Aug. 20th, 2009

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IEEE Spectrum: Exoskeletons Are on the March

The Japanese company Cyberdyne (yes, the name is the same as the company that developed the AI chip in the Terminator movies) has demonstrated that their HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb, but another nod to a science fiction movie) was able to use the faint bioelectric signals being sent to the withered leg of a 46 year-old polio victim to drive a robotic limb strapped to the leg. In fact, with repeated use the bioelectric signal strengthened as the patient continued to use the leg, demonstrating that the brain could adapt to make is progressively easier to signal the device. They are currently collecting data on signal strength over time to examine how the brain adapts to regular use of the device.

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Zombie attack would be the death of us: study

University of Ottawa mathematicians used mathematical models of how pandemics spread to determine how well we would handle a zombie outbreak. The conclusion? Not well unless a strategic eradication of zombies in enacted early in the epidemic or, as they put it "Hit hard and hit often". In that case, the epidemic could be broken in as little as 10 days. The scenario assumed that both the living and the "newly dead" could be infected. They also discovered that neither quarantines nor curing the disease would be enough to save humankind.

January 2010

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