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Intel Says Brain Implants Could Control Computers By 2020

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the phalanges-are-fine-thanks dept.

Biotech 314

Lucas123 writes "Scientists at Intel are working on developing sensors that would be implanted in a person's head in order to harness brain waves that could then be used to control computers, televisions, cell phones and other electronic equipment. Intel has already used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) machines to determine that blood flow changes in specific areas of the brain based on what word or image someone is thinking of. People tend to show the same brain patterns for similar thoughts. 'Eventually people may be willing to be more committed ... to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.' said Intel research scientist Dean Pomerleau."

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Let me know when... (4, Funny)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165600)

I can get direct neural input from the Playboy channel.

Re:Let me know when... (3, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165796)

You are out of luck. I would suggest leaving Mom's basement and getting a little sun and perhaps actually talking to some girls. You'll get results faster that way. Trust me; it works. It does require the Social Interaction plugin for your Operating System, but that is freely available and has been for millennia.

Re:Let me know when... (5, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165966)

I'd do that, but I heard that girlfriend 2.0 is incompatible with wife 1.0. It has to be uninstalled first, and eventually girlfriend 2.0 will auto-upgrade to wife 2.0 anyway.

Re:Let me know when... (4, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166304)

Actually there is a Tor-like project that seeks to enable Girlfriend 2.0 while allowing Wife 1.0 to remain unaware. We need your help! Join us!

Re:Let me know when... (2, Funny)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165974)

I found that the cocky douchebag plugin also helps a lot for this type of function. In fact, if you combine the DirectErect Browser with the NoPersonality add on and the FeelingBlock privacy protection add on you can navigate almost all of the social intrawebs without guilt/remorse/ or a second thought attacks. Of course, for real protection it is a good idea to download a third party security application like RubberCover or TrojanPlus. If you couple these with the applications like UIDRing or ThePill you are almost 100% protected against unwanted/unexpected child-development attacks.

Really if you are going to encourage the poor young man to expose his virgin soul to the RealWorld2.0 you should give him some good security advice while you're at it. Of course, as we all know, security is a mindset not a product. And for the ultimate defense it is best to keep an air gap between your local Genital-Net and the general Social-Webz. ;)

Re:Let me know when... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166004)

It's the ultimate virus:

* Computers learn to browse the net based on your thoughts
* Average guy things about sex how often? Every 5 minutes?
* How many guys in the average office within "sensor" distance of several computers?

No one can use their computer anymore: it's All pr0n, all the time.

Re:Let me know when... (4, Insightful)

von_rick (944421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166390)

... it's All pr0n, all the time.

You say like its a bad thing.

Re:Let me know when... (2, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166098)

I can get direct neural input from the Playboy channel.

I can't imagine this being a good thing:

YOU: browsing slashdot over coffee.

[Stunning, sultry woman walks up.]

SHE: Excuse me, can you tell me the time?

YOUR BROWSER: [displays top 10 porntube results for stunning, sultry women.]

SHE: You sick fuck!


JUDGE: I sentence you to 6 months at Pumpinhole State Penitentiary.

YOUR BROWSER: [displays]

The phrase 'Try to think of baseball' has never been more important.

Re:Let me know when... (1)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166400)

I've heard some random statistic that every 30 seconds, men think about sex. It's probably bullshit, but I wouldn't be surprised if porn sites got increased traffic every 30 seconds! :)

Re:Let me know jordan shoes,handbags, (-1, Troll)

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But Unfortunately... (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165606)

Computer implants will control brains by 2019.

So what else is new? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165674)

Don't fool yourself. Most brains are already fairly well controlled by TV, government, religion, group-think, etc. Take your pick.

If someone does develop a computer implant that can control a brain, it would only be an upgrade to the tools, not to the results.

Re:But Unfortunately... (2, Funny)

thhamm (764787) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165782)

Implants Could Control Computers By 2020
Computer implants will control brains by 2019.

