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BCIs & Neurotechnology News and Discussions

cyberkinesis BCI psychotronics transhumanism bionics human enhancement brain computer interface transhuman cyborgs neuroscience

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#21
Alislaws

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Psychokinetic prostheses would replace most buttons, switches, levers, knobs, sliders, touch-pads, etc.

Most, but not all. It wouldn't be smart to get rid of the simplest, mechanical input devices. 

 

 

Yeah, try programming code, writing legal doctrine, or having a nuclear arsenal fired with just your mind. 

 

 

agreed, brain control will be too unreliable for a long time. 

 

As far as programming, I think in the future we will see AIs which can interpret human language (and later thoughts?), and build programs rapidly based off those discussions

 

You'll still have programmers who actually get stuck in and build systems when efficiency is critically important, Or who add new types of programs and functions to the resources the AIs use to build code for more mundane stuff.

 

Anywhere you are not doing anything ground-breaking, There will be AIs with huge libraries of code snippets (annotated in a way the AI can interpret) which can be assembled into programs that do various things where you can say " I would like a payment system for my website with the following features" and get something that works and eventually (once the bugs are worked out the system itself) the code produced would be bug free. 

 

The hardest part is building an AI that can come up with an accurate outline of requirements based off a conversation with a human. By the time someone solves that, the rest of the stuff will probably be in place. 



#22
funkervogt

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agreed, brain control will be too unreliable for a long time. 

My point is that, even if "brain control" were highly reliable, it wouldn't be a good idea to re-engineer the built environment so objects could only be manipulated through thought. For example, it will still make sense to have old-fashioned, mechanical doorknobs for use on the occasions when your telepathic implant were malfunctioning or experiencing interference. If all else fails, just grab the doorknob with your hand and twist. 



#23
bgates276

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Brain control may be unreliable, but it wouldn't necessarily be the fault of an implant. It would be the fault of the brain itself: most people simply don't have that much executive control over their brain functioning to articulate exactly what they mean, or exactly what they want, all of the time.  While we are definitely a step up from monkey's, I don't think it is true that humans are completely rational animals, at least not most of us. Speaking for myself, I make mistakes all the time in my thought processes. I often catch them, after the fact, but if a brain implant acted on everything I thought, in real time, by that point it would be too late. I don't know, perhaps there could be clever features, built into mind-control software, to get around this limitation in human cognition.


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#24
Alislaws

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agreed, brain control will be too unreliable for a long time. 

My point is that, even if "brain control" were highly reliable, it wouldn't be a good idea to re-engineer the built environment so objects could only be manipulated through thought. For example, it will still make sense to have old-fashioned, mechanical doorknobs for use on the occasions when your telepathic implant were malfunctioning or experiencing interference. If all else fails, just grab the doorknob with your hand and twist. 

You're right about the safety/convenience isues and I don't think there will ever be a situation where it is somehow cheaper to have an electronic door handle than a regular one, and the gains on something like that are non existent, unless you have some disability that makes opening doors the normal way impractical. 

 

You might get big corporate offices where you need to use your implants so they can keep track of everyone for security reasons I guess. At most people ​may ​ get electronic locks on their front doors which would probably have brain interface controls.



#25
funkervogt

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Brain control may be unreliable, but it wouldn't necessarily be the fault of an implant. It would be the fault of the brain itself: most people simply don't have that much executive control over their brain functioning to articulate exactly what they mean, or exactly what they want, all of the time.  While we are definitely a step up from monkey's, I don't think it is true that humans are completely rational animals, at least not most of us. Speaking for myself, I make mistakes all the time in my thought processes. I often catch them, after the fact, but if a brain implant acted on everything I thought, in real time, by that point it would be too late. I don't know, perhaps there could be clever features, built into mind-control software, to get around this limitation in human cognition.

In the future, posthumans will look back at contemporary humans and see our inability to control our own thoughts and emotions as flaws every bit as tragic as our arbitrarily limited lifespans. 



