BEACON TRANSCRIPT – We are heading almost dangerously fast into waters that were previously only imagined. As the advent of technology promises science fiction plots in the real world soon enough, there are those teams of researchers that always try to push the envelope. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, cyborg to machine communication is on DARPA’s list of priorities.
Technopaths are basically what the research and development arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – DARPA – is going for.
In fiction, they are described as people who can control machines and bend technology to their will, either with the help of a physical or mental interface link. They are also occasionally referred to as technomancers.
And that is exactly what DARPA is going for.
What the researchers from the Agency are trying to accomplish is a neural implantable interface that will connect the subject’s brain to highly advanced super computers.
Going by the shortened name of NESD, or the lengthier one of Neural Engineering System Design, the program is aimed at dramatically improving neurotechnology capabilities today, and at coming up with an implantable device smaller than one cubic centimeter.
The main issue faced by the Agency is posed by data transfer. What this means is that it’s extremely difficult to adapt the technological interfaces to the brain, due to them working on completely different levels.
Basically, it’s like trying to have you smart phone connected to a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Actually, a better analogy would be trying to connect your smart phone to your computer without having invented any connectivity means.
Sure, the technology can be adapted, eventually, as seen in smart cars, but where do you begin?
But the idea isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem.
There are already neural interfaces viable for human use that can use technology based on roughly 100 channels, each collecting signals from tens of thousands of neurons. The Agency’s plan is to raise that number to one million neurons.
Of course, breakthroughs will have to be achieved in multiple fields like synthetic biology, photonics, neuroscience, and many more before the goal will become achievable.
But DARPA also has some short-term plans in preparation for the inevitable breakthroughs.
This would be the development of devices that would help those with sight and hearing impairments, by connecting the NESD system to devices such as cameras and sending the video and audio feed to the user’s brain.
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