Now i'm confused. What will control what in Soviet Russia then, and when exactly?

Re:But Unfortunately... (4, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166294)

In Soviet Russia, 2020 controls 2019 by computer implants!

Re:But Unfortunately... (3, Insightful)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166100)

Computer implants will control brains by 2019.

Yeah, that's why I'd never trust anything that could potentially write directly to my brain. Some sort of helmet thing might be uncomfortable, but at least you can rip it off if they (trojans / hackers / foreign agents) start getting frisky with your mind. Presuming that you have enough motor control left to do the ripping. Perhaps a panic button; hooked up to bladder control or something. (only partly joking)

Controlling machines with thought is brilliant though, and I'm all for it. Presuming that the thing doing the controlling does feedback through skin responses or a HUD on an external display.

Re:But Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166336)

80 % of American citizens think the worlds going to end before then

But my intel drivers don't work on my pc NOW! (4, Insightful)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165622)

In the spirit of XKCD, should I get the chip installed in my brain and wait until Linux patches in support? Or wait for an Open Source alternative?

Re:But my intel drivers don't work on my pc NOW! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165636)

It has come to my attention that you are an enormous faggot.

goatse []

Re:But my intel drivers don't work on my pc NOW! (4, Funny)

igny (716218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165764)

Depends on how open your mind is.

Re:But my intel drivers don't work on my pc NOW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166024)

so far the current kernel has native support for intel, in the spirit of the article, you should be good (assuming intel isn't going anywhere).

Re:But my intel drivers don't work on my pc NOW! (1)

von_rick (944421) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166354)

Most human brains I've known don't function well beyond 4-bit data. Intel will have to dumb down their processors/controllers to 4-bit to accommodate human brains.

Ob link to XKCD (2, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166352)

Just wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165624)

... a year or two after and we'll have the kind that doesn't require implants. I'll be in that camp.

Please don't... (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165626)

...wire the nuclear plant directly into Homer's brain.

Re:Please don't... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165686)

Mmmmm, Forbidden plutonium.

Oh well. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165632)

Good thing the world is ending in 2012

Last Thing I Want (4, Insightful)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165644)

is someone trying to figure out a way to get advertising into my mind. We all know someone is going to try.

Fortunately, feeding input directly into the brain is more difficult that reading output from it.

Re:Last Thing I Want (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165714)

Got to look out for those feedback loops [] .

Re:Last Thing I Want (2, Funny)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165730)

I know what you mean, ever since I woke up in the future I've been having these recuring dreams about Lightspeed Briefs (tm).

Re:Last Thing I Want (2, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165750)

Fortunately, feeding input directly into the brain is more difficult that reading output from it.

Not really. It's easily (ish) to stimulate a neuron externally using optical stimulation, but to read that state of that cell currently requires either implanting an electrode into the cell (generally shortens the lifespanof the cell to a few hours/minutes), or stimulating the cell to grow an axon onto a suitable biocompatable electrode (some research in this direction, no reliable results as of yet).

Re:Last Thing I Want (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166120)

Please God no!

I already have nightmares about Snuggies and ShamWows [] carrying me off into the night. The last thing I want is more product presence on my mind!

Though, on second thought, the dreams with Erin Esurance aren't all that bad ....

Quick, someone high five me! (4, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165646)

First Lasers, and soon brain implants! Today is full of win! Its the effin Future!

Re:Quick, someone high five me! (4, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166040)

*high fives*

Man you must have aids or something no one was willing to highfive you over half an hour.

Skynet? (0, Redundant)

LuminaireX (949185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165684)

The implants will control brains in 2021.

Peter Hamilton Sci-Fi (2, Interesting)

SgtAaron (181674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165690)

I'm sure he's not the only Sci-Fi author to have put these ideas into fiction. I had a great time reading his Neutronium Alchemist novels and others and seeing his description of how mind/computer interfaces could function.

I think it's a lot more realistic than Star Trek (gasp :) to imagine that future spacers will be sitting on an acceleration couch with their eyes closed--and seeing space around them as if they were outside, than to be sitting at a console with hundreds of controls, relying on the speed of electrons traveling through meat. And I loved their ability to superimpose heads-up displays onto their vision. I suppose I'm getting beyond the scope of this story...


Re:Peter Hamilton Sci-Fi (2, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165870)

Actually, I think Alastair Reynolds's vision is even more accurate: Such mind/computer interfaces exist, but the vast majority of people don't use them because they fear catching a nanotech virus and those that use them to the fullest are so distanced from the rest of humanity that wars are fought over the sanctity of the mind. The idea of a computer connecting directly up to my brain... well, I hope security technology improves by a couple orders of magnitude before that comes about.

Re:Peter Hamilton Sci-Fi (1)

Hybrid-brain (1478551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166146)

Local seattle author, Syne Mitchell explores the idea of implants connected with technology The Changeling Plague TechnoGenesis (if you want a good version of what a future with implants looks like, this is a must read) The Last Mortal Man (three books, awesome series, another implant book)

Re:Peter Hamilton Sci-Fi (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166066)

Hmmm... Neuromancer was written by William Gibson in 1984 and describes brain-computer interfaces (and more).

Why implants? (4, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165696)

Why do people insist on looking towards devices that need to be surgically implanted to operate?

Sure the interface is more difficult when it is outside the skull, but the barriers to adoption would be much lower also, would they not? Not to mention support, upgrades, product life cycle, etc.

Are they really that shortsighted?

Re:Why implants? (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165792)

Why do people insist on looking towards devices that need to be surgically implanted to operate?

In theory, the bandwidth is huge. You just can't do as much with the gear you have that's adapted for life on the Serengeti.

But, a skullcap is certainly the line at which I add "Luddite" to my .sig - bandwidth isn't everything.

The trick will be that those who do not accept the skullcaps will be at a tremendous competitive disadvantage in most economic measures. There may even need to be physical segregation of the populations.

Re:Why implants? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166082)

In theory it sounds good to have information pipped into your brain like the matrix, but in reality to form knowledge in your brain is an active biochemical process that takes a lot of energy and some time. Try it sometime, you can see this for yourself, if you study hard and pipe a bunch of info into your brain, you're going to be needing some food and rest. So if you are good at studying, you can already max out the bandwidth your brain has for learning new things.

Re:Why implants? (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166366)

So if you are good at studying, you can already max out the bandwidth your brain has for learning new things.

That assumes a few things though: that your occipital lobe is the highest bandwidth input possible, that visualizing symbols (words,numbers,etc.) is an efficient means of acquiring knowledge, that the brain couldn't learn faster if it had more efficient inputs, that direct memory creation isn't possible, and that your brain's wiring is optimal.

I don't think we really know the answers to any of those yet.

Re:Why implants? (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166268)

You know, some of us are getting damn tired of technology and the fast pace of life it provide. As much as I'm a technology geek, sometimes there is such as thing as "too much". Personally, I'm at my breaking point with the long work hours and complicated shit that's supposed to work, but doesn't.

As for the Serengeti, I'm ready for a change back to my primal human roots. I have a feeling I'll be much happier and live longer with less daily stress! Time to go hunting...

Re:Why implants? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166428)

As for the Serengeti, I'm ready for a change back to my primal human roots.

Don't worry, the economy is going to see to that anyway. I'm finishing up my greenhouse on Saturday.

Re:Why implants? (1)

falckon (1015637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165798)

Not to mention some sort of a power source, unless they have ways of running it off of your body's energy.

Re:Why implants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166068)

There are already (extremely low power) glucose fuel cells, which can produce a (small) electric current from the sugars dissolved in your blood plasma.

If we assume that these devices only need picowatts of power, due to being interfaced with very sensitive tissue (neurons), and may have a direct data connection through a hardware port someplace (and can tap broadcast power from the attached device this way) then we are all set.

