Imagine a technology which lets you upload knowledge directly to your brain.
That sort of innovation, similar to what the fictional character Neo used in “The Matrix,” would make learning instantaneous and might even render traditional schools obsolete.
That’s a future that Dr. Matthew Phillips and his team of investigators from HRL’s Information & System Sciences Laboratory are aiming to achieve with new software that they claim can directly feed information into the human brain.
Currently in its initial stages, the technology aims to enable the mind to learn new skills in a relatively shorter amount of time.
“Our system is one of the first of its kind. It’s a brain stimulation system,” explained Phillips.
“The specific task we were looking at was piloting an aircraft, which requires a synergy of both cognitive and motor performance.”
In their study, they copied electric signals in the brain of a trained pilot and uploaded them into subjects who were learning to be pilots themselves via a computer flight simulator.
The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, revealed that the participants who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps learned faster, improving their piloting abilities 33% better than a group without the head caps.
Phillips understands that people may think the technology is too far out.
“It sounds kind of sci-fi, but there’s large scientific basis for the development of our system,” he said.
He added: “When you learn something, your brain physically changes. Connections are made and strengthened in a process called neuro-plasticity.”
“It turns out that certain functions of the brain, like speech and memory, are located in very specific regions of the brain, about the size of your pinky.”
In the very near future, Phillips sees their brain stimulation technology being implemented for more common and useful tasks such as language learning, driving and even exams.