[NTLK] OT: iPad vs. MS Courier: Sound Off

Ryan newtontalk at me.com
Thu Apr 8 00:40:56 EDT 2010

Hi Jim:

Thanks for chiming in.  Actually, the technology does, indeed, exist for augmented cognition.  There's lots of research out there.  In one landmark study, circuitry was implanted inside the neurons of the brain of the subject.  That circuitry was connected to a computer, which did all the processing.

With just a thought, the subject was able to draw a circle on a computer screen.  With just a thought, he was able to move a mechanical arm.  Also, physical things like automatic doors and even electronic wheel chairs can be controlled by thoughts in this way.  Further, researchers have demonstrated thought-to-text.  It's only up to 15 words per minute, but it's impressive.

How does this work?  The computer uses an algorithm that has learned neuronal firing patterns.  When the brain's neurons become active, if they do something in the algorithm, like something that would happen when, say, you want to move your arm, the mechanical arm would move in that intended way.  Same thing with drawing a circle on a screen, and so on and so forth.

Then you have companies out there working on wearable computer glasses that display a transparent screen in front of the subject, where scrolling works by retinal tracking.  I'm told by my source at a certain company that their product is about 3 years out.  They've been working on it for 20 years, and their stock has taken a roller coaster ride throughout that time.  They do have military contracts so I can't be sure about consumer applications at this point.

But if you put all this stuff together, you can see where this could go... a world that is completely controlled just by thoughts.

Here's one study:

Scott, S. H. (2006). "Neuroscience: Converting thoughts into action." Nature 442: 141-142.

Take a look at:

Brooks, Rodney. Toward a Brain-Internet Link.

Thank you,


More information about the NewtonTalk mailing list