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The Brain Port, neural tongue interface of the future

Ryan Block, @ryan
04.25.06
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Seems like every distant vision of the future has man jacking into his gear via some crazy head gear or a plug on the back of the neck or head. We just take it for granted that yeah, that's the fastest way to get to the brain: through the stem or straight into the cortex. Well, think again, because the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition's 30-year neural interface project is yielding fruit -- the kind you can taste. Their Brain Port machine / sensory interface uses 144 microelectrodes to transmit information through sensitive nerve fibers in your lingua, enabling devices to supplement your own sensory perception. The system, which is getting shown off to Navy and Marine Corps divers next month will supposedly have sonar integration for sub-aqueous orientation, but has already apparently given some landlubber blind people the ability to catch balls, "notice" others walking in front of them, and find doors. With IR, radar, sonar, and other forms of detection, the researchers believe this device will obsolete night vision -- even our own eyes -- sooner than later.

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