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Scientists Reverse Engineer Animal Brains To Create Bionic Prosthetic Eyes 96

MrSeb writes "Utilizing neuroscience, gene therapy, and optogenetics, a pair of researchers from Cornell University have created a bionic prosthetic eye that can restore almost-normal vision to animals blinded by destroyed retinas. Prosthetic eyes have been created before, but for the most part these have been dumb prosthetics — chips that wire themselves into the ganglion cells behind the retina, which are the interface between the retina and optic nerve. These chips receive optical stimuli (via a CMOS sensor, for example), which they transmit as electrical signals to the ganglion cells. These prosthetic eyes can produce a low-resolution grayscale field that the brain can then interpret — which is probably better than being completely blind — but they don't actually restore sight. The Cornell prosthetic eye however, developed by Sheila Nirenberg and Chethan Pandarinath, is a much closer analog to a real eye, almost completely restoring sight in mice — and within 1 or 2 years, humans (PDF)."
GNU is Not Unix

3D Self-Replicating Printer to be Released Under GNU License 313

Rob O'Neill writes "A Kiwi open source developer is working on a self-replicating 3D printer, RepRap, to be made available under the GNU license. 'The 3D printer works by building components up in layers of plastic, mainly polylactic acid (PLA), which is a bio-degradable polymer made from lactic acid. The technology already exists, but commercial machines are very expensive. They also can't copy themselves, and they can't be manipulated by users, says Vik Olliver. RepRap has a different idea. The team, which is spread over New Zealand, the UK and the US, develops and gives away the designs for its much cheaper machine, which also has self-copying capabilities. It wants to make the machine available to anybody — including small communities in the developing world, as well as people in the developed world, says Olliver. Accordingly, the RepRap machine is distributed, at no cost, under the GNU (General Public License).'"

Sharp's Tiny LCD Doubles As Scanner 69

morpheus83 writes "It's all of 3.5-inches but this LCD screen from Sharp features an integrated optical scanner that could be used to scan business cards, but also be used as a method for multi-touch input. The prototype was seen at the Ceatec exhibition. Possible uses include the ability to recognize fingers or other objects and as biometric lock on your phone. And since each pixel has a scanner it may as well be a multi-touch screen."

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben