The latest technology of varying forms being developed have one thing in common: bridging the gap between the virtual world and us. Motivated by the same intent, the US military looks forward to developing a neural interface to connect the human mind with computers.
The technology, named Neural Engineering System Design (NESD), is the brainchild of the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).
The new software is meant to improve the link pertaining to data transfer between the brain and the virtual world. It will be incorporated into a bio-compatible device that will translate neurone signals into binary digits (one or zeros that constitute computer language).
The device will necessitate the evolution of a combination of fields such as neuroscience, synthetic biology, and electronics.
Current brain interfaces will pale in comparison with the NESD. The latter is meant to enhance the connection between our mind and the digital world: it will constitute interactions involving around 1 million neurones at a time. To understand its much greater power, consider the existing systems containing only about 100 channels.
Project manager Phillip Alvelda explains that the new system will be an upgraded version that will allow the channel lying between the brain and electronics to “really open”.
Perhaps, this might be the first step of thousands of steps to develop cyborgs or soldiers that display superhuman abilities thanks to the support of digital systems? On the other hand, DARPA argues that the applications of the system can be extended to health therapies. For instance, sight and hearing could be improved by providing the brain with digital auditory and visual information in a form that goes beyond the current resolution and quality that current systems cater for.