Saturday, 12 January 2019

Research: Neural Implants

A Brief History of the Future

One of the books I’m reading for my science fiction research has the huge title of A Brief History of the Future, the Third Millennium and Human Colonization of the Solar System: The Terraforming of Mars and Venus (HHcSS Book 1). The first innovation he suggests is mobile phone technology implanted in the brain. People will be able to make calls and send messages directly from one brain to another. It sounds like a good idea, so I Googled it to find out how feasible it is today.

To my surprise, neural implants are already a reality. Not for mobile phones, but to help people see, move robotic arms, and treat things like Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and PTSD!

Eric Leuthardt scientist and surgeon

In the MIT Technology Review I found an article about Eric Leuthardt, a scientist and surgeon who treats patients with epilepsy with neural implants to reduce their seizures. His vision of the future is such that he’s actually written a techno-thriller called RedDevil 4 where most people have computer hardware implanted in their brains. Leuthardt joined forces with Gerwin Schalk, a computer scientist at the Wadsworth Center, a public-health laboratory of the New York State Department of Health. Leuthardt gathers data from electrodes on the heads of his patients and sends it to Schalk for processing. They are making good progress.

I found an article on Lifehack called 8 Futuristic Brain Implants You Won’t Believe Are Possible. The eight are:

  1. Seeing in the dark
  2. Restoring lost memories
  3. “Download” new skills
  4. Curing depression and other mental health issues
  5. Enhanced focus and alertness
  6. Making you better at math
  7. Control any device with your mind
  8. Search the internet with your brain

Brain implants

As with most new technologies, there are ethical and all sorts of other considerations, which are great material for a story or two. This article on The Next Web, Brain implants are happening — are you ready for yours? discusses the things we need to think about. His conclusion is: I for one wouldn’t be standing in line waiting for my brain implant, as it would take away too much of what makes me who I am. Food for thought.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz

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