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Better Brain Implants With Ultrathin Carbon Fiber Electrodes

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the all-the-better-to-track-you dept.

Biotech 82

An anonymous reader writes "A new neural interface delicate enough not to damage nerve tissue, but resilient enough to last decades has been made. Made from a single carbon fiber and coated with chemicals, the technology is believed to be fully resistant to proteins in the brain. From the article: 'The new microthread electrode, designed to pick up signals from a single neuron as it fires, is only about 7 micrometers in diameter. That is the thinnest yet developed, and about 100 times as thin as the conventional metal electrodes widely used to study animal brains. “We wanted to see if we could radically change implant technology,” says Takashi Kozai, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh and the lead author on the paper, published today in the journal Nature Materials. “We want to see an electrode that lasts 70 years.”'"

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Extreme anal justice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952815)

It just is worth it on a Sunday.

Brain Implants?! (3, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41952835)

Somewhere in a hot tub, Paris Hilton is screaming: "They do brain implants, now? Oh my god, I want a set of those! Oh my– call my plastic surgeon and tell him I want those. Not too big. I just had my hair done."

Re:Brain Implants?! (4, Funny)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about 2 years ago | (#41952877)

I skimmed this as "Better Breast Implants With Ultrathin Carbon Fiber Electrodes"... now that would be stimulating.

Re:Brain Implants?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952891)

I am quite sure that is where the money is.

Re:Brain Implants?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954453)

I think she keeps it in a bank. That or hotel safes.

Re:Brain Implants?! (1)

wooferhound (546132) | about 2 years ago | (#41954493)

You know it got to be some good stuff since it is about "100 times as thin" as the conventional metal electrodes widely used to study animal brains.

Re:Brain Implants?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41959635)

See, I skimmed as '...urethra carbon fiber electrodes'. Yikes...

Re:Brain Implants?! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 2 years ago | (#41954077)

Fast forward 100 years to a point where genuinely brainpower-increasing neural implants are expensive but available. Someone like Paris Hilton decides to get one because she's rich enough to afford one. Suddenly, she's ten times smarter than any un-augmented human being. Neural enhancements will spell the end of the 'rich but dumb' celebrity.

Re:Brain Implants?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954297)

Fast forward 100 years to a point where genuinely brainpower-increasing neural implants are expensive but available. Someone like Paris Hilton decides to get one because she's rich enough to afford one. Suddenly, she's ten times smarter than any un-augmented human being.

And has a radiator on top of her head to keep her brain from literally cooking? There's no reason to suppose that an order-of-magnitude increase in computation power won't require an order-of-magnitude increase in power.

Re:Brain Implants?! (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#41954699)

And has a radiator on top of her head to keep her brain from literally cooking? There's no reason to suppose that an order-of-magnitude increase in computation power won't require an order-of-magnitude increase in power.

Brains are actually quite good at what they do - I don't really see a need for an "extra brain" coprocessor. Something more specific would be more useful - for example, a maths coprocessor that you can offload all the complex maths to, a wikipedia processor for looking up badly researched facts, etc...

Re:Brain Implants?! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#41955175)

a wikipedia processor for looking up badly researched facts

Regurgitating badly research facts is what our brains are best at.

Re:Brain Implants?! (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#41955233)

a wikipedia processor for looking up badly researched facts

Regurgitating badly research facts is what our brains are best at.

But with a Wikipedia coprocessor you have access to *more* badly researched information.

Re:Brain Implants?! (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41955335)

Suddenly, she's ten times smarter than any un-augmented human being.

And then she looks back on her life so far, and decides it would be best just to kill herself.

Jack in. (4, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#41952851)

Woot! A start to a scifi dream come true.

Re:Jack in. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#41952943)

I'd rather not be used as a puppet and have my memory wiped, thank-you very much.

