DNA: the Future of Digital Data Archiving

DNA’s ability to effectively store biological information has certainly been time-tested. Now researchers from the European Bioinformatics Institute have used DNA to store man-made data as well. And unlike previous attempts, they have done so in a meaningful, error-free, and scalable way. Recently reported the journal Nature, Dr. Nick Goldman and his team have stored a total of 739 kilobytes of digital data — the most yet — in a short string of DNA [1].


Ayasdi Uses Big Data To Fight Cancer

A new startup called Ayasdi (which means “to seek” in Cherokee) launched in January. A spin-off of a DARPA-funded Stanford research project with close ties to the University’s math department, Ayasdi uses a mathematical technique called topological data analysis to find unexpected insights for several industries, including pharmaceuticals and healthcare.


Improving Anti-seizure Technology

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University are developing a new early warning system for seizures that is sensitive enough to detect imminent seizures without setting off a large number of false alarms. The software may someday be embedded in a microchip that would continually check electrical activity in the brain and launch electrical stimulation whenever a seizure is beginning to form.


Thought for the Future: Cognitive Computing

For more than fifty years, computers have essentially been calculators with storage systems and programmable memory. Researchers at IBM are aiming to improve up that. They have been working on a cognitive computing project called Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE). By reproducing the structure and architecture of the brain — the way various regions receive sensory input, connect to each other, and transmit motor output — the SyNAPSE project models computing systems that emulate the brain’s computing efficiency, size and power usage without being programmed.

The multi-year cognitive computing initiative to build cool, compact, cognitive computing chips that rival the functionality of the human brain while meeting extremely low power and space of the human brain combines principles from nanoscience, neuroscience and supercomputing.

The multi-dimensional research team consists of IBM researchers and collaborators from Columbia University; Cornell University; University of California, Merced; and University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now in phase 2, the project is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The SyNAPSE project was developed out of the Almaden Institute, an annual invitation-only forum held at IBM Research – Almaden in San Jose, California. The Almaden Institute brings together prominent, innovative thinkers from academia, government, industry, research labs and the media. The event promotes an intellectually charged, stimulating and vigorous discussion that addresses fundamental challenges at the very edge of science and technology, such as privacy, the future of work, cognitive computing, complexity, and energy storage. Partnerships born out of the Almaden Institute range from university and national laboratory collaborations to connections among IBM research labs and with industry experts, all forming a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team that focuses on unique aspects of the project.

Source: IBM

New Brain Implant Fuel Cell Runs On Sugar

MIT researchers have developed a new fuel cell that could be used to power brain implants in coming years [1]. Just like human cells, the fuel cells run on glucose, which is the most common sugar in nature and in the human body. Human cells derive energy from glucose through a process called oxidation — a part of metabolism — that takes electrons from the glucose and passes those electrons from enzyme to enzyme in the cell, generating the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Fuel cell