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8 Futuristic Brain Implants You Won’t Believe Are Possible

8 Futuristic Brain Implants You Won’t Believe Are Possible

Small in-brain computer chips that give us superhuman capabilities seem like the stuff of summer blockbusters now, but scientists say that the possibility of a future where these implants not only exist but actually work is very real.

Stimulating the brain externally with electronic signals is already being experimented with by the medical industry, the U.S. military, and a growing number of DIYers. While we have successfully implanted artificial devices in others parts of the human body without rejection by the immune system, doing so with the brain is a largely unexplored frontier.

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As researchers continue to develop smaller, more bio-compatible technology, and understand the processes of the human brain, we could be looking at a host of medical solutions and extraordinary abilities. Here are some of the likely enhancements that future brain implants could bring:

1. Seeing in the dark

Currently, retinal implants that restore a low level of vision to people blinded by genetic conditions already exist, meaning that we’re already on our way to enhanced vision. Once we further improve the ability of these implants to restore vision, augmenting “normal” vision isn’t just science fiction. We already know that certain sensory abilities humans lack exist in the natural world — like the ability to see in the dark. Night vision is likely to be a military investment at first, but perhaps it would become commercially available after that.

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2. Restoring lost memories

Zapping the brain with controlled electric stimulation has a lot of potential, and some already tested, neurological benefits. This is being tested as an external stimuli, but what if we could implant a piece of technology in the brain that could directly deliver these pulses of electricity, and even be recharged without having to be removed? That’s the goal of researchers interested in using this method for memory-related problems. The primary interest in this research is, unsurprisingly, from the medical field, which is seeking new and more effective ways to treat patients with memory issues, whether it’s short term memory problems or severe memory loss. The U.S. military is also highly interested in memory, both as an additional treatment for PTSD and, possibly, an enhancement for soldiers.

3. “Download” new skills

It’s not yet clear if we’ll ever mirror The Matrix, but scientists believe the ability to wire our brains to rapidly learn a new skill is not impossible. Already research is being conducted to look into how the brain learns and stores skills, with the hope that the neurological process can someday be artificially replicated to allow people to effectively learn a new skill with a fraction of time and effort. This technology is still a long way off, but at least it’s not total science fiction.

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4. Curing depression and other mental health issues

Brain implant technology could help treat and even cure mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, without the aid of pharmaceuticals that run the risk of dependency and various unwanted side effects. This is a lucrative investment for the U.S. military as well since, as mentioned above, the government has ramped up its efforts to find more effective treatments for service-related PTSD. PTSD is an anxiety disorder, which opens the door for the treatment of other anxiety disorders such as panic disorders, agoraphobia, and general anxiety disorders. Depression and its relatives, too, could be effectively treated by direct brain stimulation via implants. The potential to helps millions of people dealing with mental health problems without risking the side effects of prescription drug treatments is compelling.

5. Enhanced focus and alertness

In the same vein as treating mental health problems like depression and PTSD, brain implants could help people who suffer from neurological problems related to focus and alertness. This includes ADD/ADHD, narcolepsy, and dementia. While this would do wonders for people with legitimate problems in these areas, the technology would likely still be sought after by neurologically healthy people just as drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are today.

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6. Making you better at math

There are actually already studies that show promising results for controlled brain stimulation to improve a person’s ability to understand and do math. With further testing to test the effectiveness of this technique, and to assure its safety, brain implants could directly deliver stimulation to improve our math skills, and possibly other cognitive abilities.

7. Control any device with your mind

Researchers are currently able to use a neuroprosthetic sensor to help paralyzed patients control a robotic arm with their minds, to varying degrees of success. The technology is still very new and research is currently focused on providing aid for physical limitations, so don’t expect to be turning your lights on and changing the TV channel with your mind any time soon. Once this technology is widely tested and available for medical patients, however, its uses as a consumer service are easy to imagine.

8. Search the Internet with your brain

Forget Siri and Google Glass, why not get the information you’re searching for delivered directly from the Internet to your brain? Pending the development of smaller, nontoxic implants that your body won’t reject, we could be using brain implants throughout our whole day to do a number of tasks, including surf the web. Researchers are working to better and more completely understand how the human brain works, the present scope of which is still rudimentary. The better we understand the networks of our brains and how it forms and processes information, the easier it will be to hook ourselves up to artificial networks.

Featured photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures via redcarpetrefs.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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