Subcutaneous Fitbits? These cows are modeling the tracking technology of the future

MIT Technology Review

Somewhere on a dairy farm in Wellsville, Utah, are three cyborg cows, indistinguishable from the rest of the herd. Just like the other cows, they eat, drink, and chew their cud. Occasionally, they walk over to a big, spinning red-and-black brush, suspended at bovine back height, for a scratch. But while the rest of the cows just get their scratch and move on, these cows deliver data. Trackers implanted in their bodies use low-energy Bluetooth to ping a nearby base station and transfer information about the cows' chewing frequency, temperature, and general rambling around the farm.

Neurosurgeon Eric Leuthardt: 'An interface between mind and machine will happen'


Dr Eric C Leuthardt, 45, is a neurosurgeon at Washington University in St Louis. He is also the co-founder of NeuroLutions, a research laboratory developing direct interfaces between mind and computer. Leuthardt is pioneering the use of electrical brain implants to help restore motor function to the paralysed limbs of stroke victims. He is also helping to develop electrode systems that can directly decode the unspoken "inner voice" of the mind, and use it to direct external action; for example, Leuthardt's subjects have been able to control the cursor of a Space Invaders video game just by thinking. He has published two science fiction novels aimed at "preparing society for the changes" that his work predicts.

Mini-human brains implanted in mice grow successfully for months

Daily Mail

Miniature human brains have grown successfully for months in mice - a breakthrough that could help people with neurological diseases such as strokes. The pin-sized brains were made from stem cells and placed inside the brain of the rodent. Around 80 per cent of the 200 mice tested survived the operation and within two weeks their brain implants were spawning new neurons. The host brains provided the mini brains with enough nutrients to keep them healthy for months. Researchers hope these tiny implants could be used as cortical repair kits that could replace parts of the brain that have failed to develop normally.

This remarkable spinal implant was created by an algorithm


This coral-like form is a spinal implant. Created by Californian medical company NuVasive, it is made from titanium and fits precisely between two vertebrae. By mimicking the porousness and stiffness of human bone, it can accelerate bone growth following back surgery. Spinal surgeons typically use implants made from high-performance plastic, because the material is less rigid than metal, yet also porous. But NuVasive's research demonstrated that, with the right design, titanium could be moulded closer to the form and stiffness of human bone – with the added benefit of being stronger than plastic.

Machine Learning as a UX Design Material: How Can We Imagine Beyond Automation, Recommenders, and Reminders?

AAAI Conferences

I design user experiences for machine learning (ML) applications across several application domains, from clinical decision support systems to context-aware mobile services, to autonomous cars. In this paper, I share three cases in which I attempted to leverage ML as a design material, envisioning new forms and new purposes for this technology. I reflect on the challenges encountered and the lessons learned.On reflection, I realized that many of the challenges are not unique to particular ML problems or designers, but in the inherent tension between user-centered design and data-driven design. I hope to initiate a reflective discussion on these overarching challenges in designing ML and to highlight the opportunities in addressing them systematically.

Using thought to control machines


TECHNOLOGIES are often billed as transformative. For William Kochevar, the term is justified. Mr Kochevar is paralysed below the shoulders after a cycling accident, yet has managed to feed himself by his own hand. This remarkable feat is partly thanks to electrodes, implanted in his right arm, which stimulate muscles. But the real magic lies higher up.

A US Paralympian designed Team USA's snowboard prosthetics


Mike Schultz was a professional snowmobile racer, and a damn good one at that. But in 2008, his life's course took a turn after a competition accident shattered his left knee and left him clinging to life. When his injuries began causing his kidneys to shut down, doctors decided to amputate the leg just above the knee.

Our bodies could be upgraded with robotic parts by 2070

Daily Mail

Our entire bodies could be swapped out with robotic parts as soon as 2070, says robotics journalist and expert Chris Middleton. He says we're not far from a future where anyone can buy upgraded body parts that provide superhuman powers. 'Biohackers' are already upgrading their bodies with implants such as chips that let them open doors with a wave of the hand, so the predictions aren't too far-fetched. Our entire body could be swapped out with robot parts as soon as 2070, says robotics journalist and expert Chris Middleton. He says we're not far from a future where anyone can buy upgraded body parts that provide superhuman powers (stock image) 'At some point, 50 or 100 years in the future, might a whole human body become replaceable, editable or upgradable?

'Living' robot implants are nothing to be squeamish about

The Japan Times

I think it's safe to assume that Shogo Shimada, a thoracic and cardiac surgeon at the University of Tokyo Hospital, did not start his career thinking he might one day be implanting robots into living animals. Yet that is just what Shimada and a team of surgeons and roboticists from around the world have now achieved.