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Mind Over Machine

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the ultimate-laziness dept.

Hardware 331

broKenfoLd writes "Monkeys moving robotic arms by manipulating a cursor on a computer screen, simply by thinking about it? Mice who cause their water tube to dispense some refreshing H2O just by wishing it? Signal processing and decoding has long been a dream of Matrix fans and lazy system administrators for years, and science is amazingly keeping up! Popular Science's Carl Zimmer has written a fascinating piece documenting recent progress in decoding brain signals and interpreting commands issued from thoughts alone. If you heard a single violin playing Beethoven's 5th, you would be able to tell what piece of music was being played even though the rest of the orchestra was not heard. In the same way, by monitoring a relatively few neurons, computers can recognize patterns and allow programming based on these patterns to say, know if a mouse is thinking about pushing his water lever. You can pass the time waiting for Matrix-style video games and motionless system adminstration/utilization by reading the full article."

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8409966)

Ooooohaaaaaahaaaaaaaah

First Post!
-DT

Channel surfing (5, Funny)

Dashing Leech (688077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8409970)

But can it be used for channel surfing. That's the ultimate goal.

Re:Channel surfing (2, Interesting)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410039)

How do synapses encode the need for pr0n or cartoons? That's really the question.

Re:Channel surfing (3, Funny)

Hooya (518216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410050)

but the TV would be stuck on the p0rn channel. if you've got a wife, LOOK OUT!!

Re:Channel surfing (5, Funny)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410278)

but the TV would be stuck on the p0rn channel. if you've got a wife, LOOK OUT!!

The trick is to marry someone who enjoys watching porn with you. It's not that hard; if I can do it, anyone can.

Re:Channel surfing (1, Funny)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410087)

Here I though the idea was to make it possible to force 1000 monkeys to type more continuously.

We have got to see if Shakespear was better than 1000 monkeys don't we?

First Post!!! (-1, Offtopic)

deja206 (711205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8409973)

Gotta...burn...karma!

YOU FAIL IT!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410009)

Loser!!!

Re:First Post!!! (-1, Offtopic)

deja206 (711205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410238)

...and I thought I was lucky today... =))

Fritz pots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8409977)

you fucking dwarf!

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Useful... (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8409981)

computers can recognize patterns and allow programming based on these patterns to say, know if a mouse is thinking about pushing his water lever.

Sounds like an old joke we shared around the IT dept about 20 years ago related to 'anticipatory paging', why not anticipatory programming. Hmm. Useful

This could save some of the
effort [umd.edu] of heavy lifting of that axe or driving that nail.

"after the nth time the process failed I gave the computer such a look that the software uninstalled itself, the harddrive crashed and the O/s committed suicide."

Re:Useful... (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410114)

why not anticipatory programming

THEN x = 3
IF x == uninitializedValue

Just don't forget one thing! (5, Funny)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8409989)

Monsters, John! Monsters... from the id!

Re:Just don't forget one thing! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410026)

Monsters, John! Monsters... from the id!

I don't get it. Obviously a reference to John Carmack at ID games, ie Doom III, but I still don't get it.

Re:Just don't forget one thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410057)

Forbidden Planet -- look it up

Re:Just don't forget one thing! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410110)

FB site [easyspace.com]

Re:Just don't forget one thing! (5, Informative)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410089)

No, its a refernce to the SCi-fi classic Forbidden Planet. A highly species known as the Krell develope a machine that allows manipulation without instrumentation - all they had to do was think about it and the machine would create whatever they thought about right there. But the Krell forgot one thing: the monsters of the subconcious mind. The Krell had become so highly advanced that they had forgotten that deep down buried in their minds, the primitive savage still existed - a savage that still wanted to kill and destroy and in building the machine the Krell had given those monsters nearly infinite power. As a result, the Krell were destroyed by their own minds.

Re:Just don't forget one thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410077)

Creating monsters from the id is surely a violation of the client access license. Just because The Krell played fast-and-loose with the license agreement won't mean we'll make the same mistake.

Re:Just don't forget one thing! (2, Interesting)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410254)

Monsters, John! Monsters... from the id!

First you need [mistershortcut.us] something [chello.nl] else [ninemsn.com.au] !

Re:Just don't forget one thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410299)

LOL, yeah monsters.

