Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Mind-Machine Interface Takes a Step Forward

In a laboratory at the University of Southern California, a team of researchers has found a way to engineer a brain implant that can re-create thoughts, Popular Science reports. The revolutionary device could be used to treat brain damage or memory loss.

The chip represents a hardware version of the brain cells in your hippocampus that are crucial to the formation of memory. At the moment, the chip models fewer than 12,000 neurons, compared with the 100 billion or so present in a human brain. Still, even this small number represents a stunning achievement in the field of neuro-engineering.

The next big challenge, the researchers say, is to make the chip fully bidirectional, so that it can both generate and receive signals, just like a real cell.

For anyone (like me) who has a family history of memory loss (at least, I think I do... it's hard to remember...), a device like this could be just what the doctor ordered.

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