Scientists are grabbing old lab mazes and bringing them back to life with innovative technologies

Brief introduction to historical mazes and their uses

Experimental mazes have been used at least since the early 20th century, and most of them involved rats. There are thousands of studies that have examined how rats run different types of mazes, from T-mazes to radial arm mazes and water mazes as well. The maze studies are used to examine especially memory, and spatial learning in rats and the maze studies have helped uncover the general principles of learning that can be applied to more species including humans.

The most significant mazes throughout history that are really worth following are listed below:

The Morris Water Maze (MWTM)

The Morris Water Maze is another extremely famous test of spatial learning for rodents that relies on distal cues to navigate from a starting location around the perimeter of an open swimming area. The goal is that the animal locates a submerged escape platform. The spatial learning is assessed across repeated trials, and the reference memory is determined by the preference for the platform area when that particular platform is absent. The animals are placed in a pool of water that is colored opaque, and they must swim to the hidden escape platform. The animals cannot rely on scent or vision, but instead, they’ll rely on external/extra maze cues. This MWTM paradigm has become one of the most important standards in behavioral neuroscience.

The Barnes maze

This is a very popular paradigm to study spatial learning and memory. This maze consists of a circular table with circular holes around the circumference. The target that is followed by this test is that the rat reaches the box which is positioned beneath one of the holes with the aid of some visual cues.

The T maze and the Y maze

This is obviously a T-shaped maze, and the test animal will start at the base of the T. There’s a reward placed in one arm of the maze or there can be more rewards placed in each arm. The rat walks around and chooses the left/right arm of the maze. The Y maze is similar to the T one, but it has three identical arms. The Y-maze is a bit easier than the T-maze because gradual turns will decrease the learning time compared to the sharp turn found in the T-maze.

Young scientists get together to create an amazing startup

Maze Engineers consists of a team of scientists in love with behavioral neuroscience. This group of scientists got together to create Maze Engineers, a startup that is helping the scientific community as a whole with its advancements.

The team led by Dr. Shuhan He came up with more solutions for figuring out new therapeutics for stroke, Alzheimer’s and more issues.

  • Making unique mazes that help publish new protocol papers.
  • Creating well-designed modular mazes in which there can be added rewards, punishments, wheels/treadmills and so on.
  • Creating smart mazes with algorithms that help the maze function based on a rodent’s choices in real time.
  • Using video integration and for this task, the team partnered up with the best video grading company in the world.

The innovative automated mazes and the Noldus EthoVision XT technology

Maze Engineers has created computerized mazes which include the following models: automated 8-arm radial maze, automated elevated plus maze, automated labyrinth maze, operant conditioning chamber, automated hole board, automated T maze and automated Y maze.

For the new mazes, Maze Engineers uses a few last generation technologies, but for now, we’re mentioning the Noldus EthoVision XT.

This is an innovative, sophisticated and versatile video tracking system for recording animal activity and movement. This system allows researchers to track the movements of their animals and also individual body points. They can also measure elongation and mobility and track other behaviors including eating, grooming, and rearing.

The EthoVision was first developed two decades ago as a video tracking software, and it has been morphed into a software platform for recording and analyzing animal behavior and movement. More than 2000 sites use the technology throughout the world, and it has been validated in thousands of publications.

Maze Engineers makes meticulously developed neuroscientific mazes and robotics targeted at creative scientists and their ideas. The small group of designers, neuroscientists, programmers and entrepreneurs from Maze Engineers love analyzing how living things behave, and their belief is that this illuminates our minds. With the use of the latest and the most innovative technology, scientists can collect data much easier in the fantastic digital era in which we all live.

Maze Engineers started with the goal of radically transforming the neurobehavioral testing in both animals and humans. Today it reached the point where it’s one of the most unique startups in the neurorobotics industry.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Release Date Rumors

Rumors have it that Rockstar is in the process of developing a new game and that it will soon make some statements about it! And this little piece of info comes from an earnings report from its parent company, Take Two Interactive. Before this information, fans had already been speculating that Rockstar was making a sequel for Red Dead Redemption, a very successful game.

The parent company stated in the earnings report that Rockstar is working hard on new and exciting projects that will be presented very soon. However, they could be referring to more DLC for the GTA 5 online component which has brought them significant earnings, but that is very unlikely to be presented as ‘exciting future projects’. That being said, it’s very probable that they are referring to new games and one of those anticipated new games is the sequel for Red Dead Redemption. The reason why fans are so certain that it will be the next game to be released by Rockstar is due to a leak that showed a map for the game which appears to place Red Dead Redemption in an earlier period of the American frontier.

Take Two also stated that those new and exciting projects will be revealed at the E3 event. One of those unveilings is about a game called Mafia 3 because it’s highlighted in its conference schedule. Fans are sceptic though and believe that Rockstar won’t show very interesting things at the E3 event as it usually prefers to launch games or make statements about the games on its own schedule. Therefore, it’s unlikely to see anything about the Red Dead Redemption’s sequel at the event. This is also supported by the fact that the parent company doesn’t have any press conferences scheduled for E3.

Regardless of what happens, one thing is for sure: we won’t see the game until the end of 2017 as Take Two has already released the list of titles of this fiscal year and the Red Dead title doesn’t appear anywhere.


Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Latest Specs and Features Rumors


One of the most anticipated ‘crossover’ devices, Microsoft Surface Pro 5 is expected to be released sometime during this summer or during this autumn. Here is what we know so far (but most of these are rumors) about the upcoming Microsoft Surface Pro 5.

Firstly, some of the more interesting rumors are quite contradictory and refer to the supposed release date of the Microsoft Surface Pro 5. Some rumors place the release sometime in June 2016, while others firmly believe that it will happen sometime in October 2016. It’s actually more likely for Microsoft to launch the Surface Pro 5 in autumn because that there will be an acceptable gap between it and the previous Surface Pro generation’ release. It’s one thing to launch a device 5 months after one generation of it came out and a completely different thing to launch it a year later after more people have had the chance to get better acquainted with the Surface Pro 4.

Other rumors place the release date in December 2016 and there are even some assumptions regarding the price tag. Many believe that it will certainly be slightly more expensive than the Surface Pro 5 and that it will be priced at $900.

Then there are the speculations regarding the design. Nobody actually expects Microsoft to change the overall aspect of the device but users do expect it to feature something very interesting – a rechargeable stylus. This rumore started as a result of a recent Microsoft patent approval for a stylus with rechargeable batteries.

Given that the iPad Pro, Apple’s similar crossover, has a better stylus, maybe this patent is a way for Microsoft to catch up on it on the crossover market.

However, keep in mind that none of this has been confirmed by Microsoft in any way yet so we’ll just have to wait and see.

The Elder Scrolls 6 Release Date, News and Update

Fans are more anxious than ever to find out what the new Elder Scrolls 6 has in stores for them. Until then, rumors are carried around and release dates are spread back and forth. Now we have a new report that says we will get to enjoy the great Elder Scrolls 6 in 2017.

Many people believe that the game will be launched at an event that will take place on the 14th to the 16th of June, called Electronic Entertainment Expo (or simply, E30). Also, the Bethesda guys are working very hard to have everything ready in time for the launch.

More than that, there is a job post from the company that had millions of fans excited. As it seems, they are currently looking for somebody to design the characters and who has some experience with RPGs. This may be a serious indicator of the fact that the team is in full process of developing the game and that we can expect it any time now.

But before getting too excited about that, let’s not forget that Bethesda launches installments for the Elder Scrolls series approximately once in four years. If they are to follow this “schedule”, we shouldn’t be waiting for the 6th game sooner than 2019. Moreover, take into account the fact that they have released The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited merely in June.

Pete Hines, who is VP in the company, declared that we will not be enjoying the game that soon, and that they do not want to hurry when creating it, since they want to have a result as qualitative as the other games in the series. Meanwhile, we can only hope that the rumors about a 2017 release are true.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active to be Released with a New Color Version

In 2013, Samsung released the first “Active” smartphone, a rugged version of the S4 with the same screen size and battery, but with a weaker main camera and processor. Since then, each Galaxy S flagship has received an “Active” variant and now, Galaxy S7 active is the works and rumors say that it may be launched on June 10th, being available through AT&T. The handset already appeared in live images and benchmarks revealed some of its specs, but fir the first time, Samsung will bring Gold color to a rugged smartphone.

Samsung S7 and S7 Edge are water resistant, a feature that has been removed from the S6, but their backs are made of glass and users who use to practice sports, climb mountains, travel in harsh conditions – through rain, in hot days with solar radiation, or they stay in salty environments could damage their phones. The glass back cracks easily, so these phones are not indicated for extreme outdoor activities.

