These days, it seems you're nobody if you're not working on a way to merge machines with the human brain. Earlier this year, both Facebook and perpetual moonshot-enthusiast Elon Musk announced plans for brain-computer interfaces that could allow us to read the thoughts of others and improve our capacity for learning. Today, the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency announced plans to spend $US65 million ($85.5 million) developing advanced neural implants that connect our brains to computers in order to treat sensory deficits such as blindness.
Tagged With brains
For decades, scientists have dreamed of how electricity might be used to change the human brain. By altering its firing patterns using currents, scientists hope to not only treat mental illness, but improve human cognition. The trouble is, so far the most successful of these enterprises have relied on implanting electrodes deep into the human brain. And brain surgery, it's safe to say, isn't something most of us take lightly.
An Italian neuroscientist who says he's planning to perform the world's first head transplant later this year has told a German magazine that he intends to thaw a cryogenically preserved brain and transplant it in a donor body within three years. It's a preposterous claim given the current limitations of medical science, and a complete misreading of how the fledgling cryonics industry works. It's also a significant credibility fail for a doctor who's already struggling to be taken seriously.
Spaceflight is not for the faint of heart — literally. The first results of NASA's twin study, released just this week, revealed that space physically impacts astronauts on multiple levels, right down to shifts in gene expression. Now, a group of scientists at the University of Michigan have released research that suggests spaceflight alters astronauts' brains.
A team of Australian and US scientists have, for the first time, used an imaging technique to reconstruct the brain architecture and neural networks of the thylacine – better known as the Tasmanian tiger – an extinct carnivorous marsupial native to Tasmania.
And now we know more than ever about the behaviour of these unique animals.
Neuroscienitsts have generally thought that babies are born with more tissue than their brains need, and that the body slowly dumps some of it as the brain develops. However, a new study shows that at least one part of the brain — the part that recognises faces — appears to develop in the opposite direction, increasing in complexity into adulthood.
The idea that humans might one day become superintelligent — or invent a superintelligent computer — is a staple of science fiction. It's also taken seriously by scientists and engineers as a plausible outcome of today's technologies. Here are ten key books you should read to understand brains of the future.
These are some of the 500 images recently shown to rhesus monkeys while their brains were being monitored. None are meant to correspond to any real-world physical object, but the experimental results revealed certain cells in the object area of the brain that let us recognise up and down, and to grasp that those directions don't move, even if our body does.
Movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Inception suggest it may eventually be possible to erase, modify or even implant memories into your brain. An upcoming episode of American science show NOVA introduces viewers to this futuristic possibility and the scientists who are trying to make it happen.
The US military is looking for ways to insert microscopic devices into human brains to help folks communicate with machines, like prosthetic limbs, with their minds. And now, Australian scientists are saying they have found a way to do just that — without ripping open patients' skulls.