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Linking Hardware To Wetware

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the moistware dept.

Science 195

Vikki_R. writes: "Wired has an article about grafting a microelectric circuit directly onto a human brain cell. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have been working on developing an interface between semiconductors and neurons. Imagine being able to give your computer a piece of your mind ..." Update: 11/25 22:54 GMT by T : Here's an earlier post linking to a different article on the same research.

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So... (2, Funny)

dimator (71399) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611192)

When can I plug in to the Matrix?

Re:So... (3, Funny)

captin nod (517564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611279)

Yes, welcome to the real world.
Imagine having your leg haxx0red by some l33t script kiddie.
hahahaha uyore l3g has b33n haxx0red! (kick self in head)

I love calculus! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611195)

GIve me integration, or give me death!

Isn't the Lameness Filter Just Lame??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611196)

|.- - - -- - - -.|
| |
| Eat My Nuts |
| |
| _ _ _ _ __ _ |
' - -- . . - - - '
| _|/
| ." ".
| /(o)-(o)\
/_)| / |
|_)| '- |
\_)\ '.___.' / |\/|_
| \ \_/ / _| '/
|_\ \.___./ \ ) /
\ \_/\__/\__ ==|
\ \ /\ /\ `\ |
\ \\// \ |
`\ /\ / |
; | \____/
| | |

Caltech seems to be into this sort of thing (1)

Vardamir (266484) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611197)

Isn't Caltech the leader in this area?

Re:Caltech seems to be into this sort of thing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611247)

What's the matter, can't accept the fact that UT might actually good at something? Go fuck yourself, you elitist prick.

Re:Caltech seems to be into this sort of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611356)

hahahaha i don't think you silly person

perhaps you should be looking much further afield [unsw.edu.au] to find the leaders in this area.

Re:Caltech seems to be into this sort of thing (1)

lucius (189447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611416)

are you at UNSW? if so, which faculty?

I did a stint of neuroscience but now I'm down at physics

Upgrades? (1)

MrGuru (8276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611201)

What happens when you're stuck with a once-only 1.0 beta wetware implant and your friends are getting 8.0 upgradable bioware?

Re:Upgrades? (1)

Proteus Child (535173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611366)

What happens when you're stuck with a once-only 1.0 beta wetware implant and your friends are getting 8.0 upgradable bioware?

*starts making coffee*


uses (1)

lowtekneq (469145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611202)

I could see this being used to control artificial limbs rather then control computers. It would be neat to have a brain w/o a body to give your computer "logic" and reason.

Re:uses (1)

captin nod (517564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611419)

Another much more immediate application would be to use the interface to regain control of existing limbs that have had their nerve motor control damaged or severed, such as the case is with paraplegics.

Memory Upgrade! (1, Funny)

TMLink (177732) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611211)

My friends have always said my memory stinks...now I can finally get it upgraded! ;-)

LOL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611216)

You Slashdot boyz think you're so clever.


Right on! :D

Watch out for the aliens! (0, Offtopic)

tcd004 (134130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611217)

They'll try to stick Pentium 4's [lostbrain.com] into our skulls.

Raise your hand if you hate those commercials...


Re:Watch out for the aliens! (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611224)

This is the lamest karma whore I've seen...

Re:Watch out for the aliens! (1)

tcd004 (134130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611244)

You've clearly missed the fact that in addition to being a Karma whore, I'm a web-traffic whore.

Re:Watch out for the aliens! (-1)

Retarded_One (518093) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611248)

You are also a gay ass-filcher, but we shan't mention that here.

Pray tell, why give yourself a 2 on a stupid post like that?

Re:Watch out for the aliens! (1)

tcd004 (134130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611284)

I guess posting at 2, you know, seeing that little Score:2, helps me salvage my self-image from the clutches of my unorthodox sex-life. Why do you include homophobia in all your posts numb nuts?


Re:Watch out for the aliens! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611439)

Why do you include homophobia in all your posts numb nuts?

Homophobia: Term used by gays to make an otherwise perverted lifestyle (such as marrying your mother or sister) normal by antagonizing others who actually have a moral code.

