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Ingenious Brain-Computer Interface Restored Injured Man’s Sense Of Touch

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Ingenious Brain-Computer

Researchers Restore Injured Man’s Sense of Touch Using Ingenious Brain-Computer Interface

Ian Burkhart Wearing Interface (Credit:GettyImages)

While we may frequently underestimate our feeling of touch, restoring the feeling of touch implies a lot to the specialists who are creating advances to reestablish appendage work for deadened individuals.

However, a team of researchers at Battelle and the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recently reported that they have been able to restore sensation to the hand of a research participant with a severe spinal cord injury using a brain-computer interface (BCI) system.

According to a study published this week in the journal Cell, the researchers describe how their technology harnesses neural signals so minuscule, they can’t be perceived, and then enhances the signals via artificial sensory feedback sent back to the participant, resulting in greatly enriched motor function.

“We’re taking sub-perceptual touch events and boosting them into conscious perception,” says first author Patrick Ganzer, a principal research scientist at Battelle. “When we did this, we saw several functional improvements. It was a big eureka moment when we first restored the participant’s sense of touch.”

The participant in this investigation is Ian Burkhart, a 28-year-elderly person who endured a spinal cord injury during a diving accident in 2010. Since 2014, Burkhart has been working with examiners on a venture called NeuroLife that means to reestablish capacity to his right arm.

The device they have developed works through a system of electrodes on his skin and a small computer chip implanted in his motor cortex. This setup, which uses wires to route movement signals from the brain to the muscles, bypassing his spinal cord injury, gives Burkhart enough control over his arm and hand to lift a coffee mug, swipe a credit card, and play Guitar Hero.

“Until now, at times Ian has felt like his hand was foreign due to lack of sensory feedback,” Ganzer says. “He also has trouble with controlling his hand unless he is watching his movements closely. This requires a lot of concentration and makes simple multitasking like drinking a soda while watching TV almost impossible.”

The investigators found that although Burkhart had almost no sensation in his hand, when they stimulated his skin, a neural signal—so small it was his brain was unable to perceive it—was still getting to his brain. Ganzer explains that even in people like Burkhart who have what is considered a “clinically complete” spinal cord injury, there are almost always a few wisps of nerve fiber that remain intact. The Cell paper explains how they were able to boost these signals to the level where the brain would respond.

The sub-perceptual touch signals were artificially sent back to Burkhart using haptic feedback. Common examples of haptic feedback are the vibration from a mobile phone or game controller that lets the user feel that something is working. The new system allows the sub-perceptual touch signals coming from Burkhart’s skin to travel back to his brain through artificial haptic feedback that he can perceive.

The advances in the BCI system led to three important improvements. They enable Burkhart to reliably detect something by touch alone: in the future, this may be used to find and pick up an object without being able to see it.

The framework likewise is the first BCI that takes into account reclamation of development and contact without a moment’s delay, and this capacity to encounter upgraded contact during development gives him a more prominent feeling of control and lets him to do things all the more rapidly. At long last, these enhancements permit the BCI framework to detect how much strain to utilize when taking care of an article or getting something—for instance, utilizing a light touch when getting a delicate item like a Styrofoam cup however a firmer grasp when getting something substantial.

The investigators’ long-term goal is to develop a BCI system that works as well in the home as it does in the laboratory. They are working on creating a next-generation sleeve containing the required electrodes and sensors that could be easily put on and taken off. They also aim to develop a system that can be controlled with a tablet rather than a computer, making it smaller and more portable.

“It has been amazing to see the possibilities of sensory information coming from a device that was originally created to only allow me to control my hand in a one-way direction,” Burkhart says.

Reprinted from Cell

Credits: goodnewsnetwork

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Science

Chinese Rocket Segment Plunges Back To Earth, Crashes Near Maldives

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Beijing:

A large segment of a Chinese rocket re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean on Sunday, the Chinese space agency said, following fevered speculation over where the 18-tonne object would come down.

Officials in Beijing had said there was little risk from the free falling segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which had launched the first module of China’s new space station into Earth orbit on April 29.