Some guys researching this had a problem. When there was a big red icon that deleted all the files on the system operators couldn't help thinking about it. Like when your parents tell you not to touch something, that old code of defiant curiosity is still there like a devil on your shoulder. No matter ...how ...hard....trying not to think... must not think..... damnit!!

On a factual note I don't remember if this is some SF I read way back, or a rumour I heard or something I just made up completely.

This was on HDNet via DirectV (3, Interesting)

Brew Bird (59050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8409990)

Saw this on HDNet... very very very cool..
I esp like the lady with the leads out of both sides of the back of her head....

She looked very Borg-Like.

Re:This was on HDNet via DirectV (1)

jbrocklin (613326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410038)

It was also on PBS a while back...at least here in Cincinnati

This could be bad... (5, Funny)

jhouserizer (616566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8409991)

Can you imagine what might happen when a "hottie" walks though the office?

Re:This could be bad... (5, Interesting)

Jotaigna (749859) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410075)

I remember a scene from "Macross Plus" Where two batteloids where flying and one of them was "neuro controlled". In a part, the neurocontrolled batteloid falls very fast and the other batteloid saves it from crushing into the ground, but as the "neuro" pilot regains control of his mecha, he wishes the other pilot was down(there is some grudge between pilots) and inmediately the mecha obeys the wish and wrecks the old batteloid!!. Be carful of what you wish, if you are hooked to a machine, you might get it!.

Re:This could be bad... (5, Funny)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410081)

all the CD drives prematurely eject?

Re:This could be bad... (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410099)

Can you imagine what might happen when a "hottie" walks though the office?

What? Outlook automatically downloads all youre V1@gr@ spam onto your drive for your perusal?

Re:This could be bad... (5, Funny)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410155)

Interesting question. I love questions like this that we can debate, secure in the knowledge that we will never find out the real answer. Eventually we will find out what it is like to have this working, but we geeks will never find out what it is like to have a "hottie" walk though the office.

Congratulations, you have posed the perfect open ended question.

Re:This could be bad... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410185)

I suspect her anti-leering shields will activate.

Re:This could be bad... (5, Interesting)

nolife (233813) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410279)

Funny but if something did happen, the system would be a failure.

When you "think" about doing something, you are deciding via pros and cons, deciding outcome, looking at all options, recounting experience, true desire... on wether to do something or not. When you really decide to act, you act. That signal to act causes you to act. Thinking about acting is not acting. The final go ahead trigger to act is what matters. How else could you make a logical decision about anything? If you take out the thought process involved, we all would be living in a completely different world.

Consider the mouse and the bottle. If the mouse really wanted to get a drink, he would go over and get one. It's not like some force is holding him back and he keeps thinking about it but he just (slow superhero struggling voice) can't moooooooove.

We have that already. (5, Funny)

tktk (540564) | more than 10 years ago | (#8409992)

...motionless system adminstration/utilization...

I call it sleeping.

Not such a big deal (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8409993)

My water tube can dispense a refreshing H20-based substance just by wishing.

Say it all with me now... (4, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8409995)

...this is some neat shit.

Personally, I find it facinating that the brain can so readily adapt to adding and removing hardware ( limbs ), but reading about it is even cooler.

What other computer do you know can learn how to use foriegn devices without a driver disk? :)

Re:Say it all with me now... (5, Funny)

ImaNumber (754512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410080)

The best part is that this computer can be mass produced with unskilled labor!

Re:Say it all with me now... (1)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410301)

You can add limbs? o_O

*cue "third leg" jokes*

Maybe the Should Rename Magazine... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8409996)

from Popular Science to Crazy as Hell Science.

Re:Maybe the Should Rename Magazine... (3, Insightful)

Walrus99 (543380) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410107)

Popular Science has always been crazy as hell science. I am still wating for my flying car and hotel room on Mars that was predicted in the magazine when I read in in junior high in the 70's.

umm.. not just yet. (5, Interesting)

xxdinkxx (560434) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410011)

the best of these kind of devices (devloped in nasa labs) can only do 95% accuracy. sure that might be fine for say playing a video game(unless its fast pace), but if you tried to walk with 95% accuracy, you'd be the but of more jokes then the "how do you get bob dole out of a tree, wave to him" jokes.

but over all its really cool that they are even able to do this at all.

