USA’s military develops brain implant to fix memory

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

brain memories
Our memories work less like a video recorder and more like a puzzle, remembering key pieces of an event.

Whether we like it or not, our memory doesn’t work like a perfect tape recorder. Instead, our ability to remember can be affected by things like past experiences, emotions, and current situations. Sadly, our memory is vulnerable to traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is damage to the brain that makes it difficult to recall stored memories of the past or make new ones. Now, however, the USA’s military is working on a brain chip implant to fix that.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is entrusted with the duty to develop next-generation technology for the military. This includes advanced gadgets called neuroprosthetics – implantable devices that aid with brain-related processes that were either damaged by injury or affected by illness.

DARPA has a whole project dedicated to these brain implants called Restoring Active Memory (RAM), and it aims to help TBI victims get their memories working again. Researchers working on RAM are especially focused on an implant that will charge the brain using electrical impulses. This technique is called deep brain stimulation, and the implant will basically send tiny electrical signals to specific areas of the brain involved in memory formation, storage, and recollection. The idea is that if they can stimulate the correct regions with the appropriate amount of electricity, they can possibly fix the effects of any damage.

There is still a ton of research to be done before the implants are where they need to be, which is why DARPA has selected University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Pennsylvania to conduct more studies on the brain chip.

Featured image courtesy of DARPA.