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Biotech, Institute Partner on Gut Microbe Links to Parkinson’s

Gut microbes

Gut microbes cultured in an artistic design (Nicola Fawcett, Wikimedia Commons)

18 June 2018. Researchers from a biotechnology company and a research institute are starting a joint project to find treatments for Parkinson’s disease targeting bacteria in the gut. Financial and intellectual property aspects of the partnership between Axial Biotherapeutics Inc. in Boston, and Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, California were not disclosed.

The collaboration plans to advance research by Axial Biotherapeutics’ co-founder Sarkis Mazmanian, a microbiologist at California Institute of Technology. As reported by Science and Enterprise in November 2016 at the company’s founding, Mazmanian’s lab at Caltech studies molecular processes of symbiotic bacteria in the gut on various human disorders, combining work in genomics, microbiology, immunology, and neuroscience. Axial Biotherapeutics has an exclusive, worldwide license from Caltech for research by Mazmanian on signaling pathways between communities of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes in the human gut, known as the gut microbiome, and diseases of the central nervous system.

Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center conducts both basic research on Parkinson’s disease and clinical trials of experimental treatments. Parkinson’s disease occurs when the brain produces less of the substance dopamine, a neurotransmitter that sends signals from one neuron or nerve cell to another. As the level of dopamine lowers, people with Parkinson’s disease become less able to control their bodily movements and emotions. Symptoms include tremors, i.e. shaking, slowness and rigidity in movements, loss of facial expression, decreased ability to control blinking and swallowing, and in some cases, depression and anxiety. According to Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, some 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, with more than 10 million people worldwide living with the disease.

One target of Mazmanian’s research is alpha-synuclein proteins believed to play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease, or PD, where too much or abnormal forms of the protein can in some cases be toxic to nerve cells in the brain or cause the cells to malfunction. Findings by Mazmanian and others with lab animals show promoting or limiting gut microbes responsible for over-production of alpha-synuclein proteins can likewise promote or inhibit physiological signs Parkinson’s disease in the animals, suggesting signaling pathways from the gut to the brain. In addition, colonizing the gastrointestinal, or GI, tracts of lab mice with gut microbes from Parkinson’s disease patients enhance Parkinson’s-like physical impairments, compared to gut microbes from healthy individuals.

Researchers from Axial and Parkinson’s Institute are expected to test these and other interventions based on gut microbes in preclinical studies with cellular models and lab animals provided by Parkinson’s Institute. “Our team is conducting advanced clinical research,” says Parkinson’s Institute CEO Carrolee Barlow in an Axial statement, “which suggests that disorders like Parkinson’s are not just a brain condition but very likely have origins in the GI system.” She adds that, “It is our ultimate goal to determine if this approach can stop PD from progressing.”

Axial Therapeutics also announced that Barlow is joining its Neurology Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board, and will help guide the company’s clinical programs.

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Starting a Construction Company: Five Things You’re Going To Need

– Contributed content –

Highrise construction


18 June 2018. Construction is an ever growing industry, because, without it, none of the houses, hospitals, schools, stores, and other buildings around you would get built. Because of this, it’s no surprise that so many entrepreneurs, both young and old, want to start their own construction companies. After all, it makes perfect sense to have a business in an industry where people are spending lots of money. There’s no better time to start your own business than right now, but there are a few things you are going to need to get up and running. Here are just five things of those things.

Experience in the industry

If you want your business to be a success, then you need to know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible if you have no experience in the construction industry. If you lack this necessary experience, then you should put your plans on hold and spend a few years working with other companies first. This way, you’ll gain first-hand knowledge and develop the necessary skills to run a construction company successfully.

Money to invest

Whether you like it or not, companies aren’t built on passion and knowledge; They’re built from money. Because of this, it’s essential that you have the cash needed to buy equipment, licenses, permits and pay for any employees you hire. Unless you have a lot of money saved up yourself, you’re going to have to find financial backing from somewhere. This could come from a bank loan, an angel investor, or a business partner.

Vehicles and equipment

Construction businesses require a lot more equipment than most others. They, of course, need computers, printers, and other IT essentials, like any other business does, but they also need vehicles, like vans and trucks, and machinery, like diggers and drills. You can buy these things outright, from other construction companies and auction sites, like WSM auctioneers. Alternatively, you could rent what you need, which is the more cost-efficient option.