Re:umm.. not just yet. (2, Insightful)

irokitt (663593) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410056)

Even in a fast paced video game, how accurate are you with a mouse? Especially after all the sugar/caffeine? 95% is astounding.

Re:umm.. not just yet. (4, Funny)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410100)

"but if you tried to walk with 95% accuracy"

95% is better than me and my friends after a night out onthe town and we make it home ok. 95% is pretty good betting odds, too.

Re:umm.. not just yet. (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410153)

the best of these kind of devices (devloped in nasa labs) can only do 95% accuracy.

Well, so they claim, it's a robot that just appeared one day and keeps complaining about this horrible pain in all the diodes down its left side.

Controlling sexual predators through technology (-1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410013)

I'd like to see a simple switch based on brain activity that would toggle on during sexual thought/arousal and toggle off in the absence of that. The application I have in mind would be taking convicted sexual predators (rapists, child molesters, etc.) who are being released back into society, and permanently affixing something to their face that would glow when they're thinking that way. Children could then be taught that if somebody's "face button" is glowing when that person is asking them to [get in the car|go play with a cute pet|have some candy|etc.], to run and get help.

Re:Controlling sexual predators through technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410093)

umm.. yeah, that's what we want society to turn into for sure. but why limit it to sexual predators, let's all just wear one.

Re:Controlling sexual predators through technology (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410163)

The point was to limit recurring crime from convicted felons, idiot. Sure, expand it to those convicted of armed robbery to indicate violent tendencies, so clerks in the local 24-hour convenience store can hit the alarm button before they have a gun in their face. (Not to mention the deterrent effect.)

I guess that type of finesse of application is beyond the comprehension of a cretin like yourself who sees everything in all-or-nothing black-and-white simplicity.

Re:Controlling sexual predators through technology (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410145)

Ever seen clockwork orange? Very deep stuff.

Is this a troll? (4, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410201)

I'd like to see a simple switch based on brain activity that would toggle on during sexual thought/arousal and toggle off in the absence of that.

Jesus sweet fucking christ I sure as hell don't want to see that! What the hell are you thinking?

Children could then be taught that if somebody's "face button" is glowing when that person is asking them to [get in the car|go play with a cute pet|have some candy|etc.], to run and get help.

Why don't we just teach children that when a "person is asking them to [get in the car|go play with a cute pet|have some candy|etc.], to run and get help" without the face-button shit?

GMD

Re:Controlling sexual predators through technology (1)

woohoodonuts (734070) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410213)

just a few things that come to mind after reading your comment... offtopic? eh... maybe, maybe not.

What does Bog want? Does Bog want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?

Alex - But what I do I do because I like to do.

Alex - No time for the old in-out, love. I've just come to read the meter.

Alex - What we were after now was the old surprise visit. That was a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolent.

Alex - You were not put on this earth just to get in touch with God. That sort of thing could just sap all the strength and the goodness out of a chelloveck.

Alex - As we walked along the flatblock marina, i was calm on the outside but thinking all the time. So it was to be Georgie the general saying what we should do and what not to do and Dim as his mindless grinning bulldog. But suddenly I viddied that thinking was for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones used like inspiration and what Bog sends. Well now, it was lovely music that came to my aid. There was a window open with the stereo on and I viddied right at once what to do......

Re:Controlling sexual predators through technology (2, Insightful)

bug-eyed monster (89534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410244)

Of course. And when this project becomes successful, we can implement it on convicted murders, robbers, terrorists, communists, tax-evaders, cheaters, liars, ...

But we shouldn't stop there, the ultimate goal is to prevent crime. So we should implement it on everybody, just in case even a law-abiding citizen starts having impure thoughts about the validity of the president-for-life's reign on the country.

Well (0, Funny)

Rupan (723469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410022)

I, for one, welcome our machine overlords. Welcome to the Source!

Wow, Me Too! (5, Funny)

MooseByte (751829) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410024)


"Mice who cause their water tube to dispense some refreshing H2O just by wishing it?"

Uncanny! Just this morning I caused by "water tube" to dispense liquid just by wishing it too!

Thinking... (2, Interesting)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410028)

Printing out poster-sized Pr0n just by visualizing it?

Everybody... The day is now!!!