#26
caltrek

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This article was found by Yuli Ban:

 

Speech Recognition via fNIRS Based Brain Signals

Quote

In this paper, we present the first evidence that perceived speech can be identified from the listeners' brain signals measured via functional-near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)—a non-invasive, portable, and wearable neuroimaging technique suitable for ecologically valid settings. In this study, participants listened audio clips containing English stories while prefrontal and parietal cortices were monitored with fNIRS. Machine learning was applied to train predictive models using fNIRS data from a subject pool to predict which part of a story was listened by a new subject not in the pool based on the brain's hemodynamic response as measured by fNIRS. fNIRS signals can vary considerably from subject to subject due to the different head size, head shape, and spatial locations of brain functional regions. To overcome this difficulty, a generalized canonical correlation analysis (GCCA) was adopted to extract latent variables that are shared among the listeners before applying principal component analysis (PCA) for dimension reduction and applying logistic regression for classification. A 74.7% average accuracy has been achieved for differentiating between two 50 s. long story segments and a 43.6% average accuracy has been achieved for differentiating four 25 s. long story segments. These results suggest the potential of an fNIRS based-approach for building a speech decoding brain-computer-interface for developing a new type of neural prosthetic system.

 

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#27
caltrek

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‘Merging man and machine doesn’t come without consequences’ 

 

https://www.thenatio...uences-1.780792

 

Introduction:

 

(The National) We can see evidence of the phenomenal power of the human mind all around us, in literature, architecture, science and much else besides. But what if that power could be tapped into directly, in a way that lets us create and communicate by using thought alone? It may seem far-fetched, but the continued improvement of brain-computer interfaces (or BCIs), where brain signals are used as controllers, now makes this more than a theoretical possibility. Recent advances in the way signals are collected and interpreted may lead to changes in the way we type, play games and interact with the world. But merging man and machine does not come without consequences – indeed, it raises profound questions about the nature of humanity itself.

 

At the end of last month, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle published a paper describing a network they had created named BrainNet (see also post #10 above), which allowed three people, communicating via electrodes attached to their heads, to play a simple Tetris-like game on a computer. The messages being sent between them were hardly rich in detail – effectively just “yes” or “no” – but the researchers’ success in connecting several minds prompted a bold vision. “Our results,” they said, “raise the possibility of future brain-to-brain interfaces that enable co-operative problem-solving by humans.”

 

Experiments such as these largely rely on electroencephalography (EEG), which detects electrical activity in the brain either via implants or a headset. Those signals are then interpreted as closely as possible, processed and used to control external devices such as computers. EEGs were first used in consumer technology more than 10 years ago – the computer game NeuroBoy and a maze game called Mindflex both depended on EEGs to demonstrate a kind of “mind control”. But a decade is a long time in technology, and experiments this year have demonstrated the speed of BCI development. In June, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrated the use of brain signals to guide a robot. Project leader Joseph DelPreto told website Engadget that it makes “communicating with a robot more like communicating with another person”. Also this summer, researchers in Kyoto used EEGs to allow a person to control a robotic arm, effectively giving them a third limb.

ASIMRM-00007283-001.jpg?f=16x9&w=1200&$p

Once problems of speed and accuracy have been conquered, it could represent a gaming revolution where controllers are no longer needed, and experiences become fully immersive

Illustration by Kareem Halfawi for The National.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#28
caltrek

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A neuroscientist explains the limits and possibilities of using technology to read our thoughts

 

 

https://www.theverge...ence-technology

 

Introduction:

 

(The Verge) In 2007, The New York Times published an op-ed titled “This is Your Brain on Politics.” The authors imaged the brains of swing voters and, using that information, interpreted what the voters were feeling about presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

 

“As I read this piece,” writes Russell Poldrack, “my blood began to boil.” Poldrack is a neuroscientist at Stanford University and the author of The New Mind Readers: What Neuroimaging Can and Cannot Reveal about Our Thoughts (out now from Princeton University Press). His research focuses on what we can learn from brain imagining techniques such as fMRI, which measures blood activity in the brain as a proxy for brain activity. And one of the clearest conclusions, he writes, is that activity in a particular brain region doesn’t actually tell us what the person is experiencing.

 

The Verge spoke to Poldrack about the limits and possibilities of fMRI, the fallacies that people commit in interpreting its results, and the limits of its widespread use. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.  See linked article for full interview).

0.0.jpg


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#29
bgates276

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Yeah, well fMRI has it's limitations, but it seems every decade or so, some new cutting edge technology outclasses the previous one, leading to new avenues for research in the neurosciences. 


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#30
caltrek

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My thoughts are my password, because my brain reactions are unique

 

https://theconversat...re-unique-98691

 

Introduction:

 

(The Conversation) Your brain is an inexhaustible source of secure passwords – but you might not have to remember anything. Passwords and PINs with letters and numbers are relatively easily hacked, hard to remember and generally insecure. Biometrics are starting to take their place, with fingerprints, facial recognition and retina scanning becoming common even in routine logins for computers, smartphones and other common devices.

