Blog entries

Kubb: The Viking Game

One essential skill for working in the Higgins laboratory is knowing how to play Kubb. You can find the rules here. The game, as it was properly played in the deep green grass at Bäckaskog Slott near Kristianstad in the Skåne region of Sweden, is shown below.

Higgins part of the "Nifty Fifty" for 2014

Professor Higgins was again named one of the "Nifty Fifty" for the 2014 USA Science and Engineering Festival! Prof. Higgins gave a public lecture at Patriot High School in Nokesville, VA on February 7, 2014.

Cyborg Cockroach Sparks Ethics Debate

So, according to this article, apparently people do have ethical issues with using insects for neuroscience experiments. Or maybe they are worried the idea will eventually escalate to be used on people?

Healing mental illness with neurofeedback

Here's a link to an article about using biofeedback, basically knowing how some areas of your brain are responding, to potentially heal mental illnesses. Wouldn't it be great if the solution to psychological problems could be solved with a personal EEG machine?

Communicating with the unconscious

I have to pass along this fascinating article about communication with a clinically vegetative patient using only fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). In this case, a patient unable to communicate or move in any way was apparently able to answer yes or no questions by modulating his brain activity. If he can answer yes or no questions, with some patience full communication is possible. For example, he could select letters on a screen as they come by. So how many "vegetative," "unconscious" people have active minds but are "locked in" to useless bodies? The downside of this is that the MRI machine he's using to communicate is unimaginably expensive to build and hideously expensive to use. So he'd better answer those questions fast before he's "locked in" again.

Brain-controlled helicopter

In the NROS 415 Electrophysiology class this semester, our final project is to control a webcam with thoughts alone. This is done with a multi-channel EEG recording using Matlab software to send commands directly to the webcam. I thought this was a pretty ambitious final project, until I saw this CNN article.. Maybe mind-controlled physical devices are easier than I thought?

Robotic dragonfly

Here's a pretty awesome robotic dragonfly. What if we attached a real dragonfly brain to a dragonfly robot? Maybe we could make a supersonic that good or bad for mankind? ;)

Higgins part of the "Nifty Fifty" for 2012

Professor Higgins was named one of the "Nifty Fifty" for the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival! Prof. Higgins gave a public lecture at Norristown High School, Norristown, Pennsylvania, on April 26, 2012. Here's an article about it.

Robot monk from 1560

When I look at this robot monk from the year 1560 (yes, that's right), I can't help but think whether we are just a more complicated "clockwork". Could this design eventually result in an intelligent robot? Here's a link to an article about it, and the video is below. It's creepy because it looks almost, but not quite, lifelike.

New website with Joomla

We have a new website based on Joomla, after 13 years based on hand-written HTML (Prof. Higgins created the original site with HTML frames in 1999). The new look is pretty cool. Hope your browser supports CSS animations...

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