A morbidly obese man who was undergoing treatment with deep brain electrical stimulation experienced a surprising boost in his memory. Deep brain stimulation devices are comparable to a "pacemaker" for the brain and are used to treat Parkinson's disease, depression, and other disorders. When the physicians at the Toronto Western Hospital first stimulated the electrodes in the patient's brain, he experienced deja vu and was then overwhelmed with incredibly vivid memories from decades before. He subsequently performed much better on memory tests when the stimulator was switched on. From the BBC News:
(After the deja vu, he) had a sudden perception of being in a park with friends.
He felt younger, thought he was around 20-years-old, and his girlfriend of the time was there. He was an observer, and saw the scene in colour.
As the intensity of the stimulation increased, details in the scene became more vivid.
Following surgery, the patient recovered for two months. But later when the electrodes were stimulated for a second time, he experienced a similar effect...
The results suggest it might be possible to use deep brain stimulation directly to boost memory.
"We hopefully have found a circuit in the brain which can be modulated by stimulation, and which might provide benefit to patients with memory disorders," said Professor (Andres) Lozano.
Link to BBC News,
Link to paper abstract in Annals of Neurology, Link to more coverage in The Independent
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.
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