back to article DARPA's 'Cortical Modem' will plug straight into your brain

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing a brain-computer interface it hopes could inject images directly into the visual cortex. news of the "Cortical Modem" project has emerged in transhumanist magazine Humanity Plus, which reports the agency is working on a direct neural interface (DNI) chip that …

  1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
    Pirate

    Upgrades

    Seems to me that one might be a little pricier than the other but is does offer non destructive upgrades as the tech improves

  2. Crisp Silver badge

    Wake me when it can run Crysis.

    Seriously though. How close are we to me having my own virtual Lexi Belle?

  3. Anonymous Blowhard

    Ono-Sendai almost ready to ship then?

    'nuff said.

  4. Blank-Reg
    Thumb Up

    DARPA? Dynalar surely!

  5. WraithCadmus
    Pint

    How bad will the HC be on that?

    Upvotes to anyone who gets the reference.

    Icon: Smash

    1. stucs201

      Re: Smash

      As in "yellow, foamy, comes in cans" I assume, not the mashed potato stuff.

    2. Graham Marsden
      Boffin

      Re: How bad will the HC be on that?

      It should be ready for you to jack in by 2.0.2.0

  6. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Interesting...

    Looks like Geordie La Forge's visor could be on the way.

    BUT why does all this technology which can help mankind have to be developed as a spin-off from developing more efficient and more expensive ways of killing and maiming people?

    Wouldn't it be nice if they renamed DARPA the Making-The-World-A-Better-Place Advanced Research Projects Agency, and left the budget untouched?

    1. AbelSoul
      Big Brother

      Re: Interesting...

      .. why does all this technology which can help mankind have to be developed as a spin-off from developing more efficient and more expensive ways of killing and maiming people?

      Wouldn't it be nice if they renamed DARPA the Making-The-World-A-Better-Place Advanced Research Projects Agency, and left the budget untouched?

      Given that it's D for Defence rather than O for Offence, were Mr. Orwell still with us he may well conclude that they already have.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Interesting...

        Given that it's D for Defence rather than O for Offence...

        That's right. And since the best defence is a good... oh crap.

        1. Death Boffin
          Facepalm

          Re: Interesting...

          It used to be the Department of War, but some goody-two-shoes got their panties in a bunch and changed the name. So much for truth in advertizing.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Interesting...

      >BUT why does all this technology which can help mankind have to be developed as a spin-off from developing more efficient and more expensive ways of killing and maiming people?

      People in power will have actively worked towards gaining power in the past, so we can assume that they will actively work to gain more power in the future. Their power gives them money, which they can use to employ smart people. The smart people produce technologies that give more power to their paymasters. Repeat.

      That said, the difference between a tool and a weapon is in the hand of the wielder. John Harrison was the first person to create a timepiece accurate enough to allow a naval navigator to accurately determine their longitude - thus allowing the British navy to make better use of their fleet. Explosives are used for mining and quarrying- essential for the resources our society uses. Spy satellites can be used to monitor one's own agriculture, as well as seeing what the enemy is up to. Methods in treating traumatic injuries in overseas wars have been brought back to home nations.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Interesting...

        ...and a sniper rifle fitted with a suppressor makes a handy substitute for a crutch when you've taken an arrow to the knee.

    3. Oninoshiko

      Re: Interesting...

      Sounds more like Batou's eyes, to me. (considering the form factor is identical, THAT would have been a good gratuitous graphic).

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/f6/Ghost_in_the_Shell_Stand_Alone_Complex_Batou.png/230px-Ghost_in_the_Shell_Stand_Alone_Complex_Batou.png

  7. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Terminator

    I want this about as much as a hole in the head

    "the visual fidelity of something like an early LED digital clock,"

    Will soldiers of the future will briefly see GAME OVER as they die?

    1. knarf

      Re: I want this about as much as a hole in the head

      Quickly followed by "LEVEL 2"

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: I want this about as much as a hole in the head

      Will soldiers of the future will briefly see GAME OVER as they die?

      Only after a brief "Insert coin to continue..."

  8. Fintan

    “Hello! You are interfacing with your BrainPal internal computer, with the patented Assistive Adaptive Interface ! Do not be alarmed! Thanks to the BrainPal integration, the voice you are now hearing is being generated directly to the hearing centers of your brain.”

