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Thursday, 28 October 2010 09:14

Boffins close to creating a brain search

Written by Nick Farell
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Just stick a wire in your head
Boffins are close to creating a system where you can search your brain in the same way you do Google.

According to Ars Technica a recent experiment involved researchers hooking up twelve people up to a game where they fought to display a particular image on a screen by firing the correct neurons in their brain. The device was only successful about two-thirds of the time, but it was faster than many other brain-machine interfaces.

Researchers wanted to see if people are able to exert control over specific neurons in real time. This level of control is vital to get a computer to accomplish a task.

The 12 already have intracranial electrodes installed in their brains to help prevent epileptic episodes. They were presented with two pictures—one of Josh Brolin, the other of Marilyn Monroe and recorded which sets of neurons in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) fired as the subjects viewed each picture.

The wired people were were then shown the two images superimposed on each other, and had to "will" the superposition to fade into a distinct Josh Brolin or Marilyn Monroe. They were given between three and five seconds to complete the task.

It is starting to look like Googling with your brain rather than your keyboard may be the method of the future, along with jetpacks and taking a helicopter to work.

Nick Farell

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