Bloomberg reports on a five-year, $77 million project by America's Department of Defense to create an implantable brain device that restores memory-generation capacity for people with traumatic brain injuries:

A device has now been developed by Michael Kahana, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and the medical technology company Medtronic Plc, and successfully tested with funding from America's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).

Connected to the left temporal cortex, it monitors the brain's electrical activity and forecasts whether a lasting memory will be created. "Just like meteorologists predict the weather by putting sensors in the environment that measure humidity and wind speed and temperature, we put sensors in the brain and measure electrical signals," Kahana says. If brain activity is suboptimal, the device provides a small zap, undetectable to the patient, to strengthen the signal and increase the chance of memory formation.

In two separate studies, researchers found the prototype consistently boosted memory 15 per cent to 18 per cent. The second group performing human testing, a team from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., aided by colleagues at the University of Southern California, has a more finely tuned method. In a study published last year, their patients showed memory retention improvement of as much as 37 per cent. "We're looking at questions like, 'Where are my keys? Where did I park the car? Have I taken my pills?'â" says Robert Hampson, lead author of the 2018 study...

Both groups have tested their devices only on epileptic patients with electrodes already implanted in their brains to monitor seizures; each implant requires clunky external hardware that won't fit in somebody's skull. The next steps will be building smaller implants and getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to bring the devices to market... Justin Sanchez, who just stepped down as director of Darpa's biological technologies office, says veterans will be the first to use the prosthetics. "We have hundreds of thousands of military personnel with traumatic brain injuries," he says. The next group will likely be stroke and Alzheimer's patients.

Eventually, perhaps, the general public will have access—though there’s a serious obstacle to mass adoption. “I don’t think any of us are going to be signing up for voluntary brain surgery anytime soon,” Sanchez says. “Only when these technologies become less invasive, or noninvasive, will they become widespread.”

Source:  BioHax

Source: BioHax

“…Biohax have installed thousands of professionals world wide in the financial, healthcare, government, science, and technologysectors. Biohax have enabled their carriers to increase their security in the digital world, provide 100% identification clearance, and unlimited seamless experiences with their connected surroundings.” - BioHax

The Swedish State Railways has decided to accept under-the-skin RFID tag implants for ticket purchases, arguing it enhances ticketless travel better than having your ticket in your mobile. Actually, they didn’t argue that at all. They just said “we’re digital” and “it works” as if that would justify the rest.

Sweden is a European state which, until recently, celebrated the fact that people were able to travel between European and Nordic countries without a passport or other identification papers. Since a few years back, the governmental train company, which operates with all the efficiency of one, changed all that on its own — by requiring photo ID to take the train just to the next city. The official reason for going all papieren, bitte on people just going to the next town was to “prevent the second-hand sale of attractive tickets”.

This company — the Swedish State Railways — has an insanely bad reputation in the country, known for never arriving on time and for mediocre service. To paint a picture of the service level, the company offers some compensation if passengers get more than an hour delayed with a local train (within the European state of Sweden).

This is the company now priding itself on “being digital” and announcing an extremely privacy-invasive method for travel. It may well be that it’s more convenient. That’s obviously not where the cause for concern is.

“We will never force somebody to have a chip implanted”, says Stephan Ray, press spokesperson for the State Railways.

I wish I could believe this — for this has been the standard line every single time a new privacy invasion has been presented. And there’s a catch which sounds all too familiar:

“We don’t rule out giving special advantages to travelers with under-the-skin RFID chips,” Ray adds.

At what point does this translate to putting ridiculous burden on people without under-skin RFID tags, even if it will technically not require them to implant? That’s usually a few years before the option is taken away altogether, judging from history.

As a final note, the article from the Stockholm local paper also notes that the local buses, trams, and subways are also seeking to start using passenger under-skin-RFID-tags for travel. Yes, you read that right: people in Sweden are seriously considering under-skin RFID tags to be a nice, cozy form of bus and subway ticket.

Fortunately, this is not something that would go over well in other European states. If I were to describe the Swedish attitude to this in a few words, I would choose “trusting and naïve”. This is in stark contrast to other states — say, Germany — which take privacy extremely seriously: Berlin’s ticket vending machines to the local public transport sell paper tickets for cash, and it would be inconceivable to remove that option, as was done a long time ago in Sweden (where you can instead buy identified tickets to your identified phone using an identified credit card).

As a final note, the image to this article shows animal tags. That’s because it’s the technology used. “Tagged like an animal” is quite literal. There’s also the concern of malware infecting such chips, which has been proven possible – and with RFID technology, the malware could spread quickly.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.