Cerebral Hemispheres 2
NEUROSCIENTIFICALLY CHALLENGED

NEUROSCIENCE MADE SIMPLER

The Eyes Are the Windows to the...Internet?


This may seem a little off the topic of neuroscience, but ultimately neuroscience is needed to explain perception, and anything related to vision is related to the brain (plus it was just too cool for me to ignore). Remember this scene?


It is from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and is a snapshot of the Terminator robot’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger's) point of view. His/its visual display was complete with a targeting mechanism as well as an extensive database that was able to identify people and objects without having to make any movement or effort. Well, as is sometimes the case with science fiction, the movie may be a harbinger of technology to come, possibly within this generation. Engineers at the University of Washington are attempting to develop a contact lens with an imbedded electronic circuit that would superimpose a virtual display over the wearer’s normal visual representation. They have gotten as far as creating a flexible, safe lens with a circuit and light-emitting diodes incorporated into it, although the diodes do not yet light up.

The ability to put a circuit on a contact lens, however, is incredible in and of itself. Not only does it necessitate the creation of nanoid circuits, but it also involves embedding them in biologically safe materials that are flexible enough to fit on the eye. The circuits for the contact lenses created at UW are about one thousandth the width of a human hair. After being constructed they are spread on a sheet of flexible plastic. The pieces of the circuit can only fit together in one shape, and natural capillary action (the same force that draws water up plant tubules) brings the pieces together. This is an amazing manufacturing technique in nanotechnology known as self-assembly.

The display Arnold Schwarzenegger had in Terminator 2 is still quite a ways off. But according to a UW assistant professor of engineering, Babak Parviz, a basic display with a few pixels could be functional “fairly quickly”. Eventually, the team at UW hopes to create a contact lens that could easily be popped in or out, with wireless technology that would allow one to surf the internet without a screen in front of them. It sounds very cool, but also I imagine it would be a little eerie to walk into Starbucks and see a bunch of people staring off into space as they sip their mochas…

YOUR BRAIN, EXPLAINED

Sleep. Memory. Pleasure. Fear. Language. We experience these things every day, but how do our brains create them? Your Brain, Explained is a personal tour around your gray matter. Building on neuroscientist Marc Dingman’s popular YouTube series, 2-Minute Neuroscience, this is a friendly, engaging introduction to the human brain and its quirks using real-life examples and Dingman’s own, hand-drawn illustrations.

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  • Reading like a collection of detective stories, Your Brain, Explained combines classic cases in the history of neurology with findings stemming from the latest techniques used to probe the brain’s secrets. - Stanley Finger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Washington University (St. Louis), author, Origins of Neuroscience

  • ...a highly readable and accessible introduction to the operation of the brain and current issues in neuroscience... a wonderful introduction to the field. - Frank Amthor, PhD, Professor of Psychology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, author, Neuroscience for Dummies

  • Dingman weaves classic studies with modern research into easily digestible sections, to provide an excellent primer on the rapidly advancing field of neuroscience. - Moheb Costandi, author, Neuroplasticity and 50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know

BIZARRE

This book shows a whole other side of how brains work by examining the most unusual behavior to emerge from the human brain. In it, you'll meet a woman who is afraid to take a shower because she fears her body will slip down the drain, a man who is convinced he is a cat, a woman who compulsively snacks on cigarette ashes, and many other unusual cases. As uncommon as they are, each of these cases has something important to teach us about everyday brain function.

  • Through case studies of both exceptional people as well as those with disorders, Bizarre takes us on a fascinating journey in which we learn more about what is going on in our skull. - William J. Ray, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, author, Abnormal Psychology

  • Dingman brings the history of neuroscience back to life and weaves in contemporary ideas seamlessly. Readers will come along for the ride of a really interesting read and accidentally learn some neuroscience along the way. - Erin Kirschmann, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology & Counseling, Immaculata University

  • A unique combination of storytelling and scientific explanation that appeals to the brain novice, the trained neuroscientist, and everyone in between. Dingman explores some of the most fascinating and mysterious expressions of human behavior in a style that is case study, dramatic novel, and introductory textbook all rolled into one. - Alison Kreisler, PhD, Neuroscience Instructor, California State University, San Marcos

  • Bizarre is a collection of stories of how the brain can create zombies, cult members, extra limbs, instant musicians, and overnight accents, to name a few of the mind-scratching cases. After reading this book, you will walk away with a greater appreciation for this bizarre organ. If you are a fan of Oliver Sacks' books, you're certain to be a fan of Dingman's Bizarre. - Allison M. Wilck, PhD, Researcher and Assistant Professor of Psychology, Eastern Mennonite University