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On July 10, 2017, US Department of Defense selected Paradromics Inc, a company located in San Jose to develop a technology to record one million neurones inside a human brain simultaneously. The budget of 65$ million was allocated by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for this purpose. This is possible only if engineers can create a seamless, uninterrupted connection between brain and computers. This brain-computer interface technology may provide a breakthrough in hearing, speech, visions and other brain-related disorders.
The full list of NESD grant recipients:
- Paradromics, Inc. (Dr. Matthew Angle)
- Brown University (Dr. Arto Nurmikko)
- John B. Pierce Laboratory (Dr. Vincent Pieribone)
- Fondation Voir et Entendre (Dr. Jose-Alain Sahel and Dr. Serge Picaud)
- Columbia University (Dr. Ken Shepard)
- University of California, Berkeley (Dr. Ehud Isacoff)
This contract has been done under Neural Engineering System Design (NESD).
The NESD program looks ahead to a future in which advanced neural devices offer improved fidelity, resolution, and precision sensory interface for therapeutic applications.
said NESD program founder Phillip Alvelda in a statement.
NESD aims to develop a mechanism of two-way communication with the brain. It helps scientist to understand brain’s complexity and functions. Engineers are trying to manufacture such a flexible circuit that can be layered onto the brain. This circuit consists of Sand size wireless neurogranin and holographic microscopes which are capable of observing thousands of neurones simultaneously. These sensors would be capable of real-time electrical communication with the brain. Their main goal is to understand how the brain processes and decodes spoken language.
This may be the first major public-private partnership for BCI mechanism in which private sector also has great contributions.
Contribution of private sector
In April, Elon Musk in an interview revealed that he has initiated a venture named as Neuralink with a budget of $100 million. Musk explained that the firm’s goal is to turn cloud-based AI into an extension of the human brain. Facebook is also trying to devise a mechanism on thought to text device so that people can compose what they are thinking.
In Dubai, at Tesla launch ceremony, Musk stated
Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.
All these companies and academic organisations’ goal is to create such network which can communicate and analyse more than one million neurones. You will be surprised to read that its just a drop in the ocean as we have 86 billion neurones in our brain. Though analysing brain functions is not yet so easy that DARPA can do it in short period if time. So we have to wait for a long time to bring this dream to reality.