Surgeons from UC Davis Medical Center say they have demonstrated that artificial muscles can restore the ability of patients with facial paralysis to blink, a development that could potentially prevent corneal ulcers and the blindness that usually follows. Detailed in the January-February issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, the development could benefit the thousands of people each year who no longer are able to close their eyelids due to combat-related injuries, stroke, nerve injury or facial surgery.
In addition, the technique, which uses a combination of electrode leads and silicon polymers, could be used to develop synthetic muscles to control other parts of the body. The new
Later this evening I’ll be giving a talk to a group of astronomers on what its like to see like an alien. The beauty of this is that I can speculate until the cows come home without fear of any counterexamples being brought to my attention. And even if an alien were to be among the audience members and were to loudly object that he sees differently than I claim, I can always just say that the jury is out until we get more data, and then advise him not to let the door slam into his proboscis on the way out.
Although it may seem wild-eyed to discuss the eyes of aliens, if we understand why our vision is as it is, then we may be able to intelligently guess whether aliens will have vision like ours.
Dear Hugh Hefner:
Ever wondered why you’re rich? Yes, yes, you’re a savvy businessman who succeeded where thousands have failed. But there are deeper reasons underlying why your business model works at all. When one digs deeply enough one finds that color – yup, the stuff of rainbows and Crayola – is at the core of your success. Without hue, there’d be no Hugh.
Individuals use a variety of cues to identify their own kin and humans can also detect resemblances in families other than their own, in defiance of 'you all look alike to us' jokes. A new study says that our success in doing so is the same even if those families are not the same race as ourselves.
In a survey conducted about patients’ expectations of electronic retina prostheses (retina implants) a decade ago, visually impaired or blind patients with degenerative retina conditions stated they would be happy if they were able to regain some mobility and recognize faces and read again.
According to the presentations given at the international symposium “Artificial Vision” September 19th, 2009 at the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn, that's gotten a lot closer.
Reading pervades every aspect of our daily lives, so much so that one would be hardpressed to find a room in a modern house without words written somewhere inside. Many of us now read more sentences in a day than we listen to. Not only are we highly competent readers, but our brains even appear to have regions devoted to recognizing words. A Martian just beginning to study us humans might be excused for concluding that we had evolved to read.
But, of course, we haven’t. Reading and writing is a recent human invention, going back only several thousand years, and much more recently for many parts of the world. We are reading using the eyes and brains of our illiterate ancestors. Why are we so good at such an unnatural act?
Male anglerfish are born with an innate desire to not exist. As soon as a male reaches maturity, he acquires an urge to find a female, sink his teeth into her, and grow into her. This evolved because anglerfish live in the dark ocean abyss with few mating opportunities.
By giving up his life to be part of the female, the male can reproduce more often. It’s not clear he can appreciate all the sex he’s getting, however, because much of his body and brain atrophies and fuses with her body. Nevertheless, that’s where male anglerfish want to be – that’s a full male anglerfish life.
And you thought you had problems. At least you’re not partially absorbed in someone else’s abdomen. Let’s toast our fortune: We are not male anglerfish!
Or are we?
As the story was told to me, the realization that my eyes were “different” wasn’t discovered until I’d been home from the hospital for a couple weeks. You know how it is - newborns sleep a lot, and eye contact is a bit limited when you’ve got a little one that is only awake a small portion of the day. Then of course the majority of those waking hours are usually spent with the eyes scrunched up in a squawk. But after settling down a bit, the day came when my mother and I finally got a good look at one another. And as I understand it, the first time I looked my mom straight in the eye - she had a bit of a panic attack. Because when she looked down at her youngest baby daughter, I looked back with eyes that didn’t look like hers - but looked more like our pet cat’s.
Fish and some amphibians possess a unique sensory capability that allows them to 'feel' objects around them without physical contact and see in the dark.
Colloquially this is called a 'sixth sense' but scientifically it is called a lateral-line system.
A team in the physics department of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen say they are able to explore the fundamental basis for this sensory system. The goal of that would not be to solve M. Night Shyamalan movies faster but rather, through biomimetic engineering, better equip robots to orient themselves in their environments.
Even in adults born with extremely impaired sight, the brain can rewire itself to recognize sections of the retina that have been restored by gene therapy. This surprising adaptability comes a year after three blind volunteers received doses of corrective genes to selected areas of their retinas at Shands at the University of Florida medical center.
More than a year later, tiny portions of the patients' retinas that have received gene therapy have kept their restored function, as much as 1,000-fold increases for day vision and 63,000-fold for night vision.