The U.S. army is concerned with the development of a new chip technology that, when implanted, will link the human brain computers – the creation of cyborgs.
The chip is succeed, it can have almost unlimited possibilities. The U.S. military Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) often plays a large role in the development of technologies that citizens ultimately benefit, such as GPS or the Internet.
For the U.S. army, it could help soldiers on a number of levels, such as increasing their senses – hearing, sight and more.
The technology has the potential to restore sight to the blind, to transform prostheses in limbs that function seamlessly as the original, and even possibly control disease.
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DARPA has recently unveiled the new Neural Engineering Design of the System, or NESD. By investing in research, DARPA hopes to create an implantable neural interface that will connect people directly to computers at an unprecedented level.
What is a cyborg? By definition, a cyborg is a person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body.
NESD is within the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, President Obama in 2013. The BRAIN is intended in order to stimulate the research that will cure or help with diseases of the brain and damage the brain.
How does it work?
The new chip will be about the size of a sugar cube or two stacked pennies, that is about a cubic centimeter.
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NESD acts as a translator between the brain and the digital world. Brain neurons use of one language, and computers are another.
The chip would be implanted in the brain. Once implanted, it will act as a neural interface. Its job is to convert electrochemical signals of the neurons in the brain. The chip will brain to translate these signals into the ones and zeros that computers understand, and then translating the computer and messages into signals that the brain understands.
Currently, human-computer interface technology connecting with a machine to about 100 to 1000 neurons at the same time.
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With this revolutionary chip, the tech connect individual neurons to the machine. And eventually it will be possible can so with millions of them.
Why is this important? By use of individual neuron connections, the user would enjoy a much better and finer control, a reduction of the noise and the accelerated communication between the man and the linked computer.
So how would for example improve the user’s vision? The computer could feed the brain additional digital visual information that helps the user the sense of sight.
For a citizen whose face is affected – the computer could feed the brain and the additional data, helping to restore the sight, so they can “See.” For the warfighter, think that the feed visual data at a higher resolution than is currently possible. Maybe it is even possible to increase them to “see” with Superman X-ray vision or see through the eyes of a drone.
Why have cyborgs been successful yet?
Current human neural interfaces squash huge amounts of data over approximately 100 channels. Each of these channels then aggregates signals from thousands of neurons. This approach means that you a result that is messy and noisy.
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NESD is committed to creating a system that solves these problems. The pioneering technical clear and personal communication with one of the neurons, and up to 1 million neurons in a particular area of the brain at any time.
“Today is the best brain-computer interface systems are when two computers try to talk to each other with an old 300 baud modem,” explained DARPA NESD Manager Phillip Alvelda, in the defence agency press release. “Imagine what is possible when we upgrade our tools to really open the channel between the human brain and the modern electronics.”
DARPA’s proposal says that the chip will be part of wider developments. For a number of goals to be achieved, further breakthroughs are necessary for the production of medical devices and packaging, synthetic biology, neuroscience, low-power electronics and photonics.
The agency is encouraging people with expertise and promising ideas in order to take part, and is hosting a Proposers’ Day February meeting. 2 and 3. DARPA expects to invest up to $60 million in the NESD program for the next four years.
Allison Barrie consults at the highest levels of defence, travelled more than 70 countries, is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees and now is the author of the new book “the Future of Weapons: Access Granted” for invisible tanks by thought-controlled fighter jets. Click here for more information about FOX Firepower columnist and host Allison Barrie and you can follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie.