Brain

IBM unveils brain-like chip

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: August 18, 2011   View Article

Computer chips with worm-like intelligence were unveiled today by researchers at IBM, a breakthrough, they say, on the road to creating computers that function like the human brain.

For now, achieving the goal of human-like intelligence in a computer with the size and power needs of our brains is a long ways off, Dharmendra Modha, the researcher leading the project, told me, but the chips he held as we spoke were proof that a “new generation” of computers are in the offing.

“It is IBM’s first cognitive computer core that brings together computation in the form of neurons, memory in the form of synapses and communication in the form of axons,” he said.

Grow a new language in your head

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 23, 2011   View Article

For adults, learning a new language is often a long, frustrating process that inevitably ends up in failure. A memory expert and a neuroscientist hope to change that with a new online software package designed to make learning the vocabulary of a foreign language fast, fun and rewarding.

“Really good successful learning needs to be vivid, imaginative and creative. It needs to be active. And if you can make it a bit social, that’s great,” Greg Detre, a neuroscientist and co-founder of Memrise, the online destination to learn foreign words quickly, told me today.

Virtual whiskers have the touch

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 8, 2011   View Article

A virtual model of rat whiskers may help scientists unlock the mystery of how our brains turn the mechanics of touch into perceptions.

“Our sense of touch is very mysterious. You can reach into your pocket or your purse and without even looking, you can identify your keys, a coin, or a paperclip,” Mirta Hartmann, who studies sensory and neural systems engineering at Northwestern University, explained to me today.

Leave the driving to your brain

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 23, 2011   View Article

The day that drivers no longer have to put their hands on the wheel and fiddle with the gas pedal, clutch, and brake is within our reach, thanks to German researchers who have developed a car that drives using brain waves.

Human Brains “Evolve,” Become Less Monkey-Like With Age

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 12, 2010   View Article

Brain regions that grow the most outside the womb are the same areas that expanded the most during evolution from monkeys to humans, a new study says.

As the human brain matures, it expands in a “strikingly nonuniform” fashion, according to researchers who compared MRI scans of 12 infant brains with scans of 12 young adult brains.

7 ghoulish archaeological discoveries

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: October 30, 2009   View Article

Remember the haunted house in grade school where your hand was guided into a bowlful of “brains”? Those skinned grapes have nothing on what happened to Rachel Cubitt of the York Archaeological Trust in England.

Oldest Fossil Brain Found in “Bizarre” Prehistoric Fish

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 3, 2009   View Article

Digital x-ray images of a “bizarre” 300 million-year-old shark relative have revealed the oldest known fossilized brain, researchers announced yesterday.

The unusual discovery raises hopes that scientists will find other ancient brains and use them to study how gray matter has evolved, said John Maisey, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach