Have you learned about a new word called
The government and military in particular have worked tirelessly for decades in being able to crack the
game, to control your mind or the mind of a soldier.
Imagine the army if they could create
with the ability to fire weapons and technology of all different types, with a mere thought?
Until recently, the Pentagon has been attempting an impossible technological feat, developing a high-bandwidth neural interface, that would allow people to beam data from their minds to external devices and back.
What we might call a “brain modem,” that would now allow a soldier to control a drone with his mind. How about fire weapons without having to actually squeeze the trigger?
This incredible technology just got a whole lot closer to happening.
On Feb. 8, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) (the U.S. military’s fringe-science wing) announced the first successful tests, on animal subjects, of a tiny sensor that travels through blood vessels, lodges in the brain and records neural activity.
Science fiction is more real than what you’ve seen at the movies. It’s fiction anymore.
The so-called “stentrode,” (a combination stent and electrode,) is the size of a flexible paperclip.
The tiny, inject-able machine is the invention of neurologist Tom Oxley and his team at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Now they can insert a transmitter into the brain without drilling a hole in the user’s head, a risky procedure under any circumstances.
Based on existing stents that doctors use to clean blood vessels, the stentrode includes sensors and a tiny transmitter. Entering the bloodstream through a catheter, the
swims in the bloodstream.
Doctors monitor the stentrode on its journey through the circulatory system. When the device reaches the brain, the physicians command it to expand against the blood vessels’ walls and hold station. There it remains for potentially months at a time, recording and relaying the subtle electrical signals that flow from the brain to the rest of the body.
“By reducing the need for invasive surgery, the stentrode may pave the way for more practical implementations of those kinds of life-changing applications of brain-machine interfaces,” Doug Weber, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program manager, said in a statement.
With DARPA funding beginning four years ago, Oxley and his team tested the stentrode on sheep, he and his teammates explained in an academic paper published in the journal Nature Biotechnology in early February.
The neurologist injected tiny sensors into some unwitting livestock’s veins and, for six months, recorded the electrical impulses that control the animals’ movements.
According to DARPA, Oxley and his fellow researchers plan to test the stentrode on human patients as early as 2017 at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Military experimentation could follow and I can promise you, based on their history of using military personnel as Guinna pigs, they will.
There are some dangers associated with the technology, Oxley said. All stents run the risk of causing blood clots and strokes. But Oxley said that injecting the stentrode into a vein (which carries blood to the heart) rather than an artery (which carries blood from the heart), minimizes the stroke risk.
I’m sure that will be reassuring to every parent of a son or daughter in the military who they use as lab rats.
Even if the stentrode is fairly safe, it’s not clear that it will work the way the military wants it to. Oxley said he still doesn’t know whether the stentrode will be able to record the kind of fine data that DARPA would like its brain modem to handle.
Sensors resting directly on top of a brain during surgery have proved recently that they can detect neural activity at the level of a single brain cell. But a stent might not be able to achieve the same level of precision.
“Because it’s located within the blood vessels of the brain, the stentrode will only be able to record electrical signals from large groups of brain cells,” a neural engineer at Arizona State University said.
But Oxley stressed that his stentrode is just a prototype. It should get better, he said. “The field of stenting is rapidly progressing.”
And the military’s demographics could give the stentrode a fertile testing ground. The human brain shrinks as it ages, increasing the distance between the organ and surrounding blood vessels.
It could be easier for a stentrode to detect neural activity in a younger person with a “fuller” brain. Isn’t it wonderful the opportunities the government provides for your children?
As it happens, the military employs a disproportionate number of young people, so they have a full stable of lab subjects for mind control experimentation.