Chips In Your Head - Artificial Brain Prosthesis Under Development
The idea of inserting a silicon chip into your head to augment your own capabilities is now commonplace in science fiction, thanks to the early work of writers like William Gibson. Remarkably, a silicon chip implant that mimics the hippocampus is under development.
A six team, multi-laboratory effort including USC, the University of Kentucky and Wake Forest University have been working on different components of what is described as an artificial brain prosthesis. The hippocampus is an area of your brain that is important for the formation of memories; it re-encodes short-term memory so it can be stored as long-term memory. Memory disorders in aging and disease are associated with loss of function in this area; it is also often damaged as a result of head trauma, stroke and epilepsy. At present, there is no clinically efficacious treatment for a damaged hippocampus.
Professor Theodore w. Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at USC, leads a team that has studied the re-encoding process in slices of hippocampus taken from rats and kept alive in nutrients. They stimulated the neurons and and studied the output patterns, and arrived at a set of equivalent mathematical functions.
Dr. John J. Granacki has been implementing these functions onto a microchip. When tested against slices of rat hippocampus, the chips are 95 percent accurate in producing the same output as live cells for a given input.
"If you were looking at the output right now, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the biological hippocampus and the microchip hippocampus," Berger said. "It looks like it's working."
The next step is to work with live rats; they will deactivate the biological hippocampus and then implant the microchip. It is expected to take two or three years to create complete mathematical models of a rat hippocampus; monkey models will follow in a few more years. If all goes well, an silicon hippocampus for humans may be available within fifteen years.
The team will present their research this week at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.
Science fiction fans will remember Gibson's work in Neuromancer; he referred to chips that could be inserted into a special socket that was surgically implanted in a user's brain. The chips were called "microsofts." See Wired for the original story.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/26/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.
SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories