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For many years, Matt Angle has claimed that the holy grail of neuroscience – the restoration of lost senses – was in reach thanks to an obscure invention by a small company in Moldova in the 1960s. For most people, his claims were fairly eccentric, and he was ignored for a long time but now people are starting to take notice, and his invention could herald a new phase in the development of humanity.
The US Department of Defense has awarded a contract to Angle’s small San Jose-based company Paradromics Inc. To develop a technology which will be able to record and manipulate an astonishing one million individual neurons inside a human brain at the same time. This is considered to be a highly complex task. More than a century ago, scientists realized that they could use metal electrodes to record the activity of a single neuron. Since then there has not been a great deal of progress in the recording of neurons in the human brain with scientists only being able to record from a few hundred at a time.
Recently, scientists and technology specialists have announced their intention to research and make steps towards exponentially increasing a number of neurons which can be recorded at any given time. Elon Musk recently made headlines when he announced that he was funding a company called Neuralink which was working on a brain-computer interface which hoped to tackle the problem of blindness in the near future. In addition to that, representatives from the social media giant Facebook have also claimed that the company is working on a thought-to-text device that will allow users to silently write posts and messages to be transferred via the internet. However, neither of these technology giants explained to the media exactly how they planned to make these lofty ambitions a reality.
By contrast, Angle believes that he and his team are already well on their way to creating a device that will allow millions of neurons to be recorded simultaneously. Angle explains that the idea of the new invention spray from technology developed by a small Moldovan company in the 1960s which allowed hot metal to be stretched into extremely thin insulated wires which are a mere 20 microns thick. These wires can be used to make a lattice attached to landing pads and microprocessors which can make electrical contact with a huge number of brain cells simultaneously and record their activity.
Angle hopes that this invention could eventually be developed to penetrate the speech center of the brain and allow the words that the person are thinking of to be translated via a microprocessor. If this first stage of development is indeed successful, then neuroscientists are presented with boundless opportunities for utilizing this technology. It is believed that the invention could knit together sensory stimuli or even generate consciousness itself.