A Foxborough, Mass., company has developed technology that plugs a human brain into a desktop computer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
BrainGate plugs brains into computers
2005-03-25 Geek stuff 50 Comments
A Foxborough, Mass., company has developed technology that plugs a human brain into a desktop computer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
This could be so usefull and allow a very high level of interaction with the computer ….. but it would also make us even more lazy than we already are
Hope they give it some linux drivers
But on a serious note it is a great step forward for the quadriplegics, it would make their life so very much easyer.
This is some great news… i love when medicine + technology = some usefull stuff.
Do I make the streaming porn joke here or wait for this to go to Slashdot?
it’s only the year 2005! Now where’s the flying cars and heart exploding cyborgs!
Seriously though, this sounds like it should have a positive impact for anybody that is or know’s someone that’s a quadriplegic. Let’s hope that yet another advancement in technology is used for good and not evil.
Is the brain ready for the desktop? 😉
What happens when your brain gets a virus?
Don’t you just love useless technology for the sake of it.
it’s not entirely news, I recall reading about ppl driving a boat by controlling how much he thought (think direction = f(loadavg(brain))), without having to drill anything.
That looks interesting, but before I try that they’ll have to come up with something less intrusive (like that tongue feedback devicesending images) /me’d love a tongue-tty
I wish someone would release something like this to the general public that just used surface scalp attachments. I’d love to play around with it, and I’d love to have a bunch of FOSS hackers playing around with smoothing and interpretation algorithms. This is one technology that doesn’t seem well suited to flourishing in labs.
If the brain can INTERact with the computer, then the computer can also affect the brain in a way which the brain can understand. Now you can start imagining the next evolution of Cybersex.
…for April Fools Day. But the lack of detail in the article does make one wonder whether it is phoney. Maybe the journalist has been “had”?
No, they haven’t been had. They just can’t write to save their life.
Knock Knock, Neo..
cyborg technology is going to be a big growth area at some point soon in the future, but just not yet as I think it is still a problem with surgical implants and the risk associated with it.
Once cyborg implants become available for boosted sight, sound, implant radar or implant radio communication etc, with standard interfaces that can plug into external sockets allowing competition in the marketplace, then that will be absolutely amazing.
Depending on how the technology is used, whether it is distributed and competitive and controlled by the users, then we could be a perfect democracy (like the Borg? (Star Trek)), or if it is centrally controlled we could all be drones…
I thought it was cool until I read that part. 🙁 If they could come up with some sort of highly sensitive and selective scalp mounted interface, then I’d be all for it. Granted, it’s still early days.
Love and ease,
Nirodha (Bill Gray)
With all due respect to the researchers, for all its evident complexity, this research is fairly primitive. From http://www.livescience.com/technology/050218_monkey_arm.html
“The electrodes measure the firing rate of a single neuron. Each one of the billion or so neurons involved with arm motion is thought to have a preferred direction. There is, for instance, a set of neurons associated with moving the arm up, or down, or to the right.
With a special computer algorithm, the researchers are able to find an average direction from the small sample of neurons being measured. This average direction is used to move the robotic arm.”
So they are measuring neuron activities of different groups of neurons to determine different directions. That good, but how about any success in deciphering thought signals per se? This is only a primitive indirect inference of thought based on activity of predetermined groups of neurons, nothing Matrix-like .
So as exciting as this research is and as great an application for disabled persons it has (so kudos to the people who finished the research), in the big picture of things it amounts to absolutely nothing in understanding the thought processes in the brain. The brain is virtually still a black box for us as it was 100 years ago — and yes, I’ve seen this stated in recent scientific papers, too. We are in the dark ages in relation to understanding the brain, mind, and thought.
For all its brain-boggling complexity , it is quite possible the brain is not the be all and end all of human consciousness. There are some seemingly genuine reports, although they are not widely publicised, but impossible to either prove or disprove with our current understanding, that consciousness survives death and keeps with it all the memories of its lifetime. There could be an interface between the soul (no, don’t think religion here) and the brain, and the soul may not be “immaterial” as illogical religion postulates make us think it is.
You would be surprised what such a few neurons can do. I had an instructor who, with his wife, made a robot a few years ago with “neurons”, they were actually model of a neuron, or at least a decent approximation. They only had 100 neurons on the robot, but it could avoid walls, and had a behavior which resembled playing with a ball. It was actually very fascinating stuff. They had plans for a much larger neural net, but had kids instead
But, it was really interesting to see what they could do with only such few neurons. Also, much of our brain mass is redundant, so if a neuron dies (it happens all the time) we don’t instantly forget our name, or how to see color. In an electronic system, such redundancy wouldn’t be needed, and the actual neural amounts should be much smaller.
As vesselin said, while a nice advance, especially for those in need, it’s far from being a revolution and we’re not seeing brain control machines that soon…
This has little to do with connecting our thoughts to computers. (eg. ask yourself a question and get the answer from some connected internal wikipedia engine). This is rather like finding the origin of our arms and legs movement and plugin your mouse just there.
That we understand that moving our arms activates some neurons isn’t much more than understanding that you could capture that movement out of some nerves further down in your arm before it reaches your hand.
Yet again, that is a lot of good work done. I surely wouldn’t do better.
Oh Great, now we can receive spam without the middleman.
What happens when your brain gets a virus?
It already gets does – they are clled Memes 😉
““What happens when your brain gets a virus?””
“It already gets does – they are clled Memes 😉”
Yup, thats right, you could catch the nazi meme or al-qaeda meme, and start becoming infected by this virus, which you may pass to others (by persuasion etc.) and then the virus has side effects as it is hell-bent on distruction or conversion of non-alqaeda-virally infected hosts.
Dangerous virae already exist for the human mind and society, this will ultimately be just an added attack vector to the human mind
Wow, never before have I read a post that pretends to say so much but says so little. Do you think that simply by saying incomprehensible things, we, the audience, will be impressed?
Having studied consciousness, I find it disheartening to see viewpoints (if one can even call it that) like this.
“There are some seemingly genuine reports, although they are not widely publicised, but impossible to either prove or disprove with our current understanding, that consciousness survives death and keeps with it all the memories of its lifetime. There could be an interface between the soul (no, don’t think religion here) and the brain, and the soul may not be “immaterial” as illogical religion postulates make us think it is.”
What reports, where are they reported? Why can’t they be proven or disproven? What is the meaning of the statement “consciousness survives death and keeps with it all the memories of its lifetime.” In fact, we are quite confused as an audience to figure out what to what the vague pronoun “it” refers… if to consciousness, what do you mean by that word (since it is defined by many people very differently). When you say there is an interface between the “soul” and the brain, but then quickly refute the possibility of the soul being immaterial, what the FUCK are you talking about? If it’s not immaterial, then where is it? Why can’t you tell me exactly what a soul is? If it is material, then you should surely be able to describe it to me, and you wouldn’t have to beat around the bush.
I absolutely despise “pulp Philosophy.” There is serious research going on in the study of consciousness (see Ned Block, David Rosenthal, John Searle, Daniel Dennett, David Chalmers, and others). And then there are people like you, people who posit completely nonsensical arguments using vague, wishy-washy language absent of meaning, and, what’s more, try to make us “think into” the statements, add meaning with our imagination, despite the argument’s provable and substantive falsity.
Here’s some advice: pick a different hobby.
i will stick with the old fashioned mouse & keyboard…
agrees with the luddites…
I wish I knew some Russian…
Two words: Viagra replacement.
And It could be entirely safe until three things happen:
a)20 year old rips arm off in farm auger accident
b)bionoc/robotic arm installed
c)he finds good pron site and can’t remeberhow to make the damn thing stop!
ok, you can ban that comment now. Sorry, just woke up!
What I want to know is how do you deal with the blue screen of death…? Do you die as well?
What happen when an application is “not responding”?
How do you dual boot?
Will SP2 work?
Will a computer virus morph into a “regular virus” in your head?
What would happen when you start the porn movie but can’t use your hands?
this sounds totally unhuman to me; why is it so we dont want to be who we are?; why dont we know who we are?
I know Kung-Fu !
In the coming Hitler-style genocidal death culture in the US (read Terri Schindler), I have a hard time believing that this will ever be used for invalids. This is just an excuse to develop a sophisticated surveillence society. Here come the thought police! This is 1984 on steroids. We will never become posthuman. This is no time to get excited about brain chips…it’s time to get informed.
this article sure brought out the retards! My advice…run to the mountains and baracade yourself in a cave they are coming to get you Ted!
This is cool technology though i do agree with the first poster that it will make some of us more lazy he he. Although i feel a keyboard and a mouse is the most ineffeciant way to interact with a computer.
Imagine playing games, you can actualy be in the MMORPG you play.
“RE:BrainGate plugs brains into computers
By Anonymous (IP: —.cust.tele2.ch) – Posted on 2005-03-25 08:03:44
Don’t you just love useless technology for the sake of it.”
Only if you think helping the disabled is useless.
No way in hell I’d ever plug a windows computer into my brain.
I can only imagine:
“Hmm, I think I’ll go to the store. But first… I need to pick up an X11 camera, for fun and profit!”
Pray they only use this technology on Mac and Linux.
Pixelmonkey, why do you attack? Why didn’t you just ask me to explain?
PM: “Wow, never before have I read a post that pretends to say so much but says so little. Do you think that simply by saying incomprehensible things, we, the audience, will be impressed?”
I think we aren’t impressed by your manners, pixelmonkey.
I have not tried to impress anyone. What I said is terse but comprehensible.
“Having studied consciousness, I find it disheartening to see viewpoints (if one can even call it that) like this.”
VP: “There are some seemingly genuine reports, although they are not widely publicised, but impossible to either prove or disprove with our current understanding, that consciousness survives death and keeps with it all the memories of its lifetime. There could be an interface between the soul (no, don’t think religion here) and the brain, and the soul may not be “immaterial” as illogical religion postulates make us think it is.”
“What reports, where are they reported?”
“Why can’t they be proven or disproven?”
Because they can’t be reproduced reliably under scientifically rigorous laboratory conditions.
“What is the meaning of the statement “consciousness survives death and keeps with it all the memories of its lifetime.””
That people during an NDE can function even if their brain is dead, and still have all the memories and abilities that they had when their brain and body was alive.
“In fact, we are quite confused as an audience to figure out what to what the vague pronoun “it” refers… if to consciousness, what do you mean by that word (since it is defined by many people very differently).”
Dictionary.com, meaning 2:
“A sense of one’s personal or collective identity, including the attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or group”
“When you say there is an interface between the “soul” and the brain, but then quickly refute the possibility of the soul being immaterial, what the FUCK are you talking about?”
Could you be more polite, please?
First, I obviously do not conclusively refute the possibility that the soul is immaterial, I am only saying that our science is on such a level that there is another possibility and that there is a widespread belief coming from religion that a soul is made of nothing (ask your grandmother) and it may be false.
“If it’s not immaterial, then where is it? Why can’t you tell me exactly what a soul is? If it is material, then you should surely be able to describe it to me, and you wouldn’t have to beat around the bush.”
Where is it? Maybe right in the body. How about atomic or elementary particles that are “glued” to the physical body when it is alive and are virtually indistinguishable from the atoms making up the body, but are able to separate upon bodily death and NDEs?
If the brain is dead, and the person continues functioning as described by some NDEs, the case could very well be that consciousness resides in another *material* receptacle, because how can memories and abilities be present and operate if the brain is dead and how can *nothing* make the said functioning possible?
“I absolutely despise “pulp Philosophy.””
pixelmonkey, I have made not a single reference to philosophy. I’m not referring to philosophy at all, I have just mentioned something that is quite possible and has not been proved impossible. Nothing in our science currently says it’s impossible. It is a real possibility given NDEs such as the one I mentioned above.
“There is serious research going on in the study of consciousness (see Ned Block, David Rosenthal, John Searle, Daniel Dennett, David Chalmers, and others). And then there are people like you, people who posit completely nonsensical arguments using vague, wishy-washy language absent of meaning, and, what’s more, try to make us “think into” the statements, add meaning with our imagination, despite the argument’s provable and substantive falsity.”
I have been terse, but not nonsensical. I say that given our current scientific understanding, the existence of a center of consciousness that is separate from the material, physical body, is a definite possibility, and that it is also possible that this center (which matches a popular definition for soul) can be material (made from elementary particles, for example), too. If that doesn’t sit well with certain philosophers, fine for me, but nobody has proved that what I said is impossible and under our scientific understanding it is entirely possible. So what is your problem with my statements?
