This 3D brain may unlock the mysteries of language

brain research meaning mapped language mapping
As much as we know about the brain, there’s still more we don’t know about it — we just last year started getting our heads around how we wake up in the morning. So it’s no wonder there’s a push for research to be done within this area. There are thousands of languages today, and if you add dialect, you’ve got yourself a really confusing cluster of words for your brain to deal with. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, took on the task of mapping meaning along the cerebral cortex across seven volunteers. Then they uploaded their findings to an interactive website for everyone to take part in. It’s an interactive 3D brain done in the name of science.

Results from the research team’s study suggest language is much more complex than we thought. The volunteers were tasked with listening to The Moth Radio Hour, a radio program where people tell emotional stories, while lying in a functional MRI machine. The MRI machine then checked all volunteers’ brain responses to 985 different concepts.

The team mapped the blood flow to 60,000 to 80,000 pea-sized regions across the cerebral cortex. So there was plenty of data to go on, and the study resulted in an effective overview of where spoken concepts had a reaction in the brain. Certain concepts showed up in several areas across the brain. For example, the word “top” appeared both in an area filled with clothing words, as well as in an area that consisted of numbers. Scientists have long since thought that separate chunks of the brain handles different concepts individually. “These data suggest we need to rethink how the brain organizes meaning,” says Stanford University neuroscientist Russell Poldrack to Science News.

But the testing group was relatively small, with a mere seven volunteers there is plenty of room to do a more sizable study. Researchers want to repeat the study with 50 or 100 people from different backgrounds.

Product Review

Spacious and intuitive, Samsung's Family Hub makes the case for the smart fridge

Samsung's 28-cubic-feet Family Hub fridge aims to not only keep your food cool, but also be the brains of your home via a large computer screen on the outside panel door. Just how smart is it?
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.