Re:Jack in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954741)

First off, I think 70 years is great, that's a full 30 years over the projected future maximum lifespan of an unskilled worker and
well within the 55-65 years allotted to skilled workers and supervisors. Don't worry about brain implants, Newcastlejon. We have
absolutely no use at all for neither you nor your children. The only thing we have planned for you is your extinction. This implant
technology will however find its way into the carefully engineered new humanity that will inherit your servitude. I found
the "I'd rather not be used as a puppet and have my memory wiped, thank-you very much" rather hilarious, you already are
our puppet and we don't need to drill a hole in your head to wipe your memory btw.

Re:Jack in. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953025)

I'd rather not be used as a puppet and have my memory wiped, thank-you very much.

Re:Jack in. (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 years ago | (#41953457)

Hey, did you know you double posted?

Oh...oh, shit.

Re:Jack in. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#41954811)

Wasn't me! As usual I've no idea what the Hell is going on.

Re:Jack in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955055)

Woot! A start to a scifi dream come true.

Ya, well while I'm glad to see this news, it's only about 30 years behind where it should be.

Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#41952931)

I imagine that the many science fiction fans in this nerd community will remember the opening of Larry Niven's The Ringworld Engineers [amazon.com] . The protagonist Louis Wu has given up his friends, appetite for food and water and basically his whole life, content to sit still with an electrode delivering current straight to the pleasure centre of his brain. It's the ultimate addiction. Sure, this technology will probably bring myriad benefits, but doesn't it seem like there's some disquieting potential for misuse?

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41952957)

Assuming you do it correctly, you should be able to twiddle the brain's reward systems so as to produce sensations more pleasurable and fulfilling than any lesser stimulus.

That sounds like one of the myriad benefits, to me...

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953057)

Unless someone gears up a reward system that rewards butchering someone else. Hey presto, instant serial killers.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953927)

or you could yell a bunch of exhausted people for a few months and have thousands with no additional fee.

It seems to work.

Addiction with a capital A. (4, Insightful)

jvonk (315830) | about 2 years ago | (#41954073)

Assuming you do it correctly, you should be able to twiddle the brain's reward systems so as to produce sensations more pleasurable and fulfilling than any lesser stimulus.

That sounds like one of the myriad benefits, to me...

Depends on your definition of "correctly". Based on the rest of your comment then perhaps the Olds' experiments with rats [cliffsnotes.com] would be ideal:

In 1954, James Olds and Peter Milner discovered that a rat would press a bar to receive a brief impulse of electricity through an electrode implanted in certain areas of the brain. Although it was known that such stimulation in other areas of the brain could produce motivated behaviors of eating, drinking, sexual behavior, or aggression (and that lesions of the brain could produce the converse behaviors), it now appeared that psychologists had discovered a "brain reward" system. The ESB was serving as a reinforcer. Rats bar pressed at rapid rates for 15 to 20 hours until exhausted in order to receive the stimulation. During the process, they ignored food or water, and rat mothers ignored their pups.

I'm libertarian, so I believe it would be your right to choose to pay to implant something like this if you were to make a fully informed, mentally competent decision to do so.

However, I wouldn't want this: every other addiction has some form of intrinsic rate-limiting effect; be it passing out/hangovers for alcohol, male refractory periods for sex, dopamine receptor changes for cocaine, etc, etc. The "correct" implementation of something like this would have no such impediment to instant, ultimate junkie status.

Re:Addiction with a capital A. (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 2 years ago | (#41954247)

It sounds horrible but I would love a device to give me more pleasure from getting shit done than from surfing the internet. A discipline bypass button. It doesn't need to be too strong to change my behavior.

Re:Addiction with a capital A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954783)

I think you are on to something here, cheesy. Just think we could send you short pulses of pleasure for compliance and
pulses of searing agony for other behaviors. This technology really eliminates the need for pleasure drugs such as
Huxley's 'Soma'. Of course we still have the need for other implants, did you know there is work right now on an implant
that will work in combination with genetically engineered artificial tissue that will act as an universal gland .. we will be able
to synthesize the full gamut of biochemicals to modulate your health and well-being upwards and downwards as the moment
requires it.

