TECH

DARPA Unveils 'Neural Interface' That Could Allow Humans To 'Talk' To Computers

09/02/2016 12:27 | Updated 09 February 2016

The US Military's scientific research and development organisation DARPA have unveiled a potential 'neural interface' which, if inserted into the brain, could allow humans to control computers using nothing but thought.

darpa

Funded by DARPA, a research team at the University of Melbourne put together the device known as a stentrode using off-the-shelf medical components.

The device is already used as a means of clearing blood vessels but the team found that they could easily modify it to have electrodes attached.

bionic limbs

In the future DARPA hopes the tech will allow people will be able to control bionic limbs with the same dexterity as organic ones.

It would be inserted through the neck, be directed up to the brain where it would attach to the wall of the blood vessel near the part of the brain they wished to monitor.

The electrodes can then monitor neuron activity in that part of the brain and translate that into actions and commands.

It's actually already possible for humans to control artificial limbs by using their thoughts however the current procedure is particularly invasive requiring an implant which is inserted through the skull.

brain chip

This tiny chip could be inserted onto the brain to log information.

This new gadget would allow researchers to get the same amount of data from the brain but without the hugely invasive operation while expanding the field for further applications.

The new gadget comes after DARPA confirmed that they're to begin work on the world's first human computer interface. This would effectively allow soldier 'cyborgs' to connect directly to computers and 'talk' to them.

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The program, entitled Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) has been designed to create a "implantable neural interface able to provide unprecedented signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the human brain and the digital world."

The idea shares some similarities to the film 'The Matrix' where human beings are 'plugged' into a virtual world through a data port in the back of the neck. However DARPA believes that the main barrier in place preventing humans from effectively communicating is that the cabling we use to transfer the data between the brain and the computer is far too simplistic.

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