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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

A nanoparticle injection is all it takes to let these mice see in infrared

I know it’s everyone’s dream to see outside the wavelengths allotted to our visual systems. Well, as usual, mice have gotten there first, with the help of some clever scientists. By injecting specialized light-tweaking nanoparticles into a mouse’s retina, that mouse is suddenly and clearly able to perceive near-infrared light — suggesting the same could be possible for us, assuming you don’t mind a needle in the eye.

The advance involves what the researchers, from the University of Science and Technology in China, call “ocular injectable photoreceptor-binding upconversion nanoparticles.” It’s actually not as complicated as it sounds. Well… actually, it is pretty complicated.

The human eye can only see wavelengths of light between about 430 and 770 nanometers; above that is ultraviolet and below it is infrared. We don’t see infrared but in great enough quantities we can sense the heat it imparts. All objects give off IR, increasingly so the warmer they are, which is the basis for heat vision goggles.

But while some infrared is well outside our ability to sense, a band known as near-infrared (NIR) is just below the reds we can detect. What if you could shift that NIR upwards with some kind of optical trickery? We do it all the time, of course — convert one kind of light or energy into another.

In fact, it turns out that these researchers had already created the necessary trickery for a different reason, namely as a molecule for optogenetic triggers that would absorb infrared light (which conveniently penetrates many tissues) and emit visible spectrum light instead.

The nanoparticles bind to rods and cones, coating them and changing the wavelengths they are sensitive to.

These “nanoantennae,” as the researchers call them, are biocompatible and can be combined with proteins that encourage them to bind with the photoreceptive cells in our retinas. What happens when you coat a cell that normally detects green light with a molecule that absorbs NIR radiation (900-1000 nm) and outputs something 500 nm shorter? That cell can effectively now sees IR as a shade and intensity of green.

Transmission electron microscopy image of the nanoparticles.

That’s exactly what happened when the team injected these molecules into the eyes of mice (such subretinal injections are already done in humans with some eye problems); the animals were instantly able to detect NIR in a variety of circumstances. Not only did a beam of IR cause their pupils to constrict, but patterns projected in IR indicating a reward were reliably sought by the mice, indicating this was not just a general awareness but detailed perception in the wavelength.

Note that this is different from the colorful “heat vision” we see in movies — night vision goggles use electronic sensors to amplify and categorize incoming radiation outside the visual range, producing those interesting noisy rainbow images. This would be more like seeing something warm as slightly more bright (and greener) than a cooler item of the same color. You’d also be able to see the TV clicker blinking its little patterns.

The molecules also seemed to cause no serious problems in the retina, such as cell death or irritation — and the mice were still able to see in IR some 10 weeks after injection.

The team explains the importance of their findings:

It is important to note that these injected nanoantennae did not interfere with natural visible light vision. The ability to simultaneously detect visible and NIR light patterns suggests enhanced mammalian visual performance by extending the native visual spectrum without genetic modification and avoiding the need for bulky external devices. This approach offers several advantages over the currently used optoelectronic devices, such as no need for any external energy supply, and is compatible with other human activities.

In other words, this could be a simple, safe, and reversible way to extend human vision well beyond our present capabilities — no batteries required. Not exactly something you’d want done on a whim, but you better believe the military would be interested. Of course a great deal of further work and testing needs to be done, but this does seem like a particularly promising application of nanotech.

The research was published today in the journal Cell.


Source: TechCrunch

CEO Richard Plepler is leaving HBO

Richard Pleper, who’s been at HBO since 1992 and served as CEO since 2013, is leaving the network.

In a staff memo, Plepler didn’t offer specific reasons for his departure but said, “Hard as it is to think about leaving the company I love, and the people I love in it, it is the right time for me to do so.”

The news comes less than a year after AT&T acquired HBO’s corporate parent Time Warner.

Shortly after the deal closed, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey held a town hall meeting where he said HBO would need to grow its subscriber base and the amount of time those subscribers spend watching HBO content (a recording of the meeting was obtained by The New York Times). In the memo, Plepler said he’s told Stankey — “who has been nothing but gracious since we spoke” — that he “would work closely with him to assure a seamless and organic transition.”

This also comes as WarnerMedia plans to launch a streaming service of its own. While Pleper was CEO, Netflix has reshaped the TV landscape (and supplanted HBO as the leader in Emmy nominations), but it was also under his leadership that HBO launched its own direct-to-consumer subscription service, HBO Now, setting the stage for seemingly every network and media company launching a streaming service of its own.

In fact, the one time I interviewed Plepler was in 2013, at a red carpet event for “Game of Thrones” (I’m still not sure what I was doing there). When asked to speculate about what the future would hold, he replied, “Maybe even a broadband-only HBO delivery system. Who knows? We’ll see where that goes down the road.”


Source: TechCrunch

Se buscan voluntarios para dar sentido común a la IA con un Pictionary

El juego es un vehículo perfecto para que la inteligencia artificial aprenda a expresar y entender conceptos complejos a través de otros más simples. Por eso, un equipo del Instituto Allen ha creado una versión ‘online’ para que cualquiera pueda contribuir a su aprendizaje
Source: MIT

Las 10 peores tecnologías del siglo XXI

Algunas llegaron antes de tiempo, otras se aplicaron mal, y otras simplemente no aportan ningún beneficio a la sociedad sino todo lo contrario. Obviamente el Segway y las Google Glass están en la lista, pero hay otras de las que seguro que no sospecha
Source: MIT

La peligrosa internacionalización de los gigantes tecnológicos chinos

Empresas como Alibaba y Tencent, nacidas como pequeñas ‘start-ups’ repudiadas por su Gobierno, se ganaron su confianza para crecer. Pero este apoyo tenía un lado oscuro en forma de servilismo estatal que podría convertirse en un lastre para su expansión en el exterior
Source: MIT

Check your ports! Researchers find scary vulnerability in Thunderbolt accessories

Before you plug in a foreign cable to charge your computer or untrusted peripheral into your system, you’ll want to read about Thunderclap, a vulnerability that researchers say affects the Thunderbolt port on modern PCs and Macs.

The post Check your ports! Researchers find scary vulnerability in Thunderbolt accessories appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

In a bid for extra protection, YouTube disables comments on videos with children

Following a major round of controversy over predatory comments, YouTube will be disabling the comments section on all videos that feature children. The move aims to protect children using the video-sharing platform.

The post In a bid for extra protection, YouTube disables comments on videos with children appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Microsoft and Facebook’s undersea Marea cable breaks data transfer speed record

Facebook and Microsoft’s subsea Marea cable just set another world record. Researchers using high-speed lasers were able to send data at 26.2 terabits per second across the 4,000 mile-long cable.

The post Microsoft and Facebook’s undersea Marea cable breaks data transfer speed record appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Trump Can’t Make a North Korea Deal on His Own

The Hanoi debacle shows that if you want to make progress with North Korea, you have to put in the work.
Source: Wired

Pot legalization means high times for junk food sales, study says – CNET

Puff, puff, pass the cookies.
Source: CNET

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