Sunday, October 26, 2014

Connected World Wearables Free Cognitive Surplus

The immediate reaction to the Connected World (26 billion devices by 2020 as predicted by Gartner; more than four connected devices per human; or really 1 for some and 20 for others) is the notion that man is becoming infantilized: over-tracked, over-surveilled, and over-directed by technology, and certainly over-dependent upon technology. We no longer seem able to think for ourselves with the cloud automatically piloting all aspects of day-to-day life with reminders, notifications, and ambiently-updating data. Worse, our lives seem automated and automatonish; where is the caprice and serendipity, the humanness?

What is the Connected World?
Increasingly we are living in a seamlessly connected world of multi-device computing that includes wearable computing, Internet-of-Things (IOT) sensors, smartphones, tablets, laptops, Quantified Self-Tracking devices (i.e.; Fitbit), smarthome, smartcar, and smartcity. We enjoy the benefits of the automation that comes with this: cloud linkage of quantified-self wearable sensor data, online social profiles, calendaring, email, smart home controls, and smart transport connected to smart city data feeds. Google automatically wakes us up in the morning (knowing our schedule (Google calendar) and our biorhythms (sleep monitor)). Google contacts continuously monitor our glucose level, and in cahoots with MyBasis (number of steps walked) and Vessyl (drink detection), recommend food and drink choices during the day, and give us our fitness profile, calories consumed, and health biostatus reports at the end of the day. Apple HealthKit (iOS 8) automatically records and uploads 200 different biometrics to the cloud. Apply Pay automates payment. Amazon Fresh quadcopter drones could circle our homes with replenishment supplies within one hour of detecting an empty milk bottle. NFC/iBeacon proximity marketing could push-notify us at the aisle level when we are in the store. TrackR alerts us if we have lost our wallet or keys, and loved ones track our geo-presence and send us haptic hugs through our MyTJacket.

Cognitive Surplus Unleashed
The easy knee-jerk reaction is that this is bad news - the Connected World means the infantilization of man by technology. However, going beyond this, it must be asked what is really happening at the higher level with the connected world, and how this could be beneficial. In fact, what is happening at the higher level is that huge classes of human time-occupying planning and coordination activities are being removed from human purview and pushed onto technology. Currently we spend exorbitant amounts of time and energy on coordination, planning, and organizing our activity, and dynamically updating and re-organizing it on demand; all the while also engaged in the subordinate activity of seeking and obtaining information related to planning and coordination. Planning and coordination constitutes 100% of our time sometimes. What Connected World cloud technologies do at the higher level is automate all of this. 
The Connected World relocates planning as a whole class of human cognitive activity, it is outsourced to technology. 
While many people might enjoy relinquishing planning and coordination as a class of human cognitive activity, others might regard it as a humanness that should be preserved, that is some how unnatural to discard. However, the more relevant question is what we will do with all of the time saved once technology has automated our planning and coordination activities. The Connected World as automated life-planning could free up over 50% of our time and allow us to more fully cogitate higher-level problems and develop new learning and interest areas. The Connected World is the automation and outsourcing of lower-level cognitive tasks that currently consume prodigious amount of our time and effort. In the newly-freed cognitive expansiveness, we could become engaged in new classes of problems, and more fully actualize our potential as humans.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

iSchools: Contemporary Information Technology Theory Studies

The perfect merger of academic rigor and contemporary thinking has come together in the concept of iSchools, which give practical consideration and interesting learning opportunities to the most relevant issue of our time: information. So far there are over 50 worldwide iSchools; a global pool, like bitcoin for academia. The March 2014 conference was held in Berlin and the March 2015 conference will be at UC Irvine. With higher education under reinvention pressure from all directions, the possibility of making institutional learning relevant again cannot be underscored enough.

iSchools are the perfect venue to take up not just the practical agenda within the information technology field but also the theoretical, philosophical, and societal dimensions of the impact of information technology. There have started to be some conferences regarding ‘big data theory’ (Theory of Big Data, University College London, Jan 2015), and a calling out of the need for ‘big data theory’ (Big Data Needs a Big Theory to Go with It, Scientific American, Rise of Big Data underscores need for theory, Science News). These efforts are good, but mostly concern having theory to explain the internal operations of the field, not its greater societal and philosophical effect. In addition to how ‘big data theory’ is currently being conceptualized, an explicit consideration of the general theoretical and social impact of information technology is needed. Floridi’s distinction re: philosophy of information is apt; the main focus is how the field changes society, not the internecine methods of the field.