    1. SolidSquid

      "Your licence for BrainPal is invalid. Please update your details to restore access to the visual cortex"

    2. annodomini2
      Devil

      Buy [insert retail product]! Flashing away at you.

  9. Steven Raith

    World domination in three easy steps

    1: Wait for this device to become ubquitious and hackable

    2: Hack as many as possible to only - and I mean only - show the most weird eposides of The Krankies Klub and KTV

    3: Make your demands, and wait. World powers will capitulate to every demand you make.

    I only ask for 10% of all profits you make based on GPD.

    Yours,

    Steven R

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: World domination in three easy steps

      Got to have a GITS SAC reference here.

      Stand infiltration technique. Hack their eyes so they can't see you.

      "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes." - JD Salinger

      "Or should I" - Laughing man!

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: World domination in three easy steps

        Good call - upvote delivered!

  10. Mevi

    Prime Directives

    1: Serve the public trust

    2: Protect the innocent

    3: Uphold the law

    4: (Classified)

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      I was thinking of ...

      Did I fall asleep?

  11. Horridbloke

    I like DARPA...

    ... they remind me of when I was ten.

    (Still waiting for the skateboard with built-in minigun.)

  12. Chris G Silver badge

    DARPA's Biological Technologies Office

    I bet the group can all speak Klingon.

    Assuming this gets developed to produce reasonable vision, a wifi or bluetooth link to the car might be useful for say reversing using the car's rear camera, my only worry would be when I'm driving in traffic and suddenly get a pop up telling me 'an important security update is available install now!' or it blue screens with a message ' please replace the batteries you have less than 2% remaining.

    1. phil dude
      Joke

      Re: DARPA's Biological Technologies Office

      pint spill SoH?

      P.

  13. launcap Silver badge
    Stop

    ObCrossOver

    And how long before the NSA/GCHQ et. al. work out how to low-level exploit these? I'm assuming that the ability to do so will be built-in at the firmware/hardware level and that there will be a thriving underground trade in 'clean' models (ie - not compromised by Gubbermint - whether they are compromised by your supplier is another matter).

  14. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Upgrade or be deleted!

    so this is the latest baby step toward the creation of the first Cybermen?

  15. Truth4u
    Black Helicopters

    how are they going to ask the Zebra Fish if it works?

    can Zebra fish read digital clocks?

    What if the fish is lying? It might be a communist. (or maybe that's what DARPA want*)

    * here comes the black helicopter.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: how are they going to ask the Zebra Fish if it works?

      can Zebra fish read digital clocks?

      Dunno. Do androids dream of electric sheep?

  16. moiety

    Doesn't appeal - what happens when advertisers get hold of it?

  17. phil dude
    Black Helicopters

    Copyright...?

    Isn't this the Matrix connector?

    Doesn't take much imagination to see how this will be abused...

    You can forget Clockwork Orange style equipment...

    P.

  18. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    Implanted inside the skull or worn on the skin?

    The article doesn't specifically say: is this thing going to be surgically implanted? If yes, why specify a low $10 price when the cost of the surgery will be a hundred times that? If no surgery is needed then I can understand the low cost requirement... although it does then raise the question of how the device will stimulate the cortex effectively through skin&bone.

    1. Truth4u

      Re: Implanted inside the skull or worn on the skin?

      They're going to invent a device that can cheaply and quickly implant it into the brain. The device will possibly take the form of some kind of addon for the Police baton.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: Implanted inside the skull or worn on the skin?

        are you kidding?

        The cops would be utterly TERRIFIED of this. Just camera phones are already a sore point.

  19. John Savard Silver badge

    What It Would Be Most Good For

    I'm quite surprised the article did not give prominence to the most obvious benefit to this technology; it would be able to bring sight to the blind.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What It Would Be Most Good For

      They're actually working on that but from a different angle IIRC. I recall such an approach is better suited to the blindED than to those BORN blind as the latter may lack the nerves to stimulate.

  20. TeeCee Gold badge
    Meh

    Funny. I'd have thought they'd have done my bloody flying car before getting around to this sort of thing.

  21. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge
    Pint

    Re. visual prosthetics

    Make this available to the blind already.

    Current "state of the art" circa 1997 (BSc Medical Electronics) was some 60 electrodes and invasive surgery with continuous maintenance to keep the patient alive.

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