Direct neural interface: Hopefully coming soon to a brain near you

Direct neural interface has long been a dream and fantasy of tech geeks like myself who grew up reading science fiction. Slap an electrode net on your head (or screw a cable into an implanted jack) and there you are, controlling a computer with the same ease that you'd walk down the street or bend a paperclip with your fingers. If nothing else, those of us who battle the spectre of carpal tunnel syndrome constantly know that our careers have a shelf life, and at some point we're going to be out of action more or less permanently. So we …

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Controlling genes by thought, DNA sequencing in 90 minutes, and cellular memory.

A couple of years ago the field of optogenetics, or genetically engineering responsiveness to visible light to exert control over cells was born. In a nutshell, genes can be inserted into living cells that allow certain functions to be switched on or off (such as the production of a certain hormone or protein) in the presence or absence of a certain color of light. Mostly, this has only been done on an experimental basis to bacteria, to figure out what it might be good for. As it happens to turn out, optogenetics is potentially good for quite a lot of …

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nia_eeg_chart.py - Convert data captured from the NIA into an EEG chart.

Well, I finally got it working. After a lot of trial and error I was able to figure out how to set up a panel of six strip charts, one per channel of electrical activity in the brain that the OCZ NIA picks up. The application I wrote takes output captured from nia_number_dumper.py and displays it as one would expect an EEG to look. Python is required to run this software.

Next up: turning it into a realtime display from the NIA.

Here's a screenshot

of the app in action.

Download nia_eeg_chart.zip here

Test data set for nia_eeg_chart …

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Pirates, pants, pets, Python, and Push.

After many months of near misses and scheduling conflicts, Kyrin finally got Lyssa and I to join him for a Friday evening at Piratz Tavern (8402 Georgia Avenue; Silver Spring, MD; 20910; phone 301-588-9001 to cap off a long work week. Hasufin, Lyssa, and I piled into the TARDIS and set course for Silver Spring around 1900 EST5EDT, which we figured would be late enough to dodge weekend traffic on the Beltway.

It wasn't, actually, but we still made decent time without actually being fashionably late.

Piratz Tavern is a very small, unassuming place on a corner across the street …

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OCZ NIA hacking, now with Python!

Disclaimer the first: I don't know a whole lot about USB or device drivers. Those of you who do will no doubt point and laugh.

Disclaimer the second: Where applicable, I've given credit for and linked to the work of others. I've independently discovered a few things that others have already figured out, so one or two things may not be attributed. In that case, please let me know and I'll put a reference where applicable.

Over the past few weeks I've been playing with my OCZ NIA on and off. My first attempt at getting anything out of it …

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Now I get the hype about the NIA.

A couple of months back there was quite a bit of hype (which vanished rapidly as people forgot all about it when the next new thing came around) about the NIA brain-computer interface from OCZ Technology (which is also known for its build-your-own-laptop kits). Ostensibly, it's a consumer-grade, non-invasive EEG that you strap across your forehead and jack into a small interface unit which then plugs into a USB port on your computer. The unit comes with drivers that can map certain inputs from the dermatrodes (good call, Mr. Gibson) to keyboard and mouse events defined by the user.. the …

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