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Scientists Couple Nerve Tissues With Computer Chip

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the it's-thinking dept.

Medicine 92

patiwat writes "Recalling Ghost in the Shell, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried have coupled living brain tissue to a semiconductor chip. This technique involves culturing razor-thin slices of the hippocampus region on the chip, enabling them to record neural communication between thousands of nerve cells in the brain tissue slice. The hippocampus is associated with temporary storage of memory. Employing the new technique, the scientists working under the direction of Peter Fromherz were able to visualize the influence of pharmaceutical compounds on the neural network, making the 'brainchip' an exciting test bed for neuropharmaceutical research, with potential for further development in neurochip prosthetics and neurocomputation. The researchers reported this news in the online edition of the Journal of Neurophysiology (May 10, 2006)."

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92 comments

Neural Joint? (1, Troll)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460817)

How long till neural joint for 100% immersive all-senses VR?

Re:Neural Joint? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15545496)

about 18 1/2 years ago

Let's get a couple of jokes out of the way (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15460836)

Nice, but does the chip run linux ? Would it if the slices were taken from a penguin ?

Anyway I for one welcome our living hyppocampus-sliced brainchip overlords.

Re:Let's get a couple of jokes out of the way (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460905)

How about...this will be useful when Darth Vader cuts my hand off?

Re:Let's get a couple of jokes out of the way (2, Funny)

DMNT (754837) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460913)

I for one welcome our new implanted chip overlords!

cool stuff but not new (5, Informative)

frilledren (671593) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460839)

I work in neuroscience, and Fromherz has been doing this for a long time:
A neuron-silicon junction: a Retzius cell of the leech on an insulated-gate field-effect transistor.
Science. 1991 May 31;252(5010):1290-3.
pdf [sciencemag.org]
All the same, it is an interesting field, but don't let this post lead you to believe that he (and others) haven't already been doing this for 15 years.

I know what you're thinking... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15460873)

No, really, I do. Isn't technology great?

Rambling, rambling, rambling (4, Funny)

frankthechicken (607647) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460985)

I'm really clumsy, and I've being doing this accidentally for years. Barely a month goes by before I trip over a stray power chord and have motherboards protruding from my forehead.

Unfortunately, I've never persevered long enough with the addition to see if any fusing occurs, though I have a feeling that there wouldn't be too much improvement due to the inherent sluggishness of my general brain design, causing any information passed from silicon to brain to be so slow as to make any improvement virtually unnoticeable.

I think I probably need to get a faster bus speed, maybe the 42 would be a better choice.

Re:cool stuff but not new (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465582)

I'll have a remote controll, wifi and telekineses built in pleace :p

Re:cool stuff but not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15465668)

you should ask for a spell checker as well bud

Repair my brain? (4, Funny)

RocketRainbow (750071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460843)

Hooray! Now there seems a real chance that one day doctors will be able to graft one of those whatsits onto the prefrontal thingey and cure my attention something something disorder!

Resistance is futile!

Re:Repair my brain? (3, Interesting)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460857)

I know you're trying to be funny, but the first thoughts that come to my mind when I saw this were:

1. This means at some point we'll be able to control electronics with our brain.
2. This means at some point electronics will be able to control us.

I/O is a funny thing like that. Who is telling who what to do?

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460937)

Ah but your neural inhibitors will keep the mechanical arms from taking over your brain for only so long!

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

el_jake (22335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460961)

I know you're trying to be funny, but the first thoughts that come to my mind when I saw this were:

1. This means at some point we'll be able to control electronics with our brain.
2. This means at some point electronics will be able to control us.


Dont worry, your brain will be under influence of DRM and IP of your government.

Re:Repair my brain? (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461041)

I know you're trying to be funny, but the first thoughts that come to my mind when I saw this were:

1. This means at some point we'll be able to control electronics with our brain.
2. This means at some point electronics will be able to control us.

I/O is a funny thing like that. Who is telling who what to do?


Don't forget the 3 barriers for spyware neurosoftware:

- Turn on your neurofirewall
- Have your anti-neurovirus resident protection on (makes you think three times slower, but you're at least safe)
- Always keep the cyber-implants up to date with Automatic Updates on to protect from exploits floating in the wi-max connection around you

- and always#@f...po4j...0sok .... just a moment I have to reboot, something weird going on

- Oh, yes. Don't forget to vote for Bush Jr. Jr. on the upcoming elections.

