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Remote Control Of Brain Activity

Ultrasonic control of brain activity at Arizona State University has been supported by DARPA; a prototype device that does not require surgery has been created that allows for remote control of brain activity.


(Initial prototyping of ultrasonic brain-machine interfaces
Above illustrations show a ballistic helmet fitted with four
ultrasound transducers (left) and another functional prototype
for achieving human brain stimulation using a single element
transducer (bottom-right), as well as a list of potential
applications relevant to the defense industry.)

Recent advances in neurotechnology have shown that brain stimulation is capable of treating neurological diseases and brain injury, as well as serving platforms around which brain-computer interfaces can be built for various purposes. Several limitations however still pose significant challenges to implementing traditional brain stimulation methods for treating diseases and controlling information processing in brain circuits...

[Dr. William J. Tyler of the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University] has engineered a novel technology which implements transcranial pulsed ultrasound to remotely and directly stimulate brain circuits without requiring surgery. Further, we have shown this ultrasonic neuromodulation approach confers a spatial resolution approximately five times greater than TMS and can exert its effects upon subcortical brain circuits deep within the brain.

How will this technology be used to provide an advantage for American Warfighters? Potential applications include behavioral reinforcement, anxiety and stress reduction, cognitive enhancement and long-term alertness and wakefullness.

Fans of Vernor Vinge may recall "focusing", a brain-control technology from his 1999 novel A Deepness in the Sky:

"Focusing ennobles. It is the key to Emergent success, and a much more subtle thing than you can imagine. It's not just that we've created a psychoactive microbe. This is one whose growth within the brain can be controlled with millimeter precision - and once in place, the ensemble can be guided in its actions with the same precision."

"Don't you see? We can improve the attention-focusing aspects of consciousness: we can take humans and turn them into analytical engines."
(Read more about focusing)

Fans of Philip K. Dick may recall the swibble, an artificially evolved remote-control metazoan-based mind control device from his 1955 short story Service Call:

Patiently, the repairman explained elementary physics. "Swibble-culture is an organic phenotype evolved in a protein medium under controlled conditions. The directing neurological tissue that forms the basis of the swibble is alive, certainly, in the sense that it grows, thinks, feeds, excretes waste...

"The swibble has direct access to human minds?" Anderson asked, fascinated.

"Naturally. It's an artificially evolved telepathic metazoan. And with it, Wright solved the basic problem of modern times: the existence of diverse, warring ideological factions, the presence of disloyalty and dissent."
(Read more about the swibble)

See also this earlier article on Optogenetics - Fiber Optic Brain Control and Remote Control For Humans.

Read more at Defense Media Activity.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/12/2010)

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