When brains and computers meet
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Are cyborgs now reality? Elon Musk certainly thinks so. His company, Neuralink, has successfully implanted one of its wireless brain chips in a human. Although billed as a breakthrough, they’re not the first to do it. In fact, similar devices have already been implanted, all with the aim of connecting our brains to computers with the aim of tackling complex neurological conditions. Joining Inside Science is neuroscientist and author, Dean Burnett. In this episode, Dean helps to break down the technology behind the brain-computer interface and digs into the ethical implications. Plus, game changing smart technology gets a run out as Rugby Union’s Six Nations Championship kicks-off. This year, all players will be wearing “Smart Mouth Guards.” These are intelligent gum shields containing miniature gyroscopes, accelerometers and Bluetooth, which provide - with incredible accuracy - a measure of the magnitude and frequency of forces experienced by players. An athlete making their international debut in this competition could have their entire collision history mapped from now until retirement, providing invaluable information for training and treatments. Crucial not only for elite squads, but ultimately for community and schools rugby where the technology will eventually land, leading to a safer game. And finally, it turns out that we can actually understand chickens even if we’ve never met them before! After assessing a group of around 200 volunteers, a team at the University of Queensland has discovered that humans with no experience of chickens at all, could understand the birds’ calls of satisfaction, or frustration. The research has serious implications for what’s known as precision farming, an area of livestock farming with little, to no, human interaction that requires automated systems of welfare detection using sound recognition. Presenter: Victoria Gill Producers: Louise Orchard, Florian Bohr, Alice Lipscombe-Southwell Editor: Martin Smith Production Co-ordinator: Jana Bennett-Holesworth  BBC Inside Science is produced in collaboration with the Open University.
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