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Computer Control, by Bug and by Brain

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the different-domains dept.

76

electric_mongoose writes "NewScientistTech has a fascinating story about a paralysed man who can control a computer and robot arm using electrodes implanted in his brain. The electrodes measure neural signals generated when he concentrates on trying to move one of his paralysed limbs and software translates these imagined gestures into the movement of an on-screen cursor or a robotic arm. Other researchers have also revealed a way to dramatically boost the efficiency of similar brain implants in monkeys." If you don't have a handy human brain to play with, 9x320 writes points to a report on LiveScience of Wim van Eck's graduation project: a computer game similar to Pac-Man controlled, not by conventional computer code, but by the brain of an insect. From the article:"Instead of computer code, I wanted to have animals controlling the ghosts. To enable this, I built a real maze for the animals to walk around in, with its proportions and layout matching the maze of the computer game. The position of the animals in the maze is detected using colour-tracking via a camera, and linked to the ghosts in the game. This way, the real animals are directly controlling the virtual ghosts."

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Old news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713206)

I'm pretty sure I read about this exact same thing a couple years ago...

Re:Old news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713241)

I'm pretty sure I read about this exact same thing a couple years ago...

They did it first with a monkey.

Re:Old news? (2, Informative)

EERac (873862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713421)

The story about a paralyzed man (Matthew Nagle) controling a computer with his brain is definitely not new. There was a very good story in Wired [wired.com] in March 2005, and much more recently, a piece on NPR's The Infinite Mind [lcmedia.com] . According to the piece, Matthew has since had the implant removed, since the trial has ended. I believe at least one other trial is in progress.

As for bugs controlling stuff with their mind, here's a sciencenews [sciencenews.org] article from 2000 about a lamprey (not actually a bug I guess) steering a computer-controlled robot for no good reason. I saw the original paper in Artificial Life [mitpressjournals.org] at some point, and it was easily the most ridiculous scientific journal article I've ever seen.

Genius! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713216)

The pacman game uses crickets, and when the player eats a powerpill, the floor under the player's spot vibrates, scaring crickets away.

(I assume not much happens when the player catches a fleeing ghost/cricket.)

I wish I thought of that.

Re:Genius! (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713262)

(I assume not much happens when the player catches a fleeing ghost/cricket.
Actually, Wim van Eck would then reach into the maze and eat the cricket in question. That cost him a few points off his graduation project, but on the bright side they were delicious.

Re:Genius! (2, Funny)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713360)

Actually, that sort of population selection should give rise to better cricket players (er, if you see what I mean).

Soo.. (2, Funny)

RagingFuryBlack (956453) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713233)

by this time next year every true slashdotter will have the implant in their brain and be using it full-time to post on slashdot. Gone will be RSS feeds and instead all the Slashvertisememts and FUD will be automatically implainted into your brain.


And I guess this is appropriate... in sovie..nah, thats too easy.

Re:Soo.. (3, Funny)

ManoSinistra (983539) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713287)

by this time next year every true slashdotter will have the implant in their brain and be using it full-time to post on slashdot
Step 1: Just sit back, and *think* about commenting Step 2: Think about the words you want to say Step 3: Think about clicking the submit button
Viola! Post successful. I for one welcome our computerized-brain-chip-implanted-super-karma-post ing overlords.

Re:Soo.. (0, Offtopic)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713351)

Unfortunately, this fails to account for Step 4: Decide the post is worthless, and decide not to actually click the Submit button after all.

Not that anyone posting to Slashdot would ever use Step 4 anyway (including myself).

Re:Soo.. (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713378)

Actually, I do it all the time.
I am going to click Submit for this worthless post, though.

Re:Soo.. (4, Funny)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713457)

* Step 1: Just sit back, and *think* about commenting

Check...

* Step 2: Think about the words you want to say

Ahh that's where I've been going wrong. I usually just type without thinking first. Thanks for the tip.

Step 4 (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713902)

Step 4: Think "Damn, I should have thought about clicking the Preview button first".

Re:Soo.. (1)

kaiidth (104315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15717729)

"Slow down cowboy! Slashdot requires you to wait two minutes before even thinking about repeating what you just said..."

They may have to add something to the lameness filter, too. Assuming that statistic about the average guy thinking about sex every seven seconds on average is accurate, there will otherwise be a lot of interesting if off-topic stray thought comment spam out there.

PinealWeb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713556)

You must be referring to PinealWeb [ology.org] , the browser that lets you surf the Internet directly from your third eye! Using patented GneoGnostic technology, PinealWeb is able to provide an immersive Web browsing experience by pumping data directly through your pineal gland.

Be sure to read more at the PinealWeb website [ology.org] .

Oh no!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713238)

You stepped on blinky!

Eat PacMan? (5, Insightful)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713239)

How do they do to make critters chase PacMan? Or they just don't and wonder around in the maze? I didn't find it on the article.

Re:Eat PacMan? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713342)

A better link to this project can be found at http://mediatechnology.liacs.nl/htmlIndex.html [liacs.nl] . Go to 'projects', then 'all projects by year', then 'Animal Controlled Computer Games'. Looks like this project was done back in 2004 - not exactly recent news.

Re:Eat PacMan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713547)

I have a better question. They say
I built a real maze for the animals to walk around in, with its proportions and layout matching the maze of the computer game.


Now maybe its just me but I don't consider that a real breakthrough. I was expecting something like you hooked wires up to the bug and it sat there and controlled something by thought or instinct. Instead they just copy the movement from the insect in an "exact" replica of the game maze. Kinda like they do with 3d animation in movie effects to help make CG characters move realistically. Personally I don't think that is anything other than a waste of time and money.

Re:Eat PacMan? (1)

Draconnery (897781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713704)

I guess your verbs actually do have... alternate conjugations.

I'm gonna go ahead and translate to English, and then posit an answer to the question I think you've asked.

- Do they make the critters chase PacMan? Or do they just let them wander around in the maze? If so, what motivation do they give the crickets to chase PacMan?

- I'm thinking he just lets the insects loose and bases the ghost movement on the rather random (unless we assume insects have a plan when placed inside a maze) insect movement/lack thereof.

Re:Eat PacMan? (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713793)

Whenever you guys get the grammar resolved, I (for one) will be ready to welcome our camping and fragging roach overlords.

Re:Eat PacMan? (3, Informative)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714021)

How do they do to make critters chase PacMan? Or they just don't and wonder around in the maze?

The ghosts have never chased PacMan around the maze, even though it seems an awful lot like they are when you find yourself in their paths.

Ghost movement patterns are predetermined and unrelated to the player's actions, as anyone who's looked at the slipcover inside Buckner and Garcia's "Pac Man Fever" LP could tell you.

Re:Eat PacMan? (1)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714219)

They never did? I'm pretty sure they did once you got into the higher levels. Or maybe it's just my imagination

Re:Eat PacMan? - pattern driven hit game... (1)

iamcf13 (736250) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714675)

Billy Mitchell scored the first perfect game to this 1980 Namco classic back in 1999

read more about him here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Mitchell_(Pac-M an) [wikipedia.org]

The best I was able to do was around 2+ million 'running patterns' which Mitchell didn't do during his recordbreaking game. On a related note, I achieved something similar on TAPPER, finding out the game starts all over again after completing 'board 0' after board 255. Back then the game code was small and RAM was at a premium so the level counters were usually restricted to 1 8-bit byte hence the maximum level value of 255 :)

Anyway, back then most of the hit videogames put out by Bally / Midway were 'pattern driven'. The best one of the bunch is TRON which had some randomization involved but the 4 subgames themselves were still pattern driven. I remember long ago spending quite a bit to master BURGERTIME. When I did, the game became ridiculously easy by moving around in a predetermined manner to get all the bad guys to 'bunch up' and move as one -- like shooting fish in a barrel.

After all that, I eventually moved on to STREET FIGHTER II and play that insted -- not quite as pattern driven against the computer AI and worthwhile to play against a skilled player who was about as good as I was. I beat the AI numerous times but never got good enough to beat 'any and all commers' hands down. The game was just a way to kill time... :)

But I have to admit, PUZZLE FIGHTER was probably the best STREET FIGHTER game of them all. That game wasn't a total 'twitchfest' like all the others in the series...

Re:Eat PacMan? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15717634)

In fact they did. They didn't had any particular prefered direction except in the case that they saw pacman directly

Re:Eat PacMan? (2, Informative)

Jamil Karim (931849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714022)

According to the project page [liacs.nl] he did it in this way:

When the crickets should chase Pac-Man, I switch on the motors furthest away from his location in the maze, so the crickets will flee in his direction.