But the US space agency NASA and some experts said China had behaved irresponsibly, as an uncontrolled re-entry of such a large object risked damage and casualties.

“After monitoring and analysis, at 10:24 (0224 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the last-stage wreckage of the Long March 5B Yao-2 launch vehicle has re-entered the atmosphere,” the China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a statement, providing coordinates for a point in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

It added that most of the segment disintegrated and was destroyed during descent.

The US military’s Space Command said the rocket “re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula at approximately 10:15 pm EDT on May 8 (0215 GMT Sunday)”.

“It is unknown if the debris impacted land or water.”

Monitoring service Space-Track, which uses US military data, said that the location in Saudi Arabia was where American systems last recorded it.

“Operators confirm that the rocket actually went into the Indian Ocean north of the Maldives,” it tweeted.

The segment’s descent matched expert predictions that any debris would have splashed down into the ocean, given that 70 percent of the planet is covered by water.

Because it was an uncontrolled descent, there was widespread public interest and speculation about where the debris would land.

American and European space authorities were among those tracking the rocket and trying to predict its re-entry.

Accusations of negligence

Objects generate immense amounts of heat and friction when they enter the atmosphere, which can cause them to burn up and disintegrate. But larger ones such as the Long March-5B may not be destroyed entirely.

Their wreckage can land on the surface of the planet and may cause damage and casualties, though that risk is low.

Last year, debris from another Chinese Long March rocket fell on villages in the Ivory Coast, causing structural damage but no injuries or deaths.

That, and the one that came down Sunday, are tied for the fourth-biggest objects in history to undergo an uncontrolled re-entry, according to data from Harvard-based astronomer Jonathan McDowell.

The uncertainty and risks of such a re-entry sparked accusations that Beijing had behaved irresponsibly.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin suggested last week that China had been negligent, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson echoed that after the re-entry on Sunday.

“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” Nelson said in a statement.

“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”

China’s space ambitions

To avoid such scenarios, some experts have recommended a redesign of the Long March-5B rocket — which is not equipped for a controlled descent.

“An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely,” McDowell tweeted.

“It appears China won its gamble (unless we get news of debris in the Maldives). But it was still reckless.”

Chinese authorities had downplayed the risk, however.

“The probability of causing harm to aviation activities or (on people and activities) on the ground is extremely low,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday.

Beijing has poured billions of dollars into space exploration to boost its global stature and technological might.

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Science

These Plastic Chewing Caterpillars Can Help Fight Plastic Pollution And Can Prove Beneficial

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These Plastic Chewing Caterpillars Can Help Fight Plastic Pollution

The small wax worm went from obscurity to a disclosure in 2017 when scientists found the caterpillar might help solve one of the world’s most hazardous natural issues: plastic waste.

Credits:GettyImages

The creature can chomp through plastic, even polyethylene, a common and non-biodegradable plastic currently clogging up landfills and seas.

Scientists have discovered that wax worms can eat and biodegrade polyethylene, the rugged, common plastic used to make the shopping bags that are currently glutting landfill sites. The discovery was serendipitous. The findings, which were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B Tuesday, could guide efforts to find an effective biodegradation system to tackle plastic waste.

Credit:GettyImages

“We found that wax worm caterpillars are equipped with gut organisms that are basic in the plastic bio degradation process, ” said Christophe LeMoine, a associate professor and chair person of biology at Brandon University in Canada.

Credit:IndiaTimes

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Science

Researchers Use Gene-focusing on Breakthrough Against COVID-19 Cells With CRISPR Tool Called ‘PAC-MAN’

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Researchers Use Gene-focusing on Breakthrough Against COVID-19
DOE / LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY, R.N. Zuckermann

A group of scientists from Stanford University is working with researchers at the Molecular Foundry, a nanoscience client office situated at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), to build up a quality focusing on, antiviral specialist against COVID-19.

Last year, Stanley Qi, an assistant professor in the departments of bioengineering, and chemical and systems biology at Stanford University and his team had begun working on a technique called PAC-MAN—or Prophylactic Antiviral CRISPR in human cells—that uses the gene-editing tool CRISPR to fight influenza.