As usual, promising and worrisome (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611219)

There are a lot of benefits that can come from this type of technology. The first thing that comes to mind is restoring sight to those who have optic nerve or retinal damage, situations where the optical facilities of the brain are still functional. Hearing has been restored for people with what are called coclear (sp?) implants. I think if the blind could someday be made to see, it would be pretty awesome.

On the other hand, I worry about things like the memory implant that was suggested in a recent poll. I don't doubt for a minute that people would jump at an opportunity to have some implant to make them smarter. Worse yet, these things would probably be offered by the scariest companies, one I don't feel I need to mention. Who knows what Sci-fi nightmares could come true.

Retinal implants already exist (1)

Catskul (323619) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611444)

Devices of this type already exist, just not on the scale described in this article. For example, it is already possible to get retinal implants. The quality is such that you can only see large letters and general motion, but it exists none the less : http://www.optobionics.com/artificialretina.htm. It is also already possible to implant electrodes into the brain of somone who has been paralysed, and have them control a mouse by thinking of moving their abscent body part.http://sulu.smpp.nwu.edu/

Scary possibilities (2, Interesting)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611220)

I suspect by the time they have this issue sufficiently researched and tested, wireless connections will be pretty much commonplace over much of the world. Imagine being able to THINK of something and have relevant information directly IN your brain. No more going to the library (does anyone ever do that anymore? It's all I had growing up!), no more 'surfing the web' to find information. It'll all just be THERE - ready for mental ingestion without physically having to DO much work.

I also think about how this will be abused - IM and 'wireless' ads are two that come to mind. Billboards and ads are annoying enough, but you can turn off the TV/Radio, or close your eyes, or look at something else. Imagine NEVER being able to get away from this stuff - mentally, I mean. It'd be pumped into your brain directly - those stupid human body filters like your eyes, feet, etc. won't be able to stop those ads from embedding themselves into your brain...

I know, it's all farfetched, and I kind doubt I'll see widespread adoption of this in my lifetime. But for any possible UPSIDE of this, I see way too many downsides. :/

Re:Scary possibilities (1)

kennon42 (147921) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611240)

Isn't there an Outer Limits episode about this?

If I recall the episode correctly, everyone in the world has implants and can get information instantaneously, except for this one man who has some sort of defect so he has to learn from books. He is pretty much an outcast, until the day the system crashes and no one knows anything on their own, so he becomes the leader.

Re:Scary possibilities (1)

jx100 (453615) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611368)

Yeah, I remember that. There was either a bug in the system, or someone released some kind of virus. Because of that, everyone infected suddenly got really bad OCD and impulsively counted things. The one person who didn't have the implants was also the only literate person there, as no one else needed to read. ONce the network goes down (by having one person read a specific electrical pattern out of a book), he begins to teach everyone to read again.

Re:Scary possibilities (1)

aka-ed (459608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611250)

you can turn off the TV/Radio, or close your eyes, or look at something else. Imagine NEVER being able to get away from this stuff - mentally, I mean

Just press the tip of your nose. That's the "mute" button.

Re:Scary possibilities (1, Funny)

AvatarADVathome (538740) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611263)

No joke. If I get a wireless head computer connection, I'm going to insist on the firewall of the gods before I go under the knife...

Re:Scary possibilities (1)

cendence (538900) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611268)

I wonder if the brain could be used as a data store like in the movie Johnny Mnemonic - i guess it could be used to store information in a lossy way, like images. I always wanted to have a big portable space when going to a friend to exchange data :)

Re:Scary possibilities (2)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611297)

I wonder if the brain could be used as a data store like in the movie Johnny Mnemonic

Poor Johnny was a courier of information; he didn't actually have access to it. They put a hard drive in his head, sure, but the I/O didn't go to anything biological. The new USB keychain drives are just as good and don't need the brain surgery.