Brain sensor allows mind-control (2)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713255)

BBC submitted [bbc.co.uk] it with a better headline.

Not quite... (2, Insightful)

DownWithTheMan (797237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713260)

So from TFA about the insects controlling the ghosts, this doesn't sound as ground-breaking as the first FA... I mean sure the insects are "controlling the ghosts with their brains" but there really is no interaction with the computer at all... The insects are just recognized by the camera who then moves the ghosts in the game correspondingly... Isn't that just optical recognition of colors? Why over-hyped... Though I'm glad to see the advances being made towards better prosthetic limbs. My roommate lost his arm (right below the elbow) in a rock-crusher accident about 8 months ago and we're all still waiting for the day when we get the Star Wars quality prosthetic limbs... :D

Re:Not quite... (4, Interesting)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713395)

Judging by the way this (and related) technology works, wouldn't it be possible to augment a completely healthy adult with a computer? Obviously, this is something that could only be tested on humans. While other animals may be capable of thought, we cannot directly communicate with them enough to instruct them to make a "trivial"# thought repeatedly for a computer to "learn" the signal. We, however, do possess the ability to make a "trivial" thought repeatedly. Perhaps something like this would one day lead to computer-assisted telepathy. So far though, the biggest hurdle is that, at present, the computer interface is mainly read-only.

# A "trivial" thought in this context would be one that does not correspond to a normal physical action by the body. (Such as articulating a second set of arms, or "typing" without a keyboard by thinking of making the letters appear on screen)

Re:Not quite... (1)

ender_ (131275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713829)

Will this end all the frivolous lawsuits about Carpal Tunnel?

I'll be so excited when all the 400lbs beasties that complain about their arms hurting can't blame it on that "new fangled keyboard device"

Re:Not quite... (1)

crymeph0 (682581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714103)

To the contrary, it's something that can, and has been,tested on monkeys [bbc.co.uk] . The monkey in this article was hooked up to a robot arm and at first was synchronizing it's movements with her real arm, but after a while, learned to control the robot arm independently. This means we could theoretically upgrade ourselves with any peripheral we want, so long as the learning curve didn't kill us.

Re:Not quite... (1)

vix86 (592763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714746)

> So far though, the biggest hurdle is that, at present, the computer interface is mainly read-only.

While this paticular system of controling an arm is read-only. There have been results in other are that arn't read-only.

I don't have a link, but I recall very clearly that they've started to make a lot of progress with hooking up a camera to a subjects head and placing electrodes on/in the visual cortex and then feeding images captured by the camera into the person brain, allowing blind people to see again (though not nearly as good as what the eyes can do but defiantly a great step).

And maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but under normal circumstances (inside the US) you can't cut open a persons head and start experimenting on the brain, as cool as that would be. Even if the subject consents to the procedure I seem to recall that its not legal in the US. Under other circumstances like medical issues, this can be done. Which might be why its possible to work on those that are impaired in some way. I'm not 100% sure on this though, so maybe someone can inform me on the policy.

Re:Not quite... (1)

9x320 (987156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713503)

I'm guessing that they could so something like have the player simultaneously control the Pac-Man avatar on the screen while the player controls a plastic block being moved throughout the maze with the joystick. The block would be scented with cheese, which the mice would then chase. The block could also be scented by pheremones of the opposite sex of the species used to control the ghosts.

Not so new news.... (3, Informative)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713276)

We have already seen this in Professor Kevin Warwick [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not so new news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713801)

Right. Except that Warwick is a quack. These guys, not as much.

Re:Not so new news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15716326)

Nope, this is fundamentally different. Warwick had an implant in his peripheral nervous system (specifically, as I recall, the radial nerve in the wrist), whereas this is in the premotor or motor cortex of the brain (the human study used motor cortex, the monkey study used premotor cortex).

Warwick's implant, much like non-invasive methods such as scalp electrodes used previously, required concentration, actual movement, and a conscious translation of "ok, clenching my hand three times makes the wheelchair go forward." This setup uses a very natural interface--think about moving your arm up and to the right, the cursor goes up and to the right. It's so natural that it can be used while talking or performing head movements. And, unlike the Warwick version, it functions in paralyzed patients.

