If you're asking Bryan Johnson, founder of startup Kernel, he'll tell you those machines should be implanted inside our brains. His team is working with top neuroscientists to build a tiny brain chip--also known as a neuroprosthetic--to help people with disease-related brain damage. In the long term, though, Johnson sees the product applicable to anyone who wants a bit of a brain boost. Yes, some might flag this technology as yet another invention leading us toward a future where technology just helps the privileged get further in life. But helping restore brain function in stroke survivors or memory for those with dementia would be life changing for those individuals and their families.
GENEVA – A new device has allowed two monkeys to regain use of their paralyzed legs by transmitting brain signals wirelessly, bypassing their spinal cord lesions, a study released Wednesday by the journal Nature said. The implantable device, called a neuroprosthetic interface, was developed by an international team led by researchers at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL) and may soon be tested as a remedy for paralysis in humans. "For the first time, I can imagine a completely paralyzed patient able to move their legs through this brain-spine interface," Jocelyne Bloch, a neurosurgeon at the Lausanne University Hospital, said in a press release from EPFL. The interface conceived at EPFL is a multicomponent brain-spine connector, which decodes signals from the part of the motor cortex responsible for leg movements. It then relays those signals in real time to the lumbar region of the spinal cord that activates leg muscles to walk.
The control of neuroprosthetic devices from the activity of motor cortex neurons benefits from learning effects where the function of these neurons is adapted to the control task. It was recently shown that tuning properties of neurons in monkey motor cortex are adapted selectively in order to compensate for an erroneous interpretation of their activity. In particular, it was shown that the tuning curves of those neurons whose preferred directions had been misinterpreted changed more than those of other neurons. In this article, we show that the experimentally observed self-tuning properties of the system can be explained on the basis of a simple learning rule. This learning rule utilizes neuronal noise for exploration and performs Hebbian weight updates that are modulated by a global reward signal.
On June 13th, 2010, college freshman Ian Burkhart was goofing off in the ocean with his friends, when he dove into the wrong wave. It pushed him down onto a shallow sandbar, breaking his neck at the fifth cervical vertebra and instantly paralyzing him. He couldn't feel his arms or legs. It would be four years before he moved his hand again. After his condition stabilized, Burkhart moved back home with his family in Columbus, Ohio and started doing rehabilitation therapy at Ohio State University.
As artificial intelligence becomes more human, to co-exist, does human intelligence need to become more artificial? We've spent a lot of time philosophizing about where Artificial Intelligence is going to take us, how far we are to achieving general AI and the implications it will have on humanity – all not without the sky net scenarios! Hype aside, there are companies out there who are focusing on how we can use artificially intelligent applications to improve the human experience, sustain life on our planet and significantly boost the economy. This pioneering technology could well see the next world-changing scientific discovery hailing from Silicon Valley, especially considering the significant increase in investment over the past few years. According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's today, with a predicted 16 million by 2050, and a further 850,000 people with dementia in the UK.