Transhumanism & Cybernetics News and Discussions

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Yuli Ban
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Transhumanism & Cybernetics News and Discussions

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Advanced Computer Model Enables Improvements to “Bionic Eye” Technology
Researchers at Keck School of Medicine of USC develop signals that could bring color vision and improved clarity to prosthesis for the blind.

There are millions of people who face the loss of their eyesight from degenerative eye diseases. The genetic disorder retinitis pigmentosa alone affects 1 in 4,000 people worldwide.

Today, there is technology available to offer partial eyesight to people with that syndrome. The Argus II, the world’s first retinal prosthesis, reproduces some functions of a part of the eye essential to vision, to allow users to perceive movement and shapes.

While the field of retinal prostheses is still in its infancy, for hundreds of users around the globe, the “bionic eye” enriches the way they interact with the world on a daily basis. For instance, seeing outlines of objects enables them to move around unfamiliar environments with increased safety.

That is just the start. Researchers are seeking future improvements upon the technology, with an ambitious objective in mind.
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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Olfactory enhancement! It's been a while since I've seen anyone touch smell (or taste).

Digital Nose Stimulation Enables Smelling in Stereo
Humans have two nostrils, which you’d think would allow us to determine the direction of smells, in the same way that two ears let us determine the direction of sounds. But that’s not how it works, sadly—humans, in general, are not stereo smellers. We can track down a smell by moving our head and body while sniffing, searching for increasing smell strength, but that’s much different from stereo smelling, which would allow us to localize smells based on different intensities wafting into each nostril.

Branching off from earlier work accessing alternative physiological smelling systems, researchers at the Human Computer Integration lab at the University of Chicago have developed a way to augment our sense of smell with a small piece of nose-worn hardware that uses tiny electrical impulses to give us the power of directional smell.
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Image: Human Computer Integration lab/University of Chicago
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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Yuli Ban
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A New Brain Implant Automatically Detects and Kills Pain in Real Time
Chronic pain is like a horror movie monster that sneaks up on you. It’s unpredictable, lingers silently, and when it strikes it’s often too late to tame. More diabolically, our best weapon against it—pain medication—can increase pain intensity over time. And as the opioid epidemic sadly shows, even pain medication is a double-edged sword.

It’s time for something new. This week, a group from the New York University School of Medicine said “no thank you” to medication altogether. Instead, they engineered a “neural bridge” that connects two brain regions: one critical for detecting pain, the other that dampens pain when activated.

For a brain implant, this one’s particularly special. It’s basically a tag-team of spy and sleeper agent. The “spy” listens to electrical chatter in a brain region that processes pain—along with dozens of other tasks—and decodes it in real time. Once it detects an electrical signal that suggests “pain found,” it sends the information to the “sleeper agent,” a computer chip implanted in the front part of the brain. The chip then automatically triggers a light beam to stimulate the region, activating neurons that can override pain signals.

Yeah, it’s pretty wild.

The beauty of this particular brain-machine interface (BMI) is it only activates when there is pain, instead of zapping the brain all the time. That is, it’s specific and efficient.
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New Russian brain implant to give sightto the blind
‘ELVIS’ allows doctors to connect a camera to the brain and transfer the picture directly, bypassing the eyes
‘ELVIS’ allows doctors to connect a camera to the brain and transfer the picture directly, bypassing the eyes. The technology is set to give or give back vision to 37 million people worldwide by 2027. 

Russian specialists at the ‘Sensor-Tekh’ laboratory and the Foundation For the Support of the Deaf and Blind - ‘So-edinenie’ have developed the first Russian neural brain implant that will give sight to those who lost it or were born without it. The device was presented at Moscow’s Skolkovo innovation center in late June 2021.

The device was given the name ‘ELVIS’ (short for “electronic vision”). Visually, it resembles headgear from the videogame ‘Cyberpunk 2077’, or something out of ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’. It is worn on the head and gives the user increased abilities. 
And real life really is catching up to science fiction: doctors surgically implant the device into the cerebral cortex, using electrodes to connect it to the parts responsible for vision. Following several months, the patient is given a headband with a camera, which transmits the picture directly into the brain, circumventing the eye. The implant gives back vision both to those who lost it and those born without it. 
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First Total Artificial Heart Successfully Transplanted In the US
The artificial heart has four chambers and runs on external power. Welcome to a new cyborg future
Surgeons at the Duke University Hospital recently transplanted a total artificial heart (TAH) into a 39-year-old man who experienced sudden heart failure. Unlike conventional artificial hearts, this TAH mimics the human heart and provides the recipient more independence after the surgery, the university said in a press release.

The TAH has been developed by the French company, CARMAT, and consists of two ventricular chambers and four biological valves ensuring that the prosthetic not only resembles the human heart but also functions like one.

The heartbeat is created by an actuator fluid that the patient carries in the bag outside the body and the heart is pumped using micropumps in response to the patient's needs as determined by the sensors and microprocessors on the heart itself. Two outlets connect the artificial heart to the aorta, which is a major artery in the body, as well as the pulmonary artery that carries blood to the lungs to oxygenate it.

The recipient patient, a resident of Shallotte, North Carolina, was diagnosed with sudden heart failure at the Duke Center and had to undergo bypass surgery. However, his condition deteriorated rapidly, making him unfit for a heart transplant either. Luckily, the Center was one of the trial sites where CARMAT is testing its artificial heart after having received primary approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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Self-powered implantable device stimulates fast bone healing, disappears after the job is done
In 2017, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his right collarbone in a game against the Minnesota Vikings. Typically, it takes about 12 weeks for a collarbone to fully heal, but by mid-December fans and commentators were hoping the three-time MVP might recover early and save a losing season.

So did Xudong Wang, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an expert in creating thin, movement-powered medical devices. “I started wondering if we could provide a new solution to bring athletes back to the field quicker than ever,” Wang says.Researchers know that electricity can help speed up bone healing, but “zapping” fractures has never really caught on, since it requires surgically implanting and removing electrodes powered by an external source.

A major update of that same electrostimulation concept, Wang’s latest invention didn’t come in time to help the 2017 Packers — however, it may help many others by making electrostimulation a much more convenient option to speed up bone healing.
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