Implanted neural devices are already employed to alleviate symptoms like the intrusive tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. When drugs no longer work, FDA-approved electrodes can provide relief through Deep Brain Stimulation. These implanted devices can also be used to affect human behaviour. Researchers at the University of Zurich have identified the brain mechanism that governs decisions between honesty and self-interest. Using non-invasive brain stimulation, they could even increase honest behavior. The results of their research highlight a deliberation process between honesty and self-interest in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC).
This kind of direct mind control once belonged in science fiction. But with the new technology of optogenetics we can use light to turn on brain cells and activate specific neural “circuits,” allowing us to observe the effect on an animal’s biology or behavior. The goal of such investigations is to find benefits for medicine, both through better understanding the nervous system and, perhaps, through clinical use of the technique.
Researchers at Stanford University lab, by implanting in the mouse’s brain a device about the size of a peppercorn took command of its brain with a shining light. “When we used our wireless power system to switch it on, the device glowed with a blue light that activated genetically engineered brain cells in the premotor cortex, which sends signals to the muscles. We watched in amazement as the mouse stopped its random motions and began to run in neat circles around the cage,” writes Ada Poon associate professor in Stanford University’s department of electrical engineering. The tiny tiny device was powered wirelessly in the form of radio waves that emanated from a resonant chamber beneath the cage and were captured by the mouse’s own body.
However, implanted neural devices and optogenetics have also become tools for Mind warfare.Government is interested in controlling mind control of people to spread its propoganda while disrupting dissent. Military is interested in mind control of soldiers. Militaries are also trying to use the implanted Whistleblower has recently revealed about secret DARPA project military mind control project at major university
Brain stimulation influences honest behavior
The researchers found that people cheated a significant amount of the time. However, many participants also stuck to the truth. “Most people seem to weigh motives of self-interest against honesty on a case-by-case basis; they cheat a little but not on every possible occasion.” explains Michel Maréchal, UZH Professor for Experimental Economics. However, about 8% of the participants cheated in whenever possible and maximized their profit.
The researchers applied transcranial direct current stimulation over a region in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC). This noninvasive brain stimulation method makes brain cells more sensitive i.e., they are more likely to be active. When the researchers applied this stimulation during the task, participants were less likely to cheat. However, the number of consistent cheaters remained the same. Christian Ruff, UZH Professor of Neuroeconomics, points out “This finding suggests that the stimulation mainly reduced cheating in participants who actually experienced a moral conflict, but did not influence the decision making process in those not in those who were committed to maximizing their earnings”
The researchers found that the stimulation only affected the process of weighing up material versus moral motives. They found no effects for other types of conflict that do not involve moral concerns (i.e., financial decisions involving risk, ambiguity, and delayed rewards). Similarly, an additional experiment showed that the stimulation did not affect honest behavior when cheating led to a payoff for another person instead of oneself and the conflict was therefore between two moral motives
Elon Musk unveils Neuralink’s plans for brain-reading ‘threads’
Elon Musk’s Neuralink, the secretive company developing brain-machine interfaces, showed off some of the technology it has been developing to the public for the first time. Musk and the Neuralink team want to implant a device into your brain that can read the electrical signals firing in your noggin, and create artificial ones, too. The technology help paraplegics walk or restoring sight to the blind. These implanted devices will allow them to control phones or computers. It will also let humans tap into memories and potentially even stream information from our brains to computers, and vice versa.
The first big advance is flexible “threads,” which are less likely to damage the brain than the materials currently used in brain-machine interfaces. These threads also create the possibility of transferring a higher volume of data, according to a white paper credited to “Elon Musk & Neuralink.” The abstract notes that the system could include “as many as 3,072 electrodes per array distributed across 96 threads.”
The threads are 4 to 6 μm in width, which makes them considerably thinner than a human hair. In addition to developing the threads, Neuralink’s other big advance is a machine that automatically embeds them. The team showed several photos of the machine designed to implant these chips — a device with a precise needle attached that would navigate blood vessels and veins and nestle the chip into the brain just so. They also repeatedly compared the implant process to LASIK, saying the operation would be relatively painless, require only local anesthetic and could be sealed up without stitches.
