Wednesday, May 27, 2020
In 2019 July Elon Reeve Musk founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink unveiled the Elon Musk brain chip. The Neuralink’s brain chip is a BRAIN MACHINE INTERFACE. It is supposed to connect human brain directly to the computer system. At the live presentation musk said “A monkey has been able to control a computer with his brain using the new chip”. This suggests that there is a model in the animal has already been a success.
Neuralink is an American neurotechnology company which was started in 2016. From the time of launch the companies work had remained secret. An article was published by them in 2019 revealed their plan of implanting hundreds of small electrodes into the brain to facilitate the computer brain communication. They are working on a sewing machine like device which is capable of implanting small electrodes into targeted areas in the brain without a major neurosurgical operation. This can be done only by robotic guidance to avoid damage to major blood vessels and other important tiny structures in the human brain. In a presentation at California Academy of sciences they proposed a system with around 3072 electrodes there are distributed across 96 threats. Each electrode is of length 4 to 6 micro meter in width. They also proposed an idea of an external module which connects to the electrodes wirelessly from outside the skull.
Neuralink company is planning to start human trial in 2020. They claim that they have already built a neurosurgical robot capable of inserting six threads (192 electrodes) per minute.
This new technology can help patients suffering from neuro developmental disorders like autism and also people from people survive from severe traumatic brain injuries and spinal injuries. If it happens it will be a boon to the quadriplegic and paraplegic patients.
This device works as a treatment options for people with damaged neural structures. However it has unlimited potentials. It can be used for making human brain think like a supercomputer. In other words, the future goal will be creating a symbiosis of artificial intelligence and human native intelligence. And that will give birth to “SUPER HUMANS“.
According to Musk “ success is not too far”.
It is not very easy to make the new chip work as we think.
First of all we have to create a new device which can implant thousands of electrodes into the human brain. Currently there is no such device even though Neuralink claims that it has developed.
Then how was the surgeons Implant Brain chips For Parkinson’s disease patients? Patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease undergoes major neurosurgical operation under the guidance of stereotactic frame which helps the surgeon to target a particular area in the brain. This surgical procedure lasts for few hours usually for implanting 1-2 electrodes. In such case if we are planning to thousands of electrodes it will take few few days to weeks. So it is not possible to use the current stereotactic or neuro navigation devices for implanting the new threads in the microchip. So a complex robotic system has to be actually developed for this procedure.
According to the company implantation process should be something like LASIK eye surgery unlike the conventional neurosurgical operations. They are finding out ways of making hole in the skull using laser. This enables to make tiny holes for passing the fine electrodes. But according to the reports the first human trials will not be a smooth one like LASIK surgery. However as the technology advances, more sophisticated robotic system will take over this complex process. They are making these electrodes into flexible threads so that the damage to the brain can be minimized.
The neurotransmitter mechanism in the brain is so complex that it’s not discovered fully by the researchers. The system has to learn the normal response of the human brain and its biochemical functioning before anything. This may cause a lag in the development.
Another problem Is creating high bandwidth for seamless transmission of information directly from the brain back to the artificial intelligence system. Advanced electrodes with Giga/Tera byte speed may be needed for a smooth communication.
Currently they are working on rat brain to make a stable platform first. The current chip system is able to connect via wired connection like USB type C and the wireless system is still under research.
Wireless system is named as “N1 sensor” and is supposed to link the electrode inside the brain with the external receiving system. There will be a total of 4 electrodes, 3 in the motor area and 1 in the sensory area in the brain. There will be an external device mounted behind the year which will be consisting of a battery giving power to the internal electrodes wirelessly.
Just think of one situation
You want to know the population of united states of America. For that you take your phone in hand and type the query which may take a few second and then you get the right answer. The answer will be seen by your eyes and this goes into the brain and further analysis happens there. In BMI brain is directly connected to the AI system. The moment you think of this question system searches the result and gives you the result. This is just like remembering things which are stored in your brain disturb. Believe me this is amazingly fast. This artificial connection that passes the time to taken for typing and analyzing the visual input.
This system not only helps in finding out some facts from the internet.
Think of another situation. You are walking through the street and you are getting directions directly from the AI without Google maps. You feel that you know the roads pretty well, just like you had a previous travel through the same path.
Another extreme condition is recognizing unknown people just by looking at the. You can even say their name and profile. This is thousand times efficient than the human brain’s power even if it is used 100 percent.
In total this BMI makes your brain connected directly to the whole internet and this gives unlimited potential to the human brain.