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461620)

So now I'll be waiting for a distro called NeuroLinux. Or Neurinux.

As if Gentoo doesn't sound funny enough.

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 7 years ago | (#15463522)

yes , and a new filesystem , like BrainFS .

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465452)

At least the programming language we'll have to use is already available.

I, for one, welcome our new Brainfuck-hacking overlords.

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461850)

I really really *REALLY* wish you hadn't gone there with this, but there you gone and dunnit, so...

Presuming any of what you say has any bearing at all (we'd all have to be networked in the head!), then the solution is quite simple:

Don't operate yourself as root, and for god's sakes man, don't go giving out shell accounts in your noggin!

Sudo if you must, but always run from userland, and just have kind of a fuzzy bearing of everything that's going on around you, but don't operate in a way that you can actually impact anything. ie, you see your arm bleeding, but only a superuser can apply a bandage. ;)

Re:Repair my brain? (2, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461885)

2006:
Presuming any of what you say has any bearing at all (we'd all have to be networked in the head!)

1986:
Presuming any of what you say has any bearing at all (we'd all have to be networked via tiny boxes we carry in our pockets we'll call "cellphones")

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461715)

At some point, there will be no difference in the silicon based brain and the carbon based brain.

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

killerdark (922011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15462190)

"I know you're trying to be funny, but the first thoughts that come to my mind when I saw this were:

1. This means at some point we'll be able to control electronics with our brain.
2. This means at some point electronics will be able to control us.

I/O is a funny thing like that. Who is telling who what to do?"


And who controls your brain now?

Why do you smoke? Drink alcohol, do drugs? Become obese? Vote Bush?

With electronics in our brain, for the first time we might actually be able to take control of our lifes for the first time. Who knows, maybe even prove the fact that we have a freedom of choice...

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 7 years ago | (#15468821)

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/05/05 01_020501_roborats.html [nationalgeographic.com] this tech has been recently been used on humans. Japanese nerds made a robotic hand that moved with your real hand like traditional movie techniques. However, no glove was needed, the only readings were taken from your brain, with the results decoded. Though the remote control tech hasnt come to humans, our desicion making structure is more complex.

Re:Repair my brain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15461006)

Screw that, I want to record all of my memories in .avi format!

Re:Repair my brain? (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465269)

In related news, Intel has succeeded in grafting a chalupa onto a dual core Pentium. Which explains their new sales slogan: "Eat THIS, AMD!"

I don think this will lead to major changes (1)

skyfi (978768) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460848)

I don think this will lead to major changes in the computer technology in near future. But, of course it is a huge progress, especially if it can by uesfull for something. Even, i dont think that on this level it can

Re:I don think this will lead to major changes (1)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461013)

Would be cool if they could you a chip as a "relay" for nerve impulses with spinal cord injuries. So rather than just adding bits to people we could improve the quality of life of those with affected with spinal injuries. Now that would be really useful.

Re:I don think this will lead to major changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15461244)

I don think this will lead to major changes in the computer technology in near future. But, of course it is a huge progress, especially if it can by uesfull for something. Even, i dont think that on this level it can

Perhaps it could be used to correct your atrocious spelling and grammar in real-time as you type it?

this FP f0r LGNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15460860)

decentralized Are you a NIIGER fear the reaper Fortunately, Linux NetBSD posts on tossers, 3ent out that the project show that FreeBSD

artificial brains.. (1)

sc0p3 (972992) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460861)

This is cool. There are computer simulated neurons, hardware implemented simulated neurons, and now we have real neurons on a computer chip! :D Cool.

How do they keep the cells alive?.. The silicon must be exposed. Here comes AI & math processor brain implant.

On another note, computer simulated neurons are great at recognising patterns and solving problems. Most character recognition software was based on neuron fuzzy logic

Re:artificial brains.. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15460958)

if you had read the article carefully, you would notice they hadn't achieved bidirectional transmission between cells and transistors. the chip works in the same fashion as ccd does in your camera. the difference is that the first is responsive to charged particles and the latter to photons. so forget about ghost in the shell style ai. however it would be a great mistake to neglect the impact of this work on developement in neurophysiology.

Re:artificial brains.. (1)

patiwat (126496) | more than 7 years ago | (#15464400)

> so forget about ghost in the shell style ai

I wasn't referring to the Ghost in the Shell AIs, but rather to one of the first few pages in the original manga, which described one of the first interfaces between a silicon chip and neurons.

