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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 May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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