Technology shapes and advances the way we see and interact with the world. As technology advances, scientists are better able to discover and unleash the power of the human brain.
Backed by large corporations and unfathomable amounts of money, the desire to study the human brain has been referred to as an “academic and corporate gold rush”.
Corporations such as Facebook and Neuralink are creating a world in which humans have the potential to live telepathically, changing the idea of what it means to be human.
In research backed by DARPA (the pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) and Brown University, salt grain sized “neurograins” containing electrodes were used to both detect and control neural firing.
By adapting this technology, scientists now have the potential to let a paralyzed patient walk again, increase human hearing ability and understand spoken language.
Similarly, Facebook has created the “silent speech” program, which aims to allow users to turn their thoughts into written text. This is done through detecting and harnessing signals in the brain, which can then be transferred to text. Facebook hopes to turn thoughts to text at the rate of 100 words per minute.
The research is also backed by Johns Hopkins, suggesting success of the project isn’t as far away as we would think.
Further, scientists are now able to create function neurons and distinct layers of cortex, mimicking a full sized brain through the use of human stem cells. As technology develops, we expect to see more realistic versions of the human brain, in terms of size and connectivity.
This research can allow researchers to study how neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s develop and how they can be cured.
The team is designing a retina for these mini-brains, giving them a mode of sensory input and as a result, human experiences.
Georgina, Consultant, Leyton UK