The glucose cells power the brain interface, while the ambilical powers the signal post processor.

This way the only thing implanted is a pin grid array, a low power signal processor, and some glucose fuel cells.

The implant would only serve as an interface to an external device, and would thus be far more user upgradeable for functionality. (Essentially, the equivilent of a USB port with a standard interface API, with all the meat and potatoes of the upgrade being external, and detachible, with their own power source.)

Basically, you make the brain interface the client device, to the attachible hardware, and not the other way around. That way the brain interface does not need to provide power to the device.

(Think, USB keyboard is powered by host controller with USB-- the proposed model the brain interface is the "keyboard", which is powered by the Device's "host", which has batteries. Initial communication and 'statefulness' of the interface is maintained by the very low power glucose cell array, so the brain doesnt go into shock every time a new 'controller' is attached, or detached. (There will be lots of time when no host is attached to the interface, and the brain needs constant stimulation from a sensory device or else it gets pissy. So, the glucose fuel cells and the low power signal processor generate a reference "no-op" signal when nothing is attached.)

Re:Why implants? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166076)

RFID doesn't need a power source in it...

Re:Why implants? (2, Insightful)

davburns (49244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165854)

I was thinking that, too.

The oldest computer I have around is a 1990 Amiga 500; I mostly use new kit, of course. Anyone who gets an implant is going to be stuck with it pretty much for life, or commit to brain surgery every 3-5 years to install the newer one.

On the other hand, a 'trode net or hat would seem doable; sign me up for that.

Re:Why implants? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165982)

I could imagine having a socket installed such that hardware could be upgraded without re-opening the skull. USB has been around for almost 14 years now and is still used for many things today. Every 2-3 years seems like too much but I could definately see some people being willing to go under the knife every 10 years to upgrade the interface, especially if 'under the knife' means a 30 minute outpatient surgery (which, if millions of people are doing it, it would have to be). That would allow easy upgrades between socket upgrades, removal for sleeping/showering/swimming, re easy charging, even different hardware for different uses (a game machine, a work machine, etc), just swap out the plug.

Re:Why implants? (1)

mishehu (712452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165942)

I suppose somebody has a sick fantasy of being Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile.

Re:Why implants? (4, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166110)

I though Piccard was saying he was "the cutest aboard". That all makes more sense now.

Re:Why implants? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166376)

That certainly gives new meaning to the line "Resistance is futile, Number One"

Re:Why implants? (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166128)

Somebody? More like everybody will, especially once the oh-so-sexy, oh-so-geeky Borg Queen (me!) steps up to the plate :P

Re:Why surgically? (2, Insightful)

Rashdot (845549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166188)

when someday nanobots will build an interface directly inside the brain?

Re:Why implants? (1)

kenji.toyama (1682248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166288)

I would be a lab rat for such experiment. I think improving the human body is a nice idea to me. I'd love to have a memory card slot in my skull to be able to remember pretty much everything else that my brain can't. Or maybe an ALU to perform very fast calculations....

I love these 10 year predictions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165698)

Cause look at what happened from 2000 - 2010 ....let me see: facebook, twitter, blogs...holy shit, we're going downhill fast.

"I'm a Mac... (2, Funny)

gdog05 (975196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165720)

And I have computers that control brain implants." "I'm a PC, and I have brain implants that control a computer." Mac: "Good Luck with that."

Re:"I'm a Mac... (2, Funny)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166180)

"Trust me."

They just want this to plug the analog hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165738)

And get this, whenever you are streaming full rez on the neural link, they shutdown your eyes and ears. And you don't want to know where they stick the dongle.

What do men think? (1)

Obble (1680532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165748)

What ever you do, dont think of a beautiful girl on a nudist beach. Now you will be force to control your thoughts, so think happy thoughts like flowers, puppies and little children, oops, not little children you pervert! This is a very bad idea to be able to surf like that imo.

