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How soon can we expect to see brain implants for perfect memory, enhanced vision, hypernormal focus or an expert golf swing? We're closer than you might think.
L'homo numericus augmenté, c'est pour demain... matin !
Today, effective brain-machine interfaces have to be wired directly into the brain to pick up the signals emanating from small groups of nerve cells. But nobody yet knows how to make devices that listen to the same nerve cells that long. Part of the problem is mechanical: The brain sloshes around inside the skull every time you move, and an implant that slips by a millimeter may become ineffective.
Another part of the problem is biological: The implant must be nontoxic and biocompatible so as not to provoke an immune reaction. It also must be small enough to be totally enclosed within the skull and energy-efficient enough that it can be recharged through induction coils placed on the scalp at night (as with the recharging stands now used for some electric toothbrushes).
You, me tomorrow ? Perfect memory, enhanced vision: The future of brain implants...