Wow, that's lucky ... (0)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460889)

coz In 2021, the whole world is connected by the gigantic Internet, and almost a half of the population is suffering from the Nerve Attenuation Syndrome (NAS).Johnny with an inplanted memory chip in his brain was ordered to transport the over loaded information from Beijing to Newark. While Pharmakom Industries supported by yakuza tries to capture him to get the informaiton back, the Low-tech group led by J-Bone tries to break the missing code to download the cure of NAS which Johnny carries.

Whooooaa ! [imdb.com]

Re:Wow, that's lucky ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15461372)

Wow, 320GB of data? They could've just bought a cheap hard drive and fedexed it overnight...

I'm just waiting.... (1)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460891)

To hook up to a quantum computer cluster. That's all I really want before I die... hopefully before we create an artificial intelligence. I don't feel particularly good about combining AI and quantum computing, as it'll likely mean either a sudden massive jump or complete extinction for human civilization, whichever might be more convenient for that manner of entity. Eh. :)

Re:I'm just waiting.... (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461577)

I've just come from the future to tell you that you suceed! Unfortunatly your brain will be acting as the image server for goatse.

Re:I'm just waiting.... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#15462129)

"To hook up to a quantum computer cluster. That's all I really want before I die..."

IANAP but isn't the Universe one big "qomputer"? Since you are part of the Universe......is "quantum computer cluster" a euphemisim for group sex? ASL?

Fix brain me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15460898)

Brained my damage...

Alzheimer's Disease (2)

XchristX (839963) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460900)

So if one grafts hippocampus tissue into a solid state memory chip, will it help Alzheimer's patients retain some information? Even if such a thing is possible, I wonder how far to go before practical implementation.

  I'll read TFA in detail tomorrow...
 

Re:Alzheimer's Disease (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15460960)

The brain-tissue-on-a-chip can also help people like you gain normal IQ levels as well.

Re:Alzheimer's Disease (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461451)

I believe there is some research into the possibility of artifical replacements for parts of the hippocampus.

Moderator? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#15462326)

The above post is NOT offtopic. Looking at this guy's posting history, you can see this is the first time he's been moded. This guy is now doomed to post in the zero range unless someone decides to mod him back up. If you agree that this mod is unfair, please spend one of your points on the parent post.

Re:Moderator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15462603)

Thanks. But 'under-rated' doesn't help.

Not *that* great for pharmaceutical research. (5, Informative)

Cicero382 (913621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15460970)

I always worry when these kinds of press releases come out. They always overdo it and spoil the impact.

True, it is a significant step in terms of scale and they way they have overcome the interfacing problems *and* maintain the culture medium is pretty snazzy. But...

Exciting testbed for pharmaceutical research? Nah!

Setting aside the fact that it's not human tissue; the interactions between neurons is massively complex. The culture medium (which keeps the cells alive) is, by necessity not anything like the infrastructure which keeps the cells alive in a living organism, so it will interfere with many of the more subtle interactions. And those subtle interactions make all the difference when it comes to developing drugs.

It's still interesting and a good step in the right direction but they overhyped it. Someone is looking for more grant money.

Disclaimer: Yes, I *am* a biochemist.

Re:Not *that* great for pharmaceutical research. (1)

mike_the_kid (58164) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461538)

This post is not in reference to a press release. Its a full length article in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

The editors would not have published it if it wasn't leading edge, accurate, and reproducable.

As for who is doing the hyping, the story's submitter had an MIT address. At least on the surface, I don't see any grounds for calling this 'academic astroturf.'

Re:Not *that* great for pharmaceutical research. (1)

Maset (190867) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461581)

Peer review for journal articles does not mean that the methods published can be reproduced. I have read many articles that barely skim what is actually needed to reproduce the experiments. Scientists need money for research and are scared that others will overtake them if they tell them how. This is a really bad excuse, and flawed as most techniques need optimising which journals (with page limits) will not want to publish. Unfotunately also, some (very few) papers have lies about methods and/or results.

Scientists are people too.

Project for blind people (2, Informative)

alexandrecc (970052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461038)

In 1999, I heard of a biomedical engineering group in École Polytechnique de Montréal searching to use implantable chip devices in the visual occipital cortex. The chip is connected wirelessly to a camera system that is transmitting a vision input. That way the blind person can potentially see what is going on.

That was the most incredible project I heard from about neurotechnology in the past years. Here is the link in french and english to that lab :

http://www.polystim.ca/ [polystim.ca]

Re:Project for blind people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15461404)

And, of course, it doesn't work. You can't just ignore all the pre-processing of the human eye: edge detection, color detection (which is really done through edge detection of adjacent colors!), motion detection, and lots of other information is pre-processed in the retina of humans and other animals. Planting electrodes in the visual cortex or in the retina is also subject to massive amounts of current spread around the electrodes: you can't make the electrodes small enough to stimulate only one or two neurons because the current density required to stimulate only a few neurons, at least with the ball electrodes currently workable, causes electrolysis around the electrodes, which is a very bad thing to do around nervous tissue.

The limited results are equivalent to trying to write on a chalkboard by throwing sticks of chalk at it: with enough work, you might be able to make a recognizable letter or two, but it's mostly going to splatter a big mess that obscures your signal, even if you develop good aim. Better electrodes are absolutely necessary: something that can localize the stimuli better to more precise neurons or small sets of neurons.

There is good research on the problem going on, by David Edell at MIT and others, which I recommend looking up before getting really excited about neural implants. The only such implants that really work well so far are cochlear implants, and that's because the nerve is conveniently laid out in a bony channel, with the deeper points having the neurons for lower frequency sounds and the shallower electrodes being for higher sounds due to the way the cochlea works. The cochlea, or the bony channel, helps restrict the current to where it needs to be, which is a huge advantage that other neural implants don't have.

Re:Project for blind people (1)

Tavor (845700) | more than 7 years ago | (#15463288)

If it worked, would the person be able to switch camera inputs? Imagine a person able to see through the outputs of wireless security cameras floating around.. able to see a fuzzy grey image as if through their own eyes.

Hello... (4, Funny)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461101)

Dr. Sam Beckett did this back in 1996. He used these circuits to create a senient computer named Ziggy, who in turn helped him design a time travel machine.

Then:

Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator - and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that are not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on his journey is Al, an observer from his own time who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hopin g each time that his next leap will be the leap home.

Hopefully, before he gets home, he'll leap into someone around my teenaged self and teach him/me about girls, and then I'll never have been able to type that from memory.

Re:Hello... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15462435)

The series finale to QL pretty much closed the door on any possibility of him getting home. It was explicitly stated in it that "Dr Sam Beckett never returned home.", the operative word there being never. If they had left that one word out, they at least would have left the door open for a possible movie in which he did get home.

Re:Hello... (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15463115)

So he just keeps leaping...as the number of leaps approaches infinity, the probablility that he'll do what I want approaches 1. I win!

(This, of course, assumes he has an infinite lifespan.)

(And yes, I did remember the final episode, but I'm one of those people to whom Quantum Leap: Prelude [amazon.com] is dedicated; those who believe he will return home. Oh yes, I am a QL fanboy.)

Re:Hello... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15463699)

Never is never. Unless you disregard that statement from the finale, Becket literally NEVER gets home.

I think it sucks too, but by putting that word in there, they've shut the door firm on any possibility.

Re:Hello... (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15464529)

I know. :(

But, it does seem they have a workaround in place for extending the series - Sam's daughter (sired in the three-parter) tries to find her father.

Whether or not it actually gets made is another story. Apparently SciFi commissioned a miniseries on the premise after the BG miniseries was a hit, but nothing seems to have come of it.

Re:Hello... (1)

Kiffer (206134) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465633)

So he just keeps leaping...as the number of leaps approaches infinity, the probablility that he'll do what I want approaches 1. I win!


Well... seeing as how his body was physicaly leaping from place to place he must age and will die of old age... lets say he lives a maximum of 80 years after he starts leaping...
80 years =~29,200 days
if he leaps every 2 days on average then he'll make ~14,500 leaps spread over the times in which he can leap ( his own life time ) which was what? 35 years?
so ... given that there are ~12,500 days in that time so at any given day during the allowed time frame their are ~2.2 Sams, original growing up preleap Sam and Leaping Sam.

Also he could be killed by getting shot, stabbed, or through some other miss-adventure.
Yes, Sams body leaps with him, the fact he looks like other people makes this statement a bit odd but I remember the time when he leaped in to a man who had lost his legs ... but he could walk on his invisible legs...
Hum... and the people he leaps in to leap in to him in the Present/future, does the QLA have to be kept on for him to leaping? I don't know but one thing I do know is that I've spent far to long thinking about this when I should be going over my Chemistry for the Exam next week

Re:Hello... (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15466155)

Yes, Sams body leaps with him, the fact he looks like other people makes this statement a bit odd but I remember the time when he leaped in to a man who had lost his legs ... but he could walk on his invisible legs...

They played fast and loose with this rule, as the mood struck them. I remember the leap in question (Season 5, special guest star: Jennifer Aniston, pre-Friends), but there was a leap in one of the earlier season where he leapt into a pregnant woman and there was concern that Sam would have to give birth.

Re:Hello... (1)

RockModeNick (617483) | more than 7 years ago | (#15466298)

and an episode where he leaped into a mentally and physically disabled person and was having problems doing things.

Re:Hello... (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15467660)

Jimmy LaMotta! Excellent point!

He had those problems the first time, but the second time he leapt in, he was much too concerned with the doings of the Evil Leaper to be affected.

Re:Hello... (1)

newpath4com (749315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15465458)

Yes, but if he did that for you he would been honor bound to retrograde the rest of us also. It's the Fair Playing Field Law (Man Law #1997).

Shameless plug time > http://www.newpath4.com/ [newpath4.com] because I prefer moving Forward, not backward. 1996? Yechh.

Neurocomputation means Artificial Intelligence. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15461169)

Standards in Artificial Intelligence [blogcharm.com] include hybrids of neural biology and computer hardware -- where neuro-chips integrate neuronal tissue with a silicon surface.

Our Neurofuture [blogspot.com] ranges now from enhancement of the human brain-mind to a Vulcan mind-meld of brain and machine.

A Theory of Cognitivity [visitware.com] explains how to build the artificial minds of the future -- whether housed in computers or in these new hybrids of chip and nerve-cell.

Primitive AI Engines [sourceforge.net] already exist and need only rapid prototyping along multiple development paths in the race towards True AI and superintelligent AI (SAI).

Expect an AI Landrush [sourceforge.net] to start in the year 2007.

Human-Level AI [sl4.org] should be here by 2009.

A Joint Stewardship of Earth [wikocracy.com] under human and cyborg control will render the legal definition of person meaningless, as the citizens of society range from flesh-and-blood humans through all mannner of neurocomputational hybrids to full-metal robots.

The Singularity Timetable [blogcharm.com] predicts a Technological Singularity by the end time of the ancient Mayan calendar in 2012 -- only six neurochip years from now.

This is old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15461174)

There's a photograph of an NN - Silicon connector on the first 2 pages of Ghost in the Shell manga. Apparently the photo inspired Shirow :-)

Brain slice experiments scary as hell (2, Insightful)

Moflamby-2042 (919990) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461353)

Brain slice experiments (this case is just in conjunction with this new chip that can measure various impulses from cultured hippocampal slice) scare the hell out of me. A brain we know already has capability at least in full to present a rich sensory representation. When we get better at using brain slices in neurocomputation or experiments (cultured, donated, harvested, ...) then a line has been crossed until we know enough to know better. Who'd donate their brain if they knew some aspect of 'themselves' might be preserved while experiments were performed on it? Especially since the brain's owner is not in any condition to back out of the experiment at that point.

A brain slice is functionally inferior subset of this full brain's capability. How small a slice should it be before all sentience is lost and therefore ok to put it on a chip? Should it be for volunteers only? Are cultured samples ok to use or perhaps brain properties make them generate sensory representation just as well? Is it for example to use neural gag reflex circuitry to instead move our robotic arm and a neural 'gut punch' to alter the speed and trajectory? Repeated hundreds of times an hour? For decades on end? Is this kind of thing ok to do to animal brains / slices over a long period of time? Anyway, all I know is when I talk like this I'm modded into the subzero territories, so cheers to the few that see it!

Re:Brain slice experiments scary as hell (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461429)

I strongly suggest you get over your concerns. This has obvious uses in drug testing and labwork to learn how nerve tissue works, and for learning how to do good nerve electrodes for spinal tap electrodes, prosthetic limb control, or sensory replacemtn techniques such as artificial vision and hearing.

Creating a mind by chopping up a brain this way is so far away in the future, and so unlikely to even be feasible, that it's not worth wasting your time. The brain works by having both local chemistry and 3-D connections among the neurons, which change and shift to adapt to new memory, new reflexes, and chemical stimuli. Replacing that with brain slices is like replacing your computer by chopping up a chain saw and expecting it to work.

