ION CHIP INTERFACES WITH HUMAN CELLS FOR SCI-FI RESULTS
A bioelectronic engineer, Klas Tybrandt of Linkoping University in Sweden, has built the first “ion transistor” computer chip, which uses chemical ions and biological molecules as charge carriers instead of electrons.
Why is this significant? Well, in this case, acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter that activates muscles. When you think about moving your arm, the message travels along your nervous system until it reaches your bicep, where a neuron transmits an acetylcholine ion to a nearby muscle cell. Tybrandt’s ion logic chip could be wired into your nervous system, and take over if something goes wrong — or, in true computer fashion, perhaps the chip could offer a level of muscle accuracy and flexibility that the default human nervous system isn’t capable of. For paralyzed people, this chip might be able to restore lost movement.
In theory, it might be possible to one day implant an ion chip into your brain that monitors levels of epinephrine (adrenaline), and triggers various parts of your brain or the release of other neurotransmitters in response. Perhaps a HUD would pop up your contact lens display asking “You seem to be preparing for fight or flight. Do you wish to cancel this autonomic response? Y/N.”