Re:Scary possibilities (1)

cendence (538900) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611309)

If I remember correctly, he had to let delete some of his data in brain (his childhood) to have more space (or to have free space at all?). There was no harddrive IMO. I guess that is rather biological. (And he could store 80 GB of raw data, with his compressor he could store 160 - and he was overloaded with a full 320 GB. :-)

Re:Scary possibilities (3, Interesting)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611288)

Lotsa downsides, yes, most related to 'system' security. Lotsa upsides, though. Imagine what this would do for education. How much of what we all went through was "Memorize this for your test tomorrow". Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could dispense with nearly all of that and jump straight to understanding of concepts rather then spend years memorizing mostly useless facts?

How about occupational specialization? The sum of human knowledge is getting so huge that nobody can be an expert in more than a few fields. Not least of all because nobody lives long enough to learn more than that. If we can add whole rooms to our memory and thinking capacity, what more could we accomplish?

I'm trying to imagine what this could do to software design; rather than typing code and looking at it on a screen, we'd simply write it in our minds. It'd certainly be faster; combine it with instant recall of the entire program, no matter how large, and you've got a truly powerful programming tool. It'd make Emacs and VI look like punched cards.

No thats not it (1, Redundant)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611296)

The second we have a brain to computer interface.

The problem will be, How will the government "Control" what people think? IF people have telepathy, forget about national security. IF people can just think something to someone else, or connect to a globle internet of thoughts well then

Theres no way the government can easily say "You cannot think this, its illegal" But i'm sure they will try.

Re:No thats not it (2, Informative)

lucius (189447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611476)

Are you serious? You actually think that humans could possible build a machine that could decode thoughts realtime from brain impulses?

At the moment it's a massively nontrivial task to tell if monkeys are looking at black or white. Do you think a computer (no matter how much people idolise the things) could tell the difference between two basic thoughts? For a start you'd have to interface to some massive fraction of the number of nerve cells, then you'd have to get all this data to a huge computer somewhere and have it analysed. And for what? The best way to find out what someone is thinking is to just ask them. There'll never be a computer that can read peoples' minds anywhere near as well as a good trial lawyer who's trained to study faces.

Re:Scary possibilities (3, Funny)

passion (84900) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611333)

I also think about how this will be abused - IM and 'wireless' ads are two that come to mind.

Think the phone companies will go for this? No way, unless they require you to send all your messages through their filter servers... then the FBI can carnivore your mind, and make sure that you don't commit any "thought-crimes", or maybe my fiancee will just kick me in the nuts everytime I walk past another beautiful woman.

Not really (was: Re:Scary possibilities) (1)

MwtrV (311470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611337)

Do you know how difficult it would be to have the computer programmed and interfaced in a manner complimentary to it being capable of understanding what the human brain is thinking? Sure, it could *send* stimuli, but I highly doubt it could provide any type of an "interactive" experience. We're not advanced enough for that (yet!) I think this stuff is possible, it just involves a massive amount of intelligence we don't yet have.

Regarding it being moral, I see nothing immoral about it so long as our world doesn't become like an apocolyptic sci-fi novel. ;)

Re:Not really (was: Re:Scary possibilities) (2)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611370)

Which is why I said I don't think it'll happen in my lifetime. Even if I live a long time, I probably don't have more than 50-60 years left(!), so I think I was pretty conservative in my estimate.

Re:Scary possibilities (2)

Naikrovek (667) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611349)

bah. who's to say that when something is piped into your brain artificially, you will remember it any better than someone who piped it in the old fashioned way?

the means do not necessarily change the end. you won't learn any faster, you'll just get headaches from buffer overflows. and God forbid your worst enemy knows you have this and decides to wave an electromagnet in your direction. just like overloading a wire makes it hot, overloading other circuitry creates lots of heat as well.

I'll pass on this "upgrade".

Re:Scary possibilities (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611452)

Think of the possibilities! You could browse NineNine [ninenine.com] from anywhere!

Just keep Microsoft away (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611225)

What if we could install operating systems on our brains?

This'll be a big area of expansion for Linux. Everyone will install it rather than Windows so that they don't crash their minds.

Re:Just keep Microsoft away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611280)

Riight... they will just get rooted instead!