In the future, scientists from Neuralink hope to use a laser beam to get through the skull, rather than drilling holes, they said in interviews with The New York Times.
Finally, the paper says that Neuralink has developed a custom chip that is better able to read, clean up, and amplify signals from the brain. Right now, it can only transmit data via a wired connection (it uses USB-C), but ultimately the goal is to create a system than can work wirelessly. Musk wants to pioneer a type of implantable biotech that will allow humans to achieve “a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” To keep up with computers, he says we essentially need to rig our brains with machines.
Whistleblower reveals military mind control project at major university
Kelley Bergman has written a blog article about by leak of anonymous whistleblower who worked on a secret ongoing mind-control project for DARPA. The aim of the program is to remotely disrupt political dissent and extremism by employing “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation” (TMS) in tandem with sophisticated propaganda based on this technology. TMS stimulates the temporal lobe of the brain with electromagnetic fields. TMS is a very powerful tool used to impair the brain functioning of individuals.
“Once we have produced a narrative comprehension model [i.e., how individuals comprehend stories and persuasive messages], end users [aka the government] will understand how to activate known neural networks (e.g., working memory or attention) and positive behavioral outcome (e.g., nonviolent actions) nodes with strategic communication messages as a means to reduce incidences of political violence in contested populations.”
“If it is the case that activation in one particular neural network enables people to connect personal narrative to master narratives [i.e., cultural narratives], by disrupting activity in that brain area, we should be able to selectively impair that specific aspect of narrative processing while holding other meaning making processes constant, effectively creating a ‘narrative disruptor.’ Not only would this be an important finding in the science of neural networks and narrative persuasion, but would also have considerably practical and strategic importance.”This research is being conducted by The Center for Strategic Communication at ASU and is entitled “Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects”
Optogenetics is a form of gene therapy in which the neurons of a person are bombarded with photons in order to manipulate a specific cell response. In theory, a small cortical implant using optogenetics technology would be able to restore a persons’ vision, help correct countless neurological disorders, or may even be able to produce a complex video display within a persons’ visual cortex.At the heart of all optogenetics are proteins called opsins. They are found in human eyes, in microbes and other organisms. When light shines on an opsin, it absorbs a photon and changes.
In the lab, scientists either breed mice to contain those proteins in select groups of nerves or they inject viruses carrying the protein DNA into the targeted nerves. Researchers can then trigger or suppress firing by the neurons by stimulating them with light-emitting devices inserted into the brain. By dye-staining cells with proteins that glow fluorescent when neurons fire, researchers can not only “play in” behaviors, by stimulating optogenetically treated brain cells with the fibre-optic light flashes, but also “read out” the circuit activity triggered when a lab animal is put through certain tasks.
Optogenetics has given researchers unprecedented access to the workings of the brain, allowing them not only to observe its precise neural circuitry in lab animals but to control behavior through the direct manipulation of specific cells. Experiments have shed light on many brain functions, including learning, memory, metabolism, hunger, sleep, reward, motivation, fear, smell, and touch. Scientists around the world are using the method to investigate some of the most stubborn riddles of neuroscience, including the fundamental question of how the physical brain—the nearly hundred billion neurons and their multitudinous connections—gives rise to the mind: thought, mood, behavior, emotion.
A new device has been invented by Stanford University assistant professor of electrical engineering Ada Poon , that allows scientists to wirelessly stimulate the nerve of a mouse’s brain, limbs, or spinal cord with the use of light. This technology allows mice to be observed more freely and naturally during experiments that need a multitude of mazes or tunnels and burrowing. This new wireless device is implanted directly into the mice’s brain and has a power source that take its energy directly from the mouse’s own body.