In addition to the human study demonstrating feasibility, the monkey study shows that information transfer out of the implant can be quadrupled above anything else tried, invasive or non-invasive. These two studies demonstrate the first time that a natural interface can be used in a paralyzed person, and that a useful rate of control can be achieved.

The reason people are making a big deal out of this is that this represents the first major non-gimmick step in translational medicine for "systems" neuroscience, the study of how the brain functions at the neural (and not molecular) level. There are still lots of problems to overcome and many years before these things are generally useful, but we're talking about giving hope to people who are paralyzed or have neuro-degenerative diseases like ALS or multiple sclerosis, and potentially eventually making new ways of interacting with the world.

Be careful. (4, Funny)

rowama (907743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713277)

paralysed man who can control control [sic] computer and robot arm using electrodes implanted in his brain.

Today's paralytic is tomorrow's cyborg. Children, be careful of whom you make fun.

Disclaimer: I personally advocate restraint in fun-making for "goodness sake" and not for fear of future retaliation. But there are those who think it cute to make fun of people with disabilities. Hopefully, a cyborg will eventually teach them that such behavior is not acceptable.

Revenge of the Protoss (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713777)

Cause you never know who is coming back as a Dragoon next!

"I have returned!"

Re:Be careful. (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713809)

When the guy gets drunk, does he still say, "I've fallen, and I can't get up!"?

Already been done...future as biomimcry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713283)

For anyone who hasn't heard of biomimicry, check out this reference: http://www.biomimicry.net/intro.html [biomimicry.net]

The general idea is that all of human design and engineering in the future should try to mimic nature as closely as possible. The most controversial aspect of the theory is that anything we think we can come up with, nature has already figured out a *far* more elegant and sophisticated solution (not to mention ecologically balanced and sustainable), albeit not directly suited to our needs.

So this brain control technology is definitely cool, but nature has already done it:

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/02/03/wasp_performs _roachb.html [boingboing.net]

It's an article about how a specific wasp evolved the ability to sting a cockroach in such a way that it can override the motor control of the cockroach, but where the cockroach is not actually disabled (from the wasps' perspective of course). I'm sure if we did enough digging in nature, there is something even far more spectacular than that example.

Ender? (3, Funny)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713290)

"You made the hard choice, boy. But heaven knows there was no other way you could have done it. Congratulations. You beat them, and it's all over."

All over. Beat them. "I beat you, Mazer Rackham."

Mazer laughed, a loud laugh that filled the room. "Ender Wiggin, you never played me. You never played a game since I was your teacher."

Ender didn't get the joke. He had played a great many games, at a terrible cost to himself. He began to get angry.

Mazer reached out and touched his shoulder. Ender shrugged him off. Mazer then grew serious and said, "Ender Wiggin, for the last months you have been the commander of our fleets. There were no games. The battles were real. Your only enemy was the enemy. You won every battle. Ate every pellet. And finally today you fought them at their little box in the middle of the screen, and you destroyed them completely and even got all the little fruits, and they'll never come against us again. You did it. You."

Re:Ender? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713367)

Remember, the enemy's gate is down.

Re:Ender? (1)

Moqui (940533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713411)

Excellent adaptation.

Link to the real paper in Nature (5, Informative)

inverselimit (900794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713295)

The Nature paper about the guy who can open email, control an arm, etc. just by thinking is available as a free pdf here [nature.com] . Or just the abstract [nature.com] .

This is not new news (2, Informative)

ckhorne (940312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713300)

I don't have any links or otherwise to show as proof, but I worked on something related to this almost 8 years ago. I was doing my undergrad senior project at Georgia Tech and was following up on previous research done in the same program.

We were working with a quadraplegic who had implants that also measured brainwave activity and crudely mapped them to mouse movements - one "thought" was for X-axis, and another was for Y-axis. I say "crude" because, IIRC, the cursor could only go one way, and when it got to the edge of the window, it just kept wrapping around.

My particular project was helping enable him to speak, using icons that he could choose to string together enough words and phrases to talk.

I would have hoped that it would have progressed from that point in 8 years...

Re:This is not new news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713588)

It HAS progressed from Kennedy's experiments in the last 8 years. Here is a rough timeline.

