The Vagus Nerve: A Back Door for Brain Hacking

Doctors stimulate a nerve in the neck to treat epilepsy, heart failure, stroke, arthritis, and a half dozen other ailments

8 min read
Illustration by Tavis Coburn
Illustration: Tavis Coburn

“This is a bottle of pills,” says J.P. Errico, showing me something that’s obviously not a bottle of pills.

Errico, who is cofounder and CEO of ElectroCore Medical, is holding the GammaCore, a noninvasive vagus nerve stimulator. If ElectroCore’s R&D work holds up, this device is about to turn decades of evidence about the importance of a single nerve into a new kind of medicine: an electrical therapy as benign as a morning swim and as straightforward as popping a pill with your coffee.

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Machine Learning Will Tackle Quantum Problems, Too

ML algorithms take on quantum-computer workloads till the qubits come to town

3 min read
Vector art of a head with circuits examining a quantum symbol
Getty Images

Quantum computers may prove far more powerful than any conventional supercomputer when it comes to performing the kinds of complex physics and chemistry simulations that could lead to next-generation batteries or new drugs. However, it may take many years before practical and widespread quantum computing becomes reality.

Now a new study finds that machine learning, which now powers computer vision, speech recognition, and more, can also prove significantly better than regular computers at the kinds of tasks at which quantum computers excel. These findings suggest that machine learning may help tackle key quantum problems in the era before quantum computers finally arrive.

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Meet the Open Source PC That Fits in Your Pocket

The MNT Pocket Reform is a seven-inch clamshell with a real keyboard

3 min read
A purple laptop on a desk

The MNT Pocket Reform is an open source computer with a seven-inch display.

MNT Research

Open source computing is coming to your pocket.

MNT Research, creator of the Reform open-source laptop and ZZ9000 add-in board for Amiga computers, is going small for its next project. The MNT Pocket Reform has a seven-inch screen with a clamshell design that, when closed, will be less than five centimeters thick. If its perky purple facade looks a bit retro, that’s no surprise; the Pocket’s inspirations read like a ‘greatest hits’ list of pocketable computers.

“We had a moodboard with several classic handheld computers: Nokia N900, Atari Portfolio, Cambridge Z88, Blackberry, Game Boy Advance SP, Alan Kay's Dynabook,” says Lukas F. Hartmann, CEO and founder of MNT Research. “I have a Psion 5mx, which was kind of a benchmark for the keyboard.”

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Modeling Microfluidic Organ-on-a-Chip Devices

Register for this webinar to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices using COMSOL Multiphysics

1 min read
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Comsol

If you want to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices, tune into this webinar.

You will learn methods for simulating the performance and behavior of microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices and microphysiological systems in COMSOL Multiphysics. Additionally, you will see how to couple multiple physical effects in your model, including chemical transport, particle tracing, and fluid–structure interaction. You will also learn how to distill simulation output to find key design parameters and obtain a high-level description of system performance and behavior.

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