Challenges of Optogenetics
However, science writer John Horgan criticizes optogentics on several accounts: First is the lack of specific knowledge about the neural underpinnings of brain disorders i.e. which neurons or neural circuits are overactive or underactive or otherwise abnormal. “Optogenetics not only requires drilling holes in peoples’ skulls and sticking devices inside their brains; it also involves altering the DNA of brain cells with viruses or other means, which makes optogenetics far more unpredictable and invasive than electrode-based systems.”
” If optogenetic treatments ever turn out to be viable, my guess is that they will be reserved for the wealthy—or perhaps for American soldiers, both injured and healthy. As I pointed out recently, the Pentagon is a major funder of brain research in the U.S. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding optogenetics research at Stanford, Brown and elsewhere.” Moreover, whereas conventional electrodes can both manipulate and monitor neurons, optogenetics requires separate devices for stimulating and measuring neural activity.
DARPA is developing Cortical Modem to enhance US soldier’s vision with Optogentic Google glasses
The US military recently successfully implanted and tested its first ‘brain modem’ on an animal subject. The tiny, implanted chip, developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), uses a tiny sensor that travels through blood vessels, lodges in the brain and records neural activity. Neurologists injected tiny sensors into livestocks’ veins and then recorded the electrical impulses that control the animals’ movements for six months.The sensor, called a ‘stentrode’, a combination of the words ‘stent’ and ‘electrode’, is the first step in the military’s desire to allow soldiers to control machinery with their minds. The stentrode is the size of a paperclip, flexible and injectable. Instead of invasive brain surgery, it enters the bloodstream via a catheter and then transmits data.
Phillip Alvelda, chief of DARPA’s Biological Technologies, announced a new project to develop a “cortical modem” that could give us a direct interface between brains and computers by 2020.The interface would connect directly into a person’s DNA to provide a direct link between the brain and an external device or software through manipulation of the visual cortex. The direct neural interface would be capable of laying a heads-up display over a user’s natural vision without the use of glasses or goggles.The direct neural interface (DNI) chip would be shaped like a coin, around 1cm wide, and could conceivably cost as little as $10 (£6.50). However, according to DARPA scientists, a cortical modem implant will not be replacing augmented and virtual reality devices anytime soon.
The “cortical modem” also holds the potential to enable “electronic telepathy and telekinesis” according to noted futurist Peter Rothman, writing for H+ Magazine. Some people believe that this will signify the transition from the industrial age to the age of the mind. One of the potential military uses can be to enhance the situational awareness of US soldiers by augmenting their vision through google glass like devices. The project is based on research in the field of optogenetics.
DARPA’s Neural Engineering System Design (NESD)
A new DARPA program aims to develop an implantable neural interface able to provide unprecedented signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the human brain and the digital world. The interface would serve as a translator, converting between the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology. The goal is to achieve this communications link in a biocompatible device no larger than one cubic centimeter in size, roughly the volume of two nickels stacked back to back.
REPAIR project (for Reorganization and Plasticity to Accelerate Injury Recovery)
Researchers at four institutions, led by Stanford University and Brown University, have begun an effort with more than $14 million of federal funding to learn both how the brain and its microcircuitry react to sudden physiological changes and what can be done to encourage recovery from injury. Shenoy is the principal investigator of the REPAIR project (for Reorganization and Plasticity to Accelerate Injury Recovery), for which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is providing $14.9 million for two years with an option to increase the project’s scope to $28.8 million and four years.The project will yield new brain implant technologies that can both sense the brain’s electrical signals and deliver optogenetic light pulses to neural tissue.
“To access and truly understand the operation of brain microcircuits and their function, the team will pursue a new generation of implantable optogeneticmicro devices, with the ultimate aim of achieving a clinically useful, two-way communication link with the brain,” said ArtoNurmikko, a professor of electrical engineering and physics at Brown.
Obama’s Brain Initiative
In 2013, President Obama announced an initiative to invest in new research to map brain activity, a three-hundred-million-dollar program, intended to push the development of new techniques to investigate the brain and map its pathways, starting with the brains of small creatures like flies. It aims to develop technologies to treat such neurological ailments as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury.
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