Research Agenda:
Contemporary Information Technology Theory Studies 
Here is a thumbnail sketch of a research agenda for Contemporary Information Technology Theory Studies. Early examples of topics taken up at institutes and think tanks (like Data&Society) are a good start and should be expanded and included in the academic setting. A more appropriately robust agenda will consider the broad theoretical, social, and philosophical impact of the classes of information technology below that are dramatically reshaping the world, including specifically how our ideas of self and world, and future possibilities are changing.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Bitcoin Newbie Series: How to Get and Spend Bitcoin

We aren't used to authority being a peer-to-peer responsibility as opposed to something imposed by a centralized institution. Authority floating freely has already happened in information - when information became decentralized with blogging and the restructuring of the media industry, and in entertainment, where individuals became their own taste-makers. In these cases individuals must examine content and think for themselves about its quality and validity. The bitcoin revolution is the same thing happening now with currency, economics, finance, and monetary policy. It might seem harder to let go of centralized authority in matters of government and economics as opposed to culture and information but we will mature into it (The number one 'still-not-getting-it' question with bitcoin - "But who is running it all?"). Ultimately we could have as many currencies as twitter handles and blogs, all of which may be fully useful and accepted in their own hyperlocal contexts. Blockchain technology is push (user pushes relevant information for this transaction only) not pull (credit card/bank info on file to be pulled anytime authorized). Financial intermediaries operating on blockchain technology (i.e.; Overstock) would not have information stores to have to protect that are inevitably hacked (i.e.; Target, Chase, etc.).

Terminology
The word bitcoin is confusing because it means three different things. Bitcoin is used to refer to 1) the underlying technology concept (more appropriately called the blockchain, a decentralized ledger that allows individuals to engage in transactions without having to rely on a trusted third-party intermediary), 2) the technology protocol for the implementation of blockchain technology (individuals engaging in peer-to-peer currency transactions via encrypted electronic wallets with miners recording these transactions in the blockchain ledger), and 3) the actual currency itself. It is as if when Paypal launched, they would have called the Internet Paypal, upon which the Paypal protocol was run to transfer funds, and the currency of these funds was Paypal. More precisely, these 3 uses of bitcoin should be delineated as:
  1. The underlying blockchain technology (an information technology akin as a ‘class of thing’ to the Internet) 
  2. The Bitcoin protocol that runs on the blockchain for the tracking and transfer of cryptocurrency funds
  3. The Bitcoin currency (denoted as btc)

The blockchain is a record of where all the btc are, all the addresses they are associated with now, and this history over all time. It is continually updated, every 10 minutes, a new block (a new page is placed in the record book) with all the latest transactions.

Bitcoin is a digital currency. This means that you do not have physical custody of your btc, they are not in your physical possession, they are not on your computer or mobile wallet; they live on the Internet and are associated with addresses (like an email address but too complicated to store in mind). Per your address and encryption key (stored in the digital wallet on your mobile phone or computer), you have the authority to move your btc around and transact them. 'Stolen bitcoin' is a matter of having insecure storage and sharing of passwords and private keys.

How to get Bitcoin? (after step 1, get yourself a digital wallet mobile app like BlockchainInfo or Mycelium
  • (Easiest) Receive bitcoin as a gift or payment from someone else
  • Buy bitcoin locally through bitcoin meetups or Satoshi Square trading events
  • Exchange USD or other traditional currency for bitcoin without giving out your personal identifying information: Circle 
  • Exchange USD for bitcoin where you do specify your personal details at one of the exchanges/markets like Coinbase 
  • Buy bitcoin locally from an individual via LocalBitcoins or (coming) OpenBazaar 
  • Gift yourself bitcoin with giftcards: use Gyft, Purse.io, Brawker, or Amazon giftcards 

Where to spend Bitcoin?
What is the Bitcoin Exchange Rate? 

How to accept Bitcoin if you are a merchant (save on merchant processing fees, welcome bitcoin customers):
Intro Presentation: Beginner Bitcoin Workshop
Advanced Presentation: Blockchain: The Information Technology of the Future

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blockchain Health - Remunerative Health Data Commons & HealthCoin RFPs

The bigger concept behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is blockchain technology. The blockchain (a chain of transaction blocks) is a public transaction ledger, automatically downloaded and stored digitally in electronic wallet applications; a digital record of all transactions in a certain asset class like bitcoin. There can be different kinds of blockchains (ledgers) for recording and tracking different kinds of assets. Blockchain health is the idea of using blockchain technology for health-related applications.

At least four principal blockchain health ideas have been articulated so far:
  • Blockchain Personal Health Record Storage – Personal health records would be stored and administered via blockchain like a vast electronic EMR system. Taking advantage of the pseudonymous (e.g.; coded to a digital address not a name) nature of blockchain technology, personal health records would be encoded as digital assets and put on the blockchain just like other assets like currency (bitcoin, litecoin, dogecoin, etc.). Users would permission doctors and other parties into their records as needed via their private key. In addition to creating vast repositories of medical health data records, the blockchain could also be a mechanism for quantified self data commons to amass and analyze data for preventive medicine purposes.
  • Blockchain Health Research Commons - Health research could be conducted by aggregating personal health records stored on the blockchain. Users may feel more comfortable contributing their personal health data to a public data commons like a blockchain 1) in an encrypted pseudonymous form, and 2) for some amount of remuneration via bitcoin, or different kinds of healthcoin (which could denominate HSA dollars and be spent back into health services). The benefit of storing health data on the blockchain is that it can be analyzed but remain private. DNA.bits is a startup in the blockchain health research space.
  • Blockchain Health Document Confirmation Services - Confirming that certain kinds of health information exist like proof-of-insurance, test results, prescriptions, status, condition, treatment, and physician referrals are just a few examples of health document-related services often required. The ‘notary function’ is a standard application envisioned for blockchain technology. This is the digital encoding of all manner of important documents (driver’s license, identity card, passport, home/auto titles, auto insurance, etc.) to the blockchain, which can be verified in seconds with encryption technology as opposed to hours and days with traditional manual technology.
  • Doctor Vendor RFP Services – doctors and health practices could bid to supply medical services needed by patient-consumers. Like Uber drivers bid for driver assignments with consumers, doctor practices could bid for hip replacements and other needed health services, at minimum bringing some degree of price transparency and improved efficiency to the health sector. Further, this bidding could be automated via tradenets. 
More Information: 
The Institute for Blockchain Studies
Presentation (summary) and slides:  Blockchain: The Information Technology of the Future

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bitcoin Newbie? How to get Started

Consult this primer: Getting Started with Bitcoin from bitcoin.org (an industry-supported foundation), and FAQ.

Step 1: Get yourself a wallet (app/client) such as Coinbase, Blockchain, Electrum (beginner's guide), Mycelium (Android), Bitcoin-Qt (now Bitcoin Core). 

Step 2. Obtain some Bitcoin - Ideally someone will have given you some, or you can buy some from someone local. Another possibility is gifting yourself some with eGifter or other services.You can always convert dollars to bitcoin. You will need to provide your identity if you are going to transfer dollars into bitcoin with one of the wallet services (such as via ACH, wire or credit card).

Step 3. Advanced - Mixing Transactions. When you actually go to do transactions, you may wish to use a mixing service like Send Shared (SharedCoin) to mask the funds original source by mixing them with other funds. Services typically charge a 1% fee.

Step 4: Check out the local Bitcoin community and the increasing number of ways to spend and earn Bitcoin. OpenBazaar is a decentralized marketplace for instantly trading with anyone using Bitcoin - local anonymous trading - maybe supplanting or augmenting eBay and CraigsList. LocalBitCoins remains an expanding local resource for buying and selling Bitcoin, and there are of course Bitcoin ATMs and kiosks.

Where did Bitcoin come from? 
The primordial Bitcoin or stone blockchain is Rai stones on the Island of Yap, used exactly as in the current purpose, as a public ledger of economic transactions inspectable by all.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Proximity Marketing: Opportunity for Rich-Attribute Conveyance

Real-time Location-based Services (RT-LBS or just RT-LS) is an important new concept in mobile marketing. These offerings are starting to tout the ability to deliver information and services based on the real-time location of a person. Some key examples are receiving a mobile phone-based notification of a restaurant offer while walking in a downtown area or a product coupon while shopping in a specific grocery aisle. (Although there would need to be a saturation algorithm adjustment as potential customers flock to a location.) As is true generally with the advent of newtech, there is a much richer level of attribute conveyance beyond that of economic incentive that could be demonstrated in new applications. For example, why not broadcast key real-time attributes that a user has affinity for beyond or in addition to price such as ambiance, noise level, wait time, including for example near real-time photos from the establishment. A time-to-be-seated comparison with map overlay app can be imagined, upleveling the concept from the harangue of groupon discounts.

For indoor locations where there is no line-of-sight to GPS, there are other solutions, and this is where imminent progress is being made. There are WiFi networks (where even having WiFi enabled is enough know that ‘you are here’ or at least that your phone is ‘here’), Bluetooth Low Energy (per most smartphones), and now iBeacon and similar technologies. iBeacon, etc. is essentially an RFID technology where there would be a beacon on each grocery store aisle that could track customers and deliver coupons or other notifications. However, Bluetooth would need to be enabled which most smartphone keep off. In all of the industry promoted excitement over proximity marketing with real-time couponing, one cannot help but notice that truly revolutionary progress, for example auto-checkout per item-level RFID tags or some other mechanism remains a hard, expensive, and unsolved problem. What about remote hover cam item selection and personalized drone delivery?

For outdoor retail locations, GPS is still a good solution as it can locate a person within a meter per satellite pings. GPS resolution is already available in centimeter resolution for professionals (at $1000 and reportedly now at $500). This cost/performance curve could continue to ratchet down and centimeter-level GPS resolution could harken exciting new classes of location-based technologies, for example medical applications that require sub-body level detail.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Top 5 Killer Apps: QS-Automotive Sensors

The Internet of Things means not just that computing devices have connectivity to the cloud but that they are connected to each other, and therefore that novel applications can be developed in this rich ecosystem. One area for development is linking quantified self wearable sensors with automotive sensors for applications including Fatigue Detection, Real-time Parking and Assistance, Anger/Stress Reduction, Keyless Authentication, and DIY Diagnostics.

The auto industry may be poised for tremendous change in the next two decades with self-driving cars, denser cities, more cars on the road, and alternative fuel sources expected. This suggests new concepts in personal transportation, including redefining 'what a car is' to shift from a 'dumb conveyance' to an interactive platform communicating in real-time with other drivers, smartcity infrastructure, driver and passenger biometric data, and other sensor/internet of things information streams.

 Smart Pod Conveyance of the Future?

 (Image: M. Ghezel)

Top 5 Killer Apps 

1. Fatigue Detection
  • Fatigue is implicated in 20% of accidents. Early warning signs are a slower driver heart rate and breathing rate, and posture slump. These could be detected through wearable sensors or auto-based sensors, and an intervention provided (verbal alert, seat vibration, music, or puff of air). 
2. Real-time Parking and Assistance
  • Up to 75% of city center congestion may be caused by drivers looking for parking. Parking garage data could be connected to on-board navigation systems to show and guide drivers to available spots, and further reserve and pre-pay for spots where a user presents a QR code on a smartwatch or smartphone to a smart parking gate like from SureSpot to obtain the parking ticket [and directions to the spot]. 
  • A related idea is real-time automatic road-side assistance, where automotive sensors would assess crash impact and predict damage. Then if appropriate the vehicle could alert local trauma centers (tier 1-5) and first responders. If the accident is less serious, if the driver has permissioned such a service, an app could automatically request local vendor service quotes.

3. Anger/Stress Reduction
  • Anger reduction is the most obvious area for improvement where most simply the driver’s mental state could be read from sensors and interventions provided such as breathing exercises, music, and question-based (re-focusing) intervention. 
  • Smart steering wheels with heart sensors could be used to detect heart attacks. Medical emergencies are implicated in 1% of accidents, and this number is growing with active adults driving longer, and commute distances lengthening. 
  • Wearable or auto-based sensors could provide a daily health check that is completely transparent to the driver measuring heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, skin conductance, and glucose levels, and sent through the cloud to the driver’s personal EMR or QS data portal. 
  • Addressing stress as a complex adaptive system, multiple data streams could be integrated into a ‘leave on time’ app. A key stressor in distracted driving is being late. An individual’s online calendar could be connected with real-time traffic data so smarthome or smartwatch alerts communicate to leave earlier for an appointment and confirm if this happens, and measure drive-time stress. Financial incentives could be offered for both health and auto insurance discounts for reduced stress and smart driving.
4. Keyless Authentication
  • Keyless authentication, could facilitate one-time or short-term access, for example for automated car rental, assuming anti-theft concerns are allayed. Vehicle authentication and access could be via Bluetooth, QR code, blockchain technologies, and/or smartwatch fingerprint readers for an added layer of validation.
5. DIY Diagnostics
  • DIY diagnostics accessed with tools like the CarChip could be an important app. Just like DIYscience and DIY health, on-board diagnostic data could be collected and linked to user-friendly consumer apps for pro-active notification and preventive maintenance. Asynchronous reminders (later while the driver is relaxing at home) could consist of the vehicle tweeting the driver more granular detail about its condition and potential maintenance, including the projected cost per different future time points if the maintenance is delayed.

