Facebook’s 34-year-old CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are particularly cautious about investing in mind control, according to Business Insider. With the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Initiative (CZI), the couple helps finance research that could significantly improve the lives of people suffering from neuromuscular disorders or create a compliant cyborgs compliant and trained army.
They have sold nearly 30 million shares of Facebook to fund an ambitious biomedical research project, called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), to cure all diseases within a generation.
A less-reported component of this $ 5 billion program includes work on brain-machine interfaces, devices that essentially translate thoughts into commands. A recent project is a wireless brain implant that can record, stimulate and interrupt the movement of a monkey in real time.
Researchers funded by the CZI outline a wireless implant device implanted in primates that can record, stimulate and modify brain activity in real-time – at least in the primates. The device may feel a normal movement and stop it immediately, according to researchers from Chan Zuckerberg BIohub, a non-profit medical team at CZI.
If technology is imprinted on humans, it could be used therapeutically for those suffering from diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy by stopping involuntary muscular movements just as they begin. “Our device is capable of monitoring the primary brain while providing treatment to know exactly what is going on,” said researcher Rikky Muller, professor of computer science and engineering at UC Berkeley and Biohub’s researcher.
Brain-machine interface applications are extensive: while some researchers focus on using them to help people with spinal cord injuries or other diseases that affect movement, others aim to see them otherwise used by turning the way which all interact with laptops and smartphones.
Muller said her Biohub study is moving away from the other work being done on Facebook for brain-computer interfaces. Muller, which was developed through the revealing secret program called “The Building 8” by CZI, describes in her paper how a team of researchers from Berkeley worked with the launch of the Cortera medical device to use a wireless implantable device of the brain used to “prevent monkeys from doing an educated behavior”.
Located on the head of the monkey, the wireless device was able to harness the master’s brain and “capture, stimulate and modify the behavior of the monkey in real time”. The device did so with “detection” when it was about to move something, so it instantly pulls out a “targeted electrical signal” to the right of his brain.
To do this, it uses 128 electrodes or conductors, directly attached to the primary brain – about 31 times more electrodes than current human brain-computer devices, which are limited to 4-8 electrodes. This is a large deviation from current devices, which usually require multiple pieces of bulky equipment and can only detect motion or disturb it. Muller’s device does it at the same time.
“I believe this device opens up possibilities for new therapies,” said Muller, whose work on the brain-machine interface is only part of a larger set of CZ Biohub projects.
Biohub co-chairman Joe DeRisi said the initiative’s goal is to help boost research by local scientists and push the boundaries when it comes to building important medical devices that would otherwise not exist.