Construction site


The right employees

You may want to do everything yourself, but trying to do so will never end well. This means that you’re going to have to start hiring people to work with and for you. Thankfully, the construction industry is where many people want to start their careers, so you should have plenty of candidates to choose from. Just make sure that you choose the right employees for you and your business, or you’ll end up wasting time and money.

All the legal paperwork

Like with any other business, you’re going to need certain permits and licenses before you’re legally allowed to start working. You’re also going to need a comprehensive insurance plan to cover you from many different scenarios, including staff injuries and theft. This can all get a very confusing, even for experienced entrepreneurs, so you may want to get some legal advice to ensure that you’re definitely following the law.

There is no better time to start a construction company that right now, but there are a few things you’re going to need first. Before you can start your own business, make sure that you’ve got the five things listed above.

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115M Euro Grant for Precision Medicine, Trials in Autism

Autism graphic

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

18 June 2018. A new initiative in Europe is investigating the connection between a person’s molecular composition and autism, particularly when other disorders complicate that individual’s condition. The €115 million ($US 154 million) in funding for the Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials, or AIMS-2-Trials, project also supports a Europe-wide network of clinical trials to evaluate autism therapies.

AIMS-2-Trials is led by King’s College London in the U.K., which plans to better understand connections between autism and a person’s biological chemistry. Autism spectrum disorder is a collection of neurodevelopmental conditions marked by communication difficulties and impaired social interaction, as well as repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Some 1 in 59 children have autism spectrum disorder, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., with males 4 times more likely to have the disorder than females. Classic autism is considered the most severe form of the syndrome.

The need for personalized treatments is driven in part by conditions occurring with autism that threaten the health of people with the disorder. Among these conditions are epilepsy, anxiety, and depression that contribute to as much as a 30-year reduction in life expectancy, according to Kings College.

“‘Many autistic people face extremely poor health outcomes,” says Kings College psychiatry professor and academic project lead Declan Murphy in a university statement, “yet autism research receives far less investment than other conditions which also limit life expectancy and quality of life, such as cancer or dementia. This grant will allow us to bridge the gap between basic biology and the clinic by offering personalized approaches that address problems which really impact autistic people’s lives.”

As part of this precision medicine approach, the AIMS-2-Trials project plans to develop tests to determine various paths for the progress of autism in individuals, as well as their likelihood of developing other disorders. The project is also establishing a network of clinical trials for testing experimental treatments for autism. This clinical trial network is expected to work with organizations, government agencies, and businesses involved with autism.

One of the organizations supporting AIMS-2-Trials is Autistica, also in London. James Cusack, the group’s science director, says “Autistic people deserve an equal right to a long, healthy happy life.  To deliver on that vision, we’re working together to understand why autistic people are different from each other. ”

AIMS-2-Trials is building on a previous initiative, European Autism Interventions or EU-AIMS, to develop new treatments for autism, also led by Kings College London and pharmaceutical company Roche. In the new project, the Simons Foundation, Autism Speaks, and Autistica are providing a total of €55.5 million, with €2.5 million offered by industry participants through the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. The remaining remaining €57 million is provided by the European Union through the Innovative Medicines Initiative that funds research on new therapies through public-academic-industry partnerships.

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Infographic – iPhones Top Smartphone Shipments

Smartphone shipments, Q1 2018

Click on image for full size view. (Statista)

17 June 2018. Apple’s iPhones continue to set the pace for new smartphones worldwide, at least during the first 3 months of 2018. In a chart published this week, our friends at Statista rank the top 10 models of smartphones shipped during the first quarter of this year, our infographic for this weekend.

The data, from the market research company IHS Markit, show Apple iPhone X and iPhone 8 take the top 2 positions in estimated shipments from January through March 2018, with Samsung’s Galaxy Grand Prime Plus, close behind the iPhone 8. Apple and Samsung divide the remainder of the top 10 models shipped.

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Connected Meters, Coaching Help Improve Diabetes Outcomes

Livongo meter

Livongo connected blood glucose meter (Livongo Health)

15 June 2018. A study of people with type 2 diabetes shows the combination of intensive lifestyle coaching with a blood glucose meter connected to the Internet results in more weight loss and lower blood glucose levels. Findings from a test of the device made by Livongo Health in Mountain View, California, with different coaching programs, appear in the 16 May issue of the Journal of Diabetes Research.

Diabetes is a chronic disorder where the pancreas does not create enough insulin to process the sugar glucose to flow into the blood stream and cells for energy in the body. In type 2 diabetes, which accounts for at least 90 percent of all diabetes cases, the pancreas produces some but not enough insulin, or the body cannot process insulin. According to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes affects an estimated 425 million people worldwide, of which 46 million are in North America.

Livongo designs digital systems for managing diabetes, including analytics derived from data provided by individuals using the company’s smartphone-based technology. The system includes a smart blood glucose meter that connects to cellular networks, and transmits data from the meter to family members, clinicians monitoring the person’s condition, and third-party diabetes counselors certified by Livongo. The meter also collects other data related to the person’s health, such as physical activity.

Data from the smart meter are sent as well to a database in the cloud, where a rules-based inference engine analyzes the data and offers personalized guidance to the individual with diabetes and his or her physician. Livongo users with the mobile app can receive coaching, with tips on nutrition and lifestyle changes, from licensed third-party counselors. People connected to the meter in the Livongo community can provide feedback via voice telephone, e-mail, or text message.

A research team from Livongo and Stanford University sought to determine the optimum level of coaching plus Livongo technology that returns the best results for people with type 2 diabetes. More than 1,900 adults registered in the Livongo program since 2014 were invited to take part in a 12-week study using Livongo meters alone, with a connected weight scale, combined with light lifestyle coaching, or intensive lifestyle coaching. Light coaching offers a 20-minute introductory call and standardized lessons, text messages, meal ratings, and activity recommendations. Intensive coaching includes a 60-minute introductory call, with personalized goal setting, lessons, text messages, meal ratings, and activity recommendations. Restore Health in Palo Alto, California provided the coaching.

Individuals taking part in the study all had type 2 diabetes, were overweight, and had no yet achieving their target blood glucose levels. Of the 1,936 invited to take part, 454 agreed to participate, and 330 completed the study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the 4 treatment groups: Livongo meter only, Livongo meter and connected scale, Livongo meter and light coaching, and Livongo meter and intensive coaching.

After 12 weeks, participants in the intensive coaching group showed the most weight loss, 6.4 pounds, and lower blood glucose levels of 0.7 percent on average. Light coaching participants lost 4.1 pounds and reduced their blood glucose by 0.4 percent. Those using Livongo and the connected scale had the fewest reductions in both measures. The intensive coaching program costs 5.5 times as much as light coaching.

“Personalization is key to diabetes management,” says Jennifer Bollyky in a company statement. Bollyky heads clinical research at Livongo and is the lead author on the study, as well as a faculty member at Stanford. “This study demonstrates that short periods of intensive coaching when people get stuck on their way to their glucose and weight goals can be empowering and helpful.”

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Graphene Circuits Enhanced to Monitor, Image Brain Signals

Graphene model

Model of graphene atomic structure (CORE-Materials, Flickr)

15 June 2018. Engineers and neuroscientists discovered a technique for enhancing the conductivity of graphene electrodes to make them better able to record optical images of brain activity in lab mice. A team from University of California in San Diego describes its process in the 5 June issue of the journal Advanced Functional Materials (paid subscription required).

Researchers from the neuroelectronics lab of engineering professor Duygu Kuzum are seeking ways of using graphene electrodes to monitor brain functions. Current methods use electronic techniques for tracking physiological signals in the brain, which are limited compared to optical technologies. Optical imaging, say the researchers, is able to monitor calcium loads on nerve cells in the brain, an indicator of brain signals, down to the level of individual cells.