Re:Addiction with a capital A. (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41955023)

So you're basically talking about behavior modification. If you're doing it to yourself, I see nothing wrong with it. Good idea. If it's mandatory on the other hand, or people are in any way coerced into getting such done... Then there would be definite ethical issues.

Re:Addiction with a capital A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955479)

Funny how the old republican (think french revolution, war of independence kind of republican) notion of freedom was a lack of coercion, be it from state or private interests. The seemingly contradictory thought tho is that such a lack of coercion will actually require a strong state capable of evening out differences that can be used as coercive leverage.

Re:Addiction with a capital A. (1)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#41957507)

Reading Scientific American a couple months ago, more recently they have found that rather than the "pleasure center" it's more of a "desire center". The electrical impulse seems to have stimulated the desire for more stimulus.

Re:Addiction with a capital A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41961915)

Also worth noting that, with respect to reward systems, there is a dissociation from wanting and liking. Certainly, late stage addicts don't get the same enjoyment from their fix that they did early on – they just want it (even that particularly strong breed of want we call "need"). So this kind of device could potentially be not only fatally debilitated, but potentially not even that much fun! Still. It's your brain. What do I care?

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | about 2 years ago | (#41955015)

I'm not sure i'd want something that would make everything else in life pale in comparison. Same reason i'd only do heroin if I was already terminally ill and close to death.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952983)

No, there does not. No more dangerous than cars, and forks. After all, you can crash into someone, or crash into a tree and kill yourself with a car. And with a fork, you can stab someone, or your own 2 eyes and go blind. Should we not have cars and forks?

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (2, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#41953033)

This is the benign alternative. Consider the worse options -- from completely bogus ones like the Matrix, to completely possible ones like bugs in the first few generations that will wreak temporary havoc with your head and cause all sorts of trouble.

I have a close relative who was mis-prescribed some drug with severe mental "side" effects. As a result of only a few doses, we had to take care of a person who turned schizophrenic by the medicine. It was awful and expensive, and neither the medical profession nor the pharmacological industry consider it a problem, just a "side effect".

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about 2 years ago | (#41954361)

the bugs can't be worse then the stuff we are already putting in our bodies, stuff that leaves you dead or worse that has been fast tracked to approval by the FDA.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#41954723)

That remains to be seen.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (1)

JosKarith (757063) | about 2 years ago | (#41954953)

My wife was put on a month's course of antidepressants after suffering a breakdown due to workplace bullying. In that month she put on about 2 stone in weight. Since then I've learned that this is a common side effect of the specific antidepressant in females - it makes women ravenously hungry while dialing the metabolism right down. Wierdly enough it doesn't have this effect on men.
I may be ever so slightly biased here but I don't consider massive weight gain to be an acceptable side effect for an antidepressant, especially considering the importance that our culture places on a woman staying thin - far from helping it added the burden of exascerbating her body-image issues to the point that my wife was point-blank refusing to leave the house.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#41955143)

I am not saying medicine is harmless (see my first comment above for a story very similar to your own), but I am by no means certain that direct brain stimulation will have milder effects. We just don't know what will be possible yet.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955511)

Could make a eerie bit of biological sense, if one start to consider things like fertility and feeding.

A non-stressed environment could be a biological signal that it would be an acceptable time to build up reserves for carrying forth and caring for offspring.

But that flies in the face of modern western body image thanks to a time of plenty. Now we instead try to look as if we are eternal teens, where our baby fat reserves have been depleted in the last growth spurt towards fertility.

The male body on the other hand do not need to deal with the issue of potentially feeding two circulatory systems for extended periods, and so do not really need to build up reserves in the same way.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41953269)

Yes, except that was already completely feasible with conventional wire electrodes.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (3, Insightful)

MangoCats (2757129) | about 2 years ago | (#41953271)

there's some disquieting potential for misuse

for anything. The more awesome the thing, the bigger the potential. Personally, I like Nuclear power, the global communication network, and nutella. While nutella is awesome, it's potential for misuse is proportional to its awesomeness, and you can't really misuse it the way you can an atomic chain reaction, or the internet.

