on the actions of individual governments, and it is clear that China remains deeply uneasy about cargo inspections."

"The Chinese ambassador,Zhang Yesui...described the resolution as "appropriate and balanced" but said measures authorising states to inspect cargo should be handled prudently, with no use - or threat - of force."

Ahmadinejad 'leads in Iran election'


Natal for XBox 360

I don't play video games, but this technology is something to be aware of:



"[Natal] accurately perceives players in 3D space, simultaneously tracking over 48 joints on your body, enabling it to accurately redraw your skeleton in real time as you move about. On a separate 'debug screen' in the closed-doors session, we could witness for ourselves the 'mind's eye' of Natal, visually showing how it completely understands where we are, how we're moving, where we are in 3D space, how far in front of my face my hand is, whatever. It can supposedly even track individual hand and finger movement when it switches into this more finely-tuned mode. ... There is a surprising feeling of tactility and iPhone-like fluidity and precision to the way Natal works."

Praise for use with disabled and amputees:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

N Korea draft resolution agreed


"Key Security Council members have agreed on the wording of a draft UN resolution to expand sanctions against North Korea, diplomats say."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

My New Online Store

Visit my new online store which features print-on-demand designs for clothing, stickers, prints, buttons, and more.

Catagories include original pop and unpop designs, abstract prints, illustrations, designs for young spirits, and a small collection of public domain vintage illustrations.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Obama reiterates call for Israel to halt West Bank settlement activity


Commentary: Does Obama want to change Israeli government?
By Aaron David Miller
Special to CNN

N Korea 'names Kim's successor'


"North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il has designated his youngest son to be the country's next leader, according to reports in South Korean media."

"Analysts have said the North's recent military actions, including last week's nuclear test, may have been aimed at helping Mr Kim solidify power so that he could name a successor."

"Little is known about Kim Jong-il's youngest son, who is thought to have been born in 1983 or early 1984.

The Dong-a Ilbo added that the North is teaching its people a song lauding Kim Jong-un - who reportedly enjoys skiing and studied English, German and French at a Swiss school. "