Roughly 1997 or 1998. DARPA funds, to an enormous extent. research in Brain-Machine Interfaces. Donoghue leads one group, Richard Andersen leads another, Nicolelis leads another.

2002-2005: Nicolelis and Donoghue's group demonstrate non-human primates can control external interfaces, and learn to improve that control by altering their mental output.

2005-6: Donoghue does first human trials and achieves similar success to the primate work. The other article in Nature is from Krishna Shenoy's lab at Stanford, demonstrating the output available from higher association brain areas, instead of lower order motor areas that Donoghue uses. (Shenoy is now independent, but was working on the Brain-Machine Interfaces with Andersen at Cal Tech).

I think that at this point things will really start improving, as highly functional implant trials in humans occur. Donoghue's work is going to improve the lives of a lot of quadraplegics and trapped patients. This work also demonstrates the progress available by combining government funding, engineers, physiologists, animal research, and neurosurgeons.

IIRC, the number of implant sites available in the Kennedy experiments was small, and followup from that group has been essentially non-existent.

Imagine... (0, Redundant)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713305)

...crickets with frickin lasers attached to their heads!

I can finally win. . . (4, Funny)

treeves (963993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713328)

at Pac-Man.
Gotta go out to the garage and find that can of Raid. . .

van Eck? (2, Informative)

eric434 (161022) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713345)

Is this the same Wim van Eck that's known for van Eck phreaking; i.e. using radiation from a CRT to replicate what's being displayed on said CRT?

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,s id9_gci550525,00.html [techtarget.com]

"This term combines the name of Wim van Eck, who in 1985 authored an academic paper that described this form of electronic eavesdropping, with the term phreaking, the earlier practice of using special equipment to make phone calls without paying. Van Eck phreaking is identified in the U.S. government project known as Tempest and, although some information remains classified, has probably been used to spy on suspected criminals and in espionage."

Re:van Eck? (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713517)

I thought the same thing, initially, but I would assume not, considering that this Wim van Eck did the cricket-Pac-Man thing as a "graduation project," according to the article, making it highly unlikely (though I suppose not impossible) that he was authoring academic papers in 1985.

Re:van Eck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713585)

Van Eck phreaking [wikipedia.org]
TEMPEST [wikipedia.org]

here are the wikipedia links for the lazy :)

This just in (3, Funny)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713397)

Sony marketing droids, having confused this story with a Nintendo press-release, have announced that the PS3 controller "was going to have a mind-chip all along", and promised a barely functional demonstration model by early next week.

Music (2, Interesting)

HoboCop (987492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713400)

This would be a really neat interface for musical instruments.. just imagine, hook your head to a set of speakers and ROCK OUT! In all seriousness, If this ever becomes a mature and pervasive technology, the applications are limitless.. imagine a wi-fi brain control unit with an open-source API... Control anything with your brain!

Re:Music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15714247)

and imagine M$/gov/big bro. reading all your actions/thoughts through that chip they implanted in your head.

Re:Music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15715922)

No, no! You've got that backwards - It's control your brain with anything....

Obligatory Slashdot nitpick (3, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713420)

I was awake in the '80s. I knew Pac Man. And that screen shot, sir, is no Pac Man.

Re:Obligatory Slashdot nitpick (1)

Dmala (752610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713543)

What *is* that screenshot of? Pacman Plus? It almost looks like the awful bootleg version that was hacked to run on Galaxian hardware.

Fun field for disgrunteled EE & CS students (2, Interesting)

uarch (637449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713436)

Development of these devices is actually a fun little field for a lot of electrical & computer engineering students who decide they want to do something else.

A couple years ago I toured one of the research labs at Michigan where they were developing these electrodes and the algorithms they're using to interpret the impulses... At least half of the lab were ex-EE students who decided they wanted to do biomed for grad school.

The scary part was that it was these same EE students who were running around performing basic brain surgery on rats. The amazing part was that if you stuck the electrode anywhere in the correct general area it would "just work" without needing to worry about hitting exact nerves, etc.

Re:Fun field for disgrunteled EE & CS students (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714543)

The amazing part was that if you stuck the electrode anywhere in the correct general area it would "just work" without needing to worry about hitting exact nerves, etc.