Cell Phone (4, Insightful)

nycsubway (79012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410030)

It would be interesting to have a cell-phone implant. You can call your friends and relatives, and always get them and know what they are thinking. And MAN, it would get annoying!

How about living in a way that our bodies were actually meant to. Exercising, working with our bodies, and communicating in person. Eventually we will just be sitting at home, in a lazy-boy with our brains plugged in to a network and all work from home. But, that would suck!

Re:Cell Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410147)

"Exercising, working with our bodies" could be done with a realdoll. if you think about it the right way.
working from home is just wrong though. when your 'at the office' you get bugged by all there people (customers/clients, managers, co-workers, subordinants) but when you at home, its just 'you' time. unless you get a spouse... then working from home doesn't matter, the spouse is just as bad of a bother as the rest of them. and the spouse runs MANY more performance reviews then any other jobs i've had.

Re:Cell Phone (5, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410156)

If you read 'The Light of Other Days' by Arthur C Clarke & Stephen Baxter you'll get a good insight into the possible consequences. While the book is centred around the idea that wormholes can be used to view anyone at any time, knowing what people think would have the same effect of first causing terrible unrest but eventually destroying barriers and allowing everyone to work together. It's a very interesting read and I feel that every day we get closer to that reality.

Re:Cell Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410179)

Eventually we will just be sitting at home, in a lazy-boy with our brains plugged in to a network and all work from home.
Well, it's either that or sitting in the car spending hours commuting for work.

Re:Cell Phone (2, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410265)

How about just implanting the ringer, so they don't bother the rest of us?

Re:Cell Phone (0, Funny)

memco (721915) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410293)

I sure hope we're not "plugged in". A lot of companies are investing in some new technology called wireless or something. It may just be the wave of the future!

But what if I didn't like my neighbour? (5, Interesting)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410041)

And I ran him over with my SCV?

"I didn't run him over!"
"Did you THINK about running him over?"

*long pause*

I didn't run him over!

Ok, that should be SUV... (2, Funny)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410070)

Not SCV...Damn Starcraft.

Story more than 2 weeks old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410043)

Was published on CNN of places...

ai (2, Funny)

maxbang (598632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410051)

They're talking about reverse engineering the brain - it would be pretty sweet, but one hell of a task to filter through all the activity and figure out what signal meant what, combinations, etc. I'm sure an Altair is all you would need to reverse engineer my brain. You'd flip maybe ten switches, tops.

Re:ai (0)

ImaNumber (754512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410124)

You can't legally reverse engineer the brain...Microsoft had a patent on it years ago.

Average Person (2, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410130)

So, the average person thinks of sex like every 4 seconds. The traffic on one of these brain networks would have more porn than the internet.

Re:ai (1)

Lattitude (123015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410222)

Yep. When my wife asks me what I am thinking, the answer is usually the sound of static.

Commute (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410065)

This could greatly simplify one's commute. "Go to hell, weaving Bastard!" Zzzzt!

Men have been doing this for ages (-1, Troll)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410071)

What is the lightest thing in the world?
Wee wee. You can lift it with only a thought.

Move along. Nothing new here ;)

I don't think it will ever be like in the movies (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410073)

I mean, the rat can think about water, and get some water. But a rat's mind is way simpler.

Have you ever thought about suicide? Now imagine if when you thought about it a machine would come and kill you. Also I don't know about you, but I can't control my mind completely, sometimes I have thoughts that are completely unrelated with what I am doing... I really don't think I could trust a machine to make my thoughts come true, I'm sure in the future machines will be able to interpret the signals in your brain with a 99% precision, I just can't trust my own mind.

Re:I don't think it will ever be like in the movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410240)

That's called insanity.

Re:I don't think it will ever be like in the movie (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410269)

But a rat's mind is way simpler.

Allow me to introduce you to our management team.

KFG

oh no (4, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410074)

If we can control the machines, can someone else come back through the machine an control me??? Could I be hacked??? Would I have to have a firewall in my head???

The hackers are Fox News. (-1, Troll)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410204)

The open port is your TV.
The damage is the propaganda.
The victim is, of course, the computer (your brain).
And it will make your computer do all kinds of messed up things, like vote for Bush. Goodbye to karma :).

What If.... (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410227)

The people where I worked put a virus out there that made us all like our jobs. Mental Note: Don't use M$ control implant.

