Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, June 01, 2007

Texas Instruments Wants to Augment You

You should already know that human beings are being augmented by computerized devices. That's been happening for a while: cochlear implants, Parkinson's pacemakers, implanted defibrillators, artificial retinas. These are all in use as you read this. But a lot more is coming soon.

Texas Instruments has already created a "gastric pacemaker" which, when implanted onto your stomach, gives a small shock that makes you feel too sick to eat any more than you should. Like that last slice of pizza.

As researchers learn how to improve dialogue between silicon and neuron, these devices will improve alongside. For example, according to this article from the Dallas Morning News:
Scientists at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have attached a mechanical arm, one wire per nerve, to a volunteer’s shoulder. The man can now use his mind to move fingers, hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. The device still lacks the control needed for pro sports or safecracking, but it’s an honest-to-goodness bionic arm.

“The cells sit right on top of the chips and talk to one another,” said Dr. Dennis Stone, vice president for technology development at the Dallas hospital and research center. “We’re at the dawn of something huge, and Dallas is right in the middle of it.”

I certainly wish TI well in their research and look forward to the continual advance of "bionic" tech. Stay tuned.

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