Re:Just keep Microsoft away (2)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611301)

I don't think this will be like installing a RAM upgrade in your head. More like hooking the existing computer (your brain) up to another over some Cat5. If the new system crashes, you have to reboot it, but it won't affect the original. It would certainly suck when that happened, though. It be like a temporary lobotomy; it's over once the add-on reboots, but until then you're limited to your own grey matter.

Uh Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611232)

I just can't wait till M$ gets a hold on this one.... Looks like those MCSE's are one step closer to getting that new Windows XP Collective implant Or better yet maybe we can have the senate mandate that all users of computers are required to have the implant.

'Scuse me? (0)

DKConstant (307421) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611238)

Imagine being able to give your computer a piece of your mind ..."

i don't know about you fellas, but i'd rather give my mind a piece of my computer.

can't wait to install my new Ultra ATA spinal column

seriously doubtful about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611245)

What are they going to do, open up people's brain cases inside of a clean room in Hillsboro, Oregon? Give me a break.

What's wrong with just being human, anyway? So long as you forget about George W Bush, it's not that bad of a club to belong to-- you can almost take pride in it!

Re:seriously doubtful about this (0)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611286)

What's wrong with just being human, anyway?

Nothing, but I also like to think that one day I won't have to wear glasses and that the muscle that was removed from my left forearm might be replaced (I'm left handed, and had cancer in my left elbow, of all the dumb luck).

eh eh remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611246)

reminds me of futurama, and the egg...

You know what'd be really cool? (2, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611249)

If slashdot editors actually read slashdot:

Nerve Cells Connected to Semi-Conductors [slashdot.org]

"I won't expect Wired editors ever to be that clueful."

Re:You know what'd be really cool? (1)

stiefvater (101844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611328)

do the slashdot editors really get PAID for their work?

if so, who's the boss? someone who's afraid to reprimand his employees, obviously.


Re:You know what'd be really cool? (1)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611361)

Geez!!! Give them a break! I bet most people don't read things on their own websites. Even when you do, it's much easier to spot things on other people's sites than it is on your own one.
If you really wanna complain about something, go compain about people using "then" instead of "than" and other (more important) things like that. If you want to post a link to an earlier article, feel free to do that too.

On a Similiar Note (1, Interesting)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611255)

If I am not mistaken, they have already taken the brain of a sea lamprey and connected it to a motor on wheels (and it actually moved around on it's own, until the brain die), so this is sorta old news then, huh?

The full arcticle is here [sciencenews.org]

hmm (1)

Iamthefallen (523816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611256)

hmm, I wonder what govmt agencies will blame problems and delays on when we get neurolinks, "Oh I'm sorry, your application got lost because a secretary's head crashed yesterday"

Interesting Work (1)

r.suzuka (538257) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611261)

I am not sure but I believe another story about this was recently posted here. In any case it is very interesting and deserving of coverage.

A collegue of mine here at the University of Tokyo has mention that similar work has been done in his lab. It seems clear to me that the next major breakthrough in computing will be the elimination of the unwieldy and awkward keyboard.

It has been discussed what the next major User Interface metaphor will be; That is, what will replace the familiar desktop? I believe that the Desktop will remain with us until the end of manuel input devices. I do not believe we will ever see an efficient three dimensional user interfact metaphor until we have more efficient ways of interfacing with our machines, be it with our eyes or through or neurons or whatever sort of technology might be on the horizon.

At least, that is my view on the matter. I would welcome hearing from you if you disagree. Thank you.

R. Suzuka

Re:Interesting Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611283)

You're in, suzuka-san. But details. We want details!

I agree but i dont think the direct approuch (1, Redundant)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611292)

Is going to work. I mean I think we need to develop a brain to computer interface but directly to braincells? This guarentees no one will use it.

IT has to be something on the skin, or something on the head, not on the brain.

Excellent .. /dev/brain (2)

SirFlakey (237855) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611265)

Imagine teaching you brain stuff directly into neurons .. you simply know it. The Matrix all over =) ..

dd if=/tmp/Alan_Cox_kernel_hacking.img of=/dev/brain

Re:Excellent .. /dev/brain (1)

yesthatguy (69509) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611318)

Just wait for an unstable kernel release, so that when you try to disconnect your brain, the kernel wipes your brain. Uhh...oops.

Implications (1)

Maskirovka (255712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611266)

31337 will own windows users LITTERALLY!

Brings a whole new meaning to the term 'zombie'.

I tell for sure if the chick down the street is dating someone!

Two words: Test CRAMMING.

Be affraid to even so much as LOOK at a McAffee retail box.

Norton Ghost sales to public schools would ski rocket.

Imagine a realy bewolfe cluster of Natalie Portman Cruisers (see above).

A million reasons to fear the local BOFH.

people will run benchmarks against each other.

Quake lan parties will require that you check firearms at the door, lest you forget which world you're in.

That's terrifying (0, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611273)

"RAM and human memory have always inhabited entirely separate worlds, but the boundary between them is now blurring. Hardware and wetware may have more in common than you think."

Oh dear, I hope it won't run Windows, people would fall into a coma every 2 days ...

Re:That's terrifying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611291)

Bot! I knew it!

Small problem... (2)

BoarderPhreak (234086) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611278)

It's exactly because of computers that I've been steadily losing my mind...

I don't think giving it another piece would help this any.... :D

gibson.. (1)

jbarket (530468) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611281)

isn't it frightening that the things gibson wrote about that you stuck in these things were called microsofts?

dear god=>

Whats the point of this research? (1, Redundant)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611287)

It really seems to have no real purpose
I know brain to computer interface sounds good, meaning you can think and the computer translates thoughts into action.

However, direct physical interface is not the way.

Perhaps a patch which goes onto your skin is ok, but directly to your brain cells? Why make yuor braincells attach to a CPU?

Re:Whats the point of this research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611364)

Why make yuor braincells attach to a CPU?

just another step toward robot bodies man. you think you're gonna live forever in that monkey body of yours?

Re:Whats the point of this research? (2)

Penrif (33473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611381)

Ever want a harddrive hooked up to your brain? That whole memorization thing becomes irrelevant. First, of course, you need an interface.

Why? (1, Redundant)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611447)

Its stupid though, The brain has infinite space, unless you have some sorta disease where you lose your memory you dont need a harddrive.

Theres no computer which even comes close to matching the human brain at all except for perhaps math and logic.

And as far as brain to computer interface goes, hooking directly up to braincells is just not the right way to do it, I dont think its practical.

Re:Whats the point of this research? (2, Interesting)

captin nod (517564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611412)

Invasive (ie where you have to cut tissue open) interfaces are bad because it is basically an open wound that is open to infection; also, any foreign materials (wires etc.) inside the body will be attacked by the normal defence mechanisms.
This has been countered somewhat by materials with low bioreactivity (I don't know too much about that) but still there is the problem of the open wound.
One option would be to have the interface under the skin and the information transmitted via a coil (like the bionic ear, pioneered by those cool aussies at cochlear [cochlear.com]).
Another option is to induce a current directly in nerves without placing anything inside the body at all; I *think* its called functional electrostimulation [akh-wien.ac.at]. Its the kind of thing that is useful for paraplegics of all sorts, and centres around regaining the use of existing limbs that have had their nerve control damaged or broken in some way.

It'd bring new meaning ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611290)

to the infamous "Blue Screen of Death", no?

Actually, this is getting way too uncomfortably close to many cyberpunk sf stories. Gads, actually having an "implant" to better "run" the net? No, thanks. My DSL is fast enough for now.

Re:It'd bring new meaning ... (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611300)

DSL fast enough? I won't be happyu until I get an OC-256 connection hard-wired directly to my brain. *drools*

Hacking? (2, Interesting)

Trevelyan (535381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611303)

Just think if we has the same level (or more) interface with a computer has they do with each other, imagine how easy it would be to hack boxes.

the slow part of hacking system would be your interface to it, and bottle necks in there (eg keyboard) i never tried my self, but imagine a good original hack requires a lot of prep work, eg writing tools, poking into your tcp/ip and stuff.
and during the actual hack you dont have time to make quick changes, probably need to abort write your tools some more and start again.
where as with this you could hack stuff like, with the full utility of your human ingenuity, instinks , imagination etc

not only that, as well as hacking other machines we could try hack into each other, with the strong of mind or skill winning.
just imagine what future version of script kiddies would do with their parents, if they didn't like being sent to bed w/o supper.

did any one see that 'Outer Limits' episode where every one bar a few with brain disorders. had a live net connection to their brains, and they all got a virus. It was upto the few w/o the link to try save the others from crainial overload.


Ghost in the Shell ... (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611342)

... comes to mind when you mentioned the hacking other humans. You literally turn other people into 'zombie machines' that will do your bidding.

Sun will have to update Java license (3, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611308)

It looks like Sun will have to ammend those disclaimers in the Java license:

This software may not be used to control aircraft, nuclear power plants, or anybody's mind.

Re:Sun will have to update Java license (1)

lkaos (187507) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611324)

That's scary. Java is being used as the development platform for DD-21 [dd21.com]. Not only will it be controlling aircraft, it will also be control all sorts of stuff that are directly related to national security. I guess the DoD forgot to read the click through license ;-)

Geek Code (1)

OO7david (159677) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611325)

Whelp, I guess now we get to see how many people really meant that C++++ in their geek code.

How long? (1)

MasterOfDisaster (248401) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611332)

So, how long will it be until I can pop those spare 128MB SIMMs into my head, and finaly rember where the !@$ I left my keys? But seriously, This could lead to some really cool research, especialy in prostetics. Imagine, with the tech we have now, it would not only look like your other arm, but you yourself wouldnt know the diffrence. You could control it just like your old arm. Quite cool, if you ask me. Then, for fun..you could probly make telapathy devices...As in, I see what you see, and stuff. Or with 802.11b cards in the back of our heads...we could be the borg. The posibilities of this are endless

I think we'll have to wait for.. (1)

Merik (172436) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611339)

An ingestable swarm of nanobots that can take position within our brains, interfaceing directly neuron by neuron before computer generated thoughts become part of our consciousness.

When the time comes, will you "cross over"?

(read Kurzweil Age of Spiritual machines)

Re:I think we'll have to wait for.. (1)

captin nod (517564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611482)

Errrrrrrrr... no.

Chances are digestible nanobots will go in the mouth and come out the other end along with the meat and veg you ate last night.

Problem is that the complex organisms don't take lightly to having foreign materials inside the body, and anything without a very low bioreactivity (there are very, very few materials with a low bioreactivity) will get attacked by the body's natural defences. Anything as small as a nanobot will likely just get crapped out of the other end (pardon the expression).

As I see it, a more likely option is for the nerves to be accessed via induction from outside of the body; go see here [akh-wien.ac.at].

we're making great strides here (2, Interesting)

llamalicious (448215) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611353)

although I still believe it's a long way off, being able to interact at the protein, and possibly even bio-electric level with opens up some great doors for being able combat a wide variety of cellular problems. Think directly shutting down cancer cells, or changing telomerase lengths to increase lifespan. Maybe even finding a way of increasing the speed of biochemical reactions and electrical signaling in the mind (overclock your brain on the next Geraldo)... but seriously:

IMO there are still some major hurdles to be lept in the development, e.g. Finding a stable power supply for these semiconductors so they can operate for any period of time. Sure, we can just say, let us leech some bioelectricity from surrounding tissue, or maybe convert sugar like muscles, but there's the actuality of doing it, versus the simplicity of saying it.

Plus, if we need widespread modification of a large body of tissue, and we plan on doing it with an injection of a foreign body in the bloodstream or otherwise, you've still got to contend with the body's own immune system, and possible toxic reactions from breakdowns of semiconductors and their binding materials.

So fear not, your brain probably won't suffer from a cataclysmic BSOD or fsck from hell for a few years yet.

So, besides my "what ifs" above, I think this is a good thing.

This could finally make my dream come true! (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611367)

If computers could be given neurons, then it would be possible to make them feel PAIN!

