With Facebook exposing its brain-computer interface survey and Elon Musk establishing Neuralink, 2017 is appearing like it will be the time that mind-controlled calculating studies really collects steam. No longer a sci-fi idea, we are witnessing big capital being dedicated to serious studies. DARPA has declared an investment of almost $65 Million across 6 projects as an attempt for its latest Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) agenda.
DARPA originally declared the NESD agenda in early 2016. The agenda comes with a shout out for suggestions that would enhance studies into the growth of a neural embedment that is biocompatible. It can also allow 2-way interaction between a computer and the human brain.
The organization has now declared the 6 recipients of agreements awarded as fraction of the agenda, which comprise 5 research organizations and 1 private company. Stage I of the project is focusing on get through in software, hardware, and neuroscience that can later be experimented in cultured and animals cells.
The 6 projects rewarded cover a range of various disciplines and research areas. Two out of these projects are investigating speech and hearing. A group from Brown University aims to generate a cerebral cortex implant that can decipher the neural dispensation of speech. On the other hand, a private firm named called Paradromics is designing a cortical interface that utilizes group of microwire electrodes to stimulate and record bunches of neurons.
The rest of the 4 projects are testing the handling of vision-based methods in the brain. A Columbia University group plans to design a bioelectric interface that is non-penetrating and can transfer stimuli straightly to the visual cortex. On the other hand, a team from University of California, Berkeley, will work on making a miniaturized microscope that can stimulate and measure up to 1 Million neurons at a time in the cerebral cortex.
In the meantime, a group from Fondation Voir et Entendre will seek to allow interaction between the neurons in the visual cortex and a synthetic retina placed over the eyes by utilizing optogenetics. In the same layer, the team plans to make, for the visual cortex, an all-optical prosthesis using altered neurons.