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Discussion

There are many public and private sectors attempting to develop these new HBMI technologies. Many of the more renowned universities such as Caltech, MIT, Cambridge, and Brown have devoted time and effort into this science. Public universities such Duke and the University of Arizona are also very much involved. It seems everyone wants to be a part of this future breakthrough. There are far too many people and their respective works to list. These studies include but are not limited to control of robotics, such as an arm, brain representation, or a visual of the data in the form of charts and graphs, and communications [1].

For now, there are too many questions in terms of neurobiological functions to expect any major HBMI integration immediately. However, the significant progress is being made in the field and it is not unreasonable to expect some fruition of this technology in the future [2].

HBMI technology is actually currently in limited use right now in the form of cochlear implants. Hearing implants do not simply amplify sounds, since it would be useless to those who have completely lost their hearing. Instead, electrodes are implanted to replace those lost or damaged ones. A receiver is attached to the implants which picks up sounds and transmits them into coordinated electronic signals. These signals are different from those of the biological ear. So, in a sense, the person with the implant must “relearn” to hear again [3]

These hearing impaired patients could be considered the humans which have been tested. For now, direct contact with the brain is limited to those of animals, such as monkeys [4].

The possibilities of HBMI technologies are limitless. Possible HMBI uses are type 1 HBMI, which is the direct stimulation of the brain. Examples would be suppressing disorders such as Parkinson’s, and epileptic seizures. Type 2 HBMI would be sampling or translating brain activity. Brain activity can be shown in the form of electrical signals. These signals can are then relayed to the limb or body part which the person or animal even, would like to use. So it can be concluded that these signals can also be used to control electronics, such as a prosthetic limb. Like the cochlear implants, the prosthetic limb must be “relearned” in order to be used. In fact, the neurons which had originally controlled the arm is not necessary to control the limb, other neurons can be trained to move it. Also, the neurons which were used for the lost limb still sends signals when the brain wants to, but cannot move a lost limb [2].

So, in closing, HBMI technology should be important to everyone. Not only can it replace what has been lost, but it can also greatly enhance the lives of everyone. Again, the “hybrid” part of HBMI means that people and machines work in unison. Our uncanny ability to learn combined with our own circuit board, the brain, can lead to the control of any complex machine by the use of trained neurons. After all, isn’t technology our way of building on what nature gave us?

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