Be that as it may, that all changed in January, when updates on the COVID-19 pandemic rose. Qi and his group were out of nowhere stood up to with a baffling new infection for which nobody had an unmistakable arrangement. “So we figured, ‘For what reason don’t we take a stab at utilizing our PAC-MAN innovation to battle it?'” said Qi.

Since late March, Qi and his team have been collaborating with a group led by Michael Connolly, a principal scientific engineering associate in the Biological Nanostructures Facility at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, to develop a system that delivers PAC-MAN into the cells of a patient.

Like all CRISPR frameworks, PAC-MAN is made out of a chemical—for this situation, the infection murdering compound Cas13—and a strand of guide RNA, which orders Cas13 to pulverize explicit nucleotide successions in the coronavirus’ genome. By scrambling the infection’s hereditary code, PAC-MAN could kill the coronavirus and prevent it from repeating inside cells.

It’s all in the delivery

Qi said that the key test to deciphering PAC-MAN from a sub-atomic instrument into an enemy of COVID-19 treatment is finding a compelling method to convey it into lung cells. At the point when SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, attacks the lungs, the air sacs in a contaminated individual can get aroused and load up with liquid, seizing a patient’s capacity to relax.

“But my lab doesn’t work on delivery methods,” he said. So on March 14, they published a preprint of their paper, and even tweeted, in the hopes of catching the eye of a potential collaborator with expertise in cellular delivery techniques.

Soon after, they learned of Connolly’s work on synthetic molecules called lipitoids at the Molecular Foundry.

Lipitoids are a kind of engineered peptide imitate known as a “peptoid” first found 20 years prior by Connolly’s tutor Ron Zuckermann. In the decades since, Connolly and Zuckermann have attempted to create peptoid conveyance atoms, for example, lipitoids. Also, as a team with Molecular Foundry clients, they have exhibited lipitoids’ adequacy in the conveyance of DNA and RNA to a wide assortment of cell lines.

Today, researchers studying lipitoids for potential therapeutic applications have shown that these materials are nontoxic to the body and can deliver nucleotides by encapsulating them in tiny nanoparticles just one billionth of a meter wide—the size of a virus.

Now Qi hopes to add his CRISPR-based COVID-19 therapy to the Molecular Foundry’s growing body of lipitoid delivery systems.

In late April, the Stanford researchers tested a type of lipitoid—Lipitoid 1—that self-assembles with DNA and RNA into PAC-MAN carriers in a sample of human epithelial lung cells.

As per Qi, the lipitoids performed well indeed. At the point when bundled with coronavirus-focusing on PAC-MAN, the framework decreased the measure of engineered SARS-CoV-2 in arrangement by over 90%. “Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry has furnished us with an atomic fortune that changed our examination,” he said.

The team next plans to test the PAC-MAN/lipitoid system in an animal model against a live SARS-CoV-2 virus. They will be joined by collaborators at New York University and Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

If successful, they hope to continue working with Connolly and his team to further develop PAC-MAN/lipitoid therapies for SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses, and to explore scaling up their experiments for preclinical tests.

“An effective lipitoid delivery, coupled with CRISPR targeting, could enable a very powerful strategy for fighting viral disease not only against COVID-19 but possibly against newly viral strains with pandemic potential,” said Connolly.

“Everybody has been working nonstop attempting to think of new arrangements,” included Qi, whose preprint paper was as of late companion looked into and distributed in the Journal Cell. “It’s exceptionally compensating to join skill and test new thoughts across establishments in these troublesome occasions.”

Credit:phys.org

Why The Humanity Post?

The World Health Organisation has named depression as the greatest cause of suffering worldwide. In the U.S., 1 out of 5 deals with depression or anxiety. For youth, that number increases to 1 in 3.

The good news is that 40% of our happiness can be influenced by intentional thoughts and actions, leading to life changing habits. It’s this 40% that The Humanity Post  help to impact.

Continue Reading

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