That’s why the South Korean company will bring a rugged version of the Galaxy S7, which will be IP68 andMIL-STD-810G certified. The previous Galaxy S6 Active was released in White and Gray colors, but according to serial leakster Evan Blass (@evleaks), the S7 Active will arrive in a new color variant: Gold. Samsung might name it “desert camo”, but it isn’t sure yet.

However, in the leaked images, the Home button appears to hide a fingerprint scanner, while the trademark capacitive keys have been replaced with physical buttons, just like on previous Active variants. The back, on the other hand, no longer has an elongated ovular shape that was seen at the bottom side.

As for the rest of the specs, the S7 Active is identical to the S7, featuring a Snapdragon 820 chip with 4GB of RAM, a 12MP rear camera and a 5MP selfie shooter, as well as a QHD display. The S6 Active had a bigger battery than the non-rugged flagship and Samsung might do the same for the Galaxy S7 Active.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra has a 16 MP Camera and a 6-inch Display

The new Sony Xperia smartphone was announced recently by the parent company and it has so far been marketed as the ‘perfect night time selfie phone’ due to its presumed 16 MP front camera complete with low-light sensors and optical images stabilization options.

This awesome selfie taking feature can be found on both the front 16 MP camera and the 21.5 MP camera on the back (which is very powerful). Not only is that but there is also a gesture control perk that you can use on the front camera. Basically all, you have to do is wave your hand in front of it and it will automatically start a shutter times. These are very powerful cameras indeed.

The Xperia XA Ultra will also sport a 6 inch screen and will supposedly last for two days after a full charge. The last part is hard to believe since it will only sport a 2,700 mAh battery. Regardless of this, the model will also come with a charger which will give the phone 5.5 hours of battery life after charging for 10 minutes.

Furthermore, the Xperia XA Ultra is also presumed to sport an eight core MediaTek MT6755 processor, 3GB of RAM and 16 GB for storage. The storage is expandable to 200 GB thanks to a microSD card.

It appears that Sony is trying to make its way into the improved for selfies phone market, like HTC did a while ago with the 13 MP Desire Eye feature. However, any 16 MP camera is great for selfies and Xperia XA Ultra’s huge display is also a plus as it can enable users to edit photos or selfies a whole lot better than they would on a phone with a smaller display.

This is quite interesting as there have been many rumors going on lately about Sony’s elimination some of its smartphone model lines like the C, M and Z ones, in order to focus more on the X range phone models.

So far, there’s no news on the pricing for the Xperia XA Ultra.

Moto G4 Press Images Leak, Specs and Benchmarks

Several leaked images of the upcoming Moto G4 have been appearing all over the internet in the past months including one that had a Motorola copyright statement saying “Motorola Confidential Property – Not For Sale”, and now, a new set of images have leaked that are supposedly press images. All of this appears to point out that the release of the new Moto G4 might actually be the 17th of May.

These new leaked images come from @evleaks and they show the design thought to belong to the Plus version of the Moto G4, but it doesn’t have the fingerprint reader under the display anymore. Also, it appears to only have one speaker at the top, unlike the previous Moto generation.

Also, based on those images and the fact that it will be running Android OS, we have to assume that it will have on-screen buttons. They also reveal that this Moto G4 version has passed the FCC certification as we can clearly see that the devices carry certification documents for the model numbers XT1622 and XT1642. This is all the information we could get from seeing those pictures.

Moto G4 specs leak in benchmarks

Before the aforementioned leaks came out, something else leaked as well about the specs of the upcoming Moto G4 on Greenbench. Apparently, the smartphone will run Android Marshmallow. It will sport an octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, plus an Adreno 405 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Due to that particular brand of processor, it might also support Quick Charge technology.

Apart from these leaks, there is also a listing on ebay about the Moto G4 that presents an alleged panel for it which appears to feature a 5.5 inch display together with a physical home button that can also be used as a fingerprint reader.

Android N, VR headset, Chrome OS at Google I/O 2016

The Google I/O 2016 conference is scheduled for the 18th of May and here is some info about what to expect from developers participating in the event.

Android N

We have a pretty good picture about how the Android N will be thanks to the beta previews released by Google so this OS probably won’t be the highlight of the conference. If you feel like trying it as well, know that you can get it on Nexus-based devices and Sony Xperia Z3. The OS comes with a new Launcher Shortcuts feature that resembles the 3D touch support found in Apple’s iOS. It also comes with support for Vulkan graphics API, a split screen mode, improvements on the Doze option and new emojis.

