DARPA’s to-be built wetware to prove immensely beneficial in medicine field
Implantable brain-machine interfaces (BMI) that will allow their users to control computers with thoughts alone will soon going to be a reality. DARPA has announced its plans to make such wetware. The interface would not be more than two nickels placed one on the other.
These implantable chips as per the DARPA will ‘open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics’. Though DARPA researchers have earlier also made few attempts to come up with a brain-machine interface, previous versions were having limited working.
The wetware is being developed a part of the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program. The device would translate the chemical signals in neurons into digital code. Phillip Alvelda, the NESD program manager, said, “Today's best brain-computer interface systems are like two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem. Imagine what will become possible when we upgrade our tools to really open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics”.
DARPA expects that the device will bring immediate effect in the medical field. It has been said so, as the planned interface would connect with million individual neurons that will provide patients with vision or hearing loss with unprecedented gain in the response from their assistive devices.
In fact, patients who have lost their limbs will also be benefitted in their responsiveness and capabilities of their prosthetics. But initial applications of DARPA’s device will most probably be within a military context.
DARPA has also been credited for coming up with civil technologies including GPS, speech translation and the internet. The NESD project forms part of the US President Barack Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative that aims to cure and treat brain disorders.
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