The complex structure of our brain and the way it works is mind boggling. There are billions of cells that produces strobe of electric impulses. This is one of the signs that scientists are using to understand human brain. For instance, scientists are trying to understand the reaction that occur in our brains when we try to memorize. By getting a better idea of these reactions, we can create computers to test out these reactions. this will allow scientists to replicate our brain functions.
Computers is the biggest inventions of 20th century, which has brought about a revolution in our lives.
Computer accepts input, processes it at fast speeds and produces desired output. Human brain also works like a computer. The only difference between a computer and human brain is that computers can only do what we feed in it. For example, if you teach it to open a lock by rotating to left then it can not open a lock by rotating to the right.
As far as similarities are concerned, both computer brain and human brains uses memory to store information. For brain, it might be short term memory and long term memory and for computers, it is RAM and ROM. There is no difference between long term memory and data stored on hard drive Cerebral cortex perform the same function in the brain.
Human Brain Vs Computer
Human brain is just like a massive computer that can store much more information as compared to any computer and can solve complex problems. Humans also have the power of intuition which computers don’t have. Research is underway to create smart computers and connect brain directly to computers or develop a brain computer interface. The goal of all these researches is to create computers that can control our thoughts or serve as a memory upgrade.
Isaac Asimov, wrote a wonderful science fiction novel fifty years ago titled “Before the Golden Age”. The first story published in 1931 by Edmund Hamilton was “The Man Who Evolved” In the story, an engineer invented a machine that collects cosmic rays from the space into a cylindrical-shaped structure.
These rays slow down the speed of evolution. Just by exposing a person to these cosmic rays for 15 minutes, you can achieve evolution that could take 50 million years.
What Does the Research Say?
Dr. Shiao Lin Lin, a professor at National Taiwan University found that the brain produces a spike of activity for a split second after it sees letter written on a board. Professor Michio Inoue of University of Tori are also researching on the same topic and trying to help people who are affected by brain related diseases. The brain products electrical signals based on the data it stores. To create a computer that can be control human thoughts, we will have to analyze that data pattern to decipher what the person is thinking.
Stephen Roberts who is the professor at London’s Imperial College, is working on developing a wheel chair to help disabled people. This special wheel chair can be moved around via a computer with human thought. He is also working on a mind controlled device that identifies signals the human brain produces when it moves the arm or leg.
There is no denying that scientists have achieved success when it comes to developing mind controlled technology and creating a computer which can be controlled with human thought but there are many challenges that acts as a roadblocks in making it a possibility.
It is not easy for everyone to converge all these thoughts to control computers.
There are still doubts that thinking about letter “E” would generate an image of it on the monitor. For that to happen, we need high speed computers capable of processing human thoughts at blazing fast speeds. Scientists are still looking for alternative ways to make it happen.
Brain Machine Interface
Brain machine interfaces is an emerging technology that is slowly gaining momentum. Professor Richard Norman of Utah University of Bio Engineering Department is working on developing a mind control technology that could show the brain video images, which could aid blind in seeing the world. Such experiments can come in handy because when a person loses his or her vision, the area of the brain responsible for controlling vision, visual cortex continues to work.
Another professor from Utah University also proved that visual cortex can generate the Phosphene when it is given direct stimulus in the same way as blind people does when reading braille characters. These experiments could pave the way for new inventions that could help blind people see without vision.
Professor Norman Richards and his team is also working on creating devices that could be inserted into the brain. These devices will use electrodes which uses encoders to obtain video. That video can then be converted into electrical signals. These signals excite neurons in the brain to create the image. Meanwhile, Thad Starner of MIT Media Laboratory is working on a wearable computer.
Multiple microprocessors and chips would be placed on human body, which are all connected to the internet. US Army has already developed computers that can be placed on the head and camera to send and receive messages.
The biggest advantage of wearable computers is that they stay on all the time and are accessible. Smartphones lack this feature. Chip Maguire of Sweeden’s Royal Institute of Technology thinks that mind controlling technology will be limited. The only way to connect human brain with computers would be direct.
In future, you will meet people whose intellectual superiority is due to the chip fixed in their brain. The efforts of fitting chips in human brain and converting them into robots are already underway. Although, this might seem horrific at first, but it will also help you fulfill your dreams in an instant.
Imagine thinking what your home would look like after 20 years and seeing it in front of your eyes. Imagine opening a door and the robot opens the door for you before you get up. You want morning tea, robot identifies your needs and get the tea ready before you reach the table.
For a lazy person like me, these thought controlled computer can be a godsend. It will allow me to perform tasks just by thinking about them.