Archive for October, 2013

3D Human Brain Model

Group of Canadian and German scientists have created the model of human brain in unprecedented resolution. It explores the anatomy of a single brain in three dimensions at far greater detail than before, a possibility its creators hope will guide the quest to map brain activity in humans. The resource, dubbed the BigBrain, was created as part of the European Human Brain Project and is freely available online for scientists to use.

Alan Evans, a professor at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and senior author of a paper that reports the results in the journal Science, says his team then took on “the technical challenge of trying to stitch together 7,500 sheets of Saran wrap” into a three-dimensional object using digital image processing. Many slices had small rips, tears, and distortions, so the team manually edited the images to fix major signs of damage and then used an automated program for minor fixes. Guided by previously taken MRI images and relationships between neighboring sections, they then aligned the sections to create a continuous 3-D object representing about a terabyte of data.

First pilotless F-16

The US air force has test flown an F-16 fighter jet without a pilot on board for the first time in the latest sign of the military’s increasing reliance on drones.

The robotic F-16 flew for 55 minutes with an empty cockpit from a Florida base last week as part of a programme that would see the converted fighter jet used as a target for pilots in training, manufacturer Boeing said.

“It was really amazing to see an F-16 take off with nobody in it,” said Michelle Shelhamer from Boeing, which has adapted the plane for the US military.

The aircraft is one of six “retired” F-16 jets that would be used as aerial targets for fighter pilots training for air-to-air combat, she said.

“They’re basically built to be shot down,” she said. “It’s full-scale, real world, real life, combat training – not with a simulator or anything else.”