Technology Tuesday: January 26


This week: Scientists find evidence of a ninth planet in the solar system, researchers discover the brain has the same memory capacity as the entire internet, DARPA is working on a brain implant to connect the human brain to the digital world, a breakthrough in prosthesis technology, and nanoparticles that kill antbiotic resistant bacteria while leaving healthy cells alive.


Scientists Find Evidence of Ninth Planet


Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology announced that a giant icy planet might be hiding at the edge of our known solar system. This planet has been appropriately named “Planet Nine” (usurping the title previous held by Pluto).

Notably, this is early research, and the existence of the planet is, at the present point, simply inferred.

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New Research Suggests The Brain’s Memory Capacity Is Equivalent To The Entire Internet

Salk researchers and collaborators have discovered that the human brain has a higher memory capacity than was originally estimated. This insight into the size of neural connections could have great implications on better understanding how the brain is so energy efficient.

“This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience,” says Terry Sejnowski, Salk professor and co-senior author of the paper, which was published in eLife. “We discovered the key to unlocking the design principle for how hippocampal neurons function with low energy but high computation power. Our new measurements of the brain‘s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.”

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Scientists Developing Digital Connection Brain Implant




A new DARPA program called Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) is seeking to bridge the gap between the human brain and our ever-advancing digital worlds. Ultimately, they are trying to do it through an implantable neural interface that offers unprecedented resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the human brain and technological devices.

Essentially, the interface serves as a translator that switches from the electrochemical language that neurons use in human brains and the binary language composed of ones and zeroes used in information technology.

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Groundbreaking Robotic Prosthesis Attaches Directly To Implant in Patient’s Bone

A new method that offers a wide range of motion and comfort for amputees is now available, thanks to a pioneering surgical technique developed by researchers from Johns Hopkins Applies Physics Laboratory (APL). This is a first in the field of prosthetics, which has always faced problems when dealing with the socket, which is the part where the prosthesis attaches to the body.

Typically, this area experiences a lot of pain—sores and blisters are common. Even the most well designed sockets will experience major discomfort due to heat, sweating and chafing. In addition to this, the joint area will often feel heavy and the prosthetic cumbersome.



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Light Activated Nanoparticles That Kill 90% Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria



According to a study conducted the UK-based Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, drug resistant diseases and infection could kill 10 million people worldwide every year by 2050. Saying that this is a serious issue is a massive understatement.

Aside from this massive loss of lives, the Review also cited the enormous economic loss that could result from antibiotic resistant infections. Potential financial repercussions could amount to $100 trillion—larger than economy of all the countries in the world combined. But all hope is not lost.

Scientists used quantum dots to make bacteria killing nanoparticles that are 20,000 times smaller than a strand of human hair, and they don’t harm healthy cells.



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Know any interesting stories we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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