OpenBCI: Control An Air Shark With Your Mind

Plug yourself into your devices with a brain-computer interface board

4 min read
OpenBCI: Control An Air Shark With Your Mind
Photo: David Yellen

Let’s be clear: This is a parlor trick, not neuroscience. Nonetheless, with the help of some friends, I was able to make a toy shark fly through the air using brain waves. So even if it’s a parlor trick, it’s a trick worth doing!

First things first. When attempting to make something fly using your mind, it is important to choose a target object that compels attention. It’s also important that the object have the power to move itself in some way. This project uses brain waves to control an object’s movements; we cannot move the object directly with our minds. This is not the Force, after all.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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