Shoulda seen this (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410076)

Brain-Computer Interfaces for Communication and Control [sfn.org] at the society for neuroscience annual meeting. There are already paralyzed people using this type of technology (electrode and even EEG(!)) on an experimental basis.

A step to the singularity (2, Interesting)

Thinkit4 (745166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410084)

Now it's reading the brain. But eventually it will be reading a deeper part of the brain, and not needing the rest of it.

Maybe in the future... (5, Funny)

BW_Nuprin (633386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410086)

...we'll be able to RTFA just by thinking about it!

But that would require thinking, and that hurts :(

Re:Maybe in the future... (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410170)

If we all were able to RTFA just with a thought not even yahoo could handle the /. effect.

detention (-1, Offtopic)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410094)

it's only 7 minutes since the 6 page long story was posted and all you slackers are already posting without RTFA. shame on you. now go back to studying or you'll be detained after school.

This journal.... (4, Insightful)

sammyo (166904) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410108)

Popular Science, ya gotta luv'em. I just wish the track record was a bit better, after reading about the nextgen dirigibles off and on for years I'm just a bit disapointed, that sounded like so much fun. Probe in my head? Less so.

Mod me down, off topic troll ;-) but still...

What about the reverse...? (4, Interesting)

Mick Ohrberg (744441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410109)

This could have a potentially incredible impact on impaired and disabled people. Imagine if Stephen Hawking would be able to work at the same speed his mind seems to function at? However, what about Mind through Machine over Mind [go.com] ? Put your helmet on, jack in, and remote control that fish - imagine the long-time deep-sea discoveries we could make - maybe even find a live Architeuthis [mus.pa.us] ?

Re:What about the reverse...? (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410243)

Think of the movies you could make....

However, the problem is people have a problem with making cute little mice and rats into remote controlled toys. You need something people won't be as emotionally attached to....


"Uhhhhng. Whe' mmm I? Wha' happnd?"
"Just relax. The surgery went well, Mr. .... uh.... McBride...."

I'm thinking... (2, Funny)

kyshtock (608605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410125)

1. I'm thinking to secure the server/firewall/whatever... Zzzzzt! done!

2. I'm thinking I deserve a raise. Zzzzt! agreed.

Idiot! 3. I'm thinking I'll have myself a raise. Zzzzt... done.

4. I'm thinking that the leggy busty blonde wants visit my bed tonite...Zzzzt!

5. I'm thinking I should you all leave think. Zzzzt!.. !@#RTA [NO CARRIER]

Anyone ever seen.... (1)

katboy (456870) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410126)

...a Wim Wenders film entitled "Until the End of the World?"

I always think of it first whenever something comes out about a new development in this area. One of the things the film is about is a many who creates a camera that takes pictures that blind people can see, he later uses it to record dreams and everyone he tests it on becomes obsessed with watching their own dreams.

Already in practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410132)

I know a fair few programmers who seem to feel that their coding will get done by simply staring at their screen.

Besides if this were put into practice, and programming were done by thought process alone, I know that a fair few of my commented sections would be not fit for human consumption.

Doesn't the guy from Amazon... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410134)

...have a patent on thinking about stuff? Might cramp the market for such devices.

Wouldn't it be better... (1)

ohzero (525786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410150)

If the machines controlled the monkeys?

REUTERS - Computer controlled million monkey army bombards Iraqi forces with distrubted feces catapult.

This is all cool, but... (5, Interesting)

shura57 (727404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410159)

This does not answer how brain works at all :-) As a motor control neuroscientist by trade, I can tell that finding out what the brain actually doing has little to do with these neat things.

This is not to say that it's not important -- all kinds of prosthetic devices can be made to help people with disabled limbs or other parts of the motor control system -- so it's a great benefit to those people. The important thing is that these devices are still controlled by the human brain, and nobody has a good idea how.

The fact is, you can probably hook up whatever device to whatever portion of the brain (e.g. an artificial arm to you toenail brain area) and after some practice the subject will learn now to move it. So when they say "we don't see the brain as a mysterious organ anymore" they are telling you a bold-face lie.

The mystery would be demonstrated to be solved when we can build a computer with massively parallel and slow (up to 1kHz) elements that can match human performance in tasks like tracking, reaching, as well as learning those tasks.

