21 November 2015

De-extinction: the new trend!

Is that your twin? How can you possibly be in two places at the same time? AAAAAAAAAAA run.. ghost!! I just saw you walk through that door and now you’re there again, or are you just spamming the doorway again and again?! 

Yeah well this is the expected reactions at present of all earthlings, to what might possibly be the future. Well what I’m talking about here is cloning. Something of the sort that happens in the movie, Island featuring Scarlett Johansson. Remind you of anything? Well it doesn’t happen exactly the way portrayed in the movies; A clone develops exactly the way a normal human does, needs a surrogate mother and ample time to grow into a fully developed individual.

Cloning is just so unnatural!

For all those who think cloning is unnatural, think again! It was pretty basic high school biology that everyone studied about Asexual reproduction, well recall those processes.
  • ·        Bacteria, yeast, and single-celled protozoa multiply by making copies of their DNA and dividing in two. Like the ditto from Pok√©mon.

  • ·         Redwood and aspen trees send up shoots from their roots, which grow into trees that are genetically identical to the parent- like roots dividing into more roots and forming more trees

  • ·         In the animal world, the eggs of female aphids grow into identical genetic copies of their mother—without being fertilized by a male.

  • ·        If a starfish is chopped in half, both pieces can regenerate, forming two complete, genetically identical individuals. Like chop up Patrick form ‘SpongeBob square pants’ and you’ll get two separate Patricks growing from those two pieces, imagine the horror!
  • ·         Even mammals form natural clones: identical twins are a common example in many species.

De- extinction be the new shiz!

Suddenly why do I bring this topic up when we’ve practically been watching movies, documentaries etc. based on this for over a decade now. I know it isn’t a new concept but well some new discoveries caught my interest.
The passenger pigeon was hunted to extinction 99 years ago, but researchers are planning to use DNA from museum specimens to bring the bird back to life.

How will this happen?

Step 1: sequence the genome of the passenger pigeon and compare it to that of the bird’s closest living relative, the band-tailed pigeon, to pick out the most important variations.
Step 2: Edit the genome from the germ cell of a band-tailed pigeon to transform it into that of a passenger pigeon.
Step 3:  Implant this germ cell into another pigeon, likely a rock pigeon, where the researchers hope it will migrate to the gonads to produce sperm or eggs. Two of these birds will be mated to create a passenger pigeon chick. At least that’s the plan.

Dolly the cloned sheep.

Where’s the problem?

·        The nucleus of an egg cell needs to be removed for cloning; this means removing the proteins essential to help cells divide, is removed. Cloning mice is not a problem because they are able to make these proteins again, but this doesn’t happen in primates- so monkey cloning failed.
  • ·        Cloned animals often have different kinds of genetic abnormalities that can prevent embryo implantation in a uterus, or cause the fetus to spontaneously abort, or the animal to die shortly after birth.
  • ·        The extremely high rate of death, and the risk of developmental abnormities from cloning makes cloning people unethical.

 Let’s just hope that this technological development overcomes obstacles only for the better, and not lead to Human extinction!

4 November 2015

Kinect: Xbox 360 secret!

The story uptil now..

It all started in 1962 with ‘Spacewar’, the first of its kind and then there was no looking back for the video game industry. This ever evolving field of technology has touched millions of lives, be it a 6 yr old or 60 year old, it has taken control over the minds of all; its like puppets to the puppet master, slaves to the owners, zombies controlled by their masters- the players to the video games! The journey of the evolution of this technology is commendable. The essential part of a video game, without which it can’t be played is-...
Well you guessed it right- the CONSOLE!  The development from first to eighth generation of these consoles has been quite impressive. But the nineth generation of consoles will see something that will not only change the video game industry but all of science and technology for the better.Have you ever thought of telepathy? Something similar to what is portrayed in the movies- make the car move just by thinking about it, make the computer type whatever you want to, and make the robot walk just by imagining it. This is how the console will work, on the concept of Brain computer interface.
A glimpse of eigth generation technology : 

A brain computer what? Let’s rephrase- Neurogaming

For all the gaming lovers out there, I’m not talking about the brain of the computer- which is a CPU. We’re talking about a brain computer interface! Yes, sounds pretty alien like. Well controlling your online player without having to even move a finger is what we’re talking about. Yes! Now I’ve got your attention! All you have to do is imagine the player going right, the player will automatically take a right, imagine it jump, kick, box, whatever you want, however you want it to be, the player will do as u wish! The technology behind this miracle is BRAIN COMPUTER INTERFACE. It’s like controlling the player with your brain, like telepathy. The electromagnetic waves generated by your brain will be caught by the console which will enable you to control the player.

How does it work?

·        Using non-invasive Brain computer interface (BCI), Neurogaming enables the users to interact with the console, without the use of a traditional controller like a joystick or a motion controller wand.
·        Meaning- make the player move on the screen without even moving a finger. These neurogaming softwares use a player’s brain waves, heart rate, pupil dilation, expressions or even emotions to complete tasks or affect mood of the game.
·         For example, game developers at Emotiv have created non-invasive BCI that will determine the mood of a player and adjust music or scenery accordingly.
·         Interaction between a player and the software in such a manner is aimed at providing a more realistic gaming experience.
·        Utilizing the user’s ‘psychological state’ will help transfer reactions of users to their games in real-time action.
 A glimpse of the future of gaming: 

How does gaming help the world?

Earlier in this article I had mentioned “nineth generation of consoles will see something that will not only change the video game industry but all of science and technology for the better”. All those who think I’ve lost my mind, well i haven’t, yet! What I primarily meant by that statement is- the applications of this technology vary from the field of gaming to biology. For those whose lives depend on gaming to those whose lives actually depend on this technology for survival, it will change everything.

 Saviour of the day

This technology can be used for assisting, augmenting or repairing human cognitive or sensory motor functions. Ranging from limb replacement to bringing back vision to the visually impaired, this technology will serve as a means to provide life to those who had lost hope. It’s a saviour, so let’s welcome it with open arms.