FBI (1)

cr@ckwhore (165454) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611375)

In related news, the FBI is planning to release project Brain Drain, following in the footsteps of project Midnight Lantern.

Government (2)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611383)

Next thing you know, we'll end up with a world like in Johnny Mnemonic or something... 80 gigs, right in the head. Of course, by the time people have computers in their brains, storage capacities will be much higher than that.

And then you'll get things like people getting a new sort of amnesia where the computer malfunctioned and erased data inside the person's head... or if there's built-in networking, crackers will get directly into people's brains and put memories there that never took place, or they'll record your thoughts for their personal use.

Will you need a firewall inside your brain? How about virus protection software? A computer inside your head, especially one with network connectivity, will give new meaning to the term "virus" as it applies to humans.

Maybe the government wants to install computers in every person's head for thought policing, er, convenience reasons. Then, cool hacks will appear on the net allowing you to shield your thoughts from the government, while making artificial legitimate thoughts appear on the networking interface for the government to see. Then, the government will pass all sorts of anti-terrorism laws against modifying the computer in your brain. And they'll come up with monitoring software capable of determining if you have modified the software in your brain's computer.

Of course, there will be failures of some sort or another, and people will become delusional or they'll simply lose control of themselves because of an illegal instruction fault (while upgrading their firmware, er, brainware) and start flopping around or something. This brings new meaning to debugging.

In short, whatever possibilities a computer inside your brain makes possible, it's nothing when compared to the disadvantages. OH WELL.

Brain-Net links. (1)

Proteus Child (535173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611384)

This would be a dream come true - no more headaches from monitor refresh.. no more raster burn.. no more RST.. DWIM...

But I can also think of one major problem with this: Bugs in the code which translates binary commands into neural impulses.

Death: The ultimate denial of service attack.

Imagine the moment after... (1)

aphex2000 (521986) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611388)

... you accidently type "rm -rf /" while having your brain mounted.

now THAT would be bad luck :)

Linking... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611393)

...Hard Cock to Wet Pussy!

Definite DMCA conspiracy here! (1)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611395)

'Nie has his own list of applications for such bioelectronic devices, such as tissue engineering and sound and light censors, which "either enhance the body's function or act as a probe that lets you observe the body's function," he said.'

Sound and light "censors" argh! That's audio and video conquered in one fell swoop. Soon it'll be pay-per-view just to drive to work...

Sound & Light Censors? (1)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611450)

The article mentioned censors. Perhaps this is just a typo of "sensors" (I hope so), but if they ever manage to hook up a little computer that won't let me hear "bad" words (I still don't see how they are bad...), I will be very angry.

Math class, porn, AOL IM, and h4x0r1ng abilities.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611453)

Just slap an Athlon XP in my brain and I can finally do better on math tests than my ACT-math score of 23 indicates!

Calc 3? Ha - all the problems for the whole semester, done in 1 minute! Bring on Differential Equations!

And when I'm done, I can have porn sent to directly to my brain via an 802.11b ISP. Hopefully my brain will be running Konqueror as the browser so I can block all those damn pop-up ads...

Then, after pleasuring myself and getting an "A" in Calc3, I'll load up BrainAIM and send my friends telepathic IM's!

Then on to BrainIRC, where I can h4x0r somebody else's mind and get their passwords even if they're memorized! Or run a DDOS (mind control a bunch of people) on somebody else and turn them into a passed out lump on the ground until their brain gets rebooted...

Uhh, one slight problem (1)

A_Non_Moose (413034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611465)

seeing as the Central Nervous System is miles of neruons...usually a boost is needed to power most circuits.

Where would you put the plug?

Uh...forget I asked.

Similar stuff.... (3, Interesting)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 12 years ago | (#2611469)

...Michael Colicos, the guy over at qflux.net [qflux.net], has been working on something similar in his day job; in fact, his work will be on the cover of the Novebmer 30 issue of Cell (probably the most pristigous biology journal).

Colicos also has a series of "virtual intelligence" programs and screensavers (win32 only, unfortunately) that do some interesting stuff.



Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2611477)

You will be assimilated. Discussion is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We are the Borg.
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