At the University of Oxford, [Jen Chesters] conducts therapy sessions with thirty men in a randomized clinical trial to test the effects of tDCS on subjects who stutter. Men are approximately four times as likely to stutter and the sex variability of the phenomenon is not being tested. In the randomized sessions, the men and [Jen] are unaware if any current is being applied, or a decoy buzzer is used.
Transcranial Direct Current, tDCS, applies a small current to the brain with the intent of exciting or biasing the region below the electrode. A credit-card sized card is used to apply the current. Typically, tDCS ranges from nine to eighteen volts at two milliamps or less. The power passing through a person’s brain is roughly on par with the kind of laser pointer you should not point straight into your eyeball and is considered “safe,” with quotation marks.
A week after the therapy, conversational fluency and the ability to recite written passages shows improvement over the placebo group which does not show improvement. Six weeks after the therapy, there is still measurable improvement in the ability to read written passages, but sadly, conversational gains are lost.
Many people are on the fence about tDCS and we urge our citizen scientists to exercise all the caution you would expect when sending current through the brain. Or, just don’t do that.
Newton’s Cradle is thought of as the most elegant of executive desk toys. But that 20th-century dinosaur just got run off the road as [Ben Katz]’s Furuta pendulum streaks past in the fast lane, flipping the bird and heralding a new king of desk adornments.
This Furata pendulum has wonderfully smooth movement. You can watch it go through its dance in the video after the break. Obviously you agree that this is the desk objet d’art for the modern titan of industry (geek). Just don’t stop at watching it in action. The best part is the build log that [Ben] put together — this project has a little bit of everything!
Continue reading “Furuta Style Inverted Pendulum Is King of Geek Desk Ornaments”
[Robert Glaser] kept all his projects, all of them, from the 1960s to now. What results is a collection so pure we feel an historian should stop by his house, if anything, to investigate the long-term effects of the knack.
He starts with an opaque projector he built in the third grade, which puts it at 1963. Next is an, “idiot box,” which looks suspiciously like “the Internet”, but is actually a few relaxation oscillators lighting up neon bulbs. After that, the condition really sets in, but luckily he’s gone as far as to catalog them all chronologically.
We especially enjoyed the computer projects. It starts with his experiences with punch cards in high school. He would hand-write his code and then give it to the punch card ladies who would punch them out. Once a week, a school-bus would take the class to the county’s computer, and they’d get to run their code. In university he got to experience the onset of UNIX, C, and even used an analog computer for actual work.
There’s so much to read, and it’s all good. There’s a section on Ham radio, and a very interesting section on the start-up and eventual demise of a telecom business. Thanks to reader, [Itay Ramot], for the tip!
If you set a cardiac nurse loose on a Propeller microcontroller and some parts you might not know what to expect. But we’re intrigued by the outcome of this project which looks to mimic a heartbeat’s audible and electrical traits. The post about the project is in four parts which are not linked to each other, but you can find them all, as well as a video segment demonstrating the rig after the break.
It seems that this was intended as a Halloween project, but we don’t see why it wouldn’t be interesting any time of year. The Propeller demo board is used to mimic a heartbeat with a pulsing LED. But that doesn’t seem all that awesome, so the sounds of a heartbeat were added to the program to coincide with the blinky light. Here’s where the medical training comes in: the next phase of the process was to lay out an array of LEDs on a breadboard in the shape of the human heart’s electrical system. Now you’ve got a pulsing LED, heart sounds, and a lighted animation showing how the electricity travels through the organ.
To add a little [Poe] to the project there’s also a CdS light sensor. As you approach the project you block some light from getting to the sensor and the heart rate increases.
We think the next logical step is to add a heart rate sensor, so that this can illustrate what your own heart is doing. Boom! Another project ready for the Children’s museum.
Continue reading “Mimicing a heartbeat in sound and electrical pathways”