So far, all the beatiful performance of the cool gadgets is accomplished by super-fast feedback and super-fast computing elements. Our neurons are ways slower, but they do much better. Therefore, the whole essense and mystery of the brain is how to connect 10^10 shitty elements into a great learnable machine. Algorythms and parallelism are still the mystery of the brain, even if the popular science magazines claim otherwise :-)

Re:This is all cool, but... (5, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410288)

The fact is, you can probably hook up whatever device to whatever portion of the brain (e.g. an artificial arm to you toenail brain area) and after some practice the subject will learn now to move it. So when they say "we don't see the brain as a mysterious organ anymore" they are telling you a bold-face lie.

Does the mouse get water by thinking about water, or by thinking something completely different that happens to trigger the machine? Once he figures it out, he'll do it again when he's thirsty.

Mind Wide Open (5, Informative)

CleverDan (728966) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410160)

NPR has an interesting interview with Steven Johnson, author of Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life [npr.org] . One segment talks about manipulating on-screen animations with Alpha brainwaves, to retrain people with ADD how to focus.

Thought Power (2, Interesting)

matt_martin (159394) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410166)

Still waiting for the implantable math co-processor, ideally with optically interfaced plotting/visualization capability ...

Imagine the possibilities.

great, that's all i need (1)

74nova (737399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410172)

i move too little as it is. do i really want to move even LESS? being a computer jockey hasnt made it easy on me for staying fit already... this is all i need

Hasn't this been documented..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410199)

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I Wish (2, Funny)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410207)

Singing to self: "I wish I was an Oscar Myers wiener"

P O O F !

This could be a bad thing..... (1)

boredofthesane (717063) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410208)

The average man thinks about sex 5 times a day. You do the math. This could be disastrous at work with autopr0n popping up every couple of minutes.

Controlling your computer by thought: could be bad (3, Interesting)

DaRat (678130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410211)

It could be bad to be able to control your computer by thinking. Just imagine if you were sitting at your thought controlled computer when a "friend" comes up and asks, "hey, what's the command to delete everything recursively without confirmation?"

Then, before you know it, you've thought, "\rm -r *"

Okay, I saw something like this (minus the thought part) happen in real life once upon a time. A friend and I were just talking about people accidentally typing "\rm -r *" in the lab when suddenly, someone using the Sun boxes yelled "oh shit!" because he absentmindedly typed what we said.

Anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410245)

Think of Evangelion when they saw this?

feedback loop? (2, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410246)

ill be more impressed when they have hooked it up so that when you grab the glass you will feel the pressure building rather then going by a visual clue...

basicly we need this device to talk back to the brain, not just listen to it.

I don't understand something... (5, Insightful)

NorthDude (560769) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410251)

They talk about using this for people with disabilities. This would be great for sure but
they say in the article that they need to "train" the computer beforehand (no pun intended)
before it can ... interpret though.

My question, which was not answered in the article, is: Are every brain emmitting the same signals for the same action
or do they need to "train" the program for every new user (monkey)? I would think that every individual have a somewhat
unique "brain signature" and if it is the case, how can a totally impaired person train a computer to use an artificial arm or
leg or whatever if anyway he isn't able to move a "joystick"?

Can the computer associated anything as an input to compare with the brain activity?
Could (let's say ) S. Hawking program the system by blowing in a tube harder or smoother for example?

Am I clear? ;-)

-1 Not Funny (0, Offtopic)

froody (115836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410252)

Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?

I think so, brain, but you and Natalie Portman? What would the children look like?

just think about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8410259)

all of the life0cidal agression taking place on the planet, could be lessened in part by yOUR focused intentions alone?

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... the lights are coming up now.

Speaking of Which... (1)

FearTheFrail (666535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410280)

I could've sworn that I wasn't logged into this terminal when I read this article, though I thought about doing so. Then, somehow, as I left to go to a different page, then came back, I'm greeted by "Have you meta-moderated lately?" ...Slashdot really is cutting edge!

Psionic Exercise Devices. (2, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8410294)

Cool. (not)

We could use this to build psionic exercise devices which restore our latent mind-over-matter powers.

Oh no. Psionic Wars, here we come.

{Honestly, I'm beginning to see what all the fuss is all about over The American Beast, in those Middle East sects ...}
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