BTW, I'm named inventor on a patent [patentbuddy.com] for using carbon fiber to make an electrode "fuzzy" and therefore more solidly connected into a large nerve fiber. Personally, I think the concept is dead obvious to anyone "skilled in the art," but that didn't stop the lawyers from pursuing it and the company from paying bonuses to the inventors.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953443)

You can have my droud when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (2)

Kotoku (1531373) | about 2 years ago | (#41954157)

The only two things in life that truly make us happy: serotonin and norepinephrine.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954351)

compared to the lives we currently live? shit i would do it. hook me up to a 25k cluster of servers and do experiments on me, would be better then my current life. friends and family are over rated when compared to immortality and the being infamous

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#41955217)

Reminded me of Neural Lace from the Culture series.

Re:Uh oh, wireheads are on the way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955263)

"but doesn't it seem like there's some disquieting potential for misuse?"

Doesn't every technology have potential for misuse?

other implants (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41952941)

Dick was obsessed with his dick.
He would beat off at least three times a day:
In the morning, when he woke up,
Right after or right before dinner,
Or right before he went to sleep.
If he didn't get in his three daily beat-off sessions,
He was a pain in the ass to be around.
He jerked off to tv-
Especially I Dream of Jenie and Dynasty and Charlie's Angels;
He pulled his pud to porno books;
He even jerked off
To the underwear ads
In the magazine section of the Sunday New York Times.
If you were a girl, talking to him on the phone,
Chances are he was beating his meat to the sound of your voice.
'Cause coming was his raison d'etre.
One time he was in the middle of jerking off to Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune
When a job offer came to him over the phone
And he needed the job bad
But he told the man he'd call him right back,
'Cause he needed to come more than he needed the job.
It wasn't that he was ugly or afraid of women or anything like that
He just honestly preferred his right hand.
I saw him the other day,
And he told me that last friday he was with two girls at their place
And they both wanted him to stay over.
But he went home,
Called up another girl,
and jacked off while talking to her.
I don't know why he tells me this stuff.
Dick's a fucked up guy.

Re:other implants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953105)

Very beatnik. I'm appluauding by snapping my fingers right now.

The brain moves. (5, Interesting)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 years ago | (#41953011)

The brain shifts in the skull, especially during impact.
Any rigid strong wire risks being ripped out, as the brain stretches, or doing the cheese wire thing.
Cheesewired brain is bad.

Re:The brain moves. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953379)

Carbon fibers have a rather low modulus; they are not rigid. The tensile strength is quite high, though. Any physical link would need a slack length between the bone and the point of interest to prevent tissue damage or relocation of the sensor.

Re:The brain moves. (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 years ago | (#41955723)

Carbon fibres modulus, while perhaps low by some measure, is very, very high compared to that of the brain.

Re:The brain moves. (1)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#41957547)

That's called a service loop in the security and building automation industries.

Re:The brain moves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955025)

it's called "slack" wiring to absorb any movement.

Re:The brain moves. (1)

tgd (2822) | about 2 years ago | (#41955425)

The brain shifts in the skull, especially during impact.
Any rigid strong wire risks being ripped out, as the brain stretches, or doing the cheese wire thing.
Cheesewired brain is bad.

I suppose its plausible, if you had enough of them, that they could actually help hold things in place, absorbing that energy rather than sloshing a squishy brain around until it bleeds.

I wouldn't get too excited... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953021)

Not to burst anyone's sci-fi bubble, but 7 microns is really more of an incremental improvement in terms of size. In our lab we already use 12 micron wire on a regular basis, but honestly we use 25 or 50 micron wire more often: larger diameter wire equals better signal quality from lower resistance. Impedance of neural electrodes is usually on the order of 10^4 ohms, you don't want to go much higher unless you really enjoy getting miserable signal-to-noise ratios. And if you can't get a signal, it doesn't matter how good your coating is or how much residual damage might be caused.