“Here’s some advice: pick a different hobby.”
🙂 If your manners make you to say so.
this sounds totally unhuman to me; why is it so we dont want to be who we are?
Can you honestly say that if you became paralysed you wouldn’t jump at the chance to acquire control of a robot arm, or to be able to move your wheelchair with your mind?
“That people during an NDE can function even if their brain is dead, and still have all the memories and abilities that they had when their brain and body was alive.”
Your brain doesn’t die in NDEs. If your brain dies, you die. There is no near death about it. Once the brain dies there is no coming back. You can’t revive a dead brain.
NDE means basically that the heart stops for 5 minutes and you start to see things as your brain begins to suffocate… that’s all that they are.
The reason you have to bring someone back within something like 20 minutes is because once the brain even begins to die you end up with permanent mental retardation. Brain death = vegetable, not NDE. I know 3 people personally who now have functional IQs of about 15-30 because of just that (being “dead” too long).
The reason people in near death experiences can still remember things is because while their bodies are dead their brain still has about 30 minutes before it completely dies of suffocation. It has nothing to do with a “soul”.
Any “studies” that you have that you think say something else are wrong… or you are not able to understand them. Those are the only two options available, given your last argument.
‘da truth: What happens when your brain gets a virus?
I don’t think so, first of all this sounds like they have been able to give the human brain abilities of a preipherial device that is capable of multiple and simultaneous input. Now let’s see, are there any known viruses that are even capable of “infecting” a known input device (input only) like a mouse or keyboard? Not to my knowledge. So IF the brain is used as an input only device, there should be no problem.
Is it just me or does this procedure sound extremely painful?
Someone must invent something which doesn’t require drilling into someone’s head. Our future is looking more and more like The Matrix each and every day. However, I’m very happy for those who are willing to take the risks and be rewarded with at least some freedom. Almost nothing is worse than not being able help your own body. And for that I applaud these researchers. 🙂
Correction: The fully expanded version of my sentence “consciousness survives death and keeps with it all the memories of its lifetime” is “consciousness survives physical death and keeps with it all the memories of its lifetime in a physical human body”. When I wrote it, I thought that “conscious survives death” makes it clear I’m talking about physical death and lifetime, but I could have really written it better, so sorry about that.
so you are 100% sure regarding what NDE’s represent? What I say is still possible, given your last argument, which is not convincing, because you are just postulating your opinion as the objective truth. I can’t point you to research that proves in a scientifically rigorous manner that what I say is true, but you cannot point to research that proves your point, either.
I never meant to try to convince anyone or be negative to anyone. I really am put off by the negativity I encounter on Internet boards. Calling people and what they say retards and dorks / nonsense (goober=dork, nonsense) inflicts real pain, do you feel nice to be called names?
Read the book “3001: The Final Odyssey”
If I remember correctly in the introduction, Arthur C. Clarke describes the evolution of a superior race than humans, saying: they went from flesh to machine as machines were time resilient… (as in they dont age as people do)
Futherdown:They became spaceships. They could travel in space…
And finally: Once they learnt how to store information in space itself, they became energy, ubiquitous.
This is not exactly as he writes it, but my point is that this is evolution. Dont fight it, embrace it. You could also read the book “Excession” by Iain M. Banks. Great at describing A.I. and consiousness on machines.
Someone mentioned open source software for bio-interface. Here is such a package. Haven’t tried it though.
They have flying cars. They are illegal to fly down the street and I do not think air traffic controlers woudl eve rconsider regulating it. Not very safe or economical but neat
yes yes, one day ill be using computer by my brain, then another never wake up anymore, and i will become a battery, that will be very ecological anyway
i’m not quadriplegic or anything, but i want it !
that and wireless connexion and a very small computer so i can be 24/24 connected and acccess information.
it removove the need of mouse and keyboard..
now whats needed is eyes implant to remove the need of some display device..
i saw few years ago some progress in this area where the display device were incorporated in “sun glasses”
reflecting image by laser directly on retina.. not bad, i would like something more transparent though..
