New brain implant can “recreate” thoughts

Here’s an amazing Popular Science article on Ted Berger, who has spent the past decade engineering a brain implant that can recreate thoughts. 

The chip could remedy everything from Alzheimer’s to absent-mindedness — and reduce memory loss to nothing more than a computer glitch.

Ted Berger believes his chip’s ability to converse with live cells is a dramatic first step toward an implantable machine that fluently speaks the language of the brain—a machine that could restore memories in people with brain damage or help them make new ones.

Remedying Alzheimer’s disease would, if Berger’s grand vision plays out, be as simple as upgrading a bit of hardware. No more complicated drug regimens with their frustrating side effects. A surgeon simply implants a few computerized brain cells, and the problem is solved.

Berger has created a prototype of the world’s first memory implant, basically a hardware version of the brain cells in your hippocampus that are crucial to the formation of memory.  The chip is meant to replace damaged neurons in the same way other prosthetic devices stand in for missing limbs or improve hearing.

“If we can mimic even 10 percent of the brain’s efficiency and power, it would be humongous,” Srinivasan tells me later.


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