Only useful for recreational web surfing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165756)

This will be useless in a business setting. I don't know how I'm going to look up online documentation when my browser is always searching for pictures of Megan Fox.

Not for me (4, Insightful)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165762)

Imagine the damage a "keylogger" could do in a system like this.
My mind is the last sanctuary I have left, and I'm not going to jeopardize it by connecting it into a system which can be easily tapped, read, and quite probably manipulated by an outside force.

Re:Not for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166292)

No, but our children will.

Imagine the popup spam. (1)

unformed (225214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165772)

You're reading some article on CNN and suddently these thoughts start going through your head:

"Pills from Canada."
"Everyone can buy a house! Get a no down payment mortgage today!"
"Nigeria can make me rich."
"I feel depressed."
"Seen on Oprah Jr! Buy Dan Brown's Vampires and Wizards today!"

Remember (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165790)

Information wants to be free. That includes your memories. Once there are implants, some hacker will start freeing it.

Risk vs Reward? (1)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165800)

Seems like a question of risk vs reward to me... I doubt anyone is going to risk serious loss of function or death for the chance of being able to change the channel with their thoughts. Do we really need this? Now if this were something like an reborn 80s style math-co-processor for the brain, it might be something I would consider. The brain is optimized for symbolic reasoning, not pure number crunching. If I could do complex computations simply by thinking of them and having them routed to/from such a device... now, THAT is something I'd find intriguing.

Re:Risk vs Reward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166198)

Your brain is incredibly optimised for pure number crunching. Walking across a room involves math as does picking something up or putting it down. Catching a ball involves calculus that your brain just does. What you see is assembled in your brain by some heavily math focussed areas.

As for loss of function, I'd think that there are people out there who would cry tears of joy to be able to change the channel. Some people with physical disabilities would be first in line for this type of thing. This is (hopefully) for people who currently can't rather than those who are lazy fat-asses.

Input and Output? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165802)

The blurb appears to be an output from the brain to the computer. The real power comes when the computer can output to the brain in a useful and integrated manner. The the feedback loop would allow powerful new oportunities.

This is ironically the same time where mind-control through hacking the brain chip becomes a real problem.

A read-only system for the brain has the concern of others reading your mind but the mind-control comes with a read/write system.

Ghost in the Shell! FTW! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165806)

Yeah, that anime sci-fi doesn't seem too far-fetched now, does it?

Re:Ghost in the Shell! FTW! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165924)

Anime didn't come up with this fucktard. Stop trying to give credit to faggot loving anime when real sci-fi writers came up with this kind of thing years before. Anime just takes concepts from real writers and puts it to a comic book or a cartoon. There's nothing worthwhile there.

Re:Ghost in the Shell! FTW! (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166030)

i/o is still a long way off. This is only computer input mechanisms. One way, man to machine. Machine can't alter man yet.

Better training (1)

falckon (1015637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165836)

I don't think training it to react to what you are thinking about is the best idea. It should be the combination of the words you're thinking about and the intent to write it down on the computer. This way you can still have mental tangents without having to worry about constantly turning off the device.

These are going to have to be some small implants (0, Troll)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165852)

I'm a truck driver.

thx 1138 (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165932)

Remember the scene where they freeze the guy with brain implants and he is doing something that could blow everything up? Then they realize they have made a mistake and release him. No thanks.

ObFuturama (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166412)

Is the word "Thank you"?

Internet caps! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165936)

Who says they're bad?

Johnny Mnemonic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165972)

What’s next? A dolphin hacking our brain! Damn you Johnny Mnemonic! Damn you.

intel did not invent fMRI (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165988)

the summary is stupid. Using fMRI to show that there is functional and structural interrelations is not something Intel did -- the cognitive neuroscience community deserves credit for that. They may have taken fMRI signal and done something w.r.t. controlling a computer -- but that's really not all that amazing; it's signal after all.

Fascinating stuff... (4, Informative)

AdamTrace (255409) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166042)

I recently heard an NPR article about this kind of thing.

Using real time MRI, someone could be presented with flashcards of common objects (screwdriver, igloo, flower, etc). When they thought about those objects, certain areas of the brain lit up.

The scientists said that when you think of a screwdriver, there isn't a single "screwdriver" area that lights up. Instead, you think of how it looks, what it feels like in your hand, what it's used for. You might think of construction workers, or your favorite screwdriver in your workbench at home. So lots of areas in the brain "light up".

What's amazing to me is that it appeared to be the SAME AREAS for DIFFERENT people.

As an example of this, the NPR production assistant (who was just visiting and helping with the interview) got hooked up to the MRI and was shown the flashcards. The computer, by looking at her brain, successfully guessed 10 out of 10. Even though the computer "learned" from someone else!

I suppose someone who'd never seen a screwdriver before wouldn't have the same sort of response, so it's probably limited to people with the same cultural backgrounds.

Pretty neat stuff.

Not only Intel... (1)

bartosz.broda (1378631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166122)

Actually, not only Intel is working on that kind of stuff. I got one of those [] and it is working (well, kind of ;-) ).

Mind/Machine Interface (1)

SMACX guy (1003684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166126)

The Warrior's bland acronym, MMI, obscures the true horror of this monstrosity. Its inventors promise a new era of genius, but meanwhile unscrupulous power brokers use its forcible installation to violate the sanctity of unwilling human minds. They are creating their own private army of demons.

The Progress of Lazyness (4, Funny)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166156)

In the future...

"Wait, Dad, you mean you used to have to move your arm to change the channel on the TV?"

"That's nothing, son. Great-Grandpa had to actually get up off the sofa and move to the TV to turn a dial."

Son physically reels. "Whoa, stop, you're blowin' my mind. But they did have motor-sofas to move you to the TV, right?"

Re:The Progress of Lazyness (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166186)

(and yes, I realize in the future we probably won't even have channels, but the image is funnier with TVs and channels)

How I see the FBI using it (1)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166158)

1. Arrest suspected terrorist.
2. Force a chip into his head if he does not already have one.
3. Connect the chip to a device that will show whatever you are thinking on a screen.
4. Interrogate the suspected terrorist, even if he won't talk he will likely be stupid enough to think about the answers they want.
5. ?????
6. Profit!!!!

I call (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166206)


      Oh, the "silicon" part of the technology may be ready. However any foreign body inside a human body is susceptible to 1) chronic inflammation (which isn't so bad if it's around the metal holding your shattered bones together, after all, you can always take the metal out or at worst amputate the limb) and b) infection.

      Now, hands up who is willing to have a device implanted in their brain that might cause permanent brain damage, bacterial meningitis (and all of its sequellae) or death?

      Lab rats, as usual, will have the advantage (?) of having their intellect enhanced with implants long, long before we humans will.

Re:I call (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166436)

Since they are talking about brain waves, it doesn't necessarily need to be inside the skull. I'm not clear on why they call it an implant, unless they absolutely positively want it to always stay in the same place, a somewhat dubious requirement.

Will it run windows? (2, Interesting)

localoptimum (993261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166216)

Seriously, this is a great idea. Only teenagers would agree to such a ridiculous implant, and you could rootkit the bastards and zap them when they piss on your car on a Friday night.

Bad choice of killer app. (4, Interesting)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166222)

The convenience of being able to navigate to a URL without having to type it is a really limited example. How about writing music with it? Being able to notate exactly what's playing in your head without needing to manually write a single note down? Weeks worth of work reduced to a few minutes! Or art: Can't draw? Just visualize!

Anything you can think about but can't actually do would be fair game.

Even with those sorts of apps, I still wouldn't get an implant unless my skull was being opened up for some other reason already. It's certainly not a fair tradeoff against something as simple as web browsing, as the summary suggests. I'm all for the braincaps. That's where BCI technology's headed anyway. And those have the distinct advantage of being removable as well...

