An American neural engineer speaking at this year’s Hybrid World Adelaide festival says researchers are two to three years away from installing synthetic vision and hearing in humans using the “next generation” of artificial intelligence technology.
Alvelda was involved in an earlier trial that used AI to wire war veterans’ prosthetic limbs with the brain to replicate the sensation of touch, pressure and temperature.
Researchers connected sensors to nerve endings and the end point of the veterans’ elbow stumps to give veterans the sensation that their prosthetic arms were real.
“We were able to figure out the codes of how we represent pressure and temperature and texture and the veterans who got these arms were saying, ‘this isn’t a prosthetic arm any more – it is my arm’,” Alvelda said.
“They were weeping about the fact that they were right-handed again after 10 years of being left-handed and losing their arm in the war.”
The new synthetic vision technology, which uses a less-invasive implant involving “a million interface channels”, will be first trialled on people with vision impairments.
Alvelda said the research was an indication of how AI technology is evolving to connect technology directly with the brain.
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Synthetic vision and hearing to be commonplace in the not-too-distant future
Posted 04 July 2018 - 11:44 PM
Posted 24 July 2018 - 11:35 PM
Studying how a set of conjoined twins know what the other is seeing has "validated" a ground-breaking approach to brain implants that could have come straight from the science fiction TV series Black Mirror.
Despite having separate brains, the twins in Canada can communicate thoughts and see or feel each other's sensory input, even if their respective eyes are closed, prompting scientists from a US-based artificial intelligence (AI) developer to take a closer look.
Dr Phillip Alveda, founding chief executive of Corticol.ai, said functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) showed the twins' brains were connected via a single passage which led into each thalamus.
"It's through about two million neurons, just two million, that they can convey emotion, awareness, sensation, sight, vision, hearing," he said.
"Now we have a blueprint for a direct interface from one brain to another."
He said his team had already pinpointed the thalamus as a potential target for an implant interface when they came across the conjoined twins in a documentary by the CBC.
"To find the twins and see the code between the different hemispheres of the brain and say, 'Oh my God, if we can replicate just that code, we'll be able to transmit the code for sure, it's like a validation'," Dr Alveda said.
I would guess it will succeed. The brain is pretty accommodating, so that if they even come close, it will finish the rest.
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