brainJust when you think technology can’t get better than the new iPhone, scientists surprise you again.

UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco neuroscientists and engineers have teamed up to develop an apparatus that would allow those afflicted with stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and Lou Gehrig’s disease to control prosthetics using only their thoughts. That’s right: Mind control.

The devices currently being created at the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses consist of electrodes and circuitry that encode thoughts for movement. The electrodes are put into healthy neural circuits and then pick up the brain’s signals, decode them and send them to the neural prostheses.

Hopefully Professor Xavier isn’t scared of a little competition.

Image Source: cloois under Creative Commons
UC Berkeley, UCSF join forces to advance frontier of brain repair [UC Berkeley NewsCenter]

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You’ve probably heard by now about the controversy surrounding the 2010 On the Same Page program. This year’s freshmen were asked to swab their cheeks in order to get their DNA tested for specific genetic variations on three genes (lactase, ethanol, and folic acid, if you were interested). And if you’ve heard about that, you might be wondering about last night’s keynote speech by MCB professor Jasper Rine, entitled “Looking for the Good News in Your Genome.”

Let out your bated breath, because here comes a highlight reel of the evening’s speech:

-The controversy sprang mostly from, according to Rine, “misunderstanding” and “discomfort.” He claims that under California law, read more »