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Surprising Science

Finding Your Inner Cyborg

Small computer implants that read brain activity like radio waves are becoming less invasive and more effective at interfacing with computers. There are a range of commercial uses. 

What’s the Latest Development?

A small electrode that sits atop the brain, known as an electrocorticographic (ECoG) implant, is the latest and least invasive implant which allows scientists to better understand the brain. “The implants—usually worn for about a week—allow surgeons to study the aberrant brain patterns of patients as they go into seizure and then cut out the damaged brain tissue.” The devices seems particularly effective for patients with epilepsy. Beyond health, a range of experimental and commercial uses are currently being developed. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Scientists developing brain implants see an opportunity to revolutionize the human experience, both in terms of medical care and day-to-day interactions. “Within the next decade, we are likely to see a new kind of implant, designed for healthy people who want to merge with machines.” Potential commercial applications include commanding a prosthetic hand, iPhone, computer or car directly with your thoughts. The Army is funding research to develop a telepathic communication system to be used by soldiers on the battle field. 


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