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Imperceptible Vibrations Slow Weight Gain

Low-level mechanical signals inhibit fat-cell production in mice

3 min read

23 October 2007—It’s the diet that we dare not even dream of—eat like a medieval lord, then simply command the body not to produce fat—but new research by engineers and scientists in New York and Maine gives reason to dream. According to a report to be published this week in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, imperceptible vibrations transmitted through the whole body could help prevent weight gain in mice by inhibiting the production of fat cells in their bone marrow. Staying slim may be as simple as standing still�oh, and exercising too.

In a study led by Clinton Rubin, chair of the department of biomedical engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, mice that stood on a vibrating platform for 15 minutes daily produced fewer fat cells than normal. The findings complicate a traditional understanding of weight loss that focuses mainly on metabolism.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic

Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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