Piezoelectricity powers artificial bunny

B. Gillespie

Illustration by B. Gillespie

Well, maybe  not an artificial bunny but ScienceNOW Daily News Reported this on Mar. 26, 2009

Georgia Institute of  Technology researchers have built a piezoelectric effect (mechanical pressure converted to electricity) nanogenerator, the first to use this effect at the nanoscale.

This could allow microsensors and miniature medical devices to derive their electrical needs from their surroundings instead of from batteries.

The Illusion of Reality – Matter and antimatter

In this BBC video the Professor Jim Al-Khalili explores how studying the atom forced us to rethink the nature of reality itself. He discovers that there might be parallel universes in which different versions of us exist, finds out that empty space isn’t empty at all, and investigates the differences in our perception of the world in the universe and the reality

If my embedded video isnt showing… here’s the link:


I find this very interesting indeed!

Edit: A fellow blogger has written an interesting article about this from a buddhist standpoint. Recommended reading 🙂 http://soraj.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/matter-antimatter-universe-multiverses/

Out of body experience explained. Not!

Reality by Eran

“The experiments, described in Science, provide a scientific explanation for a phenomenon experienced by one in 10 people. Using virtual reality goggles, researchers managed to fool the brain into believing the body was located elsewhere. The visual hoax plus the sensation of their real bodies being touched made volunteers sense that they had moved beyond their physical bodies.”

This is what it says on Cognews regarding the new experiments on the out of body phenomenon.

This is what I have to say about this:

“provide a scientific explanation for a phenomenon experienced by one in 10 people.” No it does not provide an explanation for the NDE phenomenon.

It does however show that the feeling of where one’s body is, can be altered using virtual reality and haptics. Nothing new. This experiment is not that dissimilar to a simple 3rd person computer game. Combined with said haptics that would immerse the player even more. This is, again, well known to anyone working with VR. The whole point with VR is to immerse the player into a world where the body is not. We do this by providing the senses with artificial cues. Eyes with visual cues, auditory system with sound, and we are starting to use haptics (touch) to also fool the body’s sense of touch. These inputs are all made by some sort och gadget. VR-goggles, haptic gloves, headphones. Just like in the experiment.

“Scientists have long suspected that the clue to these extraordinary, and sometimes life-changing, experiences lies in disrupting our normal illusion of being a self behind our eyes, and replacing it with a new viewpoint from above or behind.” news.bbc.co.uk

The question is, how is that possible? This is a virtual reality and immersion experiment, it can not explain the extrasensory perception phenomenon of NDE. In a real out of body phenomenon you don’t wear VR goggles and have a camera in the roof pointing down at your body, to feed your eyes with the altered viewpoint. How is it possible to have another viewpoint unless something somehow connected to your awareness changes physical position? This experiment tells us nothing about that.

The NDE and VR implications of this experiment are seriously exaggerated, and people seem to not understand what it actually tells us.

A good example of how important it is to explain an experiment and findings in an easy way for the public, to avoid misunderstandings.

More on NDE (Near Death Experience) here

And more on VR (Virtual Reality) here

Also check a fellow Blogger’s input on this!

Philosophy of mind, featured article at Wikipedia.

Everyone with some decent brainpower should have figured out that it’s not easy to figure out what the mind is about.

Philosophers try, Psychologists try, neurologists try, Cognitive Scientists(or perhaps we should be called Cognologists, or Cognitivists… or Mindlers, like the upcoming cognitive sience news portal…) try, heck even I try to get an answer to those questions “What is the mind?”, “What is Reality?”

Some languages, like swedish for example hasn’t even got a name for it. “Mind” doesn’t exist so to speak, it’s either “brain” or “sense”(as in senses, vision, touch et.c.). The mind, and consiousness is a strange property, some call it an emergent property. (I’m sure you can read all about that at wikipedia)

Just a heads up, go to the wikipedia article of the day and put things into perspective for a while.

Hit me baby 16.4 Million times!

Not many people know what cognititive science is, but a Google search comes up with 16.4 million pages. “mind” comes up with 649 million hits, and “psychology” 276 million. Here is a short insight into what makes us cognitive science people tick…

So, what is cognitive science?
Answers.com says:

“The study of the nature of various mental tasks and the processes that enable them to be performed.”

