Friday, April 13, 2007

Memory Implant

Cutting edge research is being performed by Ted Berger and his team on creating a memory implant.

It’s straight mechanic-talk from the man who 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.

Their chip models fewer than 12,000 neurons, compared with the 100 billion or so present in a human brain.

Jeff LaCoss, the senior electrical engineer on Granacki’s team, hands me a working model of the memory chip. Similar to the one I witnessed at Wet Lab 412C and lighter than a feather, it disappears in my palm. The chip, LaCoss tells me, represents 100 neurons that can individually receive analog signals from live brain tissue, convert them to digital signals, and then reconvert them to an analog signal relayed to healthy neurons on the other side.

Within four years, the team aims to wire a chip beneath the skulls of monkeys, whose brains are even closer to humans. Berger predicts that human trials of a prosthetic device that can actually replace impaired memory cells are less than 15 years away.
Just 15 years left to wait before we can get a memory upgrade.

via Popular Science

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