A Look into the Development of Brain Computer Interfaces

The human brain is a tool, full of mystery, and evolving every day. Imagine for a moment that there was a way to completely unlock and understand the mind in ways that science never imagined possible. This is the goal a team of neuroscientists at Brown University, University of California at San Diego, and Qualcomm is hoping to achieve. The hope is that research into brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) with advanced sensors will one day assist in eliminating or slowing the progress of brain and spinal cord injuries. BCIs are implanted computers with thousands of neural pathway sensors that detect and interpret brain signals and may eventually be given the capacity to produce stimuli where the brain is lacking. The systems being developed at Brown University, which are currently being tested on mice, have proven to surpass currently available technology. The sensors would be packed into a small wearable skin patch about the size of a fingerprint and readings would be sent to a computer or portable device. The goal of the study is to achieve as many signals as possible from living brain tissue. 

The obstacles of testing come from precisely probing of the brain. If successful, this new BCI could not only help with spinal cord injuries but neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, motor skill impairments, and even dementia as well as assist in the treatment of brain injuries. Finding a comfortable yet secure prosthetic is the other hurdle teams are facing, with devices needing to produce accurate readings while avoiding a massive hinderance to mobility. 

 The scientists involved in the project have an extremely positive outlook for what this study could mean for the future of neuroscience and medicine in general. We at Lenox Laser wish them all the success possible. 

For more information on the development of BCIs, click here, or here

Perseverance Faces Setback Following Initial Collection Attempt

In an unfortunate turn of events, the Mars Perseverance rover has hit a snag while attempting to collect its first sample of Martian rock for analysis. Data sent to Earth indicated that the sample collection tube was empty after the collection process concluded. The team at NASA responsible for overseeing the mission are currently investigating the issue to determine the best course of action moving forward with future sample collection. They plan to utilize the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera located on the rover’s arm to collect initial data about the bore site in the hopes of drawing conclusions as to why the sample was not collected. The team remains optimistic that they will find a solution and be able to move forward with the mission. 

NASA has run into similar issues attempting to sample extraterrestrial matter in the past. The Phoenix mission sampled “sticky” soil that made collection and transport difficult, requiring multiple attempts before being successful. Curiosity encountered problems with Martian rock being harder and more brittle than expected. Most recently, the heat probe of the InSight lander failed to penetrate Mars’s surface as planned. 

Efforts are ongoing to formulate procedures moving forward with future sampling attempts. Success will provide scientists with immeasurable information about Mars and the possibility of, not just past microbial life, but also the viability of human colonization. The entire team at Lenox Laser wishes the folks working on the Perseverance mission the best, and we are excited to learn what Mars has in store for humanity. 

To read more about this latest update from NASA, click here

If you are interested in last week’s blog covering the Perseverance Rover, click here

To read about Lenox Laser’s past involvement with space exploration efforts, click here

Collecting a Sample from Mars – NASA Perseverance Rover

Mars has always been an endless treasure trove of mysteries, but thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Perseverance rover and the team behind it, we may soon have answers to some of the questions surrounding our red, rocky sister planet. Perseverance launched earlier this year on February 18th and has since been documenting the Martian surface with the powerful camera integrated into its system. Alongside high-resolution photography, the rover recorded 16 minutes of audio which captured the sound of winds blowing across the landscape. However, the team behind Perseverance plans to up the ante, looking to collect a physical rock sample to examine. The first sample will be taken from a section of the Jezero Crater called the “Cratered Floor Fractured Rough.” This task is scheduled to take 11 days due to the delay in communication between mission control and the rover itself. It is one of four samples to be collected over the next year of exploration, which will be stored within the rover’s body until missions can be sent to retrieve them for examination. During this time, Perseverance will perform rudimentary tests on the samples to provide preliminary data. The rover was fitted with several instruments that allow it to collect a range of data points. Key among these is SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), and the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera, which will provide mineral and chemical analysis of the sample rock. Using this data, scientists may be able to piece together more about the history of Mars and the viability of future exploration missions. Until now, procuring an extraterrestrial sample for examination was a monumental advancement only achieved by Niel Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew when they collected moon rock from the Sea of Tranquility basin.

The key objective of Perseverance’s mission is to advance the field of astrobiology and look for definitive proof of microbial life having existed on Mars. Utilizing the data collected by the rover, the team hopes to pave the way for human exploration of the planet. Future NASA missions, with cooperation from the European Space Agency, plan to collect the samples stored within Perseverance’s frame and ship them to Earth for more extensive analysis that cannot be performed by the equipment built into the rover. Years of effort made this feat possible and will vastly expand our understanding of the wider universe around us. We at Lenox Laser wish everyone involved in this important milestone the best of luck now and in future efforts.

If you are interested in reading more, click here for the article from NASA themselves or click here for the LiveScience coverage. Want to learn more about past missions that Lenox Laser was involved in, click here.

Join Lenox Laser at 2021 PACK EXPO

The 2021 PACK EXPO will be one of the first major in-person healthcare product events since the COVID-19 lockdown last year. The expo will encompass many different companies and experts in the healthcare field discussing various packaging and processing methods. It is estimated that over 20,000 experts will be in attendance when the event takes place this September 27-29 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. PACK is expected to have an estimated 1,500 exhibitors showing off their products. Topics covered will include cost-effective digital printing solutions in pharmaceuticals, recyclable, and bio-based packaging. The expo will also have an exhibit that will take visitors through the evolution of processing and packaging in the pharmaceutical industry and more. The expo sponsors and hosts include the Reusable Packaging Association, the National Confectioners Association, and many more.

Lenox Laser will be in attendance at booth #6817, showcasing our Container Closure Integrity Testing (CCIT) methods and services, which we have continued to evolve in our excellent 40 years in business. We are privileged and very honored to be a part of the expo and cannot wait for you all to see what we have in store. Given the immense challenge 2020 presented, an event like this will prove significant. To all those attending and showcasing, we hope you enjoy the expo and send our best wishes. See you in September. 

For more information and registration on PACK EXPO, please click here. You can join Lenox Laser at PACK EXPO using our comp code here.

SpaceX First Starship Launch

Courtesy of SpaceX

SpaceX has had quite a rich history and has come a long way since its maiden launch of the Falcon 1 rocket on September 28, 2008. Falcon 1 became the first privately funded liquid-fueled rocket to successfully reach orbit. In the following year, they became the first privately funded company to launch a satellite in orbit. Little did they know at the time, this would lead to something massive like the Starlink program. This program aims to launch a network of satellites designed to provide fast Internet speeds to areas without access. The Starlink program could also be used for military and government applications as well as other telecommunications.

In 2014, the now-famous Dragon crew was unveiled with its first successful launch six years later in 2020. The mission was successful in sending two astronauts into space to study aboard the International Space Station. This was particularly impressive given the challenges faced that year. Several Dragon crew missions are in the works for the near future.

SpaceX’s next challenging endeavor is the launch of its Starship program, which as of now, is tentatively set to launch in July of this year. Starship rockets would be reusable for long-duration cargo missions and passenger flights. The first obstacles include ensuring the program follows all government regulations from NASA, FAA, and other branches. Filings with the FCC began on May 13, 2021. If successful, SpaceX hopes to have a fully integrated continuous working network that would work together with Starlink.

Lenox Laser wishes SpaceX and all involved the greatest of success in this endeavor.

If you would like to read more about SpaceX’s Starship launch, click here. To read more about past SpaceX blogs, click here. If you are interested in Lenox Laser’s involvement in past aerospace endeavors, read our past blog on NASA and their planned launches to Venus.

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