“Prosthetic Memory Systems,” Delivered Via Electrode, Could Be Dope, If You’re Willing To Wait A While

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Prosthetic memory systems: no longer just some sci-fi nonsense.

Researchers just completed a military-funded project intended to boost patients’ recall. At first glance, the numbers look really promising. At second glance, though, they might just be enough cause for optimism, but, well, not much more. 

The 15 participants were seeking treatment for epilepsy-related memory loss at North Carolina’s Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. They had already received surgery to place small brain implants in an effort to map what was going on in their brains to better treat their epilepsy.

In the study, published in the Journal of Neural Engineering on March 28, the participants in the study were asked to complete a simple task: look at an image on a screen and then correctly identify it among three or four other images after a short delay. While they were doing so, the researchers were busy mapping their brain activity to identify the region that displayed the most activity when the participant remembered the correct image.

In a second trial, the researchers used those small electrodes to stimulate the “correct answer” areas they had just identified.

The result? Stimulated participants’ short term memory improved by 37 percent, and their long-term memory (or what the researchers are calling that — a similar task with a longer day) improved by 35 percent.

“This is the first time scientists have been able to identify a patient’s own brain cell code or pattern for memory and, in essence, ‘write in’ that code to make existing memory work better, an important first step in potentially restoring memory loss,” said Robert Hampson, the lead researcher on this project, in a press release.

Dope.

The researchers received funding from DARPA in the hope that their work could help soldiers who face memory loss after head injuries.

Some caveats: this was one clinical trial conducted on just 15 people who were asked to complete one specific, simple task in a hospital setting. It’s not at all clear this would help you stop losing your keys so damn much, nor would you want to necessarily undergo surgery to try it. At least, not at its current stage of development, which is just proof-of-concept. 

The results from this latest memory boosting study, which the researchers are calling a “prosthetic memory system,” are impressive. They might even inspire optimism, if you’re into that sort of thing.  This experiment lays the groundwork for future human research into technology that can restore or enhance brain function, and that’s nothing to dismiss.

But for as long as scientists have studied memory loss, no matter its cause, the timeline for when we’d have a viable solution was always in “the near future,” “sometime down the line.” A stock answer for when Alzheimer’s might be cured is always “50 years away,” conveniently after that scientist would likely have retired.

So what does this study show? A cool, promising future of prosthetic memories. But not for, say, 50 years or so.

The post “Prosthetic Memory Systems,” Delivered Via Electrode, Could Be Dope, If You’re Willing To Wait A While appeared first on Futurism.

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Get a better night’s sleep knowing you saved $300 on these memory foam mattresses

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This won’t last long.

We’ve seen these mattresses drop in price before as part of a one-day sale at Amazon, but they never hit this low. Right now you can pick one up for as little as $ 209.99 when you clip the $ 300 off coupon that is on the page. The options in this sale include:

These mattresses are constructed with a 3-inch top layer of gel memory foam and seven inches of base foam. They are shipped to your home vacuum-packed in a box, and you can try it for 120 nights to make sure you like it. If you do like it, eLuxurySupply also makes bed frames for every size mattress.

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LG V30S ThinQ and V30S+ ThinkQ now official: V30 with more memory and new colors

The all new LG V30s is here, but you can safely let go of your seats. Just like the rumors predicted, it is nothing more than a memory upgrade over the current model. Plus, a new AI platform added on top. So, while technically LG announced two new devices, the V30S ThinQ and V30S+ ThinkQ, the “S” and “S+” parts, simply stand for 6GB RAM, plus 128GB storage and 6GB RAM, plus 256GB storage, respectively. That’s about the only hardware change announced today. That and a pair of new colors, as clearly evident by their names: New Maroccan Blue and New Platinum Gray. Those will be the only…

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VLCKit 3.0 adds support for H.265, better 4K memory management, and 3D video

Today’s VLCKit 3.0 update from the developer of the popular VLC Media Player brings a number of enhancements to the framework for apps on iOS, tvOS, and macOS. This is the first major update for the framework in over three years.

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These Sleep Innovations 12-inch memory foam mattresses are heavily discounted today only

A better night’s sleep.

Amazon has Sleep Innovations’ 12-inch memory foam mattresses on sale for as little as $ 259 each today. This is a one-day deal and drops them to some of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen.

Each has 12 inches of memory foam with DuoComfort Design including a SureTemp memory foam top layer and Support-Plus foam bottom. You’ll be comfortable in any position that you sleep in, whether it be your back, side, or even stomach. These come with a quilted cover, but you can opt for a smooth cover for an additional fee.

The options available include:

These prices are only good for one day, so don’t miss out. Amazon also has 25% off this Sleep Innovations 4-inch mattress topper and a heavily discounted air mattress with DreamCoil support.

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Can a Brain Zap Really Boost Your Memory?

If this is the first you’re hearing about electrical stimulation of the brain, you’re probably imaging it as a plot device central to a Netflix Original Black Mirror / House of Cards crossover; some kind of torture method to get spies of the future to spill it.

Not only are these techniques not torturous, they’re not even particularly futuristic. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has been used to treat neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and epilepsy for decades, and it’s now been explored as a way of keeping symptoms of dementia at bay. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), has existed since the 1980s as a treatment for major depression.

TMS uses magnetic pulses and has long been the less invasive of the two, but both techniques rely on the ability to target only certain areas of the brain. This is especially important in DBS, which uses electrodes implanted into the patient’s brain to target specific regions. As you might expect, implanting an electrode into someone’s brain so you can send an electrical current to it is not something neuroscientists do willy-nilly just to run experiments. Generally speaking, the research we have about these methods draws on the experiences of patients who already have the implants for treatment.