 

They’re more secure because they’re harder to fake, but biometrics have a crucial vulnerability: A person only has one face, two retinas and 10 fingerprints. They represent passwords that can’t be reset if they’re compromised.

 

Like usernames and passwords, biometric credentials are vulnerable to data breaches. In 2015, for instance, the database containing the fingerprints of 5.6 million U.S. federal employees was breached. Those people shouldn’t use their fingerprints to secure any devices, whether for personal use or at work. The next breach might steal photographs or retina scan data, rendering those biometrics useless for security.

 

Our team has been working with collaborators at other institutions for years, and has invented a new type of biometric that is both uniquely tied to a single human being and can be reset if needed.

 

Inside the mind

 

When a person looks at a photograph or hears a piece of music, her brain responds in ways that researchers or medical professionals can measure with electrical sensors placed on her scalp. We have discovered that every person’s brain responds differently to an external stimulus, so even if two people look at the same photograph, readings of their brain activity will be different.

 

file-20181018-67185-dbf3km.png?ixlib=rb-

A test subject entering a brain password. 

Wenyao Xu, et al., CC BY-ND


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#31
caltrek

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Brain-computer Interface Lets Paralyzed People Control Tablet Devices

 

http://blogs.discove...tablet-devices/

 

Introduction:

 

(Discover) For the first time, three tetraplegic people are able to control a commercial tablet device with their thoughts thanks to a brain-computer interface. The research suggests that people who lose the capacity to speak may be able continue to communicate with the technology.

 

Mind-controlled Mouse

 

The three study participants are part of a clinical trial to test a brain-computer interface (BCI) called BrainGate. BrainGate translates participant’s brain activity into commands that a computer can understand. In the new study, researchers first implanted microelectrode arrays into the area of the brain that governs hand movement. The participants “trained” the system by thinking about moving their hands, something the BCI learned to translate into actions on the screen.

 

The BCI decoded brain activity associated with subjects’ intent to move their hand and passed the information to a Bluetooth interface that works like a wireless computer mouse. The virtual mouse was paired to an off-the-shelf Android tablet. The participants could then “point and click” the cursor on the tablet by attempting to squeeze their right hand, for example.

 

Researchers challenged the subjects to perform a series of everyday tasks on the tablets to see how well they could use the device. The participants checked and responded to email, searched the Internet, read the news and streamed music on the tablets. All together they each performed seven tasks on three different days. Subjects could complete all the tasks within 15 to 30 minutes, the team reports Wednesday in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

 

computerparalyzedspeech.jpg

 

A patient performs a video search.

(Credit: Nuyujukian P, et al. PLoS ONE 13 (11): e0204566.)


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#32
caltrek

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How to build a brain interface — and why we should connect our minds

 

https://medium.com/@...POwvyhfflvh8V-I

 

Introduction:

(Medium) Communication helped humanity progress to where we are today, from evolving the ability to speak and understand gestures, to building tools —such as writing instruments, the printing press, radio, computers and the internet. Now, in the present day, the majority of humanity’s technological and creative output requires dexterously tapping one’s fingers onto a keyboard — and this is where things are poised to change.

 

Enter the ‘neural lace’, a fictional device from Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels, that can connect to the brains of humans to allow them to communicate, store and retrieve information, interface to machines and regulate their biological functions. Similarly, the author Ramez Naam describes a wirelessly linked nano-drug called Nexus that allows opt-in mind-to-mind communication, collaboration and an augmentation of humanity’s intelligence and abilities.

 

Why am I writing about this? Today there are already some incredible companies seriously working on creating this technology, including KernelNeuralink, and numerous research groups that I will mention. This could be the most significant technological leap that humanity would take in the coming years, and the enormity of both the engineering challenges and social implications of such a technology can be extremely daunting, yet as you will see, can also be equally as inspiring.

 

In this article I will pull the ‘neural lace’ out of the realm of sci-fi and explain how we could create a brain interface, from the first-order principles, to the technical constraints and what is possible with today’s physics, the breakthroughs currently being developed to how we would extract semantic data from our thoughts. And lastly why connecting our brains with this technology could contrarily make us more human than ever.

