Holy shit… downhill skateboarding is both amazing and frightening at the same time.
Reminds me of how I broke my thumb and I was probably going 1/16 the speed this dude is at.
Swimming robot octopus!
Watch @jalexa discuss finding the right Design Research for different stages of the PRODUCT lifecycle.
I love working with such smart people.
THAW: Hybrid Interactions with Phones on Computer Screens
from MIT Media Lab
"THAW is a novel interaction system that allows a collocated large display and small handheld devices to seamlessly work together. The smartphone acts both as a physical interface and as an additional graphics layer for near-surface interaction on a computer screen. Our system enables accurate position tracking of a smartphone placed on or over any screen by displaying a 2D color pattern that is captured using the smartphone’s back-facing camera. The proposed technique can be implemented on existing devices without the need for additional hardware."
When Presenting Designs, Don’t Give the real estate tour
"5. Giving the Real Estate Tour
Never explain what they can obviously see right in front of them. They can all see the logo on the top left. They can all see the search box. There is absolutely nothing more boring than a designer walking a client down the page, listing all the things they can already see.
Pull up. You don’t sell a house by talking about sheetrock. You sell it by getting the buyer to picture themselves in the neighborhood.
Sell the benefits of the work. Sell how the work matches to the project’s goals. Sell how their new site is going to crush their competitors and make them all rich beyond their wildest dreams.
And while every decision on that page should have been made with the benefit of data and good research, people are irrational creatures who don’t make decisions based on data and research. They make them based on stories. So find your story and tell it.
Animal Spotlight of the Week: In anticipation of tomorrow’s Google+ Hangout with the exploration teams from NOAA ship, the Okeanos Explorer, and Nautilus Live, we’re highlighting some of their most exciting deep sea discoveries!
Be sure to tune into our Hangout on Sept. 9th at 3pm EST to learn more about what it’s like to explore our underwater world!
The increased visual realism of 3-D films is believed to offer viewers a more vivid and lifelike experience—more thrilling and intense than 2-D because it more closely approximates real life. However, psychology researchers at the University of Utah, among those who use film clips routinely in the lab to study patients’ emotional conditions, have found that there is no significant difference between the two formats. The results were published recently in PLOS ONE.
The study aimed to validate the effectiveness of 3-D film, a newer technology, as compared to 2-D film that is currently widely used as a research tool. Film clips are used in psychological and neuroscience studies as a standardized method for assessing emotional development. Because it is less invasive than other methods, it is especially useful when studying the emotional responses of young people for whom emotional well-being is critical to healthy development.
Author Sheila Crowell, assistant professor of psychology at the U, says that results of the large and tightly controlled study also suggest that as an entertainment medium, 3-D may not provide a different experience from 2-D, insofar as evoking emotional responses go.
“We set out to learn whether technological advances like 3-D enhance the study of emotion, especially for young patients who are routinely exposed to high-tech devices and mediums in their daily lives,” says Crowell. “Both 2-D and 3-D are equally effective at eliciting emotional responses, which also may mean that the expense involved in producing 3-D films is not creating much more than novelty. Further studies are of course warranted, but our findings should be encouraging to researchers who cannot now afford 3-D technologies.”
How the study was conducted
Researchers looked at several measures of emotional state in 408 subjects, including palm sweat, breathing and cardiovascular responses, such as heart rate. These measures are commonly used to gauge emotional responses.
Four film clips were chosen because each prompted one discrete emotion intensely and in context without viewing the entire film. Study participants viewed a 3-D and 2-D clip of approximately five minutes of each film: “My Bloody Valentine” (fear), “Despicable Me” (amusement), “Tangled” (sadness) and “The Polar Express” (thrill or excitement). Participants were randomized to view the films in a design that balanced the pairs of films watched, in which format, and order of presentation. The complex configurations allowed the researchers to compare not only emotional responses, but effects of format and viewing order on the results.
Taken as a whole, the results showed few significant differences between physiological reactions to the films. When accounting for the large number of statistical tests, only one difference was seen between the formats—the number of electrodermal responses (palm sweat) during a thrilling scene from “The Polar Express” 3-D clip. The researchers believe that could be because the 3-D content of the film is of especially high quality, with more and a larger variety of 3-D effects than the others.
Supporting the overall finding is that participants’ individual differences in anxiety, inability to control emotional responses or “thrill seeking” did not alter the psychological or physiological responses to 3-D viewing. In other words, personality differences did not change the results: 2-D is still equally effective for emotion elicitation. According to Crowell, “this could be good news for people who would rather not wear 3-D glasses or pay the extra money to see these types of films.”
Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies
Human sensory and motor systems provide the natural means for the exchange of information between individuals, and, hence, the basis for human civilization. The recent development of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has provided an important element for the creation of brain-to-brain communication systems, and precise brain stimulation techniques are now available for the realization of non-invasive computer-brain interfaces (CBI). These technologies, BCI and CBI, can be combined to realize the vision of non-invasive, computer-mediated brain-to-brain (B2B) communication between subjects (hyperinteraction). Here we demonstrate the conscious transmission of information between human brains through the intact scalp and without intervention of motor or peripheral sensory systems. Pseudo-random binary streams encoding words were transmitted between the minds of emitter and receiver subjects separated by great distances, representing the realization of the first human brain-to-brain interface. In a series of experiments, we established internet-mediated B2B communication by combining a BCI based on voluntary motor imagery-controlled electroencephalographic (EEG) changes with a CBI inducing the conscious perception of phosphenes (light flashes) through neuronavigated, robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), with special care taken to block sensory (tactile, visual or auditory) cues. Our results provide a critical proof-of-principle demonstration for the development of conscious B2B communication technologies. More fully developed, related implementations will open new research venues in cognitive, social and clinical neuroscience and the scientific study of consciousness. We envision that hyperinteraction technologies will eventually have a profound impact on the social structure of our civilization and raise important ethical issues.
Great chat with Jared Spool about “The Unicorn Institute” and their goal to educate a crop of designers to tackle real-world problems.
Source: SoundCloud / Let's Make Mistakes
As children learn basic arithmetic, they gradually switch from solving problems by counting on their fingers to pulling facts from memory. The shift comes more easily for some kids than for others, but no one knows why.
Now, new brain-imaging research gives the first evidence drawn from a longitudinal study to explain how the brain reorganizes itself as children learn math facts. A precisely orchestrated group of brain changes, many involving the memory center known as the hippocampus, are essential to the transformation, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The results, published online Aug. 17 in Nature Neuroscience, explain brain reorganization during normal development of cognitive skills and will serve as a point of comparison for future studies of what goes awry in the brains of children with learning disabilities.
“We wanted to understand how children acquire new knowledge, and determine why some children learn to retrieve facts from memory better than others,” said Vinod Menon, PhD, the Rachael L. and Walter F. Nichols, MD, Professor and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and the senior author of the study. “This work provides insight into the dynamic changes that occur over the course of cognitive development in each child.”
The study also adds to prior research into the differences between how children’s and adults’ brains solve math problems. Children use certain brain regions, including the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, very differently from adults when the two groups are solving the same types of math problems, the study showed.
“It was surprising to us that the hippocampal and prefrontal contributions to memory-based problem-solving during childhood don’t look anything like what we would have expected for the adult brain,” said postdoctoral scholar Shaozheng Qin, PhD, who is the paper’s lead author.
Charting the shifting strategy
In the study, 28 children solved simple math problems while receiving two functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans; the scans were done about 1.2 years apart. The researchers also scanned 20 adolescents and 20 adults at a single time point. At the start of the study, the children were ages 7-9. The adolescents were 14-17 and the adults were 19-22. The participants had normal IQs. Because the study examined normal math learning, potential participants with math-related learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were excluded. The children and adolescents were studying math in school; the researchers did not provide any math instruction.
During the study, as the children aged from an average of 8.2 to 9.4 years, they became faster and more accurate at solving math problems, and relied more on retrieving math facts from memory and less on counting. As these shifts in strategy took place, the researchers saw several changes in the children’s brains. The hippocampus, a region with many roles in shaping new memories, was activated more in children’s brains after one year. Regions involved in counting, including parts of the prefrontal and parietal cortex, were activated less.
The scientists also saw changes in the degree to which the hippocampus was connected to other parts of children’s brains, with several parts of the prefrontal, anterior temporal cortex and parietal cortex more strongly connected to the hippocampus after one year. Crucially, the stronger these connections, the greater was each individual child’s ability to retrieve math facts from memory, a finding that suggests a starting point for future studies of math-learning disabilities.
Although children were using their hippocampus more after a year, adolescents and adults made minimal use of their hippocampus while solving math problems. Instead, they pulled math facts from well-developed information stores in the neocortex.
“What this means is that the hippocampus is providing a scaffold for learning and consolidating facts into long-term memory in children,” said Menon, who is also the Rachel L. and Walter F. Nichols, MD, Professor at the medical school. Children’s brains are building a schema for mathematical knowledge. The hippocampus helps support other parts of the brain as adultlike neural connections for solving math problems are being constructed. “In adults this scaffold is not needed because memory for math facts has most likely been consolidated into the neocortex,” he said. Interestingly, the research also showed that, although the adult hippocampus is not as strongly engaged as in children, it seems to keep a backup copy of the math information that adults usually draw from the neocortex.
The researchers compared the level of variation in patterns of brain activity as children, adolescents and adults correctly solved math problems. The brain’s activity patterns were more stable in adolescents and adults than in children, suggesting that as the brain gets better at solving math problems its activity becomes more consistent.
The next step, Menon said, is to compare the new findings about normal math learning to what happens in children with math-learning disabilities.
“In children with math-learning disabilities, we know that the ability to retrieve facts fluently is a basic problem, and remains a bottleneck for them in high school and college,” he said. “Is it that the hippocampus can’t provide a reliable scaffold to build good representations of math facts in other parts of the brain during the early stages of learning, and so the child continues to use inefficient strategies to solve math problems? We want to test this.”