More Details and References to Statistical Citations: Sensor Ubiquity: Blockchain Tech and Automotive-Quantified Self Integrated Sensor Applications developed for Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Cognitive Nanorobots for Pathology Resoulution and Enhancement

One way to think of cognitive nanorobots is as a subset of medical nanorobots, meaning nanorobots for use in the body related to medical purposes, in this case, neural processes. Nanorobots are tiny computing machines at the nanoscale that can perform a variety of operations within the human body and beyond.

In the strictest sense, nanorobots are still conceptual: the Oxford English Dictionary definition of nanorobots (nanobots) is hypothetical very small (nanoscale) self-propelled machines, especially ones that have some degree of autonomy and can reproduce. While this definition that includes autonomy and reproducibility is one for the farther future, in reality there are a number of nanoscale inorganic objects that have already been in use in the body for some time in a variety of medical applications. So far, the activity scope of these nano-objects has been pathology resolution, but the same kinds of techniques and characterization of the underlying biological processes could be explored for enhancement purposes.

The most developed area of nanomedicine is nanoparticle drug delivery (designed particles that disgorge cargo in cellular destinations per simple onboard logic instructions) and other therapeutic techniques, followed by nano-diagnostics, and nano-imaging (like quantum dot imaging) (Boysen 2014). Some of the more recent interesting applications are nanosponge waste soak-up and biomimetic detoxification (Hu 2013), optogenetics (controlling the brain with light) (Klapoetke 2014), and neural dust brain sensors that might be able to read whole sections of brain activity externally (Seo 2013). The current status of the development of neural nanomedicine is well covered in the scientific literature (Provenzale 2010, Kateb 2013, Schulz 2009, Mavroidis 2014, and Boehm 2013).

Thinking in the longer-term, Robert Freitas has designed several classes of medical nanorobots such as respirocytes, clottocytes, vasculoids, and microbivores that could perform a variety of biophysical clean-up, maintenance, and augmentation functions in the body (Freitas 2003). One example of neural nanorobotic clean-up is autonomous diamondoid “defuscin” class nanodevices. These are conceptual nanodevices designed to eliminate the residual lipofuscin waste granules in lysosomes (the ‘trash compactor’ of the cell) that the body cannot fully digest.

References:
Boehm, F. (2013). Nanomedical Device and Systems Design: Challenges, Possibilities, Visions. New York, NY: CRC Press, especially Chapter 17: Nanomedicine in Regenerative Biosystems, Human Augmentation, and Longevity, 654-722.
Boysen, E. (2014). Nanotechnology in Medicine – Nanomedicine. UnderstandingNano.com. Retrieved from http://www.understandingnano.com/medicine.html.
Freitas, R., Jr. (2003). Nanomedicine, Vol. IIA: Biocompatibility. Austin, TX: Landes Bioscience.
Kateb, B. & Heiss, J.D. (Eds). (2013). The Textbook of Nanoneuroscience and Nanoneurosurgery. New York, NY: CRC Press.
Klapoetke, N.C., Murata, Y., Kim, S.S., Pulver, S.R., Birdsey-Benson, A., et al. (2014). Independent Optical Excitation of Distinct Neural Populations. Nature Methods, 11, 338–346.
Mavroidis, C. (2014). Nano-Robotics in Medical Applications: From Science Fiction to Reality, Northeastern University. Retrieved from http://www.albany.edu/selforganization/presentations/2-mavroidis.pdf.
Provenzale, J.M. & Mohs, A.M. (2010). Nanotechnology in Neurology: Current Status and Future Possibilities. US Neurology, 6(1), 12-17.
Seo, D., Carmena, J.M., Rabaey, J.M., Alon, E., Maharbiz, M.M. (2013). Neural Dust: An Ultrasonic, Low Power Solution for Chronic Brain-Machine Interfaces. arXiv, 1307.2196 [q-bio.NC]. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.2196.
Schulz, M.J., Shanov, V.N., Yun, Y. (Eds.). (2009). Nanomedicine Design of Particles, Sensors, Motors, Implants, Robots, and Devices. New York, NY: Artech House.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Complexity Science: Does Autocatalysis Explain the Emergence of Organizations?

One of the newer complexity science books is The Emergence of Organizations and Markets by John F. Padgett and Walter W. Powell (2012).

At first glance, the book might seem like just another contemporarily-popular social network analysis dressed up in complexity language. The book presents the claim that chemistry concept autocatalysis is the explanatory model for the emergence and growth of organizations. The argument is that autocatalysis (the catalysis of a reaction by one of its products) is like the process of individuals acquiring skills which thereby transform products and organizations: “Skills, like chemical reactions, are rules that transform products into other products” (pp. 70-1). The process is reciprocal and ongoing as actors create relations in the short-term, and relations create actors in the longer-term.

One response of a critical reader would be asking the degree to which autocatalysis has explanatory power over the formation and persistence of organizations. In the absence of the consideration of other models, or the extent to which autocatalysis does not fit, it is hard to assess where this model falls on the anecdotal-to-accurate spectrum. This is a potential problem with all attempts, however valiant, to transplant the models and structures from one field to another. Going beyond interesting associations to correlations and even causal links is challenging.

Also not uncommonly, the authors postulate that the interesting, novel, and value-contributing aspects of a system (in this context, an organization) occur in the interstices, edges, and anomalies of the system. In actuality, this might be just one possibility (and not the principal element according to thinkers like Simondon for whom novelty most directly emerges from the central interaction of the components, features, and functionality). Worse, seeking the interstice forces the focus onto identifying borders, edges, and interstices, defining the phases of inherently [non-definable] dynamical systems. Also with a Simondonian eye, this is to miss the nature and contribution of dynamic processes at the higher level - this is trying to corral them into identifiable morphologies instead of apprehending their functionality.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Intracortical Recording Devices

A key future use of neural electrode technology envisioned for nanomedicine and cognitive enhancement is intracortical recording devices that would capture the output signals of multiple neurons that are related to a given activity, for example signals associated with movement, or the intent of movement. Intracortical recording devices will require the next-generation of more robust and sophisticated neural interfaces combined with advanced signal processing, and algorithms to properly translate spontaneous neural action potentials into command signals [1]. Capturing, recording, and outputting neural signals would be a precursor to intervention and augmentation.

Toward the next-generation functionality necessary for intracortical recording devices, using organic rather than inorganic transistors, Bink et al. demonstrated flexible organic thin film transistors with sufficient performance for neural signal recording that can be directly interfaced with neural electrode arrays [2].

Since important brain network activity exists at temporal and spatial scales beyond the resolution of existing implantable devices, high-density active electrode arrays may be one way to provide a higher-resolution interface with the brain to access and influence this network activity. Integrating flexible electronic devices directly at the neural interface might possibly enable thousands of multiplexed electrodes to be connected with far fewer wires. Active electrode arrays have been demonstrated using traditional inorganic silicon transistors, but may not be cost-effective for scaling to large array sizes (8 × 8 cm).

Also, toward neural signal recording, Keefer et al. developed carbon nanotube coated electrodes, which increased the functional resolution, and thus the localized selectivity and potential influence of implanted neural electrodes. The team electrochemically populated conventional stainless steel and tungsten electrodes with carbon nanotubes which amplified both the recording of neural signals and the electronic stimulation of neurons (in vitro, and in rat and monkey models). The clinical electrical excitation of neuronal circuitry could be of significant benefit for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, persistent pain, hearing deficits, and depression. The team thus demonstrated an important advance for brain-machine communication: increasing the quality of electrode-neuronal interfaces by lowering the impedance and elevating the charge transfer of electrodes [3].

Full Article: Nanomedical Cognitive Enhancement

References:
[1] Donoghue, J.P., Connecting cortex to machines: Recent advances in brain interfaces. Nat. Neurosci. 5 (Suppl), 1085–1088, 2002.
[2] Bink, H., Lai, Y., Saudari, S.R., Helfer, B., Viventi, J., Van der Spiegel, J., Litt, B., and Kagan, C., Flexible organic electronics for use in neural sensing. Conf. Proc. IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Soc. 2011, 5400–5403, 2011.
[3] Keefer, E.W., Botterman, B.R., Romero, M.I., Rossi, A.F., and Gross, G.W., Carbon nanotube coating improves neuronal recordings. Nat. Nanotechnol. 3(7), 434–439, 2008.