Posted on Sep 24, 2018, 12 a.m.
Just as in the sci-fi classic The Matrix feeding knowledge directly in to the brain could soon take as much effort as falling to sleep, according to researchers from HRL Laboratories, as published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Researchers have claimed to been able to develop a simulator that can feed information directly into the brain and teach them new skills in a shorter amount of time in a manner they describe as life imitating art, and believe could be the first step towards developing advanced software that will make science fiction Matrix style instant learning a science reality.
HRL Laboratory researchers suggest that they have found a way to amplify learning, only on a less grander scale then in the movie where the stars learn in mere seconds after data is uploaded straight into the brain.
Electric signals in the brain were studied from trained pilots and then the data was fed into novice subjects as they learned how to pilot an aeroplane in realistic flight simulators. Subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode embedded head caps were found to have had improved pilot abilities and learnt tasks 33% better than the placebo group.
There is a scientific basis for the development of the system: When learning something the brain physically changes, connections are made and strengthened which is called neuroplasticity; certain functions of the brain are located in specific regions of the brain. Piloting an aircraft requires synergy of both cognitive and motor performance, researchers say that this system targets those changes specific to those regions of the brain as you learn.
The method is old and was used by Egyptians 4000 years ago by using electric fish to stimulate and reduce pain. Scientific investigation of these methods started early in the 2000s building on that research to target and personalise stimulation in the most safe and effective way possible.
The team believes their system of brain stimulation may eventually be implemented for learning tasks such as learning to drive, languages, and exam preparation. Each brain is different when performing tasks. Brain stimulation conducted in a controlled environment by trained medical professionals has been found to be effective at improving learning.
Science fiction, science hopeful, or science fact, only time will tell, the implications are vast.
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