Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.
Ken Novak's Weblog
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
The Broadband Daily: BPL Hype
: A summary of skepticism about Broadband over Power Lines. Links to stories
saying that it generates high levels of radio noise that disrupt other spectrum users; it has been tried by many utilities but only one is going commercial with it; and that industry engineers think it won't scale. 8:54:55 AM
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
torrentocracy - about prodigem
: "Prodigem is a content hosting service. It uses Bit Torrent peer to peer (p2p) filesharing to enable you to distribute extraordinarily large media files at an extraordinarily low cost. In fact, the service is currently free (but probably will not be forever). Prodigem is currently in a limited testers phase and will be opened to wider availability shortly. In the meantime, you can download content and see what's available from the Prodigem Torrent Tracker
What is revolutionary here is that Prodigem completely automates the entire process of setting up bit torrent sessions for the distribution of your content. You simply upload your content via the web and with the click of a few buttons, the Prodigem servers are hosting and seeding your torrent for your content." 8:47:18 AM
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Why this brain flies on rat cunning: "a [rat's] brain nurtured in a Petri dish learns to pilot a fighter plane as scientists develop a new breed of "living" computer.. The "brain", grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida. They hope their research into neural computation will help them develop sophisticated hybrid computers, with a thinking biological component. ..
The brain-in-a-dish is the idea of Thomas DeMarse, 37, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida. His work has been praised as a significant insight into the brain by leading US academics and scientific journals. The 25,000 neurons were suspended in a specialised liquid to keep them alive and then laid across a grid of 60 electrodes in a small glass dish. ..
In the most striking experiment, the brain was linked to the jet simulator. Manipulated by the electrodes and a desktop computer, it was taught to control the flight path, even in mock hurricane-strength winds. "When we first hooked them up, the plane 'crashed' all the time," Dr DeMarse said. "But over time, the neural network slowly adapts as the brain learns to control the pitch and roll of the aircraft. After a while, it produces a nice straight and level trajectory."
Previously, scientists have been able to monitor the activity of only a few neurons at a time, but Dr DeMarse and his team can study how thousands of cells conduct calculations together. But it is still a long way from a human brain. "The goal is to study how cortical networks perform their neural computations. The implications are extremely important," Dr DeMarse said" 12:58:55 AM
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Cap Harnesses Human Thought to Move PC Cursor: Study published in the Proceedings of the NAS: "Scientists have developed a non-invasive brain-computer interface that enables a person to move a cursor across a computer screen just by thinking about it. .. Before the new finding, many researchers previously assumed that only invasive brain-computer interfaces, in which electrodes are surgically implanted into the brain, could control complex movements. ..
Of the four people who participated in the study, two had severe physical disabilities. The subjects wore the electrode caps, which analyzed electroencephalographic (EEG) activity (brain waves) recorded from their scalp. The electrodes, small metal disks about a quarter of an inch (three-fifths of a centimeter) wide, were placed over the sensory motor part of the brain.
At first, participants learned to use their thoughts to direct a cursor on a computer screen by imagining specific actions, from running to shooting baskets. As they became more comfortable with the technology, the subjects began to rely less on such imagery to direct the cursor. Eventually, the participants couldn't tell what they were thinking about to move the cursor; they simply moved it. ..
Each session lasted 24 minutes. It took participants two to three sessions to begin to acquire control of the cursor movement. After ten sessions, participants were able to hit the target on a computer screen about 80 percent of the time.
The two study participants with spinal cord injuries performed better than the uninjured participants, possibly reflecting greater motivation or injury-associated brain changes. ..
"The computer automatically adapts to the person using the system," Wolpaw said. "It is an interaction between two adaptive controllers—the system and the person using it." Wolpaw predicts future improvements of the non-invasive brain-computer interface will focus on three-dimensional movement. In the future, users may be able to operate a robotic arm that could pick things up, or they may be able to control a neural prosthesis in which electrodes implanted in a paralyzed limb may be stimulated to get the muscles to move." 12:25:25 PM
Monday, December 06, 2004