Monday, May 4, 2020
Human brain is the most complicated organ mankind has ever seen and yet to understand fully. Brain consists of 100 billion neurons with about 100 trillion connections or synapses. The Cerebrum which is the biggest part of the human brain has two similar hemispheres. Even though it looks similar as a mirror image externally, there are huge difference in the functions each hemisphere carries out. Usually the right sided limb movements are controlled by the left hemisphere and vice versa. This is because of a complex crossing of the neurons which control the limb movements at the level of medulla in the brainstem. Most of us think that since majority of the population is right handed, the dominant brain must be on the left side. But the fact is something different.There is a common question in our mind,
Which side of the brain is the best or more powerful? or Which brain is the dominant brain?one study concluded in this way
“Right brained students who were good at responding demonstrating instructions and visuals showed a good performance in the Vocabulary part. As being open to open ended questions they were also good at the writing part. Left brained students, who were good at problem solving by logic and who can see the differences, did well in the Use of English and Reading parts. Whole brained students’ exam results seemed to be balanced because they could use both sides of their brains nearly equally.”
This reveals the need of whole brain to work as a single unit for the better result. Generally left sided brain deals much better with language learning. Usual location of human speech centre ( Broca’s and Wernicke’s area) are in the left cerebral hemisphere. Whereas the imaginations and attention of a person lies mainly on right side. Similarly mathematical ability and logic thinking are mainly happens on the left side. Hence we can say that there is more activity on left side when do complex problems but right side takes over when you start listening to a music and imagining something.
In another recent study carried out in about 1000 patients at University of Utah using functional MRI studies it was concluded that there is no proof for a left or right brain dominance and similar brain activities were noted in both the sides.
Why the side of dominance important to us?There is a common myth that left sided brain is the dominant one. It is because the main language and speech centres are on the left side in most of the individuals and it may get affected in a left sided brain injury or brain tumour. So a person with injury on the left side may not talk but he can imagine. But on the other hand a right sided injury may not show any obvious speech disturbances but it can affect one’s attention, imagination, creativity etc. This may not be as evident as the symptoms happening in a left sided injury. This may be the reason why people think that they are left brained individuals.
Another interesting fact is that there are areas called silent areas in the brain. Silent areas have very subtle functions which is not needed for carrying out routine activities. Such areas damages do not affect the persons consciousness or other cognitive functions in a major way.
Friday, May 1, 2020
We have heard this question many times.
Normally humans need only 10 percentage of our brain’s potential? The rest of our cognitive potential goes untouched? There is a myth that this non-usage of 90 percentage of the brain is because it consist of glial cells which are the supportive cells of the neurons. But scientists have ruled out this myth. It is possible that humans can access hundred percentage capacity of their brain but it doesn't happen all the time. Brain is a very powerful organ which consumes about 25 percentage of the total oxygen human body use. It is very important to preserve the efficiency without the brain cells getting exhausted. In order to prevent the wastage of resources, brain tends to localise certain functions in certain areas of the brain. It also makes new neural connections and pathways for routine activities and other learned activities. So routine things we do everyday do not require the whole brain to function. Only certain areas or certain pathways are stimulated which were already created in the neural network system.
Researchers have shown that about 65 percentage of the school teachers in USA believe that they use only 10 percentage of brain potential. In Europe about 50 percentage of similar cohort believe the same. But unfortunately this belief seems to be unreal. We cannot become super heroes by using hundred percentage of our brains Power.
So it is a myth that we are not using the full potential of our brain. The recent imaging techniques like functional MRI shows that there is activity in all areas in the brain at one point or another. All the areas doesn't function at the same time and that is not required also. Because humans do not work in that way and that is not needed too. The brain learns each activity and it doesn’t need the full system for performing a particular task.
There are of course silent areas in the brain which carry out minor functions like for example - enjoying music, Which may not be useful or evident If you’re not a music lover. If it is only 10 percentage of the brain which functions then definitely the undamaged areas in the brain can take over the functions after a traumatic brain injury. Even though neuro plasticity occurs it doesn’t make the patient fully normal after a severe brain injury.
There are certain chemicals and foods which increase our concentration and memory. For example 'caffeine' in the coffee improves the alertness and concentration. There is a particular diet called "MIND DIET" which has shown to be effective in preventing Alzheimer's disease. But this food habits alone can't help the brain to function beyond the required threshold.
What is the best thing to improve the brain function?
The best thing is READING. Reading gives the brain new knowledge and makes him think and this gives boost to the brain. Brain will develop new connection and reorganize the neural networks when you learn new stuff. What about doing arithmetic problems? yes it can prevent the cognitive decline which happens as you age.
SO KEEP LEARING
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