Re:Bad choice of killer app. (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166444)

Bad choice of words. This sort of interface could certainly bring new meaning to the phrase "Killer App"

I'm sick of being underestimated (4, Insightful)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166242)

Why, oh why does everyone at Intel think that people just want to 'surf the web' with whatever they happen to invent? You invent freaking brain implants and the first obvious use becomes surfing the web?

It could not be ... `write code` or `use photoshop` or .. anything even remotely challenging to a human brain?

Ah well.

Re:I'm sick of being underestimated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166372)

Ok, ok. You can do email and play games too.

...The same brain patterns... (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166278)

I wonder if this means that if a scientist implanted this sort of implant into an animal that we would be able to figure out what it is thinking.

Consider the benefits... (1)

tx_derf (1060278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166308)

I really don't want to have an implant in my head for people to "keylog" or pop up spam, et al. However, this could really benefit medical science by giving the physically disabled a means to work computers more easily. Not only that but this technology can be used in medical science. One could control a prosthesis or other equipment with much greater control. Accident victims and soldiers who have lost limbs may even be able to regain near 100% function, even with something as intricate as a working hand. People with debilitating diseases or conditions, Stephen Hawking comes to mind, would be able to enjoy much more independence with the right equipment being driven by their still very capable mind. While the potential for abuse exists and must be guarded against, I see the potential benefits making this technology worth pursuing.

Don't get too carried away (3, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166310)

It seems like they're at the point where they can recognize thought patterns. They intend to map those patterns to a UI. Just the other day I found myself sitting in front of a PC and browsing the web (imagine that). I've been using a Mac a lot lately. I wanted to scroll the page down and I found myself reaching for the touch pad to do that nifty two finger drag motion.

Some where between wanting to scroll the page down and the actual muscle action of reaching for the non-existent track pad was a series of neuro-chemical impulses. It seems like the researchers are identifying those. It would be kind of cool to be able to move a pointer around the screen and do basic web browsing actions (forward, backward, click, scroll, etc) without ever having to reach for the mouse. It seems like I first read about people using alpha waves to control mouse pointers over a decade ago at this point. It's about time they're getting to the point of doing something that might be useful.

Now once they get to the point of bringing up search results based on our thoughts, that is when I will start worrying.

Lag & Noise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166328)

While technology is getting better at imaging people's brains, there's still a lot of lag involved. fMRIs for example look at blood flow to see what areas of a brain are in use and at best get about one update every second. That doesn't necessarily mean it can register a command every second though, since there would have to be some sort of threshold which determines what command is executed, if any. As for brainwave sensors, there is a LOT of noise in brainwaves. Which means that a device that is sensitive to them needs to insensitive enough that random commands aren't executed. For this reason it has proven very difficult to control something through a brainwave sensor. But it can be done and one can get better with training, but when a mouse or keyboard is so much faster, and more accurate, I don't see any Computer Brain interface taking off anytime soon, if ever. The most I could see coming from a computer brain interface would be something that controls your mouse pointer, but slower and less accurate than a regular mouse, and requires a LOT of concentration.

Depending on the OS, maybe a lobotomy (1)

swamp boy (151038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166384)

Yeah, a brain implant might be the state of the art for some operating systems, but a lobotomy is probably the more appropriate procedure for Windows users.

The Reason (3, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30166396)

Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.

And there you have it. Why would we want to set up a direct connection between the human mind and a 64-bit multicore computer with many gigabytes of RAM, over a terabyte of storage, and a high-speed connection to the international network of computing machinery? To do large-scale science? To create art as it has never been created before? To help throw off the shackles of oppression and exploitation? Shit, to manage your budget and do your taxes? No. To surf the web.

Well, at least they're not kidding themselves over at the ever-practical Intel.

I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30166440)

welcome our new brain slug overlords...

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