(TMU) — Waves are all around us. Everywhere we go we encounter them. From Texas to New York and from China to Canada, you’ll always have waves vibrating and creating part (even most) of your reality. We can find them in the form of sound, images, and even heat.
As Nikola Tesla once said:
“If you wish to understand the Universe think of energy, frequency, and vibration.”
And now, a team of scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Russian corporation Neurobotics is understanding the universe inside our heads thanks to a device they created that is capable of “reading” the mind of the user. Science is always breaking the barrier between fiction and reality.
The team placed a cap of electrodes on the scalp of participants so they could record their brain waves (produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other). This technique is noninvasive, with information gathered through an electrode-covered electroencephalography (EEG) headset.
They then had each participant watch 20 minutes worth of 10-second-long video fragments. The subject of each fragment fell into one of five categories and the researchers found they could tell which category of video a participant was watching just by looking at their EEG data.
In the researcher’s words:
“Here we hypothesize that observing the visual stimuli of different categories trigger distinct brain states that can be decoded from noninvasive EEG recordings. We introduce an effective closed-loop BCI system that reconstructs the observed or imagined stimuli images from the co-occurring brain wave parameters. The reconstructed images are presented to the subject as a visual feedback.”
To better understand the concept of brainwaves, let’s work with an analogy. We can think of brainwaves as musical notes, the low-frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics.
We can understand this process as a transformation of waves to images.
“We did not expect that it contains sufficient information to even partially reconstruct an image observed by a person. Yet it turned out to be quite possible,” Grigory Rashkov, a junior researcher at MIPT and a programmer at Neurorobotics, said.
Of the method being noninvasive, Rashkov explained:
“Under present-day technology, the invasive neural interfaces envisioned by Elon Musk face the challenges of complex surgery and rapid deterioration due to natural processes—they oxidize and fail within several months.”
“We hope we can eventually design more affordable neural interfaces that do not require implantation,” Rashkov said.
As it turns out, the oil industry uses a similar method to find oilfields through processing frequencies that are sent to the subsurface of the earth to get an “image” of the layers of rock and fluids under our feet. That’s called Seismics.
It seems Tesla was right—we can understand the universe (even inside our heads) using frequency (and a touch of math, too).
In Major First, New System Lets Paralyzed Users Control Tablet Computer Wirelessly
In what could be a major breakthrough for people suffering paralysis and other permanent disabilities, the first wireless command to a computer has been demonstrated.
According to a new study published in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, scientists at Brown University say that the new system called BrainGate can transmit brain signals at “single-neuron resolution and in full broadband fidelity.”
BrainGate clinical trial participants with paralysis used a small transmitter connected to a person’s brain motor cortex to manipulate the interface of a tablet computer.
Participants were able to achieve the same typing speeds and point-and-click accuracy on the BrainGate system as they could with wired systems.
“We’ve demonstrated that this wireless system is functionally equivalent to the wired systems that have been the gold standard,” said John Simeral, an assistant professor of engineering at Brown University.
“The signals are recorded and transmitted with appropriately similar fidelity, which means we can use the same decoding algorithms we used with wired equipment,” Simeral said.
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“The only difference is that people no longer need to be physically tethered to our equipment, which opens up new possibilities in terms of how the system can be used,” he added.
Neural interface technologies have attracted such high-profile figures as Elon Musk and social media titan Facebook in recent years.
“With this system, we’re able to look at brain activity, at home, over long periods in a way that was nearly impossible before,” said Brown University engineering professor and clinical trial leader Leigh Hochberg.
“This will help us to design decoding algorithms that provide for the seamless, intuitive, reliable restoration of communication and mobility for people with paralysis,” Hochberg added.
Scientists Discover X-Rays Coming From Uranus For Very First Time
Scientists are seeing X-rays being emitted from Uranus for the very first time, according to new research.
On Wednesday, the study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research that lays out how a comparison of two images of the planet taken by the Chandra Observatory in 2002 and 2017 show a clear detection of X-rays in the first image, while the second shows a possible flare of X-rays on the enigmatic and icy planet.
According to NASA, the reason for these X-rays is “mainly the sun.”
However, “there are tantalizing hints that at least one other source of X-rays is present,” the space agency noted.
“One possibility is that the rings of Uranus are producing X-rays themselves, which is the case for Saturn’s rings,” NASA said. “Another possibility is that at least some of the X-rays come from auroras on Uranus, a phenomenon that has previously been observed on this planet at other wavelengths.”
X-rays can be provide a crucial window into the processes and characteristics of our universe. In the case of Uranus, these characteristics can include “atmospheric, surface and planetary ring composition.”
And while X-ray lights given off by the sun have been previously observed by astronomers on Jupiter and Saturn, this hasn’t been the case for icy giants like Uranus and Neptune.
The agency hopes that by figuring out the origin of the X-rays observed at Uranus, researchers can better grasp how mysterious objects including black holes and neutron stars emit X-rays.
Uranus is roughly four times the diameter of Earth and is the seventh planet from the sun, and is known for its distinct pair of rings around its equator and its unique side rotation.
Breathtaking New Image of Black Hole Reveals Ultrapowerful Magnetic Fields
Two years after the first-ever image of a black hole was produced, an international team of scientists have released an updated view of the magnetic fields surrounding it, saying that the groundbreaking new development allows us to understand the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy’s ability to “launch energetic jets from its core.”
In a press release, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) said that over 300 researchers collaborated on the project and the findings were published Wednesday in two separate papers in The Astrophysical Journal.
In April 2019, scientists from EHT captured the world’s attention by releasing an image of the supermassive black hole lying at the center of M87, which is located 55 million light-years away from Earth.
The striking image showed a dark central region outlined by a ring-like structure, which scientists described at the time as “emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon.” In the new image captured through polarized light, brightly colored streaks of light can be seen corresponding with its magnetic field.
“We are now seeing the next crucial piece of evidence to understand how magnetic fields behave around black holes, and how activity in this very compact region of space can drive powerful jets that extend far beyond the galaxy,” said Monika Mościbrodzka, coordinator of the EHT Polarimetry Working Group and a professor at Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands.
The new observations, which are based on data collected by EHT researchers, should provide crucial insights on how a galaxy can project streams of energy thousands of light-years outward from its core.
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