Implanted graphene electrodes, which can be placed beneath the skull on the surface of brain tissue, offer an opportunity to capture these calcium signals. Graphene is a material closely related to graphite like that used in pencils, one atom in thickness and arrayed in an hexagonal atomic pattern. The material is very light, strong, chemically stable, and can conduct both heat and electricity, with applications in electronics, energy, manufacturing, and health care. The ultra-thin nature of graphene makes possible flexible and transparent electrodes, better able to monitor brain functions than stiffer and opaque metals.

The conductivity of graphene, however, presents a problem. While graphene can conduct an electrical current, it has high impedance, which slows the flow of electrons in the current, and reduces its usefulness for capturing images. In their report, Kuzum and colleagues describe a technique for enhancing the conductivity of graphene, with nanoscale particles of platinum. Graphene, the team discovered, offers few pathways through which electrons can flow, contributing to its high impedance. The platinum nanoparticles provide alternative pathways for electrons, and the researchers found a dusting of platinum added to the surface of graphene reduces impedance to 1 percent of graphene alone, while retaining 70 percent of the material’s transparency.

“This technique is the first to overcome graphene’s electrochemical impedance problem without sacrificing its transparency,” says Kuzum in a university statement. “By lowering impedance, we can shrink electrode dimensions down to single cell size and record neural activity with single cell resolution.”

Kuzum’s group collaborated with UC-San Diego neuroscientist Takaki Komiyama to test the graphene-platinum electrodes with lab mice. The electrodes were implanted at 50 and 250 micrometers inside the mice brains’ surface, where they recorded brain signals. The team also sent laser beams through the electrodes while recording nerve cell signals. As a result, the researchers could simultaneously record nerve cell signals while visualizing spikes in calcium on individual nerve cells, thus identifying the individual nerve cells responsible for those signals.

“This work opens up new opportunities to use optical imaging to detect which neurons are the source of the activity that we are measuring,” notes Kuzum. “This has not been possible with previous electrodes. Now we have a new technology that enables us to record and image the brain in ways we could not before.” The team plans to reduce the size of the electrodes and build them into high-density arrays.

The following brief (20 second) video shows spikes of calcium imaged 250 micrometers inside the brain tissue of a test mouse.

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Energy Investment Tips That Can Put The Fire In Your Finances

– Contributed content –

15 June 2018. Over the past few years, a lot of scientific industries and business sectors have proved to be very lucrative investment areas. Not only are corporate investors putting their money into new startups and companies in these modern markets, but lots of private investors are also realizing that these are good areas for their cash as well. Even if you can’t pump enough finance into a new business, you could invest in scientific industries thanks to investment opportunities on the stock market and elsewhere.

One of these industries that have seen particularly good growth over the past few years is the energy sector. In fact, there are lots of investors who are putting huge amounts of their savings into investments in this area. Do you want to join them? Here are some great tips that you might find useful.

Wind turbines

(Free-Photos, Pixabay)

Do your research

As with any type of investment opportunity, it is always necessary to carry out plenty of research before you decide which to go with. There are a lot of different ways you can invest your cash, and it is crucial that you pick the right one for you that could bring you some very high returns. One way to research this is to look at the credible suppliers in this area and see what their best sellers are at the minute. Those could be the best energies to invest in as there is obviously a very high demand.

Go renewable

Generally speaking, it’s best to look for investments that are going to have the potential for a long future. So, right now, that is looking like all forms of renewable energy. More and more individuals and organizations are making the switch to renewable energies now that it is very apparent just how much better for the environment they are compared to the likes of nuclear energy and fossil fuels. In fact, most countries are now looking to bring a complete stop to their use of fossil fuels over the next few years, so this could be one investment opportunity to stay well away from.


Solar panels

(Skeeze, Pixabay)

Always diversify

When you are trying to create an investment portfolio, it helps to diversify. This is so that you aren’t putting all of your eggs into one basket, so to speak. When it comes to diversifying your investments, there are different ways to do that. First of all, it’s best to invest in a few different investments and using different methods, including stocks, shares, and funds. If you want a few different energy investments in your portfolio, you should also look for ones from different countries. That way, if one currency or economy were to be negatively affected, only a portion of your investments will take a hit.

Look for fringe companies

It might also be worth moving away from the main energy companies and looking for some on the fringe of the industry. These will be growing very quickly, so you should find that your money makes some healthy returns.