Yup, that pretty much nails it down, however that image is very restricted. Cognitive science is about everything human, our mind, our brain, our interaction with the environment, with other people. Basically it studies what makes us human, how our intelligence works.

So why is it so damn groovy? All situations where humans interact with something, a machine, a house, a computer software, a web page, can be understood and made to work better by understanding cognitive science. It helps us answer questions about simulation, about artificial intelligence, about our mind, and our consciousness. Seen “The Matrix?” That’s cognitive science in a nutshell. “What is real, how do You define real? If You define real as something You can see or feel, then that is only electrical impulses interpreted by your brain” , Freely after Morpheus, Matrix 1999

Well this is rambling, but still 16,4 million hits. It kinda amazed me. That’s just about the same amount of colors a 32bit depth can present our dear cones with. (cones are the receptors in our eyes that are affected by color, without them we would just have rods, that are colorblind) or colour, if you will 😉 – That’s cognitive science too.

What is a colour? What is the mind? What is a question?

This blog will feature all these things, and we hope You will come back to learn more, and “marvel at the glory”. Just remember Viewofmind.blogspot.com, if you don’t, bookmark it! You don’t want to miss this!Stay tuned for a fully featured article about our mind!

Nintendo reveals new control

At E3, the big annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, hosted and attended by a serious hord of computer and technology geeks (in a positive way)Nintendo shows up with a new control for their console Wii. The controller is wireless and motion sensitive, and enables the geek (ehm, user) to control geeky (i mean cool new) games in a completely different and new way.

This is very interesting from a cognitive science standpoint since the interface to computers and computer games have been virtually the same for the last 20 years. Wiggle the stick or push the button… The mouse, not actualy designed for 3D navigation has turned out to be the best way, at least in my opinion, to control yourself in the 3d environment. ( Yourself…? The character…? The car? Honey I’m a car!? This of course depending on your feeling of immersion – Basis for another post) Anyway, guess what? Consoles don’t come with mice…

Of course there are fabulously clunky steering wheels and pedals and gizmos that clutter up your office cubicle making it almost impossible to work (so why struggle, play a game instead!…) Anyway, this control looks small, nice, fashionably white, efficent, easy to wipe off and furthermore, it looks like great fun to use. (Geek references in the beginning are attacking me now – shoving them off with my steering wheel)

The interface is what connects us to the virtual world, and if the interface doesn´t work, or is un-intuitive the experience suffers. I feel Nintendo is going the right way by not only achieving better graphics, but also focus on the usability and user interface component of the console.

Read more here

The comparing mind

Why do we get car sick? Why does milk taste like sh*t if we think it’s orange juice we’re about to drink? What is the brain doing to us and why?We know that motion sickness is invoked because of conflicting signals between different senses. For example balance and vision. Further a comparison is made with the neural storage, containing all recent movement signals made by the brain. A check of this storage is also made if we feel a movement. -Was this movement really an instruction by the brain? This comparison and checking is made by structures in the cerebellum in the back of our heads.

Normally, or to say evolutionally, if a conflict existed between our senses, some sense must had been affected, perhaps poisoned by something we ate. A bad mushroom or old berries for example. The solution is to feel sick, and get rid of the poison.

This is why we get car-sick. The balance organs, tell the mind that we are moving, but if we say read a book in the car our vision tells the mind we are not moving. -Oh, we must have been poisoned, the mind thinks, and decides to tell the obeying body to puke.

Now a few days ago i drank a glass of juice, and had it beside me. I got up, for some reason, and came back with a glass of
Orange soda. After a while i took the soda glass and drank it. It tasted awful! -Why? -It wasn’t orange soda, it was orange juice! So why did it taste so bad, that i wanted to spit it out?

Well the neural storage probably had information that i recently drank orange soda, and had a record of what that is supposed to taste like. The orange jucie was not as sweet, and it wasn’t carbonated. The comparator produced a mismatch, with the “yuk” result. Normally i like orange juice 😉

I suppose many of you have had similar experiences. Share them, comment! 🙂