Have you ever watched the Matrix and thought that it would be useful to learn new skills, languages and sources of information as Keanu Reeves did instantly?
Well according to Dr. Theodore Berger from the University of Southern California, it’s not that far away from becoming a reality. Scientists at the University have created a chip that allows rats to instantly know things.
After studying the chemical interactions responsible for short-term learning and memorising information in rats, the scientists lead by Dr Berger from Viterbi School of Engineering have built a prosthetic chip which uses electrodes to enhance and expand the capability of memory. It can store neural signals, basically functioning as an electronic memory, allowing rats to learn more and keep it in the devices. Dr Berger’s description of the device is eerie to say the least:
"Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget. These integrated experimental modeling studies show for the first time that with sufficient information about the neural coding of memories, a neural prosthesis capable of real-time identification and manipulation of the encoding process can restore and even enhance cognitive mnemonic processes.”
The team's experiments—which have been in a paper called "A Cortical Neural Prosthesis for Restoring and Enhancing Memory"—could lead to the development of devices that may help people affected by Alzheimer's disease, stroke or other brain injuries. In fact, they are already working on the next step: Reproducing the same result in monkeys.