Good luck with your energy investments.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this post are those of the contributor and not Science & Enterprise.

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Soil Microbes Yield Rich Antibiotic Sources

Researchers taking soil samples

Research team taking soil samples in the Angelo Coast Range Reserve (Jill Banfield, Univ of California – Berkeley)

14 June 2018. A group of geo- and bioscience researchers analyzed microbes residing in soil under northern California and discovered many new potential sources of antibiotics, well beyond current sources. The team from University of California in Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report their findings in yesterday’s issue of the journal Nature (paid subscription required).

Researchers from the lab of earth and planetary sciences professor Jill Banfield are seeking new sources of antibiotics, as many current antibiotics become inoperative due to constant evolution of microbes targeted by those drugs. The authors cite data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing 2 million people a year in the U.S. become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, leading to some 23,000 deaths.

Banfield and colleagues explored soil from the Angelo Coast Range reserve in Mendocino County, California, part of a natural reserve owned by University of California. The site is already monitored as part of a climate change study. The team sample took 60 samples of soil in grasslands from the reserve, each about 10 grams, at depths of 4 to 16 inches. The researchers used a technique known as metagenomic sequencing that analyzes the genomes of all organisms present in environmental samples, like those extracted in the California soil.

With this analysis, the Berkeley team sequenced and assembled some 1,000 genomes found in the samples. The genomes represent a wide range of organisms, with only a few of the species representing even 1 percent of all microbes identified, but most of those identified are much more rare. While many of the organisms are classified under existing categories of soil microbes, many of the bacteria are newly identified, or are associated with other soil microbes in different, unexpected ways.

The researchers tested the genomes looking for genetic patterns similar to current antibiotics, and report on 360 of the organisms. About one-third of the microbes examined produce more than 1,000 genes similar to polyketides and nonribosomal peptides that make up the chemistries in many current antibiotics. A large number of the newly discovered organisms are acidobacteria, a common type of bacteria found in soil. Two of the new organisms, say the researchers, each encode 15 gene clusters resembling antibiotics.

“Most of these new biosynthetic molecules are coming out of what people know to be the most abundant bacteria in soil,” says Banfield in a university statement, “they just hadn’t been found because people didn’t have genomes for them. We expect to find novel antibiotics, which could help humanity, but also novel pharmaceuticals more broadly.”

The researchers plan to synthesize more than 20 of the newly discovered genes, and use them for genetic engineering of organisms to produce new types proteins leading to new antibiotics and other drugs.

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Natural, Engineered Microbes Shown to Control Cholera

Distributing water hygiene kits

Distributing water hygiene kits during a cholera outbreak in Haiti (

14 June 2018. A combination of natural bacteria found in milk products and a synthetic variation of those microbes are shown in tests with lab mice to detect and prevent cholera infections. A team from the Wyss Institute, a biomedical engineering center at Harvard University, describes its discoveries in yesterday’s issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

According to World Health Organization, from 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera occur each year, killing as many as 143,000 people. The disease is caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria, found in contaminated food and water, particularly in low-resource regions with weak public sanitation facilities, and in humanitarian crisis and conflict areas, where normal water supplies and sanitation systems are disrupted. Cholera is characterized by diarrhea and vomiting, which if severe, can lead to dehydration.

Researchers from the lab of biological engineering professor James Collins, with colleagues from Boston University and the Broad Institute — a medical research center affiliated with MIT and Harvard — are seeking feasible solutions to address cholera outbreaks, such as those now occurring in Yemen. One potential solution is to harness the body’s natural microbial communities in the gut that are emerging as an important pathway for understanding and improving human health.

The team focused on bacteria associated with lactic acid, known as Lactococcus lactis, or L. lactis, found in fermented milk products, such as buttermilk, and consumed safely for decades. The V. cholerae bacteria causing cholera are known to be sensitive to acidic conditions, and both the L. lactis and cholera bacteria reside for a time in the small intestine. The researchers tested the effects of L. lactis on cholera bacteria first in lab cultures and then with infant mice, who are more easily infected with cholera than adult mice.

