MIND CONTROL: How YOUR brain could soon be connected directly to the INTENET | Science | News

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US-based Dr Eric Leuthardt, 44, hopes to see the bizarre merger of man and machine take place in his life time.

Dr Leuthardt believes patients will ultimately allow medics to insert electrodes into their brains to allow communication with computers and other people through electronic telepathy.

The scientist, who works at Washington University in St Louis, said: “A true fluid neural integration is going to happen.

“It’s just a matter of when. If it’s 10 or 100 years in the grand scheme of things, it’s a material development in the course of human history.

“It’s just a matter of time before the sort of technology seen in today’s smartphones is shrunken down enough to be easily implanted into people’s heads.

“At the pace at which technology changes, it’s not inconceivable to think that in a 20-year time frame everything in a cell phone could be put into a grain of rice.

“That could be put into your head in a minimally invasive way, and would be able to perform the computations necessary to be a really effective brain-computer interface.”

He said it would allow people to experience a wide-range of virtual reality “sensory experiences” without even leaving their houses.

The surgeon thinks in the long run people will have the implants as easily as they may opt for plastic surgery or a tattoo.

Dr Leuthardt has been inspired by the work of Andrew Schwartz in the 1990s, who implanted electrodes in monkeys’ brains to see if they could control robotic limbs by thought.

He has conducted early experiments on patients with intractable epilepsy.

The patients already had electrodes fixed on their cortex for collecting their brain information.

They often spend several days before surgery with electrodes implanted into their heads so information can be gathered about their brain activity and how it impacts their seizures.

Historically, they would be confined to a bed, but Dr Leuhardt got them to carry out tasks.

Some were able to play Space Invaders by moving a virtual spaceship left and right by thinking.

He is so focussed on the idea, he has already written novels and an award-winning play about the proposed changes.

In his novel, RedDevil 4, characters use “cortical prosthetic” to access all the world’s libraries, communicate telepathically and explore various experiences, but their brains are vulnerable to computer-viruses.

Talking about his hopes, he added: “This has the potential to alter the evolutionary direction of the human race.”

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