Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

The US military is trying to read minds

MIT Technology Review – A new DARPA research program is developing brain-computer interfaces that could control “swarms of drones, operating at the speed of thought”. What if it succeeds? – “In August, three graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University were crammed together in a small, windowless basement lab, using a jury-rigged 3D printer frame to zap a slice of mouse brain with electricity.  The brain fragment, cut from the hippocampus, looked like a piece of thinly sliced garlic. It rested on a platform near the center of the contraption. A narrow tube bathed the slice in a solution of salt, glucose, and amino acids. This kept it alive, after a fashion: neurons in the slice continued to fire, allowing the experimenters to gather data. An array of electrodes beneath the slice delivered the electric zaps, while a syringe-like metal probe measured how the neurons reacted. Bright LED lamps illuminated the dish. The setup, to use the lab members’ lingo, was kind of hacky. A monitor beside the rig displayed stimulus and response: jolts of electricity from the electrodes were followed, milliseconds later, by neurons firing. Later, the researchers would place a material with the same electrical and optical properties as a human skull between the slice and the electrodes, to see if they could stimulate the mouse hippocampus through the simulated skull as well. They were doing this because they want to be able to detect and manipulate signals in human brains without having to cut through the skull and touch delicate brain tissue. Their goal is to eventually develop accurate and sensitive brain-computer interfaces that can be put on and taken off like a helmet or headband—no surgery required…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.