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Month: October 2018

31 Oct 2018
Manahel Thabet

AI powered device for Locked-In Syndrome patients available on NHS Supply Chain

EyeControl is an AI-powered, wearable eye tracking device that enables immediate communication for both emergency and social purposes with the first devices expected to be delivered to patients by the end of the year.

Or Retzkin, CEO of EyeControl said: “Since our launch in the UK in August we’ve received very positive feedback on our device. We’re thrilled to be officially working with the NHS to enable patients to once again communicate with their loved ones and carers in a simple, intuitive, and innovative way.”

Patients are said to be able use the device within 20 minutes. It consists of a head-mounted infrared camera that tracks the eye movements of a wearer and translates it into audio communication via a speaker. A bone conduction element that sits within the earpiece provides audio feedback to the user, allowing them to hear the communication before it is sent to the output speaker. The wearer can use predefined sentences or teach the EyeControl their own personalised syntax, as well as choose from a range of output languages and the device features Bluetooth wireless technology and works without a screen.

Helen Paterson, speech therapist at The Royal Hospital of Neuro-disability recently tested the device with a number of her patients and said: “The brilliant thing about The EyeControl over alternative communication devices is that it’s quite light and easy to wear and patients can communicate but they don’t have to have a big screen in front of them and they only need to move their eyes up and down and side to side. This means they don’t have to rely on having their device in front of them all the time, which obviously makes communication much easier for locked-in patients.”

Source: https://www.med-technews.com/news/ai-powered-device-for-locked-in-syndrome-patients-available-/

30 Oct 2018

Never underestimate the power of your mind

One thing that you need to know is that the power of the mind is something that we need to have in the palm of our hands. For one thing, the human race is one that has not been realising the full power of the noggin.

According to science and the halls of medicine, we are not using the full potential of the mind, and in this case, it means that more than 70% of the brain that is residing within our skulls is not being used to its full potential and this is the really tragic part of everything.

We need to know that there is more that we can do and the first thing that we must look at is really what we are doing that makes our brain so inert and inactive in the first place.

This means that we have been underutilised, we havebeen walking around the world today with only 20% of our brain in use, and it boggles the mind to how much potential we are actually wasting.

At the end of the day, what we need to do is to not underestimate the power of the mind, and how we can do this is look at the technology that has been around for a long time now, and from there postulate the actual potential power the mind has.

We are capable of some wonderful things, and this is even more possible by the fact that we are then able to manipulate the world around us and respond when we are under duress. One thing that we need to know is that the world that exists around us is one that is constantly bombarding us with ideas that we should not be taking if we want our minds to perform at its maximum capacity. In all sense of the word, we are living in convenience, which means that we have to think less to survive, and for all intents and purposes when it comes to evolution, this means that we have placed a great anchor on our journey towards evolution.

How can we evolve anymore in any sense, if we have no need to utilise any more of our brain, and because according to many geneticists all over the world, the last key of evolution is in our minds, and once we have crossed that final human frontier, then are we able to move on from there and look at the world around us with a different perspective.

One of the things that we need to know is how we are going to unlock the power of the mind, and there is different technology out there that can be achieved with something as simple as this.

For one thing, you can look at things like subliminal audio and the ever popular binaural beats technology, which uses simple sound waves to effect a response in the cortical of the brain and make it a much better performer under different conditions – augmenting the power of the mind.

Source: https://blackexcellencenetwork.co.za/never-underestimate-the-power-of-your-mind/24121/

28 Oct 2018

The exciting impact of AI on everyday life

Austin Tanney, Head of AI at Kainos, discusses the impact of artificial intelligence on our everyday lives. It is exciting, he concludes!

From my Northern Irish vantage point, I coordinate and facilitate a collaborative network around AI. Our 30 members range from micro SMEs through to multinational organisations, such as Liberty IT and Allstate. As such, I am privy to an incredible range of AI based applications and solutions that are coming down the line, and I am always surprised at the pace of change in the industry.

With every change, we need to take a few steps back and rethink how to frame the state of the art at that given time – so it’s worth keeping in mind that what is state of the art at any given time may well be seen as mundane in just a few short months.

For example, when the age of the AI personal assistant arrived with Google Assistant, Siri and Cortana, my framing focussed on trying to communicate that AI was no longer an abstract concept, but part of our everyday lives; albeit in a relatively limited manner. But it was only with the arrival of Amazon Alexa that many people were spending real money to own what is ultimately an AI product.

Today? Well… today things feel different again. Let me give you a few examples of applications of AI that we will all find hugely beneficial.

Read more: https://www.information-age.com/impact-artificial-intelligence-123475938/

27 Oct 2018

New tool provides real-time glimpse of brain activity in mice

A transparent set of electrodes enables researchers to simultaneously record electrical signals and visualize neurons in the brains of awake mice1.

Syncing neuronal signals with videos of neurons helps researchers map those signals to particular sites in the brain. The technology could yield insights into how the brain works and what goes awry in conditions such as autism.

Two-photon calcium imaging and electroencephalography (EEG) are both popular tools for studying the brain, but combining them has proved challenging. In the former technique, researchers tag calcium ions with fluorescent proteins. When neurons fire, a microscope picks up the fluorescence as calcium ions rush into the cells. EEG requires inserting a recording electrode into the brain. However, the electrode blocks light in the area from reaching the microscope.

In the new study, researchers built electrodes that transmit light. They layered a metallic material into a flat plastic mold, roughly the size of a single neuron, that is studded with hundreds of plastic spheres. The material fills the space around the spheres, creating holes that allow light to pass through.

Read more: https://www.spectrumnews.org/news/toolbox/new-tool-provides-real-time-glimpse-brain-activity-mice/

24 Oct 2018
Manahel Thabet

How Neuro-Physiotherapy Imparts Quality to Life

Since the last decade or so, we have been witnessing an upsurge in neurological problems such as strokes, Parkinson’s disease, diabetic neuropathy, and motor neuron diseases in our society. An alarming concern is that these problems have started affecting people at a younger age. Worldwide, neurological disorders are associated with higher rates of morbidity and mortality which in turn inflict higher cost of rehabilitation upon the sufferers. Given the topography, changing life style and the stressors, Kashmiris , per se, have a strong affinity toward neurological problems.
A belief that still dominates the clinical decision making of most healthcare professionals is that the recovery from neurological disorders is strictly a time bound phenomenon and to expect it happen after a set time frame, is unrealistic. Research has nullified it and suggests that brain can modify itself at any point in time provided the treatment is channelized in a right direction.
Unfortunately, we all come across a chunk of people who have fallen prey to such dogmas and live a lifeless life. Another chunk of the patient population is suffering because of its contentment with regard to the menial and irrelevant improvements. Needless to mention, it is the acumen of a skilled neuro-physiotherapist that determines the potential of rewiring of central nervous system connections essential for recovery. The concept of recovery has changed over a period of time; earlier, recovery was perceived as patients’ ability to achieve nominal and insignificant improvements that would enable them to come out of bed and walk a few steps. On the contrary, recovery now is tantamount to movements with a purpose in order to help patients regain functions, and eventually fulfill their social responsibilities.
Rehabilitation of patients with neurological problems is a high cost affair with huge financial and social costs. Soon after a person gets afflicted with a neurological disorder, besides the patient, the family members start bearing the brunt of the disease. Research reports reveal that the caregivers of neurologically impaired patients are exposed to a high level of stress which affects their productivity and, in turn, compromises the role they play in society. Recovery from neurological disorders, being relatively slower, demands close supervision and assistance from family members. In the meantime family members start dedicating their time and money towards the rehabilitation of the patient. Moreover, with modern family systems, every ailing person does not enjoy the luxury of extended social support and, eventually a number of impediments start emerging in the path of recovery.
In a nutshell, neurological problems not only affect patients but pose a massive challenge to family members too. The best strategy to cope up with the neurological problems is to facilitate patients’ functional independence as rapidly as possible that will eventually offload the family members to a greater extent.
Neurorehabilitation has undergone timely refinements to ensure best possible and evidence based care to patients. Modern day Neurorehabilitation uses approaches that emphasize minimizing compensations to ensure complete functional recovery. Functional independence is its essence and a neuro-physiotherapist proves to be an apt resource to deliver the best in order to achieve the short-term and long-term functional milestones. People in the valley have a limited knowledge of neuro-physiotherapy and the role a neuro-physiotherapist plays. A neuro-Physiotherapist, being a responsible member of healthcare team, plays a vital role right from the onset of a neurological problem to the stage of community rehabilitation of a patient.
Since Physiotherapists are movement science experts, fellow medical professionals and patients’ families can’t afford taking a neuro-Physiotherapist’s consultation and advice for granted. An insignificant problem, if left unaddressed, can have devastating repercussions later. For instance, a trivial fault in the shoulder after stroke/brain injury can affect a patient’s ability to drink and eat with the hand. Therefore, physiotherapy consultation from the outset remains crucial in determining a patient’s functional outcomes and ignoring it is at one’s peril.
Physiotherapists too need to be well versed in the latest developments in the field of neuro-physiotherapy to ensure quality care delivery. A neuro-Physiotherapist can make best use of treatments methods such as Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT), Virtual Reality (VR), Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT), Motor Relearning Programme (MRP), Task Specific Training, Partial Body Weight Support Treadmill Training (PBWSTT), and Robotics and so on. In order to achieve set functional objectives, neuro-physiotherapists equipped with the magic wand will surely help patients impart quality to their lives.

Source: https://kashmirreader.com/2018/10/24/how-neuro-physiotherapy-imparts-quality-to-life/

23 Oct 2018
Manahel Thabet

Study shows easy-to-use, noninvasive stimulation device can help prevent migraine attacks

A migraine is much more than just a bad headache. Migraine symptoms, which can be debilitating for many people, are the sixth leading cause of disability, according to the World Health Organization. While there is no cure, a new study published in Cephalalgia in March shows single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation is a new way to prevent migraine attacks. It’s safe, easy to use and noninvasive.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic and other major academic headache centers across the U.S. recently conducted the study that examined the effectiveness of using a single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation device to prevent migraine attacks. The eNeura SpringTMS Post-Market Observational U.S. Study of Migraine study, also known as ESPOUSE, instructed participants to self-administer four pulses with the device in the morning and four pulses at night over three months to prevent and treat migraine attacks as needed. Spring TMS stands for Spring transcranial magnetic stimulation or sTMS.

“The migraine brain is hyperexcitable, and basic science studies have demonstrated modulation of neuronal excitability with this treatment modality,” says Amaal Starling, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist, who is first author of the study. “Our study demonstrated that the four pulses emitted from this device twice daily reduce the frequency of headache days by about three days per month, and 46 percent of patients had at least 50 percent or less migraine attacks per month on the treatment protocol. This data is clinically significant. Based on the current study and prior studies in acute migraine attack treatment, sTMS not only helps to stop a migraine attack, but it also helps prevent them.”

“For certain patients, treatment options for migraines, such as oral medications, are not effective, well-tolerated or preferred,” Dr. Starling adds. “The sTMS may be a great option for these patients and allow doctors to better meet their unique needs.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration already had approved the sTMS device for the acute treatment of migraine with aura. The FDA now has approved it to prevent migraine, as well.

Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-03-easy-to-use-noninvasive-device-migraine.html#nRlv

22 Oct 2018
Manahel Thabet

Artificial Intelligence: What’s The Difference Between Deep Learning And Reinforcement Learning?

The various cutting-edge technologies that are under the umbrella of artificial intelligence are getting a lot of attention lately. As the amount of data we generate continues to grow to mind-boggling levels, our AI maturity and the potential problems AI can help solve grows right along with it. This data and the amazing computing power that’s now available for a reasonable cost is what fuels the tremendous growth in AI technologies and makes deep learning and reinforcement learning possible. With the rapid changes in the AI industry, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest cutting-edge technologies. In this post I want to provide easy-to-understand definitions of deep learning and reinforcement learning so that you can understand the difference.

Both, deep learning and reinforcement learning are machine learning functions, which in turn are part of a wider set of artificial intelligence tools.  What makes deep learning and reinforcement learning functions interesting is they enable a computer to develop rules on its own to solve problems. This ability to learn is nothing new for computers – but until recently we didn’t have the data or computing power to make it an everyday tool.

What is deep learning?

Deep learning is essentially an autonomous, self-teaching system in which you use exiting data to train algorithms to find patterns and then use that to make predictions about new data. For example, you might train a deep learning algorithm to recognize cats on a photograph. You would do that by feeding it millions of images that either contain cats or not. The program will then establish patterns by classifying and clustering the image data (e.g. edges, shapes, colours, distances between the shapes, etc.). Those patterns will then inform a predictive model that is able to look at a new set of images and predict whether they contain cats or not, based on the model it has created using the training data.

Deep learning algorithms do this via various layers of artificial neural networks which mimic the network of neurons in our brain. This allows the algorithm to perform various cycles to narrow down patters and improve the predictions with each cycle.

A great example of deep learning in practice is Apple’s Face ID. When setting up your phone you train the algorithm by scanning your face. Each time you log on using e.g. Face ID, the TrueDepth camera captures thousands of data points which create a depth map of your face and the phone’s inbuilt neural engine will perform the analysis to predict whether it is you or not.

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/10/22/artificial-intelligence-whats-the-difference-between-deep-learning-and-reinforcement-learning/#2d1c6b51271e

18 Oct 2018
Manahel Thabet

Auto Insurance: Disruptive technology brings changes in the sector

The automotive insurance industry is being disrupted continuously by technology. The physical sales-oriented industry has fast-tracked to digital-only channels and now, with the introduction of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain has completely shaken up th sector while disrupting the underlying business model itself. While all may seem to be well within the industry, large insurers are struggling with challenges primarily in how to price risk; how to decrease claim exposure; and how to fight unconventional competition.

Pricing risk

Insurers have priced risk based on the law of masses. This has worked at times and not so well at other times, but insurance companies did not have a way to look at the customer beyond their age, number of years behind the wheel, and location of car and driver. Now, by installing a simple telematics device in the car, insurers are able to collect and analyse data about driver behaviour and habits, vehicle performance, predictive telematics, and a whole lot more.

This data, along with new information on customer /car relationships has helped insurance companies to hyper-personalise and contextualise risk protection for individuals, rather than a segment. Europe
and the US, being early adopters in usage-based insurance (UBI), were able to build on these business insights to achieve greater value, while countries lagging in its adoption, such as in Asia, including India, just recently initiated flexibility in product design so as to offer individual insurance products to customers. This under-exploited market remains open to potentially enormous growth.

Telematics definitely is an incremental step towards better customer / product alignment by providing atomic insights about both driver and car. Some insurers and new entrants have leapfrogged in translating customers’ digital footprints before and after driving to their preferences and behaviour via virtual channels.

Decreasing claims exposure

To reduce claim settlement time, automotive insurance customers now are empowered to self-settle the claims by documenting the damage and filing for claims through smart devices. Insurers are now focusing on being able to prevent claim, rather than processing it. As we move towards mass adoption of connected car ecosystem, including fully or semi-autono-mous driving, it raises critical questions on insurers’ ability to define and assign liability.

Unconventional competition

Google and Amazon are quickly building an insurance portfolio. Both companies are working on building technology solutions that will provide simplified, high-quality, transparent, and personalised vehicle insurance at a reasonable cost. These giants definitely have the technological edge to outpace existing insurance power houses.

Start-ups, such as Jointly or Inspool in P2P insurance and Snapsheet or Guild for claims processing, are using AI-based, real-time risk profiling and disrupting the underlying insurance business processes from underwriting to claims. In fact, these and other insurtech start-ups are redefining the new way of pricing risk and processing claims for the insured.

It is evident that for large insurers it may not be possible to out-invest or out-innovate this competition. Therefore, rather than building these proprietary disruptive systems on their own, insurers need to look for innovative ways to partner with these tech giants or incorporate the new entrants into their business strategy for inorganic growth.

Read more: https://www.financialexpress.com/money/insurance/auto-insurance-disruptive-technology-brings-changes-in-the-sector/1351512/

15 Oct 2018
Manahel Thabet

What Innovative CEOs and Leaders Need to Know about AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rising global imperative. Enterprise software companies are rushing to incorporate AI functionality into its product offerings. Venture-capital funding is pouring into AI startups globally. AI is a geopolitical movement with many countries putting it as a top priority. Top-ranked MBA schools are including AI in the curriculum. AI can be found in neuroscience, life sciences, health care,  financial services, esports, art, science, entertainment, and many more industries. Forward-thinking companies are starting to realize returns on their investments as early adopters of AI. It’s not a question of whether or not AI should be incorporated in your company, but rather when it should be implemented. Where is AI in the technology adoption life-cycle? Where is AI being used and how? Here is an executive summary of what a few of the leading global management consulting companies have to say about how artificial intelligence will impact businesses and economies worldwide.

McKinsey Global Institute

In a McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) discussion paper published in September 2018 titled Notes From The AI Frontier – Modeling The Impact Of AI On The World Economy,” the estimated impact of AI is $13 trillion additional economic activity worldwide by 2030. MGI is led by three McKinsey & Company senior partners — Jacques Bughin, Jonathan Woetzel, and James Manyika, the MGI chairperson.

In the report, MGI estimates that 14 percent of the global workforce, up to 375 million employees, may need to change jobs due to AI automation. The occupations most likely to be automated with AI are data collection, data processing, and jobs that require “performing physical activity and operating machinery in predictable environments.”

MGI predicts that the AI adoption rate by companies over time will resemble an S-shape curve — initial adoption will be slower due to the requisite learning involved, then expand rapidly as competition and “improvements in complementary capabilities” increases. Interestingly, MGI predicts a significant first-mover advantage for companies who are early AI adopters. Companies that fully deploy AI throughout the enterprise over the next five to seven years may double their cash flow, whereas the long tail of laggards may experience a 20 percent decrease in cash flows by 2030.


In the Harvard Business Review January-February 2018 edition, Thomas H. Davenport and Rajeev Ronanki advise a highly pragmatic versus “moon shot” approach to AI implementations based on a Deloitte Study of 152 cognitive (AI) projects. Davenport is a senior advisor at Deloitte Analytics, a research fellow at the MIT initiative on the Digital Economy, and a professor at Babson College. Ronanki is a principal at Deloitte Consulting focused on cognitive computing and health care innovation.

The authors view AI as “performing tasks, not entire jobs.” Out of the 152 AI projects, 71 were in the automation of digital and physical tasks, 57 were using algorithms to identify patterns for business intelligence and analytics, and 24 were for engaging employees and customers through machine learning, intelligent agents, and chatbots.

In the Harvard Business Review article, a 2017 Deloitte survey of 250 executives who were familiar with their companies’ AI initiatives, revealed that 51 percent responded that the primary goals was to improve existing products. 47 percent identified integrating AI with existing processes and systems as a major obstacle. When it comes to employment impact, within “the next three years, 69 percent of enterprises anticipate minimal to no job loss and even some job gains.” Early adopters of AI in the enterprise are reporting benefits — 83 percent indicated their companies have already achieved “moderate (53 percent) or substantial (30 percent) economic benefits. 58 percent of respondents are using in-house resources versus outside expertise to implement AI, and 58 percent are using AI software from vendors. Only 20 percent of those surveyed are developing AI applications themselves “from scratch.”

Read more at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-future-brain/201810/what-innovative-ceos-and-leaders-need-know-about-ai

14 Oct 2018

Daytime Naps Boost Brain Power in Mysterious Ways

Recent sleep research has unearthed some fascinating correlations between the duration of time someone spends sleeping and his or her cognitive functions. One of the most extensive studies ever conducted on the link between sleep duration and cognition recently reported that sleeping more or less than seven to eight hours per night impairs specific cognitive abilities. Surprisingly, the brain researchers from Western University in Canada found that oversleeping can be just as detrimental to cognition as sleeping too little. (For more see, “Does Too Much Sleep Have Negative Repercussions?”)

This massive worldwide survey also identified that getting too much sleep isn’t a problem for most of us; on average people around the globe only sleep about 6.3 hours per night. Unfortunately, this creates a sleep deficit that can cause the body, brain, and mind to function at a subpar level.

The good news is that another study by researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK recently reported that taking a power nap can improve domains of cognitive function associated with processing information below conscious awareness. This study, “Nap‐Mediated Benefit to Implicit Information Processing Across Age Using an Affective Priming Paradigm,” was recently published in the Journal of Sleep Research. The primary goal of this study was to identify if a relatively short period of sleep helps people process unconscious information and how this might improve automatic reaction times.

For this pioneering research on how short bouts of sleep improve memory consolidation of implicit tasks, the researchers hid information by “masking” it and then presenting it to study participants without their conscious awareness. Although the “masked” information was hidden from conscious perception, this research shows that it was being absorbed on a subliminal level somewhere in the brain.

For this study, 16 healthy participants practiced a masked task (unconscious processing) and a control task that involved conscious information processing. One group stayed awake after practicing both tasks while the other group took a 90-minute nap. Then, participants were monitored using an EEG as they performed both tasks again while researchers monitored pre-and-post nap brain activity.

The group that stayed awake throughout the experiment did not show significant improvements on either task. Interestingly, the researchers found that taking a nap improved the processing speed of the masked task — which required learning on an unconscious level — but not the control task, which involved explicit memory and conscious awareness. According to the researchers, this suggests sleep-specific improvements in subconscious processing and that information acquired during wakefulness can be processed in deeper, qualitative ways during short bouts of sleep.

“The findings are remarkable in that they can occur in the absence of initial intentional, conscious awareness, by processing of implicitly presented cues beneath participants’ conscious awareness. Further research in a larger sample size is needed to compare if and how the findings differ between ages, and investigation of underlying neural mechanisms,” co-author Liz Coulthard of the University of Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences said in a statement.

Read more: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201810/daytime-naps-boost-brain-power-in-mysterious-ways