Upgrading our Eyeballs

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Blade Runner

“If only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes”

-Roy Batty, “Blade Runner”

Well, maybe we can soon.  Recently, DARPA’s (Defense Research Projects Agency) own Director, Dr. Arati Prabhakar opened a BIT (Biology Is Technology) event in which she spoke about DARPA’s initiative to take big chances managing risk and developing high technology.  Their new BTO (Biotechnology Program Office) is headed by practicing Army medical doctor, Dr. Geoff Ling.  Program Manager, Phillip Alvelda, unveiled the “cortical modem”.

The Cortical Modem is a direct neural interface that will allow a visual display of information.  Basically, Google Glass or the Oculus Rift without the headgear.  The first steps of creating this device are with the goal of a cost effective solution (around $10 worth of parts) in developing a neural based display device.  Using Optogenetics, based on the works of Karl Deisseroth, the initial goal is to create something that would be reminiscent of an early LED alarm clock.  Optogenetics uses light to control neurons which have been genetically sensitized to light.  This technology would allow read and write information to occur.  The implications range from restoring eyesight to true augmentation.

 

Related article on Eye Hacking 

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Andrew Bliss is an award winning film maker and photographer with experience in writing, directing, producing, editing, and visual effects. He has lived all over the world including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Italy. He is a first generation Indonesian and a second generation Fin. He has over six years experience as a US Navy broadcast journalist. While in the Navy, he graduated top of his class, won several awards for his work in Europe and Africa, managed Marines at Combat Camera at the Pentagon, and produced a feature film. The film was produced in Italy while on active duty.

Prior to serving in the Navy, Andrew was a professional martial artist with numerous awards including Athlete of the Year (1999), International Champion (two years in a row), and was the first competitor to place first in seven events in international competition (two years in a row). He trained with the prestigious Beijing Wushu team and has over ten years experience as a coach and mentor.

After serving in the Navy, he taught for Apple, made several award winning short films, and earned a degree in Interactive Design. He is also an alumnus of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.