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Mind Control

Last months issue of Wired had an article in it I thought I would share. If anyone likes Sci-Fi this is definitley a good read, considering that 10 years ago the idea of controlling ANYTHING with your brain alone was ‘futuristic’. Well, the future is here (at least, in the very early stages anyway ;-0).

A new technology that allows a C4 Parapalegic to play pong…AND HE’S GOOD TOO! Check it out.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/brain.html

6 replies on “Mind Control”

Wow, that’s fascinating. When can I expect to be able to control my iPod via neural link? It’d have to be wireless, though.
I wonder if they could hook that guy up to a specialized 3rd-person video game, and teach the computer to translate thoughts about moving legs, arms, etc., into actions of a computer model displayed on a screen. Then, if he thought about moving a limb, the computer model would move the same limb around. If the physics were accurate on the game, he could possibly control the computer person and make him walk around. Interesting…

I think the most amazing thing about the article was that he literally interfaces with the computer to move the mouse cursor. At first, he had to really focus “move left”, “move left”, “move left”, or “move right”, “move right”… But after a while, his brain took over and he stopped having to think directionally. All he had to think was, “move that pointer over here to over there”, and it just happened. It was as if the cursor became a part of him, like his arm. Freaking amazing. I have been looking forward to this kind of technology for a long time, and I know that one day it will be the way we all interface with computers. Instead of typing, we will simply think the word and it will appear on the screen. Just think of the power society would have. Instant communication. Screw cell phones. Have a portable computer on your wrist that interfaces wirelessly with a brain reader implant (or hat). Just think the name of the person you want to call up and you are instantly connected to them. You could think a sentence and they would see it on their head up display (or hear it echo in their mind).

Haha, yeah.

The problem is that a) everyone would have a chip in their head—something that would provide the government with ample opportunity to take away personal freedom—now instead of a social security number, you’ve got something almost like a barcode in your brain.

And b) everyone will suddenly be turned into some sort of android. 90% human, 10% machine, a bit of our humanity will secede along with our dignity—now everyone earth will have a number as long as a name. Yes, I’m Andrew Smith, carbon unit #0005919632100486.

But other than that, that sure would be totally flippin’ cool!

I wonder if it’s his brain learning how to use the new system or the software behind the system learning what neural noise means what. And after the software has enough experience with the patient it just gets better at understanding his brain noise? Really cool either way!

Probably a little of each, but I think ultimately it’s the computer that’s doing most of the work. Sort of like how your brain tells the muscles in your arm to move, but it’s the muscles that actually move your arm, not your brain—except in this case, the “arm” (meaning the computer) has to figure out and decipher the neural signals, and then carry them out.

I wonder if Nagle’s brain has discovered the relationship between him thinking about moving the cursor, and the cursor actually moving, and therefore has been treating the cursor and thinking of it as a part of its body. Nagle said that all he has to do is imagine the cursor moving, and it will move. Interesting…

I’m curious to hear if they eventually get rid of the cursor entirely. Think about it: It’s simply there for a visual element and because the hand moves the mouse. If you can just “think about moving it” then you can also just think about clicking somewhere.

But I suppose it’s always handy to see something. Like, seeing a pencil when you draw.

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