Implantable “memory prosthetic” opens new horizons for cyborg future


  • As with any new tech you need to be a little wary and this even more so. Playing with the brain is a very delicate matter.
  • I don't currently feel any technology for brain implants is good enough that I'd want anything for at least a decade. Who knows, maybe it'll develop faster, but I think it's unlikely. As far as memory goes, I know it's not "memory" exactly, but my current main project here is implantable mass data storage. I'd go with that and then some sort of implanted access method to read the stored data without an external device. I think an ocular implant or even a contact lens would be a little too difficult at this time, but a small implantable screen in the arm (small being 2 inches or less) would be nice.

    Just my thoughts. I do like the idea of a brain implant, I just think it'll be too far away to wait. I'd rather have another solution (like my above one) for the meantime.
  • WTB additional phonological loop(s!)!
    No, seriously though.. I could see such a device being used widely in the future, as thats a serious limitation in today's society.
  • edited October 2016
    Ok, just clearing up some things here.

    First of all, from the sound of it this isn't any "increased storage". It's allowing e convertion of working memory into long term memory. For those more tech savvy that's the equivalent of putting what is in RAM into hard disk, or saving a document that has been typed. If your short term / working memory isn't great in the first place, this is not going to help. This is not going to stop forgetting either, since we're not changing the storage at all (which is eventually a more even distribution on the whole brain pretty much, which is why I was curious as to see what they actually do).

    Secondly, from the sound of it this is at best only going to be as good as a normal healthy brain can do in terms of converting short term memory into long term memory, since the device is based on a mathematical model (which by itself is a simplification) of what normal hippocampus does. I'll be interest to see how well this goes when this goes on trial, but I'm not going to get my hopes up in terms of gaining a "super memory" or something.
  • I'd love to see this happen, but this is so far from reality at this point, I have trouble taking it seriously. It sounds great, but it looks like mainly hype to me.

    Simulated neural activity calculated in software to design a chip-- is an interesting concept... but only a concept. On the surface there is nothing real about this besides an idea and the beginnings of a plan.

    The first step be to get an implant inside an actual skull to prove out the computer generated model... but how do you justify extremely invasive, potentially life threatening human trials to validate a computer model?

    I suspect that human trials involving a brain implant would need medical justification... and proving a computer model of neural activity is not that.

    I hope someone will tell me how I'm wrong... I want this to happen.

  • I am actually not quite sure about how life threatening this is. After all, we have been doing deep brain stimulation for a while now so I can see a similar model (electrodes in the brain, feeding to the chip that's not actually in the brain) being similar.

    Also, key thing is risks vs benefits. This is designed literally for Alzheimer's and other dementias where there's degeneration of the hippocampus, so it can be argued that the potential reversal of the extremely debilitating effects is worth the risks of neurosurgery.
  • @ShankT I believe primates of the non-human variety are the standard test subjects for that sort of thing.
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