Each day we hear more and more news about how robots are able to help us as well as make the quality of our lives a whole lot better – and the latest piece of news to hit the headlines is this: rats are now on the receiving end of cybernetic enhancements, thanks to the implementation of an artificial cerebellum which successfully restored lost brain function in rats. I suppose with many millions of dollars more of research as well as time, cyborg-style brain implants might be a reality one day.
Imagine using such implants to replace areas of brain tissue that were damaged by stroke as well as other debilitating diseases. As for the healthy, there might be another possible use for it – to create super smart humans by enhancing healthy brain function while restoring the learning processes that tend to go on a downward spiral with age. Surely this is going to be more complicated than finding the cure to Alzheimer’s as we saw in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Matti Mintz of Tel Aviv University in Israel and his colleagues are the brains behind this synthetic cerebellum, where it is full well capable of receiving sensory inputs from the brainstem. Currently a proof-of-concept, much more work needs to be invested before actual fruits of their labor can be tasted by the masses. I hope when the day comes, such implants won’t end up like Artiforgs in the Repo Men. On the other hand, a new job class to bail the ailing economy out isn’t such a bad idea after all…
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