1*HVEMnyxGHaOKdrJgZOOdEA.png

image source: Greg Dunn


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#33
caltrek

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Sciencerocks found this on the internet and I thought it a good article to include in this thread:

 

Engineers translate brain signals directly into speech

by Columbia University

Quote

In a scientific first, Columbia neuroengineers have created a system that translates thought into intelligible, recognizable speech. By monitoring someone's brain activity, the technology can reconstruct the words a person hears with unprecedented clarity. This breakthrough, which harnesses the power of speech synthesizers and artificial intelligence, could lead to new ways for computers to communicate directly with the brain. It also lays the groundwork for helping people who cannot speak, such as those living with as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or recovering from stroke, regain their ability to communicate with the outside world.

 

https://techxplore.c...ain-speech.html


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#34
caltrek

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Researchers Claim to Create "Rat Cyborgs" That People Control With Their Minds

 

http://blogs.discove...th-their-minds/

 

 

(Discover) I’ll just come right out and say it: Scientists have created human-controlled rat cyborgs.

 

 

caltrek's comment:  Is it just me, or is their something really creepy about the topic discussed in the article I have linked?

 

...and I don't mean just the potential discussed in the article concerning humans controlling other humans.  It all just seems like creating a Frankenstein type monster.  Come on, Yuli (and others) ...am I just being a Luddite here?

 

I am also tempted to write a satire piece for my Future of Wurfs thread in which the technology backfires and the rats end up controlling the humans. :)


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#35
Yuli Ban

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Valve's Brain Chip Interfacing - Everything Known


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#36
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Scientists have developed a brain implant that can read people's minds and turn their thoughts to speech

Scientists have developed a brain implant that can read people's minds and turn their thoughts to speech.
The team at the University of California, San Francisco says the technology is "exhilarating".
They add that their findings, published in the journal Nature, could help people when disease robs them of their ability to talk.
Experts said the findings were compelling and offered hope of restoring speech.

How does it work?

The mind-reading technology works in two stages.
First an electrode is implanted in the brain to pick up the electrical signals that manoeuvre the lips, tongue, voice box and jaw.
Then powerful computing is used to simulate how the movements in the mouth and throat would form different sounds.
This results in synthesised speech coming out of a "virtual vocal tract".


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#37
Yuli Ban

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China unveils Brain-Computer Interface chip

China has achieved a breakthrough in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) chip research, with its first BCI chip "Brain Talker" making its debut on Friday at the ongoing World Intelligence Congress held in northern China's Tianjin Municipality.
 
BCI is a system allowing a person to control a computer or other electronic device using his or her brainwaves, without requiring any movement or verbal instruction.
 
Brain Talker, specially designed for decoding brainwave information, may replace traditional computer devices used in BCI due to its more portable size, precision in decoding, high efficiency in computing and faster communication ability.
 
Ming Dong, director of the Academy of Medical Engineering and Translational Medicine in Tianjin University, said the chip can identify minor neuron information sent by the brain wave from the cerebral cortex, efficiently decode the information and greatly quicken the communication speed between the brain and machine.


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#38
Yuli Ban

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Brain-Machine Interfaces Could Give Us All Superpowers

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world already have brain-computer interfaces, which scientists have been developing since at least the 1970s, in part thanks to funding from Darpa. Some experts predict that number will reach one million in the next decade as the science becomes more sophisticated. "Real life is unfolding and it's cooler than science fiction," says Elena Gaby, Southern's codirector.
But the inner-workings of our brains are still not well understood, and the real returns on this kind of neurotechnology are just beginning to emerge. There are a hundred billion neurons in the brain, each of them "as complicated as the city of Los Angeles" with about 500 trillion connections, says David Eagleman, a neuroscientist who appears in the film. Treatments like the ones Bill, Stephen, and Anne received are still largely experimental, without any guarantee of working.
"It's interesting that we can count our steps, count calories, sequence our genome, draw our blood, and measure our heart rate, but we have virtually no insight into our brains," says Bryan Johnson, the founder and CEO of neuroscience startup Kernel. "We have this sliver of self-introspection, but otherwise, it's a black box."
It's fear of the brain's great unknowns that separate what the subjects of I Am Human pursue from Big Idea sci-fi. Watching Bill, Stephen, and Anne grappling with the decision to implant chips in their brains is a far more difficult reality than anything in Black Mirror. "Someone's cutting into your brain," Anne says in the film. "You don't know what's going to happen."
Ultimately, she decides to pursue deep-brain stimulation, a procedure that works by implanting an electrode in the brain to stimulate specific parts (in Anne's case, suppressing the motor system). It's been wildly successful in patients who have symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The implant sends "data" out of the brain, and delivers a current to her brain, offering some relief from the constant tremors.
Stephen sets off to try another experimental treatment, called the Argus, which involves implanting a chip underneath the eye that hooks to electrodes in the brain.


