Memory Implant Records And Plays Back

A brain implant capable of recording and playing back the electrical activity of neurons has been constructed by researchers from USC and Wake Forest University.

A primary objective in developing a neural prosthesis is to replace neural circuitry in the brain that no longer functions appropriately. Such a goal requires artificial reconstruction of neuron-to-neuron connections in a way that can be recognized by the remaining normal circuitry, and that promotes appropriate interaction. In this study, the application of a specially designed neural prosthesis using a multi-input/multi-output (MIMO) nonlinear model is demonstrated by using trains of electrical stimulation pulses to substitute for MIMO model derived ensemble firing patterns...

These integrated experimental-modeling studies show for the first time that, with sufficient information about the neural coding of memories, a neural prosthesis capable of real-time diagnosis and manipulation of the encoding process can restore and even enhance cognitive, mnemonic processes.
(A cortical neural prosthesis for restoring and enhancing memory)

Here's a summary of the basic experiment:

  • The rats first practiced a simple memory task: To get a refreshing drink of water, hit one lever in a cage, then—after a short distraction—hit the other. They had to remember which lever they’d already pushed to know which one to push the second time,.
  • As the rats did this memory task, an array of electrodes recorded signals between two subregions of the hippocampus, called CA1 and CA3, which are involved in storing new information in long-term memory.
  • The researchers then gave the rats a drug that kept CA1 and CA3 from communicating. The rats still knew the general rules of the task—press one lever then the other, get water—but couldn’t remember which lever they’d already pressed.
  • When the scientists played back the neural signals from CA1 they’d recorded earlier, however, the rats again remembered which lever they had hit, and pressed the other one.
  • When researchers played back the signals in rats not on the drug—amplifying the regular signals from CA1—the rats made fewer mistakes and remembered which lever they’d pressed for longer.
    (Discover Magazine)

Fans of sf writer Lois McMaster Bujold recall the memory biochip mentioned in her 1986 novel Shards of Honor, which allowed the user to play back memories at will.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for writing in with the story and the reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/21/2011)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

First Biolimb Grown In Lab
A brand-new forelimb for some lucky rat.

Robot Swarm Performs Colonoscopy And Biopsy
'There was ... the Seven Minute Special...'- Neal Stephenson, 1995.

L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin
'...She helped the doctor spray on surrogate skin.'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.

NASA FINDER To The Rescue In Nepal
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'- Frank Herbert, 1958.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Storing 1 Zettabyte In 10 Grams
'It is theoretically possible to have a matrix in which each individual molecule has a meaning...'

Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'

Skin Chair For That 'Sitting On A Fat Guy' Feeling
'The semi-sentient artifact glided to a position behind McKie...'

Pneumatic Micro-Tentacles Kidnapping Ants
'Long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'

Bee Narcs To Perform Drug 'Stings'
'Time for a replacement of both Behren and his dipterous insect...'

3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
'Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up....'

Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Now Ready
I couldn't believe it, either.

Robot Swarms Improve Culture By Forgetting
'My mind was filled to the splitting point...'

Melomics Avant Garde Computer Musician
'Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused somewhere off into the shadows...'

Samsung's Transparent Display Finally As Big As HG Wells'
Wells also figured out that 16x9 is the shape to have.

Nanotech Used To Create Custom Water Filters In Tanzania
'People started out squeamish about Clearsacs...'

This Robot Swordmaster: Yaskawa Bushido Project
'The instrument of prisms and target could not think, feel caution or remorse. And it carried a real blade.'

Thync Mood-Changing Wearable Device
'Very gently, hypnotically, the electronic pulses throbbed in the frontal lobes of his brain.'

What Science Fiction Inspires Russia's New Robot?
Russian science fiction fans had their own inspirations.

LightSail Solar Sail Deploys
'This was the first time any solar yacht had ever attained it...'

Living Concrete Repairs Itself
Science fiction fans were given this idea in 1951.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.