The results show lactic acid produced by the metabolism of L. lactis limited growth of the cholera bacteria in the lab, and prevented infection of intestinal tissue in mice, when the mice were given L. lactis bacteria as well. Mice given both the L. Lactis and cholera bacteria also survived longer than mice given cholera bacteria alone. In separate tests, L. lactis bacteria modified to stop producing lactic acid when metabolized could not limit cholera bacteria.

The team then devised a technique with L. lactis bacteria to detect cholera infections, an important step for controlling outbreaks. The researchers genetically engineered L. lactis, adding a synthetic gene to sense the presence of the protein known as CAI-1, short for cholera autoinducer-1, secreted by cholera bacteria. When the engineered L. lactis senses signals from CAI-1, the bacteria emit a fluorescent enzyme that can be detected in fecal samples. Infant mice infected with cholera and given the synthetic L. lactis left fecal pellets with the reporter enzyme, allowing for researchers to track cholera activity in the animals.

“Our probiotic strategy presents a conceptually new way to prevent and diagnose cholera infection,” says Collins in a Wyss Institute statement. “Further translated into human conditions of V. cholerae infection, it could offer an inexpensive and extendable point-of-need intervention for managing cholera in populations at risk of outbreaks.” A companion article in Science Translational Medicine, from a team at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, engineered the cholera bacteria to develop an oral vaccine that prevented infections in tests with infant rabbits.

Boston University and MIT filed a patent application on the technology, with Collins and 2 of the co-authors listed as inventors. Collins is also co-founder of the biotechnology company Synlogic, a developer of synthetic probiotics for therapies.

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Chips Are Getting Scarily Advanced

– Contributed content –

Microchip in tweezers


14 June 2018. No, we’re not talking about potato chips. First invented in 1958 by electrical engineer Jack Kilby, the chip was the first truly integrated electrical circuit. Subsequent copies have been scaled down and made more intricate until the microchip’s invention in 1989. Chips have since gone onto play a major role in our lives. They’re in our debit cards, our mobile phones, our computers and TVs. Chips are everywhere.

The first chip was hand-built. Today’s examples are so complex and intricate that only other computers can manufacture them. Once built, chips need to be thoroughly tested for defects using a wafer inspection system and other testing procedures – procedures that are also reliant on computers.

But chips are still evolving and are getting more complex. In fact, the chips of the future could be a very different breed altogether achieving things we never thought possible.

Enter ‘the quantum chip’

Until recently, computers have operated solely using 1s and 0s. This means that as fast as modern computers are, they’re still doing things in single steps. Quantum computers using quantum chips are thought to be the future and could be capable of achieving many thousands of calculations in a single step. It is thought such computers could discover new chemical formulae and make calculations about the universe that weren’t previously possible.

Experts have stated that quantum computers won’t be useful until they can achieve over 49 quantum bits (the measurement of how many calculations they can do in a step). Well, IBM managed to break that late last year with a chip containing 50 quantum bits, whilst Google have more recently surpassed even that figure with a chip called the Bristletone quantum chip containing a whopping 72 quantum bits. We could be about to finally see the superior capabilities of a quantum computer, which could revolutionize everything we know about the world.

Meanwhile, other chips are being built to mimic the human brain

If this wasn’t scary enough, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been creating chips based on the human brain. Using light beams that act as neurons, the aim is to create a chip that can learn and make decisions at a faster rate than regular computer chips almost to the same ability as a human. The chip has yet to beat regular computer chips but is coming close – in a test used to recognize vowel sounds used by human being speaking, regular chips have a 90% success rate whilst this new chip had a success rate of 77%. Scientists in the experiment believe it won’t be long before these brain-chips outperform regular chips. Could this be the start of artificial intelligence?

Chips are also being implanted inside the human body

Volunteers in Melbourne meanwhile have had microchips placed under their skin as part of a new experiment. The purpose is to measure how human beings cope with chips inside them and whether the human body tries to reject them or gets infected. If successful, chips in the human body could be used to replace debit cards as a form of payment, we could unlock our cars simply using our hand and the chips could even be used to detect early signs illness in the human body. Such chips would have to be secure from hacking, which is something studies are still exploring. Are human beings likely to embrace these cybernetic enhancements, or is it all a bit too invasive? We will soon know.

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