That would probably be because in that case, it is not the computer that is learning from the animal, but the animal learning to interact with the computer. I have a suspicion that the area of human-controlled manipulation will move forward in leaps and bounds when the people hooking these things up realise that brains are actually quite good at learning things. Just stick the electrodes anywhere in the body near some nerves in the central nervous system that occasionally receive signals from the brain (the forearm might be a good place), give each electrode some function, and let the body work out how to manipulate it.

Paging Doc Ock... (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713466)

Your lab's on line 1.

Actual company link (1)

xynopsis (224788) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713480)

Here's a link to the actual company and its technology used [cyberkineticsinc.com] . This technology could be extremely helpful for soldiers or people who lost their limbs in traumatic accidents.

Chimps vs Insects (3, Funny)

Sketch (2817) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713488)

Now all we have to do is get the Ms. Pac-Man playing chimp to play against the insects for absolute animal kingdom Pacman supremacy...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqvRjHaDX6M [youtube.com]

Muscle rewiring? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713539)

How about this idea - an electrode in your brain, wired to a computer whose output connects to the said muscles. "Artificial nerves", so to speak.
On the other hand, that'd make me fear hackers 1000 times more. This could be the perfect plot for a sci-fi horror movie.

Wired Reflexes I (2, Interesting)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713615)

Between this and the cortical pre-conscious response story earlier today, I look forward to getting my Wired Reflexes I cyber implant. Still waiting on the datajack, though.

Not directly controlled. (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713644)

The position of the animals in the maze is detected using colour-tracking via a camera, and linked to the ghosts in the game.

The 'virtual ghost' is not controlled directly by the bugs' brains any more than my computer is controlled by my brain. There are other physical interfaces present. This story was made up to be sensational and actually provides no news at all, other than some bored kid with a webcam and several tortured bugs.

The distant voice of Obi-Wan (1)

blacknblu (988181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713756)

The force is with you Nagle

That means.. (1)

zhouray (985297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713769)

when I install Pac-Man, I also have to install the crickets and the maze?

Nothing new under the sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15713824)

Computers controlled by bugs? My computer has been controlled by bugs for years now -- it's running Windows!

I for one welcome... (3, Funny)

mindstorms (788968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15713958)

A beowulf cluster of linux running grits eating insect overlords. Uh... *throws a chair at an old korean e-mail user* .... 2) ????? 3) Profit!!!

IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15714153)

...the shell is in the GHOST!

My PacMan never did this... (1)

rholland356 (466635) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714379)

"The position of the animals in the maze is detected using colour-tracking via a camera, and linked to the ghosts in the game."

I dunno about you, but the PacMan I played when young never had ghosts start humping each other in the middle of the maze. They never laid eggs under each other's skin, either.

And there was never some announcer off to the side of the game inciting "Jim" to go wrestle with the ghosts

"This way, the real animals are directly controlling the virtual ghosts."

Well, we could be real animals while playing the game (visualize that, Halo-heads!).

Does this improve the game-play? Maybe, if you are Zorak and you have some time to kill...

insects controlling ghosts? (1)

bobamu (943639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714554)

aside from the fact that the insects have no concept that they are controlling anything (unless they secretly are our overlords after all), in as much as they arent isn't this just a telemetry system with a "game screen" representing the actions of what you are measuring?

Brain implants and machine control (1)

WhatDoIKnow (962719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714799)

This all just shows that the future as protrayed by such fiction as Ghost in the Shell, and at the risk of really dating myself, The Eigth Man is not so farfetched. I wonder though, why they would use the artificial limbs to type, and not have a more direct way to transform thoughts to text.

Re:Brain implants and machine control (1)

hyc (241590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15715319)

Because a direct thought-to-text translator requires that your thought-receiver directly interfaces to whatever system you're working with. If the interface is unavailable, you lose. On the other hand (har har) controlling an artificial limb means you can use all of the existing keyboards and other interfaces, no new special interface required.

Why stop at pacman? (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714837)

There are so many better things to do with tiny brains.

Say an electrode touches where the brain feels pleasure, another touches where it feels pain, Those can be used to teach the 'brain' basic calculations. Maybe the next Radeon will be based on a rat brain.

Stem cells can be injected into the brain to keep it going for much longer so it learns more.

Move over Xilinx.

Meh..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15714952)

That gives a whole new meaning to the term 'Pinhead'.

-----

Sig Sauer
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