Table of Contents The Brain Spring 2012

SPRING_SIP_2012

In modern culture, a human that is half machine seems to be either a marvel or a monster. But the cyborg future is already here, and it's both amazing and more workaday than we'd imagined.

The next stage of brain-computer interactions won't involve humanoids that speak in a monotone or folks who run so fast their legs become invisible. Instead, it will look more like the equally incredible, present-day projects we describe in this special issue of Discover: helmets that let soldiers communicate telepathically, devices that enable a paralyzed person to operate a computer with their thoughts, and artificial intelligence designed to emulate the way our brain thinks. 

The era of mind+machine is here. 

Order this issue
Digital editions

FEATURES

soldier

The U.S. Army wants to train soldiers to communicate just by thinking. 

poker

IBM's supercomputer may have defeated the Jeopardy! champs, but with talents such as bluffing, lying, and intuition, humans trounce computers in many other matchups. 

smelling-flower

The human sense of smell is surprisingly accurate, but odors are enigmatic and hard to describe. A new odor yardstick could resolve the paradox of smell.

rave

The fit young man in the ER had seizures, then stopped breathing. What's wrong with his brain is a complete mystery — until his friends admit what really happened last night. 

left-brain-right-brain

Our left hemisphere tweaks the facts, spins the story, and allows us to feel like we're in charge, experiments with split-brain patients reveal.

IronMan

Nobody has yet built a crime-fighting robot suit, but brain-machine interfaces may soon give reality to some related fantasies. 

face-collage

Don't I know you? Humans have an extraordinary talent for recognizing and remembering subtle details that distinguish one mug from another. The trick may be in the way our brains encode "face space."

chimps-smiling

Little-known fact: The naturalist also launched the science of emotions. 

neurons

A biomaterials engineer is working on a way to fix the cells in our brain that don't heal on their own. 

DEPARTMENTS

brainsong

By listening to the chatter of cells, neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinás has discovered that our brains do not simply react to the world. They actively create it. 

artificial-intelligence

The next wave of intelligent devices will think as our brains do — and leave computers in the dust, says device pioneer.

consciousness

The author and neuroscientist engage in a dialogue about how we know, what we feel, and how we understand ourselves. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
DSCSeptCover
+

Log in to your account

X
Email address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it emailed to you.

Not registered yet?

Register now for FREE. It takes only a few seconds to complete. Register now »