Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hacking the Brain

An article at suggests that the brain is the next great hacking frontier and contemplates the possibilities for securing neural interface devices. The article focuses on the lack of attention being paid to creating robust security for such hardware as deep brain stimulators used to treat a variety of illnesses, or for the systems being developed that would allow an amputee to mentally control a prosthetic limb. Anyone else saying "story goldmine"? Whether you have a character hacking a cyborg's interfaces in order to commit third person murder, or a futuristic tech shop specializing in security layers for people whose neural implants weren't entirely on the up and up, or whether you character is a hacker who happens , one day, to drop into the wrong brain - there's far too much fun to be had here. In fiction. In reality, I'd rather know that anything wired directly into my brain was safe against some malicious git who thinks it's amusing to enslave a bunch of brain-wired people and turn them into gold farmers.


  1. I can see lots of story ideas unfolding in my head as I read this. In fact it might fit in well with the current plot of my WIP. I am going to read the article and look at this from all angles to see if it will work. If not then I will file it away for later contemplation.
    Thanks for pointing this out. It will come in handy if not immediately then later.


  2. >>character is a hacker who happens , one day, to drop into the wrong brain >>>

    Oh, I like this one!

  3. Definitely some exciting muse-fodder, Marcella. I've brushed upon some of these ideas and concepts in my novels. That's why I love writing SFR. The possibilities are endless and awe-inducing.

  4. So, I was in the dentist's office the other day, waiting for them to finish removing my son's wisdom teeth and I picked up a National Geographic. I read an article on cybergentics and how scientists are using the electrical impulses our muscles give off to rewire the nerves of severed limbs to a prothesis that operates on mind control. That's right. You think and it happens. There was this kindergarten teacher that uses her arm--opens and closes her fingers and twists her wrist all by thinking about it. They use the disconnected nerves that often trigger the feelings of a phantom limb and stick external electrodes on the body that pick up electrical pulses and reconnect the nerve to a limb. Even if it's not flesh and bone, the brain can't tell and it sends the same messages down nerves to the artifical limbe. The electrode that have mini-computers in them that take the signals from the severed limbs and translate it. They've even attached these processers to the heads of people affected by spinal injuries and they believe they may be able to rewire so they can walk.
    They have bionic hearing, bionic's amazing. There is also an Army vet who had both his legs blown off in Irac who is using the cyber-tech to walk, run and do everything he did before all the way he did when he had limbs.
    It was a mind-blowing article, worth checking out. Can't remember what month, but I believe it was a 2010 edition. What's interesting is that I've been working on a story with an artifical spine that is an external electrode that rewires a disabled heroine's nervous system after she's injured in an air raid. This has been an ongoing novel for the last two years.

  5. Oh darn! The rest of you have found my goldmine.
    This is the technological bases of my of my writing. I've extended the technology of prosthetics to the use of remote robots. I've got people doing repairs from the other side of a planet. It does present outsourcing in a new manner, but I'm not taking it that way.

    I do have a virus attacking the brain implants.
    A big challenge for me is how to bring the reader up to speed on how the technology works. Readers so far are largely unaware of what is bing done with this. I often have to teach readers the vocabulary and concepts behind such technology. It's a challenge to show that a robot is opperated by remote control instead of being entirely independent. Technically such a device is a telechiric not a robot, but readers don't know the word. Another word is telehaptics which is remote sensation of touch. I think eventually these words will become as familiar as television and telephone.


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