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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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Published on January 18, 2019

Best 5 Language Learning Apps to Easily Master a New Language

Best 5 Language Learning Apps to Easily Master a New Language

Learning a new language is no easy feat. While a language instructor is irreplaceable, language learning apps have come to revolutionize a lot of things and it has made language learning much easier. Compared to language learning websites, apps offer a more interactive experience to learn a new language.

The following language learning apps are the top recommended apps for your language learning needs:

1. Duolingo

    Duolingo is a very successful app that merged gamification and language learning. According to Expanded Ramblings, the app now counts with 300 million users.

    Duolingo offers a unique concept, an easy-to-use app and is a great app to accompany your language acquisition journey. The courses are created by native speakers, so this is not data or algorithm-based.

    The app is free and has the upgrade options with Duolingo Plus for $9.99, which are add free lessons. The mobile app offers 25 languages and is popular for English-speaking learners learning other languages.

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    Download the app

    2. HelloTalk

      HelloTalk aims to facilitate speaking practice and eliminate the stresses of a real-time and life conversation. The app allows users to connect to native speakers and has a WhatsApp like chat that imitates its interface.

      There is a perk to this app. The same native speakers available also want to make an even exchange and learn your target language, so engagement is the name of the game.

      What’s more, the app has integrated translation function that bypasses the difficulties of sending a message with a missing word and instead fills in the gap.

      Download the app

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      3. Mindsnacks

        Remember that Duolingo has integrated gamification in language learning? Well, Mindsnacks takes the concept to another level. There is an extensive list of languages available within the app comes with eight to nine games designed to learn grammar, vocabulary listening.

        You will also be able to visualize your progress since the app integrates monitoring capabilities. The layout and interface is nothing short of enjoyable, cheerful and charming.

        Download the app

        4. Busuu

          Bussu is a social language learning app. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS. It currently supports 12 languages and is free.

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          The functionality allows users to learn words, simple dialogues and questions related to the conversations. In addition, the dialogues are recorded by native speakers, which brings you close to the language learning experience.

          When you upgrade, you unlock important features including course materials. The subscription is $17 a month.

          Download the app

          5. Babbel

            Babbel is a subscription-based service founded in 2008. According to LinguaLift, it is a paid cousing of Duolingo. The free version comes with 40 classes, and does not require you to invest any money.

            Each of the classes starts with with a sequential teaching of vocabulary with the help of pictures. The courses are tailor made and adapted to the students’ level, allowing the learning to be adjusted accordingly.

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            If you started learning a language and stopped, Babbel will help you pick up where you started.

            Download the app

            Takeaways

            All the apps recommended are tailored for different needs, whether you’re beginning to learn a language or trying to pick back up one. All of them are designed by real-life native speakers and so provide you with a more concrete learning experience.

            Since these apps are designed to adapt to different kinds of learning styles, do check out which one is the most suitable for you.

            Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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