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#39
Yuli Ban

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Scientists create mind-controlled hearing aid

A mind-controlled hearing aid that allows the wearer to focus on particular voices has been created by scientists, who say it could transform the ability of those with hearing impairments to cope with noisy environments.
The device mimics the brain’s natural ability to single out and amplify one voice against background conversation. Until now, even the most advanced hearing aids work by boosting all voices at once, which can be experienced as a cacophony of sound for the wearer, especially in crowded environments.
Nima Mesgarani, who led the latest advance at Columbia University in New York, said: “The brain area that processes sound is extraordinarily sensitive and powerful. It can amplify one voice over others, seemingly effortlessly, while today’s hearing aids still pale in comparison.”


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#40
Yuli Ban

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DARPA: Six Paths to the Nonsurgical Future of Brain-Machine Interfaces

DARPA has awarded funding to six organizations to support the Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program, first announced in March 2018. Battelle Memorial Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Rice University, and Teledyne Scientific are leading multidisciplinary teams to develop high-resolution, bidirectional brain-machine interfaces for use by able-bodied service members. These wearable interfaces could ultimately enable diverse national security applications such as control of active cyber defense systems and swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles, or teaming with computer systems to multitask during complex missions.
“DARPA is preparing for a future in which a combination of unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, and cyber operations may cause conflicts to play out on timelines that are too short for humans to effectively manage with current technology alone,” said Al Emondi, the N3 program manager. “By creating a more accessible brain-machine interface that doesn’t require surgery to use, DARPA could deliver tools that allow mission commanders to remain meaningfully involved in dynamic operations that unfold at rapid speed.”
Over the past 18 years, DARPA has demonstrated increasingly sophisticated neurotechnologies that rely on surgically implanted electrodes to interface with the central or peripheral nervous systems. The agency has demonstrated achievements such as neural control of prosthetic limbs and restoration of the sense of touch to the users of those limbs, relief of otherwise intractable neuropsychiatric illnesses such as depression, and improvement of memory formation and recall. Due to the inherent risks of surgery, these technologies have so far been limited to use by volunteers with clinical need.

  • The Battelle team, under principal investigator Dr. Gaurav Sharma, aims to develop a minutely invasive interface system that pairs an external transceiver with electromagnetic nanotransducers that are nonsurgically delivered to neurons of interest. The nanotransducers would convert electrical signals from the neurons into magnetic signals that can be recorded and processed by the external transceiver, and vice versa, to enable bidirectional communication.
  • The Carnegie Mellon University team, under principal investigator Dr. Pulkit Grover, aims to develop a completely noninvasive device that uses an acousto-optical approach to record from the brain and interfering electrical fields to write to specific neurons. The team will use ultrasound waves to guide light into and out of the brain to detect neural activity. The team’s write approach exploits the non-linear response of neurons to electric fields to enable localized stimulation of specific cell types.
  • The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory team, under principal investigator Dr. David Blodgett, aims to develop a completely noninvasive, coherent optical system for recording from the brain. The system will directly measure optical path-length changes in neural tissue that correlate with neural activity.
  • The PARC team, under principal investigator Dr. Krishnan Thyagarajan, aims to develop a completely noninvasive acousto-magnetic device for writing to the brain. Their approach pairs ultrasound waves with magnetic fields to generate localized electric currents for neuromodulation. The hybrid approach offers the potential for localized neuromodulation deeper in the brain.
  • The Rice University team, under principal investigator Dr. Jacob Robinson, aims to develop a minutely invasive, bidirectional system for recording from and writing to the brain. For the recording function, the interface will use diffuse optical tomography to infer neural activity by measuring light scattering in neural tissue. To enable the write function, the team will use a magneto-genetic approach to make neurons sensitive to magnetic fields.
  • The Teledyne team, under principal investigator Dr. Patrick Connolly, aims to develop a completely noninvasive, integrated device that uses micro optically pumped magnetometers to detect small, localized magnetic fields that correlate with neural activity. The team will use focused ultrasound for writing to neurons.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: cyberkinesis, BCI, psychotronics, transhumanism, bionics, human enhancement, brain computer interface, transhuman, cyborgs, neuroscience

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