Android VR

Google is preparing to enter the VR market with the VR headset for Android which will supposedly rival with the Samsung VR headset that has received very positive reviews in the computing world.

The Android VR headset is believed to not be as great as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, but will still be a worthy rival to Samsung’s VR headset.

Driverless cars

Presumably, Google will be presenting for the first time some of the driverless cars it has been testing for a while and some even say that they are looking for drivers to test them out.

Android apps on Chrome

Some believe that this conference will mark the unification between the Android OS and the Chrome OS, after a reddit user found a code hidden in Chrome 51 that was pointing to that. It’s also rumored that there may by an Android OS for desktop in the works.

Project Tango

This augmented reality technology for smartphones entitled Project Tango may have partnered with Lenovo, which may lead to the manufacturing of a 3D mapping headset.

Google Chirp

Some reports state that Google is planning to release a voice assistant named Chirp which will integrate Search and Google’s voice recognition features. It’s expected to launch sometime this year.

Android Pay

Although Android Pay is available in the US, some users believe that I/O conference is the chance to announce that the app will roll out in other parts of the world as well, such as the UK.

Google Drive Integrates With Evernote – Best Performance Yet

The popular note-taking application released for Android and web applications running on Google’s Chrome OS will receive Google Drive integration, which will allow Evernote users to create rich content from files they add from Google Drive. Evernote had link integration with Google Drive, but this time, users will see previews of the linked content.

Evernote applications benefit from Google Drive search integration and when users make changes to embedded files, they are automatically synchronized to the notes and this way, users are able to create modular notes and content that are updated in real time through different versions.

By integrating Google Drive with Evernote, everyone stands to gain, especially users who have the possibility to collaborate with their friends, by adding them as co-authors to their notes. Together, they can generate linked rich content across images, documents, audio files and videos and they can also work simultaneously on various documents embedded in the master Evernote file and each time they make changes, these components are saved and updated in real time.

Evernote’s developers know that every day, users “create millions of notes that contain links pasted from Google Drive” and there are “more than half of all Evernote users also have a Google Account” and a partnership between Evernote and Google was necessary. Evernote has a big rival, Microsoft’s OneNote, which wants the supremacy with any costs and this competition forces both companies to come with better offers, in order to not lose their users.

Evernote offers users 60MB of free cloud storage and they get 15GB of free storage through Google, but they have the possibility to upgrade their accounts and pay $10 per month for 1TB of storage. Alex Vogenthaler, product manager for Google Drive said that “We want anyone using Drive to have access to their content whenever and wherever they’re trying to get stuff done. That’s the cloud at its best.”

Xiaomi Mi 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 – Best Specs, Features and Design Comparison

Xiaomi phone products are the craze in China. The company responsible for them started by making Apple clones and then they sold them at budget prices, but then, it begum to make its own brand of phone. The latest and most impressive model in the past years is the Xiaomi Mi 5.

The Xiaomi Mi 5 cannot be bought in the US or Europe officially, but you can order one from China by shipment if you really want to try it out. However, keep in mind that, as opposed to Samsung or Apple, there is no service for Xiaomi in Europe or the US. If something bad happens to the phone like shattering the screen or just breaking it, you’ll have to go to third party shops and you’ll have to pay for repairs and also wait longer for repairs.

However, here is a comparison between the Xiaomi Mi 5 and its rival Samsung Galaxy S7 to help you decide if you really want the Xiaomi to travel across the seas for you.


Both smartphones sport a stylish metal frame with a tapered glass frame and almost have the same size. They look so similar! But don’t think that the Chinese company copied the Samsung design because the fact is, that this company released the first Android phone with a tapered glass back and metal frame ever, long before Samsung Galaxy S7. And they also both have fingerprint magnets.

The XIaomi Mi 5 is slightly thinner and lighter than the S7 and so comfortable to hold, whereas the latter is pretty heavy and feels much more solid. XIaomi Mi 5 also has keys that are lighter to press as opposed to its rival; however, the S7 ones have a clickier feel to them.

Both phones have a fingerprint scanner under the display and both work extremely well. The XIaomi Mi 5 however, works faster than the Galaxy S7. The homescreen appears immediately after you touch the scanner in Mi 5, while in the case of S7 it takes a while to initialize.

Another interesting aspect to take into consideration is that you can use Samsung Pay to pay for things with your fingerprint, but you can’t do that on XIaomi Mi 5 yet.

Finally, there’s the waterproofing aspect; Samsung Galaxy S7 is waterproof while Xiaomi Mi 5 is not.