If you’ve watched the Matrix movie you probably remember parts of the movie where the characters “download” various learning tools into their brain, i.e. learning to fly a helicopter or ride a motorbike and learning martial arts in seconds. If you thought that was cool and you wish that perhaps one day you will be able to just stroll in a book store and select programs to “learn”, like learning how to bake a cake or be able to expound on the laws of physics, well it looks like that dream is not too far away.

Scientists from the University of South California’s Viterbi School led by Dr. Theodore Berger have managed to build a prosthetic chip which can be implanted into the brain and uses electrodes to enhance memory abilities. The chip can store neural signals which basically functions as electronic memory, allowing the rats that were used in their tests to remember certain events when it was enabled, and when disabled it caused the rats to forget what was on that memory.

“Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget […] These integrated experimental modeling studies show for the first time that with sufficient information about the neural coding of memories, a neural prosthesis capable of real-time identification and manipulation of the encoding process can restore and even enhance cognitive mnemonic processes.

As it stands the tests are only conducted on rats but they’re hoping to move on to monkeys and reproduce similar results. This was not created so that we can all learn Jiu-Jitsu but rather it was designed to aid  people who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease, strokes or other forms of brain injury that could cause memory loss.

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