3417Re: [mythsoc] Another article on monkey's heads
- May 6, 2001Try =this= one on for size:
Professor set to 'control' wife by cyborg implant
Roger Dobson <mailto:roger.dobson@...>
SURGEONS are preparing to create the first husband and wife cyborgs:
they intend to implant computer chips in a British professor and his
wife to see if they can communicate sensation and movement by thought
The professor hopes it will show how two brains can interact; doctors at
Stoke Mandeville hospital, who will perform the surgery, hope it will
lead to new treatments for paralysis victims.
In the experiment Kevin Warwick, professor of cybernetics at Reading
University, and his wife, Irena, will have silicon chips about 2in long
implanted in their arms just above the elbow. Each chip will also have a
power source, a tuner and a radio transceiver. They will be surgically
connected to nerve fibres in the couple's arms.
The signals from Warwick will be converted to radio waves and
transmitted to a computer which will re- transmit them to the chip in
Irena. Warwick believes that when he moves his own fingers, his brain
will also be able to move Irena's.
They may even be able to communicate anger and excitement, because
emotions also stimulate nerve activity. "It is like putting a plug into
the nervous system," said Warwick.
"If I move my left index finger by sending signals to move the muscles,
those signals will also be transmitted to Irena's nervous system. We
know the signal is transmissable. The question is whether it will be
recognised in the same way by Irena."
The signal could reach Irena's brain as well as her fingers. Not
surprisingly she is wary, "I have mixed feelings because I'm worried
about the operation, being under an anaesthetic," she said. "On the
other hand, it is exciting." Apart from the novelty and excitement, she
does not want her husband to be "linked up to another woman".
Ali Jamous, the surgeon who will lead the operation on the couple, says
the technology may one day help people who are paralysed by spinal cord
damage. "The nerves in the leg below the lesion are still working but
cannot make contact with the brain," he said. "If we could transmit that
signal from one side of the lesion to the other, you could bypass the
With Warwick he aims to connect both motor and sensory nerves to the
chip in the hope that signals from one or both will prove transmissable.
"It should work because the basic science is good," he said.
Ian Pearson, who studies emerging technologies for British Telecom, says
several centres are researching cyborgs: "The aim is to control
computers and other equipment through direct links to the brain. It is
control by thought and I know the military are very interested."
At Massachusetts Institute of Technology in America, cyborg research is
concentrated mainly on wearable computers. These can be set in clothing
fabric like a printed circuit, or worn as a pair of spectacles that can
project images onto the eye.
However, Warwick, who hopes to undergo the operation in September,
believes he is in the vanguard: "I think we have a window of a few
months and we will be the first." Provided he does not fall out with his
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