April 10, 2007

UPLOAD YOUR MIND: A look at brain-implant chips:

Srinivasan explains that the chip is sending electric pulses through the needle into the brain slice, which is passing them on to the screen we’re watching. “The difference in the waves’ modulation reflects the signals sent out by the brain slice,” he says. “And they’re almost identical in frequency and pattern to the pulses sent by the chip.” Put more simply, this iron-gray wafer about a millimeter square is talking to living brain cells as though it were an actual body part.

Ted Berger, Srinivasan’s boss and the mastermind behind the tangle of coils and electrodes, has arranged this demonstration to provide a small but profound glimpse into the future of brain science. The chip’s ability to converse with live cells is a dramatic first step, he believes, toward an implantable machine that fluently speaks the language of the brain—a machine that could restore memories in people with brain damage or help them make new ones.

Remedying Alzheimer’s disease would, if Berger’s grand vision plays out, be as simple as upgrading a bit of hardware. No more complicated drug regimens with their frustrating side effects. A surgeon simply implants a few computerized brain cells, and the problem is solved.

This would be cool, though not without its downsides. I’ve had some thoughts on this stuff here, here, and here.

Comments are closed.
InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.