In terms of the long-term argument, they're going to need prove recording durability for longer than 6 weeks if this is really going to work. 6 weeks is impressive, but nowhere near the decades-long durability the summary is talking about.

Re:I wouldn't get too excited... (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about 2 years ago | (#41954365)

its baby steps, what do you think they will have by 2050? 2090? if we don't kill our selves first..

Re:I wouldn't get too excited... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954791)

I hope you develop an immunity against elastin.

It's not the size that matters (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about 2 years ago | (#41956471)

It's the fidelity of the carbon wire + coating.

This is HiFi for your neurotransmitters. You may be able to drop your hammer soon enough.

Micrometers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953037)

We always called them microns, we must be getting old...

Re:Micrometers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954003)

if you think about it a centon, you might end up with conflicts of context in this audience. Even amongst the older crowd if you still hail Lorne Greene as the one true Adama.

Aliens! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953061)

This is what cracks me up about people who pull out "alien implants" from their dermal layer. If even half of alien abduction lore is to be believed, they certainly have at least our level of technology (and much more experience using it). Something like this, you wouldn't even find without opening a person up. If you've been tagged like a grizzly, you're not ever going to find that tag. And why the skin? If they can operate on you without damaging the skin, they can easily graft it to bone or put it inside your skull.

Re:Aliens! (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 years ago | (#41953839)

That's just it, though. These aliens are suffering from crippling anachronisms and logical inconsistencies—both common side effects of my-species-can-be-described-in-25-words-or-less syndrome. And that is why we're so interesting to them. In the words of their lead researcher, Valium Beta 9000:

Humans don't realize how unique they are in the universe. Their society is complex and vibrant, and, alone among all others, doesn't feel like it was hastily thrown together by a science fiction writer short on ideas. We study them because we have so much to learn from them, to fix our own surprisingly obvious flaws:

The Zenzu, for instance, have the genetic inability to change their minds about anything. This is a surprisingly widespread trait in the universe.

The Inixicai developed incredible shields to to shrug off attacks from the most powerful energy weapons, but their defenses were completely useless against matter-based weapons like guided missiles and small thrown rocks. It seemed a small oversight, but sadly they greatly underestimated the amount of physical matter in the universe.

The 0110—alas, the 0110. Their entire race self-destructed when they were presented with an illogical argument.

So you see, Humans really have no idea how special they are. And they must never know, because we're supposed to destroy them. And steal their women. Or something. Sorry, what were we talking about again?

Still A Long Way Off (5, Interesting)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41953075)

From the article:

In order to listen to a neuron for long, or help people control a prosthetic as they do a natural limb, the electrodes need to be able to survive for years in the brain without doing significant damage. With only six weeks of testing, the team couldn’t say for sure how the electrode would fare in the long term, but the results were promising. "Typically, we saw a peak in immune response at two weeks, then by three weeks it subsided, and by six weeks it had already stabilized."

The electrode has to last for years (the summary says they're shooting for 70), but they only have six weeks of successful testing. The acute rejection subsided, but it could become a chronic, repeated rejection. With artificial hearts, acute rejection is most likely to occur in the first 3 to 6 months. Six weeks seems like a short time for this. Obviously the brain is a very different organ, but part of the reason they're pursuing this is because science knows far less about the brain than it does the heart.

Sensor, not stimulator technology (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953083)

As lab animal sensor technology, it's interesting. As a *stimulator* technology, it's fairly pointless. The current spread has to be enough to actually trigger nearby nodes of Ranvier for myelinated, or to stimulate significant physical areas of myelinated nerves. And stimulating them directly, electrically, requires enough charge deposited to cause hydrolisis around sych fine electrodes. Unless you can magically get the electrodes by the nodes of Ranvier, and *keep* them there or encourage the nodes to keep reforming there for the life of the electrode, you're screwed.

Oh, and *forget* ever doing an MRI on someone with these in their nerves. The likelihood of forming loops in such fine fibers is very high, and they *will* couple electromagnetically to the MRI, with big pulses of current going around the loops and both thermally cooking and mechanically yanking their way around the brain tissue when the MRI pulses.

Re:Sensor, not stimulator technology (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954349)

Oh, and *forget* ever doing an MRI on someone with these in their nerves. The likelihood of forming loops in such fine fibers is very high, and they *will* couple electromagnetically to the MRI, with big pulses of current going around the loops and both thermally cooking and mechanically yanking their way around the brain tissue when the MRI pulses.

Holy damn shit.

That's a whole new nightmare I'd never heard or thought of for cortical implants, especially during the phase when they're common enough that people outside medical studies have them, but rare enough nobody at Podunk County Hospital knows to check for them before a NMR scan.

Re:Sensor, not stimulator technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955265)

Hm. It seems that if we're going to interact directly with neurons over time we probably need some "wet" interface layer that basically can't be distinguished magnetically or electrically mechanically from the wet stuff that's already there. That wet stuff needs needs an interface to the outside though, and the stuff that's being described here may be of some use there. But hey, progress is progress, as usual we don't know exactly in which direction ;)

MAtrix is ready (1)

epSos-de (2741969) | about 2 years ago | (#41953281)

Some will see the Matrix behind this and others will see cool interfaces for disable people. Certainly a good thing, if you need damn implants in your brain.

The line (1)

lessthan (977374) | about 2 years ago | (#41953513)

The line forms behind me. I don't care if you have epilepsy, narcolepsy, or some other -epsy. I want my cybernetic implants and I want them now!

Good news for visual prosthesis (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953535)

Given that the number one limiting constraint on the results of visual cortex implants has been electrode resolution, we may finally get true visual prosthesis for the first time. Still in black and white of course, since color lives in a different layer.

go4t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953589)

play 4arties the

100 times as thin ! (2)

swell (195815) | about 2 years ago | (#41953623)

Boss: So how are things going down here Greeves?

Greeves: Oh, hi Boss, we've had a breakthrough- we got it down to 1mm thin!

Boss: Not bad for a start, Greeves, but you know the investors won't be satisfied until it's 100 times as thin. How long till it's 100mm?

Re:100 times as thin ! (1)

gumpish (682245) | about 2 years ago | (#41954163)

I really wish there was a law about saying "100 times as thin" or "100 times colder" or "100 times slower"...

Re:100 times as thin ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954509)

Or using the word "really" when you don't actually mean it.

Re:100 times as thin ! (1)

gumpish (682245) | about 2 years ago | (#41976781)

Man, I'm really going to have to really evaluate my life after you put in my place like that.

Doesn't always work (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41953789)

We applied the carbon fiber electrodes, but were unable to get a neural response from either patient.

Re:Doesn't always work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41954661)

I don't have any mod points right now, but for what it's worth, I smiled.

That brain implant ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41953931)

... may be thin. But the aliens still insist on inserting it with that big fat probe up the anus.

And now the borgification of humanity can begin. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41954347)

[nt]

Re:And now the borgification of humanity can begin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41955043)

I would be first in line for assimilation. Seriously.
I'm a Borg FanGirl. In addition I heard the first 1000 assimilated Borgs waiting in line will get an awesome T-Shirt.

Re:And now the borgification of humanity can begin (1)

tgd (2822) | about 2 years ago | (#41955439)

[nt]

You're from Canada, so you didn't see the last US election. Trust me, it began a long time ago.

Guh? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 2 years ago | (#41954727)

Any neuro scientists here? How can this possibly work - I thought the brain worked via complex chemical signals involving a shitload of neurotransmitters.

What good is a "wire" going to do? Seems like plugging a telephone wire into a computer on one end and a rat's ass on the other and expecting the computer to say "POOP".

Re:Guh? (1)

thorgil (455385) | about 2 years ago | (#41954843)

within neuron the signal is transmitted by charge..

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