US military research body DARPA is funding a project to create a mind-reading helmet that could let soldiers fly drones and control robots telepathically. Led by Texas-based researchers, the project will start by trying to read the vision of one person and transfer it into the brain of someone who is visually impaired. The helmet works by using both light and magnetic fields to interact with specially-reprogrammed neurons in the brain of the wearer. The Magnetic, Optical and Acoustic Neural Access (MOANA) project is exploring a minimally invasive, nonsurgical approach to connect human brains with a machine via a special helmet. Users will undergo gene therapy that will make certain neurons absorb light when firing.
The Pentagon's research arm is moving forward with a project that intends to bridge the gap between humans and machines. DARPA will select teams today to develop a neural interface as part of its new N3 program, with a goal of developing systems that would allow troops to send and receive information using their brainwaves, according to Nextgov. This means troops could one day control drones, cyber defense systems, and other technology with their mind. It might sound like science fiction, but the agency is looking to see this done in one of two ways: a non-invasive device outside of the body, or a non-surgical system that could be swallowed, injected, or delivered up the nose. The Pentagon's research arm is moving forward with a project that intends to bridge the gap between humans and machines.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding research that could give a future generation of soldiers the power to control machines and weapons with their minds. The agency said it will fund six organizations through the Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program who will work to design and build interfaces for application in the U.S. military, that could be worn be soldiers and translate their brain signals into instructions. Those instructions could be used to control swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles, wield cyber defense systems, or facilitate military communications. Soldiers may be able to control vehicles and more by using only their minds under a new initiative from the U.S. Department of Defense. While the feat may sound firmly in the realm of science fiction, according to DARPA it is setting a completion date within four years.
Computers and brains already talk to each other daily in high-tech labs – and they do it better and better. For example, disabled people can now learn to govern robotic limbs by the sheer power of their mind. The hope is that we may one day be able to operate spaceships with our thoughts, upload our brains to computers and, ultimately, create cyborgs. Elon Musk (pictured) has acquired Neuralink, a company aiming to establish a direct link between the mind and the computer. Its'neural lace' technology involves implanting electrodes in the brain to measure signals.
Can the mind connect directly with artificial intelligence, robots and other minds through brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies to transcend our human limitations? Over the last 50 years, researchers at university labs and companies around the world have made impressive progress toward achieving such a vision. Recently, successful entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk (Neuralink) and Bryan Johnson (Kernel) have announced new startups that seek to enhance human capabilities through brain-computer interfacing. How close are we really to successfully connecting our brains to our technologies? And what might the implications be when our minds are plugged in?