Qi Wang | Writing the Information into the Brain

Qi Wang | Writing the Information into the Brain

Columbia Engineering has posted another entry (mirror) in their fascinating series of faculty profiles. Qi Wang is researching methods of directly “writing” information to the brain, thereby enabling direct communication with computers – a field that I have a tremendous interest in, not to mention* my visions therefor. It was a deciding  factor in my decision to major in Computer Engineering.

*Well, I’ll give a little glimpse of my visions. As I commented on facebook (mirrored, of course):

Artificial percepts are just the beginning – we’ll soon be able to “write” data to and read from other parts of the brain, and therewith, record the signals in one person’s brain, and emulate the function of their neurons in another person’s brain. This ability will allow things far beyond artificial percepts, perhaps even “downloadable” skills – for example, recording the activity in Tiger Wood‘s motor cortex when he swings, and later playing back the activity in anyone else’s brain – it’s truly an exciting time.

What I’m referring to is what’ll be like an “app store” (yes, I intend to implement it myself) but for skills! If you consider a cortical microcolumn a functional unit (if you don’t know about the cortical column, see…. like all of modern neuroscience research – which pretty much means Henry Markram), and the neurons therewithin as a black box, an implanted chip can act like a ‘drop in’ part of the brain. It would be plastic, it would seamlessly integrate with surrounding neurons, and most importantly: it would be connected to a computer.

If we record the activity in Tiger Woods’ brain while he swings. then we’d be able to upload them (perhaps with modification, to adjust for body size, strength, etc..) to anyone else’s brain, where a “black-box” implant would emulate the I/O if the equivalent part of Tiger Woods’ brain, and said person would instantly be able to swing like Tiger Woods.  Then,  we’d set up the equivalent of an “app store”, and sell it for $0.99

Because it’s simply information, charging any more than $0.99 will be immediately circumvented by piracy – just like what happened to the music industry (mirror). It’d also have to be open source, or else nobody will feel comfortable sticking it in their brain.

On that note:

Check out Paul Sajda, who’s done, and continues to do, some fascinating research on very similar subjects, and whom I follow closely (one of my favorite researchers in the field!)

Mirror of Sajda video, re-encoded for size, x264@Very Slow, exhaustive Hadamard motion estimation:

~ by Alexander Riccio on June 26, 2013.

One Response to “Qi Wang | Writing the Information into the Brain”

  1. […] millions of individuals are volunteering to screen satellite imagery for signs of the missing 777. Paul Sajda, whom I’ve written about before, has developed software that, with an EEG, allows an individual to screen hundreds of images per […]


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