Headshot: Action video games found to improve brain's capacity to learn

You're moving ever so cautiously through the abandoned village, with one eye on the radar and the other trained on the vacant window ahead. Then in an instant the enemy appears, causing you to spray your weapon in the general vicinity, guided partly by your action hero instincts but mostly by pure hope. Thinking through these video game situations may take less than a second, but new research shows it can also enhance real-world learning capabilities, enabling the brain to better anticipate sequences of events. Read More

Good Thinking

Kickstarting disaster: When crowdfunding backfires

A Kickstarter pitch for an old school board game wouldn't ordinarily make it onto the pages of Gizmag. But despite its initial success, Erik Chevalier's campaign for The Doom That Came to Atlantic City has been such an unmitigated disaster that it serves as an essential reminder to those thinking of backing crowdfunding campaigns that they do so at their own risk.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Melon Headband aims to measure mental focus

Thinking about how accurately and effectively you are thinking is an exercise from which many of us could profit. Unfortunately, this is a serious challenge for most people. Rather like thinking about your golf swing, or just how to hit that high C, self-examination tends to modify or destroy the mental processes that were to be evaluated. Fortunately, we are in the age of personal EEG monitors, of which the latest entry is the Melon (which briefly surfaced previously as the Axio), a Kickstarter project to manufacture a headband EEG monitor designed to measure mental focus. Read More

Good Thinking

If you want to solve a problem - forget about it

If you think letting your mind wander is unproductive then you may be in for a big surprise. A recent study at the University of British Columbia found that our brains are much more active when we daydream than previously thought. What is surprising is that the study also found that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving – previously thought to go dormant when we daydream – are actually more active than when we focus on routine tasks.Read More


Brainwave controlled video game concept unveiled

With many people probably thinking that computer games are a sedentary enough pastime as it is - with the possible exception of the Wii - the prospect of games that don’t even require the lifting of a finger to operate a controller might not be great news for parents hoping to get their couch-bound prodigies moving. That hasn’t stopped wearable consumer bio-sensors manufacturer, NeuroSky, Inc., demonstrating a brainwave-controlled video game at the Tokyo Game Show 2008. The technical demonstration based on a new game concept being jointly developed with Square Enix Co., Ltd. featured the NeuroSky commercial headset, dubbed the MindSet, operating in conjunction with Windows PC machines.Read More


Specific brainwave patterns occur prior to a “Eureka Moment”

September 9, 2008 “Eureka” (Greek for "I have found it") is an exclamation used as an interjection to proclaim an epiphanic discovery. Famously pronounced in the bathtub by Archimedes when he suddenly understood that the volume of irregular objects could be calculated with precision through the displacement of water, a previously intractable problem. Real-world problems come in two broad types: those requiring sequential reasoning and those requiring transformative reasoning: a break from past thinking followed by an insight. It is this moment, where a problem solver makes a quantum leap of understanding with no conscious forewarning, that we term the “Eureka moment.” A new university study in which brainwaves of humans were measured as they attempted to solve puzzles that call for intuitive strategies and novel insight has found an array of specific brainwave patterns occur several (up to 8) seconds before the participant is consciously aware of an insight.Read More


Architecture students think outside the box to design low-cost, less-waste housing

A non-profit organization has given architecture students a chance to learn about the practical, hands-on elements of their future profession whilst exposing them to the benefits of building low-cost, sustainable housing using materials sourced from the local area. Since 2000, DesignBuildBluff and graduate students from the University of Utah’s College of Architecture & Planning have designed and built energy-efficient, inexpensive houses using natural building methods and materials made of recycled products and locally salvaged waste or by-products. Read More


Open up and say ahhh: new technique uses laser light to analyze breath for diseases

February 19, 2008 We're familiar with the use of breath testing to determine blood alcohol content, but according to new research the air we exhale could reveal much more about what's happening in our bodies, and in the future, breath testing could become a regular part of visiting the doctor. The research by a team of US scientists has shown that markers for diseases such as asthma or cancer can be determined by analyzing trace molecules in the breath using laser light. Experiments using a pulsed laser aimed into a breath-filled cavity proved that gases such as ammonia, carbon monoxide, and methane could be detected revealing signposts to particular diseases being present in the patient - ammonia, for example, may indicate renal failure.Read More


Paperpod’s cardboard play-house: recyclable and reusable

February 13, 2008, According to the EPA, if consumers bought more recycled environmentally-friendly products, not only would they help to make the recycling process a success, they would also put pressure on manufacturers to produce high-quality recycled products. Toy manufacturers are often among the worst offenders when it comes to excess packaging and plastic toys but now a UK company has developed a range of children’s toys which are not only made of recycled material but are also themselves recyclable.Read More


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