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News is pain

Posted by on Jan 19, 2006 in Bioreactive Media, Blog, Data Visualization, Datamining, Emerging Science and Technology, Technology and Art | Comments Off on News is pain

Sure,? hearing the news can be depressing.?? But can it cause real pain????In an interesting art and technology project,? live news stories containing certain keywords sends an electrical charge through a type of electrode affixed to the viewer’s skin, on any part of the body. The level of the pain felt is intended to correspond to the type of news story being reported:?an Internet connected wireless device automatically detects keywords (such as death/ kill/ murder/ rape/ torture/war/virus…)? derived from approximately 4,500 worldwide news sources.? Each time the text of the news contains one of the keywords, the wearable device is activated through the Wi-Fi network,? and?a calibrated electrical signal is sent to the wearer of the device.??[Reblogged from:? infoesthetics.com and unbehagen.com & wifi-art.com]

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Your Skin as RFID transmitter

Posted by on Jan 17, 2006 in Bioreactive Media, Blog, Emerging Science and Technology | Comments Off on Your Skin as RFID transmitter

A German company,?Skinplex, has developed a method for small amounts of data to be transmitted via human skin. Like RFID, when the transponder (in this case, the human body) and receiver come within range, data is wirelessly passed from one to the other.? Skinplex claims that the?technology is “completely safe,” and?half the cost of conventional RFID devices.

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Spoofing Biometrics

Posted by on Jan 17, 2006 in Bioreactive Media, Blog, Datamining, Emerging Science and Technology, Technology and Privacy | Comments Off on Spoofing Biometrics

Researchers have spoofed biometric readers using materials as simple as scotch tape and saran wrap.? Recently,? yet another team reported a 90% success rate in fooling biometric fingerprint readers using just Play-Doh. They also reported getting similar results using fingers from cadavers.?? The problem is that biometric scans look for visual?patterns made known to the reader — and are not “biosensors.”?? In other words,? the scanners can be fooled by [cleanly] duplicating the pattern they expect for a given print.?? The scanners typically do not also check to see if the print offered is attached to a living body or connected to a secondary source of identity verification information.

This team, from Clarkson University,? said they had also developed a new algorithm that will improve biometric scan accuracy by including the patterns of “moisture” on live fingers,? presumably a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) reading as a check against using either Play-Doh or dead people to stand in for one’s own fingerprint.

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Think away your pain with fMRI

Posted by on Jan 11, 2006 in Bioreactive Media, Blog, Emerging Science and Technology | Comments Off on Think away your pain with fMRI

fMRI is being used in many unexpected venues these days, from lie detection to testing ads.? This imaging technology appears to also provide biofeedback potential that is promising on several fronts,? including the ability to manage chronic pain.

A study from researchers at Stanford University and Omneuron suggests that it is possible to control chronic pain by “thinking it away.”? The researchers asked people in pain to try to control a pain-regulating region of the brain by watching activity in that area from inside a real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, machine. Initial results showed subjects could reduce their pain, in some cases by a substantial amount.? It’s the first evidence that humans can control a specific region of the brain, and consequently decrease their own chronic pain, said Stanford professor Sean Mackey, co-author of the paper, which was published?in December, 2005?in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Portable Brain Scanner

Posted by on Jan 4, 2006 in Bioreactive Media, Blog, Emerging Science and Technology | Comments Off on Portable Brain Scanner

Developed at the University College in London, the MONSTIR is a prototype of a “portable brain scanner.”? It uses optical tomography to generate images showing brain activity. Light passes through body tissue and is then analysed by an associated computer.? MONSTIR currently takes around 8 minutes to generate an image.? Presumably it takes a lot longer when working with plastic dolls — like the one in their prototype image, at right.? :)

This?innovation is promising because future iterations could be used to eventually bring fMRI (functional MRI) to experimental artworks, mobile clinics, and many other venues where the cost and size of these machines make it impossible to utilize at present.? My own current work with bioreactive media installations (the AMYGDALA project) as well as?affective/wearable computing using biosensors makes this particularly interesting to me.? fMRI would provide a much more powerful way of connecting meaningful biosensors to a media experience.

Of course, fMRI is already being used by commercial interests to do things such as predict emotional responses to advertising and messaging,? and by law enforcement as a rather?accurate lie detector — because fMRI can detect the intention to tell a lie.. even before?the lie could be articulated by the speaker.? fMRI provides brain imaging that clearly indicates electrical activity in different parts of the brain, and since much is already known about which emotions are associated with various brain areas,? it provides a literal map of individual response and experience in connection with specific stimuli.

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DNA patenting in 2005

Posted by on Jan 4, 2006 in Bioreactive Media, Blog, Emerging Science and Technology, Technology and Privacy | Comments Off on DNA patenting in 2005

Companies are continuing to apply for — and receive —  patents on DNA sequences of nucleotides so they can license the rights to other companies that use the sequences to develop drugs or diagnostic tests.   Commercial entities that hold these patents own the intellectual property rights to your body:  nearly 20% of you, in fact. A new study from researchers at MIT shows that 4,270 US patents have been issued for 4,382 individual human genes – almost a fifth of the entire genome.

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