Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Magnetometer revolutionizes neurotechnology


This device has the potential to strengthen string theory greatly, and to aid in mapping the faint neurological fields of the brain to a far greater detail.

Here's how it works:

The idea behind Romalis' device is the fact that every atom can be viewed as a tiny bar magnet, and that even the tiniest magnetic field will tend to push that bar around. The apparatus contains a vapor of potassium and helium atoms and uses a laser to line up all these atomic magnets. Another laser then "reads" the atoms and measures how far they've been twisted out of line by external magnetic fields. While other magnetometers contain materials that function only at temperatures approaching absolute zero, Romalis' device works at near room temperature and is much more sensitive.

The neurological applications of this device promise a commercial neurotech within the decade, which would yield far better progress by democratizing the process of understanding the brain with these devices, which are several orders of magnitude cheaper than the present MRI scanners:

It's exciting:

Romalis' device could combine the best of both (MRI and MEG) technologies -- instant response with accurate localization.

At the same time, Romalis' device would eliminate the supercooled magnets that are required for MRI and for some of the electromagnetic tests, making the equipment much less expensive and more versatile. Laid out around a person's head, current supercooled magnetic detectors take readings about every 2 centimeters along the scalp. Romalis' magnetometers could measure signals every 2 millimeters or so. And while a current state-of-the-art magnetoen-cephalography machine costs $2 million, Romalis is building his prototype for $200,000.

"If we have more information -- more measurements from more points in space around a person's head -- we should be able to get much better localization at a much lower cost," said Haxby. "So it's really exciting."

Another marvellous


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