Scientists of the DARPA, the US Defense Research Projects Agency, have recently proposed a “cortical modem” which can give users a Terminator like vision. The new technology can make you forget augmented reality, smart glasses and even the recently released Microsoft Hololens. The modem can be plugged into your DNA and visual cortex, which helps in curing sight loss and the users can see a head-up display right in front of their eyes. Let us find out how this concept works.
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The Cortical Modem Concept
The concept of cortical modem was presented by Philip Alveda from DARPA at a recent event held in Silicon Valley. The agency foresees the device offering an augmented reality projection or a heads-up display in the user’s line of vision. No smart glasses or helmet or other devices are required to view this projection.
The short-term plan of the agency is to create a tiny device which has a size of around 2 coins and would provide a heads-up display, which would be somewhere around a LED alarm clock’s level. The cost might be about $10.
Restoring Sight with Optogenetics
The cortical modem is embedded in the field of optogenetics and might be able to restore sight of people suffering from sight loss. This young field of study involves the analysis and control of specified cells in living tissue. This is done by throwing light on the cells. As light-responsive proteins are included in the living beings’ brains, scientists can turn neurons on or off with precision. This will then help them study neurological activity and likely control that activity and in the process, help them in sorting neurological disorders. The same process could potentially help the cortical modem to restore sight among people.
Optogenetics test is yet to be carried out on human beings. To test, it would require exploring the DNA in the neurons of the subject. This is not something which is a matter of joke and will require lots of preparation before such tests are carried out.
Though a futuristic concept, we can hope that the cortical modem will help in providing sight to the visually impaired people sometime in the future.
What do you think about the concept? Can it become a reality? We would love to hear your views.