Tesla’s Model 3 doesn’t come with a physical key. Instead, it can be unlocked and turned on with a smartphone, a car-shaped key fob, or a keycard that comes in handy if you don’t have a fob or your phone dies. One creative driver figured out a way to make sure that she can always unlock and start her Model 3: she implanted the RFID tag from the keycard into her forearm.
Neuralink, the secretive company developing brain-machine interfaces, held a press conference today where it unveiled some of the technology it's been developing to the public for the first time. The first big advance is flexible "threads," which are less likely to damage the brain than the materials currently used in brain-machine interfaces and create the possibility of transferring a higher volume of data.
"The threads are 4 to 6 micrometers in width, which makes them considerably thinner than a human hair," reports The Verge. The other big advance that Neuralink unveiled is a machine that automatically embeds the threads into the brain. From the report:
In the future, scientists from Neuralink hope to use a laser beam to get through the skull, rather than drilling holes, they said in interviews with The New York Times. Early experiments will be done with neuroscientists at Stanford University, according to that report. The company aims for human trials as soon as the second quarter of next year, according to The New York Times. The system presented today, if it's functional, may be a substantial advance over older technology. BrainGate relied on the Utah Array, a series of stiff needles that allows for up to 128 electrode channels. Not only is that fewer channels than Neuralink is promising -- meaning less data from the brain is being picked up -- it's also stiffer than Neuralink's threads. That's a problem for long-term functionality: the brain shifts in the skull but the needles of the array don't, leading to damage. The thin polymers Neuralink is using may solve that problem.
However, Neuralink's technology is more difficult to implant than the Utah Array, precisely because it's so flexible. To combat that problem, the company has developed "a neurosurgical robot capable of inserting six threads (192 electrodes) per minute [automatically]," according to the white paper. In photos, it looks something like a cross between a microscope and a sewing machine. It also avoids blood vessels, which may lead to less of an inflammatory response in the brain, the paper says. Finally, the paper says that Neuralink has developed a custom chip that is better able to read, clean up, and amplify signals from the brain. Right now, it can only transmit data via a wired connection (it uses USB-C), but ultimately the goal is to create a system than can work wirelessly.
Currently, the company is testing the robot and threads on rats, but it's hoping to actually begin working with human test subjects as early as next year.
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.”
“…Scientists in China are conducting a world-first clinical trial of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on drug addicts, in the hope that the technology will extinguish addiction, quite literally, with the flip of a switch.” - Read more at https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-08/china-trials-brain-implants-to-treat-drug-addiction/11090936?pfmredir=sm
A rhetoric comparison;
“…Uberveillance is a term used to describe intensive surveillance processes only developed in the 21st century. At its most basic level, uberveillance refers to the most comprehensive surveillance possible at a given moment in time. This involves the use of cutting-edge surveillance technology.” - Technopedia
Uberveillance (say 'oohbuhvayluhns) noun. an omnipresent electronic surveillance facilitated by technology that makes it possible to embed surveillance devices in the human body. Also, überveillance
M.G. Michael and K. Michael (2009). "Uberveillance: Definition" in ed. S. Butler, Fifth Edition of the Macquarie Dictionary (Australia's National Dictionary, Sydney University), p. 1094
Term conceived by Dr. MG Michael
'“…The U.S. military’s top intelligence officer is increasingly worried about China’s research into “human performance enhancement,” including efforts to merge human and machine intelligence. It’s a “key area” of disruptive technology that will affect national security, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, told an audience at the Association of the U.S.Army’s annual conference this week.” - read more at Defence One
“…Future terrorism uses new digital technology and organisational structures in order to achieve its goal, affecting critical infrastructure. Which technologies pose the biggest threats? How can we protect ourselves digitally?”
“…Whilst brainjacking raises ethical concerns pertaining to privacy and physical or psychological harm, we claim that the possibility of brainjacking DBS raises particularly profound concerns about individual autonomy, since the possibility of hacking such devices raises the prospect of third parties exerting influence over the neural circuits underpinning the subject's cognitive, emotional and motivational states. “
Read more here - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30595661