Neurological Engineering - Creating Silicon Substrates For Brain Replacement

Take a look at this informal talk from Theodore Berger, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. Long-time Technovelgy readers may recall his earliest results from 2004 in creating artificial brain prostheses.

(Talk by Professor Theodore Berger on silicon brain prosthetics)

"We are living longer and longer, and so more and more of neuro diseases of the brain, degenerative or accidental damage to the brain, are going to be seen and must be dealt with. And so having a strategy where we think about which brain parts can be replaced, in the context of which ones are damaged more often is just a wise thing to do.

"As we understand the sophisticated computations, the presentations that are involved in thought processes... the possibility of passing that capability on to a non-human, non-living substrate becomes very real. I think this will definitely be the next step for this [technology]...

"There are several parts in the brain that I consider to be ready for this next-generation analysis, and this will allow us to create a mathematical model of how some of the functions work, and we'll be able to reproduce those in mathematical models, and we'll be able to reproduce those in microchip form." says Dr. Berger.

Science fiction fans will remember the work of sf author William Gibson in his 1984 novel 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."

Her destination was one of the dubious software rental complexes that lined Memory Lane... The clientele were young, few of them out of their teens. They all seemed to have carbon sockets planted behind the left ear, but she didn't focus on them. The counters that fronted the booths displayed hundreds of slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon mounted under oblong transparent bubbles on squares of white cardboard ... Behind [one] counter a boy with a shaven head stared vacantly into space, a dozen spikes of microsoft protruding from the socket behind his ear.

"Larry, you in, man?"

Via Next Big Future; see also the web page of Theodore W. Berger at USC.

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