Regarding “there’s soul” vs. “NDA are hallucinations of dying brain”
Read this: http://tinyurl.com/3bya4 , drew conclusions (I doubt you’re willing to, but…)
Oh, and wanna know why there’s negativity, saying it’s nonsence? Simple: it’s not because what ideas you present, it’s because HOW you present them. They don’t have nothing in common with science, those are simply beliefs. If you wanna be taken seriously you have to present a theory that can be falsificated. (for example: I’ve read some other, few highly related to yours, opinions about origins conciousness; but their authors made sure they can be proven/disproven = they were taken seriously) FURTHERMORE, it is YOUR duty, not your opponents, to try to falsificate it. That’s how science is made. What you’re doing is some kind of modern-day religion.
Thank you for your input.
Re negativity — I don’t see why when one disagrees with someone, one has to be negative towards them, especially when the latter is neutral and/or positive. All reactions without exception to my posts so far had a knee-jerk and condescending component in them, including yours with “Oh, and wanna know why there’s negativity… Simple:”.
I am open minded and have considered Occam’s Razor. The problem with the brain being the explanation is that in the example case I quoted, http://www.near-death.com/experiences/evidence01.html, the chance that hallucinations can account for the *accurate* and *objective* visual perception of a highly specialized and peculiar instrument (see the drawing of the instrument from the web page), is a statistical impossibility.
A similar case can be made regarding hearing and remembering clearly the conversations that actually took place, and all that with a nonfunctional brain! You could argue against hearing, because the woman’s ears were probably open during the operation, but not the eyes! Note the details in the following particular paragraph from the article, by the woman who had the NDE:
“The saw-thing that I hated the sound of looked like an electric toothbrush and it had a dent in it, a groove at the top where the saw appeared to go into the handle, but it didn’t … And the saw had interchangeable blades, too, but these blades were in what looked like a socket wrench case”
Her eyes were most certainly closed during the operation (as in all serious operations except eye ones), so she couldn’t have seen anything through them. As even a kid knows, even an alive brain has no ability to see through closed eyelids.
I haven’t presented beliefs, I have only made logical assumptions, based on the statistical impossibility of making or inferring the abovementioned observation, that *something else, not the brain* MAY exist to account for the observation. I maintain that we must keep an open mind and not say, like an anonymous poster did:
“Any “studies” that you have that you think say something else are wrong… or you are not able to understand them. Those are the only two options available, given your last argument.”
Only the two options available! Can you *swear* by *your own life* that that “those are the only two options”?
You will probably retort: that woman could have lied, so you can’t use that to build your assumption on. But what if she didn’t lie, what if thousands of similar cases didn’t all lie, cases of people who have got to see and hear things that are in distant rooms from the one their body was operated in, and which (things) were later supposedly verified as objective by the doctors themselves after the patients told them in detail about their experiences while they were operated on?
So far our science has found *no* method to investigate reliably those people’s claims, along with the supporting claims of the doctors who operated on them, so if you follow the scientific method, you *have* to admit that there is a real possibility that what I say is true.
“If you wanna be taken seriously you have to present a theory that can be falsificated. I’ve read some other, few highly related to yours, opinions about origins conciousness; but their authors made sure they can be proven/disproven”
My assumption that there could be a soul can also be proved or disproved — it is not unprovable in any way. Once we know much more about the brain, for example, or if we find a reliable way to investigate the claims of the abovementioned patients and doctors. So if the opinions you refer to are indeed superior, they cannot be superior on the basis of what you wrote in the above paragraph.
Regarding negativity – hmm…from what you’ve said I can see we have different understanding even of the meaning of the word…cultural thing maybe, so let’s forget it (lets just say I attach far less personal meaning to it then you)
As for the true topic…(and btw, why do you adress me and quote words of others?) to put it short – what you’ve said reaffirms my opinion that you don’t take into account many methodologic rules, Occam’s Razor just among them. Even though you can imagine most probable possibilities, you discard them.
Not to mention that you base all this on negligible number of examples (there were people who tried to prove in this way that the Earth isn’t round (regarding observation of lighthouses – google for it if you’re interested)). Plus, I have doubts that the longer quote at the end of the article came form a doctor by what’s in it…