A compelling encore to inventing the Internet appears more elusive for DARPA with each passing day. But what if they could put the Internet in your brain? That might turn some heads. Before anyone gets around to that, it would seem prudent to try to put just a single idea into a mind — a single memory, skill, or replay of some notable event. With a news release announced yesterday, DARPA intends to do just that.
The solicitation is for a two-year research program to develop what they are calling RAM Replay, or implants for ‘Restoring Active Memory’. This concept has not been hatched in full form out of thin air, but rather builds on a succession of recent projects to build an interface that is active at the level of the conscious mind — a cognitive implant, if you will. Just this February DARPA sponsored a meeting in the Silicon Valley area where they discussed futuristic conceptions for what they call a cortical modem.
In its rawest form, they imagine such a cortical modem might be a $10 device the size of a couple of coins. It would enable a visual impression to be perceived by appropriate stimulation of the visual cortex. That’s a tall order, but perhaps a bit more modest then their previous REMIND (Restorative Encoding Memory Integration Neural Device) project, which would be nothing short of a full-blown memory prosthesis that jacks into the hippocampus.
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