The rate at which technology seems to be developing never really ceases to impress me. Not only are we working on projects that a few years ago would have been deemed science fiction, but we’ve already finished some a while back. Of course, the ones on which we’re currently working are far more impressive.
And it’s not like there are just scattered groups of scientists attempting to make our world as futuristic as possible, but the United States army is predictably in it too. One of the most impressive things going on right now is DARPA’s update on making cyborgs via neural interface.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research branch of the United States Department of Defense has announced at the beginning of the year that they’d soon start working on developing a neural interface to let people connect to machines mentally. This would work via a small implantable device.
Through their NESD (Neural Engineering System Design) program, the agency is going to attempt to attempt using nanotechnology to create the tiny device. According to their website,
The interface would serve as a translator, converting between the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology. The goal is to achieve this communications link in a biocompatible device no larger than one cubic centimeter in size, roughly the volume of two nickels stacked back to back.
The device is not meant to “just” create technopaths, but also to help those suffering from certain issues at brain level and even those with sensory impairments. Not only will wearable devices like cameras be able to be controlled with your mind, allowing people to be able to see and/or hear again, but as expected, DARPA is thinking bigger.
For example, one of the projects they hope to be able to improve with the neural interface once it’s finished is the TALOS – Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, a battery powered exoskeleton. A mech suit, if you will. But before any of this can happen, the device has to be finished.
In order to make this happen, DARPA has dedicated $62 million over four years. But there are still issues. According to the NESD project manager, Phillip Alveda,
Today’s best brain-computer interface systems are like two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem. Imagine what will become possible when we upgrade our tools to really open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics.
So while the technology could actually be achieved, we still have quite a while to go.
Image source: DeviantArt