Re:Brain slice experiments scary as hell (1)

Moflamby-2042 (919990) | more than 7 years ago | (#15462940)

This has obvious uses in ...

Most definitely! Experimentation no holds barred would cause advancement many years faster than our current pace. We need medical advancement in neurological fields badly.

I'd love to see how it all turns out, but getting there without brave volunteers and an experimental kill switch is just frightening. I guess it comes down to if you would feel brave enough to donate your brain for such scientific experimentation or really feel safe that the 'soul' has already left so to speak? Or that they sliced the parts up small enough. For me a specific slice limit is not known well enough to make a safe bet. But I'd readily volunteer if my brain was already being poked around for some other medical reason and could still reasonably indicate a stop signal. For example, OW! you poked my eyeball from the inside, this experiment's over!

Re:Brain slice experiments scary as hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15463775)

I guess it comes down to if you would feel brave enough to donate your brain for such scientific experimentation or really feel safe that the 'soul' has already left so to speak?

Oh -- there's your problem. You think you have a 'soul'. To you it's as if personhood was not some kind of gestalt phenomenon but a mystical, spriritual expression. Or is it?

Does a brain without a body have a 'soul'?

Does a body without a brain have a 'soul'?

Does a simulated or mechanical consciousness with neither have a 'soul'?

Sorry for the anonymous post, I can't let my heretical opinions be traced back to myself.

Re:Brain slice experiments scary as hell (1)

Moflamby-2042 (919990) | more than 7 years ago | (#15464738)

Actually I put it in apostrophe quotes to try to avoid that interpretation but it didn't work! I don't mean soul in the biblical sense, say, (whatever that is) or a ghost or spirit or whatever, I wanted to dry the term out to imply exactly the whole of sensory experience regardless of what creates it.

Debug my brain! (3, Funny)

dashersey (751215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461443)

Finally, a debugger for the Brain!

Now I can find out what I was *really* thinking when I bought that El Camino on Ebay!

What if...? (1)

Fiel (978972) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461609)

I don't think this product will be viable in the future. Imagine if this became ubiquitous and someone launched an EMP in New York City?

COOOOOL!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15461959)

Do you realize how good this is? We can move away from blowing buildings up in wars and we can just EMP each other!

Not to mention... guns... that's old news...Tasers? invest in Taser companies!

Cooooool.

The obligatory SMAC quote (1)

fwwr5007 (977554) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461726)

"I think, and my thoughts cross the barrier into the synapses of the machine, just as the good doctor intended. But what I cannot shake, and what hints at things to come, is that thoughts cross back. In my dreams, the sensibility of the machine invades the periphery of my consciousness: dark, rigid, cold, alien. Evolution is at work here, but just what is evolving remains to be seen."

--Commissioner Pravin Lal
"Man and Machine"

Tell me (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 7 years ago | (#15461917)

are you using a polymer-based neuro-relay to transit the organic nerve impulses to the central processor of my positronic net? If that is the case, how have you solved the problem of increased signal degradation inherent to organo-synthetic transmission across...

I wonder if there is hope for my damaged optic ner (1)

Captain BooBoo (614996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15462394)

ves. I have MS and it attacked my optic nerves really bad. I anm totally blind in the left eye and hahe a 30 30% or so field in my right. I am hopefull that since I have seen befor that they can implant a camera and wire it in to my brain so I can see out of that eye again. I have heard they have done this to a man in Canada and he was able to drive.

As the post says (1)

kyjl (965702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15462711)

This is completely mirroring the prologue in Ghost in the Shell [amazon.com], to the point that it's creeping me out.

Well actually, it started when I first started seeing city-wide wireless internet, and then Rhode Island wants state-wide wireless [freepress.net]...

Anyway, I wholeheartedly recommend every single person that reads this to read GitS (if you haven't already). It not only shows where exactly the world will be in a few years, but also give a good idea as to the risks of humans having pooters implanted into their brains with connection to the webbernets (brain and personality hacks, whee!). Or Hell, watch Stand Alone Complex [amazon.com], it's the manga put on TV.

Greyware (1)

jman.org (953199) | more than 7 years ago | (#15466944)

While this subject has long been a staple in science fiction (George Alec Effinger's Moddies & Daddys spring to mind), the most recent time I read of this was also the closest to what this article is about: Interface, written by Neal Stephenson & his uncle, Frederick George, deals with a stroke victim who has circuitry embedded in his brain to help re-route past damaged cells.

As with any technology, quite fascinating, and scary!
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