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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Soul Science God Philosophy > Science and Spiritual Quest > Section 2 Machine, Mind and Consciousness > CONSCIOUSNESS AND BIOELECTRIC NEURAL CIRCUITRY > 1. Introduction

1. Introduction


Researchers are developing novel neuroelectric devices for communicating with neurons in the brain. These devices can stimulate neurons and detect their signals with transducers [1]. Nexuses between a human brain and a robot/machine are of plausible interest to avant-garde neuroscientists. Current applied research in this field includes:


Bionics - the replacement of damaged or amputated body parts with prosthetic limbs connected to and controlled by the human neural network (see Figure 1).

Bioimplantronics - the technology of implanting electronic devices in biological organs.

Neuroelectronics - implanting electrodes in different parts of the brain for electrotherapy, electroencephalography, and neuroprosthetics.



The field of bionics has marked a course of rapid advancement aimed at aiding amputees and the handicapped with artificial limbs just as real in their functions as the original (see Figure 2). Amputees will soon be able to control robotic limbs by just thinking through the motions [2].

Circuitry implanted in the body is not science fiction, but an everyday fact of life. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the implantation of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags in human subjects. The tags have been used as "e-passports" in the past and more recently are being employed as "e-keys," patient identification records, and identity tracking chips [3]. These biological chip implants might in the future integrate directly with the central nervous system so that a soldier with the implant could transmit visual, auditory, or tactile information about the enemy or imminent danger to a main station with just a thought.Could the quest for immortality be satisfied simply by uploading our memory and mind to a terabyte-size data storage mechanism? Does our consciousness permeate brain machine interfaces that allow amputees or locked-in patients to regain limb functionality? Or is our consciousness just a byproduct of neural firings in the bioelectric circuitry of the brain? Before envisioning the challenges and prospects of neuroelectronics, let us first revisit its past, which defined the modern scientific theories of the brain.