November 30th, 2006


Life imitates William Gibson or, Cyberpunks in Cleveland

Scientists are now building a device that records brain signals and transmits them to paralyzed muscles, potentially returning muscle control to severely paralyzed patients. In the prosthetic system, which is still in early development, a brain chip records neural signals from the part of the brain that controls movement. The chip then processes those signals, sending precise messages to wires implanted in different muscles of the patient's arm or hand, triggering the paralyzed limb to grab a glass or scratch the nose. "Our ultimate goal is for a person to think and effortlessly move the arm," says Robert Kirsch, associate director of the Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, at Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Cleveland, OH.

The fragile-looking polycarbon braces moved her arms and legs, but a more subtle system handled her thin hands - galvanic inlays. I thought of frog legs twitching in a high-school lab tape, then hated myself for it.

-from Gibson's "The Winter Market"

EPA investigating massive offshore Doritos spill.

A cargo container that apparently fell from a ship washed up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina today and spilled thousands of bags of Doritos brand tortilla chips on the beach. Scavengers collected the chips, which were apparently still fresh due to their airtight packaging. It was unknown which ship had lost the cargo or to what port it was bound.
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