Image Credit: Creative Commons
Image Credit: Creative Commons

Two recent studies, one from the Mayo Clinic and the other from the University of Pennsylvania, looked at whether these therapies could have unrealized potential. Patients with degenerative neurological conditions can certainly have trouble with their memory, but could these therapies also be used in patients who don’t have a neurological disorder in need of treatment?

In order to study the effect of well-placed electrical zaps to the brain had on memory, researchers in the Mayo study asked groups of patients to try to remember a list of words as they zapped a few different regions of their brains. Of the 22 patients in the study, the four who had the lateral temporal cortex region of their brain electrically stimulated recalled more words than the others. This probably wasn’t a coincidence, because that’s the part of our brain that helps us process language.

Meanwhile, the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania were less concerned about which region got the electrical jolt, and more concerned about the timing of it. Their previous research had shown that zapping the brain at the wrong moment could actually have a negative effect on the patient’s ability to remember (oops). The Penn researchers also had a little help the second time around: a computer model that would help them get the timing just right by assessing how well a patient’s learning was going.

Based on the patient’s brain activity, the computer model could tell when they’d learned the words given to them in a memory test – and when they hadn’t. The electrical impulse was triggered whenever the model determined the patient hadn’t learned the word effectively.

The researchers may have been on to something when it came to not just well-placed, but well-timed, zaps: the study showed that they enhanced a patient’s learning and memory by up to 15 percent.

Both of these studies were limited in scope, though. Researchers elsewhere in neuroscience who have responded to the results are generally wary and point out that they don’t address one of the biggest qualms in the field: would a treatment like this work if the memory area of the brain was damaged?

For the time being, better learning through electrical brain implant is something relegated to the future. If you were hoping to use technology to enhance your memory, you’ll have to stick to those brain-training apps for now.

The post Can a Brain Zap Really Boost Your Memory? appeared first on Futurism.

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Quantum Memory Storage is More Efficient and Secure Than Ever

Quantum Memory

In a major first for the advancement of quantum memory, researchers at Laboratoire Kastler Brossel (LKB) in Paris have achieved successful secure storage and retrieval of quantum bits (qubits). While the efficiency of optical qubit storage was previously at 30 percent, the physicists at LKB drastically increased this to 70 percent. Because quantum memory is essential to making a quantum communication network, this latest development is a significant step forward for the future of tech.

Researchers have achieved a quantum memory efficiency of 70 percent, making quantum networks that much more possible. Image Credit: LKB
Researchers have achieved a quantum memory efficiency of 70 percent, making quantum networks that much more possible. Image Credit: LKB

Kun Huang, a postdoctoral fellow and a lead author of the study, said in a press release that a quantum network is only one possible application for the new technology described in the journal Nature Communications. “[I]t also paves the way to advanced tasks where the efficiency plays a critical role, such as in certification protocols or unforgeable quantum money. This device can now be at the heart of many challenging investigations for quantum networks.”

Building Networks

In this study, researchers transferred the information in a photonic qubit to a cloud of laser-cooled cesium atoms. Using a control laser beam, they slowed the signal light that was carrying information. When the laser beam was turned off, the signal was contained and the information was converted into an excitation of the atoms. The qubits were retrieved from the cloud of atoms with a fidelity of more than 99 percent.

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Just like traditional memory is an essential piece of a traditional computers, quantum memory will be key to functioning quantum computers. Quantum memory, which has been imbued into materials such as ions and crystalline structures, allows the information carrier in a quantum network (typically a photon) and a physical storage medium to interact. However, until this most recent research, quantum memory has only been able to successfully store and retrieve less than one third of qubits.

If this new technology does hasten our transition to quantum communication networks, we could soon be entering a new era in tech security. Quantum networks would offer virtually hack-proof safeguards, something that is essential in an age where we rely on data and information so heavily. These networks could eliminate current security concerns and allow for opportunities to expand knowledge and computing capacity.

The post Quantum Memory Storage is More Efficient and Secure Than Ever appeared first on Futurism.

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Integral Memory will release a 512GB microSD card in February

At last year’s IFA in Berlin, SanDisk announced a microSD card with 400GB of storage. If that wasn’t enough space for your needs, Integral Memory announced today that it has beat that record, with its new 512GB microSD card.

The card complies with the V10, Class 10, and U1 standards. In other words, it should have a minimum sequential write speed of 10MB/second, which is half the speed of more-common U3/V30 cards.

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Integral Memory will release a 512GB microSD card in February was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Integral Memory announces 512GB microSD card

Integral Memory 512GB microSD card official announcement

Last year, SanDisk introduced what was then the largest microSD card to date with 400GB of storage. Now SanDisk has been one-upped by a new microSD card with even more capacity.

U.K.-based Integral Memory today announced a 512GB microSD card, which is now the largest capacity microSD card to date. The card will be available starting in February 2018 for an undisclosed price.

This 512GB microSD card meets the Video Speed Class 10 (V10) and UHS-I Class 1 standards and offers up to 80MB/s transfer speed.

As technology continues to improve, it was only a matter of time before someone was able to create a microSD card with more than 400GB of storage. Even still, it’s kind of crazy that soon you’ll be able to add half a terabyte of storage to your phone using a tiny microSD card. Just don’t be surprised if you’ll have to pay a pretty penny to do so.

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