from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Nature has had a few billion years to evolve some pretty useful abilities, but people are always trying to improve upon what’s already available. One of the big challenges is creating an interface between biological mechanisms and various electronic devices. Implanting electrodes into brains or having insects control robot bodies are ongoing experiments — and there are a few other projects combining biology and machines that could be even more cutting edge.
- Cyborg roses have been grown with electrically-conducting wires in the flower’s xylem — its vascular system that usually transports water throughout the plant. This could be an important first step towards making plants that can be controlled or used as sensors. Or it could start some kind of cross between The Happening and Terminator. [url]
- Phil Kennedy has developed brain-computer interfaces since the 1980s, but he took his research to an extreme by getting his own brain implant. It was getting difficult to find healthy people to volunteer for a brain surgery to implant electrodes, so Kennedy paid a surgeon to do it to himself. Complications forced him to remove the implants after about a month, but he gathered some data during his time as a cyborg that might help further brain research in speech decoding. Still, it’s not exactly the best way to conduct brain research when there are concerns about safety and reproducibility. [url]
- Ray Kurzweil predicts a lot of far out stuff, and he thinks nanobots will connect our brains directly to external computers — allowing us to access information and ideas at a faster and broader scale than ever before. Kurzweil says our abilities will become “godlike” — but it depends on which gods we become like, really. (e.g., tormented gods or jealous ones or…) [url]
After you’ve finished checking out those links, check out this holiday gift guide for some awesome deals at the Techdirt deals store.