TEDxWarwick - Kevin Warwick - Implants & Technology -- The Future of Healthcare?

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 22.03.2012

We're living in momentous times.
Now, I don't know whether you know
but this is a world first -- the TED conferences
go all over the world, all different countries --
this is the very very first time --
normally you take a place name,
normally you take a university name --
this is the very first time a TED
has ever been named after a person
and -- (Laughter) (Applause)
I just wanted to say, it's a fantastic honour.
We mentioned before Sheldon, and I just want to say
there's never yet been a TEDxCooper
so, Sheldon Cooper, eat your heart out.
What we're gonna be looking at today --
yeah, plugging your brains into a network,
what's the possibility
both from a healthcare point of view
and in terms of -- maybe some of you feel quite bored
being a human, quite limited in what you can do
and particularly your brain doesn't perform how it should,
so, what are the possibilities of an upgrade.
We should start tho, on the back of healthcare
but as we gonna see it's a lot more than that
-- implants and things like that.
Class II sounds quite technical.
In fact, what the Class II implants is
for those of you that don't know --
This is a younger version of me,
way back, the last millenium
and my G. P. so this is was all done in the National Health.
And what I'm having implanted is this little device
-- not the thing on the left hand side.
This is this quaint currency we still have.
The thing on the right hand side --
a radiofrequency identification device.
I had this implanted,
because various people, Peter Cochrane, who's a head
of B. T. research labs was saying,
"In the future we are not gonna need passports,
we are not gonna need credit cards --
What we will have is a little implant under the skin."
But nobody had actually tried it until this particular experiment.
Now what it did for me was, in my doorways --
I'm from Reading University.
Is there anybody else here from Reading?
Audience: Yeah!
Kevin Warwick: Oh, come on! (Laughter)
Anybody else here from Reading?
(Clamor) Yay, there we go!
It needed a bit of warming up there, I think.
In my building, Cybernetic building at Reading,
we've got coils of wire in the door frames.
and if you have an implant of this type
and you walk through the door frames
then current is induced in the [implant],
transmits a singal back to the coils, which are linked
to the computer. And what it did for me was, as I walked
down the corridor, the lights came on, just for me,
walking to my laboratory, the door opened
-- I mean, it's really cool stuff.
Coming in the doors, says, "Hello, Professor Warwick."
All fantastic stuff.
And various people said, "Uh, who's ever gonna want
to have anything like that?" No!
Is anybody here got a cat or a dog
with a chip implanted?
It's all right, you can speak!
Is anybody out there?
You can rest assured, that this was fully tested
on humans before your animal -- (Laughter)
So no need to worry at all.
There's actually a night club -- I know
in the academic world we can't afford those things --
but, there's a night club in Barcelona,
there's another one in Rotterdam,
called the Baja Beach club, and if you go there
they actually send you around the corner
and you can get one of these things --
a smaller version, don't worry it's not that big --
implant it, and then when you go in the night club
you don't have to pay for your drinks directly.
It's automatically charged to your implant.
I'm serious! Try it, try it.
Good advert for the Baja Beach club.
That's implant number 1.
I'm going to flick on to "Regulation"
because some of you may think this isn't going anywhere.
Well, in the United States, they have,
for people with diabetes and with epilepsy,
they can have this thing implanted.
And now, under Barack Obama, the healthcare rules
that you have to have it regulated.
Even with the possibility that you may have to have
one implanted. We'll see where that goes.
But I'm going to take you, right up to date,
to what some of my students are doing.
This is the sort of implant you could try yourself.
This is Jawish, he's one of my students.
I've got three students now, that have had magnets
implanted in their fingertips
for part of their degree courses that they are doing, my students.
We have to get ethical approval from the university
to do this sort of thing.
And you may notice -- I'm supposed to stay
on this red carpet but I'm going to zip up
for a moment, 'cos you may notice here
the guy who's doing the implant
has tatoos on his arm. That's because he is
a tatoo artist, that's what he does.
And he goes by the name -- this is serious
he goes by the name of "Dr. Evil".
Now, we have to fill in a form for the university
that says who is carrying out the medical procedure.
Yeah. I mean, they can be really awkward over it, I have to say.
This is an X-ray of Jawish's fingertips.
You can see the magnets implanted.
Now what we are doing -- now, on the baseball cap
he's got ultrasonic sensors and the output
from those sensors is fed down
to a little coil of wire around the magnet.
And what happens, as an object comes closer,
the current in the coil is changed,
so the magnet vibrates more
the closer an object is, and less
as the object is further away.
So essentially Jawish can feel
how far objects are away. So it's sensory substitution.
Now, Ian Harrison, one of my PhD students with me now,
he's linked up to an infrared sensor.
So he has magnets implanted.
Now, infrarred is like a heat signal.
So what he can do is remotely feel how hot objects are.
So if you can get the audience, you can point,
"Ah, you are hotter than you, you are hotter --"
I mean, in a temperature sense.
Don't sort of stalk me or something like that, because I'm --
particularly the guys here, I really didn't mean it.
But, you see, the military aplication for this is immediate.
If you are a soldier and you are about
to go into a room, and you don't know whether
there's anybody there or not,
you can simply push your finger around the corner
and scan, "Ah! There's somebody over there!"
You know exactly where they are, but also
how hot they are, for what use that is.
This is Ashley and he's doing some work
-- a guy, Paul Bach-y-Rita, originally did this
-- and it's actually sending little stimulating pulses
into his tongue, to communicate in a new way.
This is interesting, because people have never tried
this before. If you actually tried it,
very quickly you'd be able to pick up
and pick up letters and signs --
So it's a new way of communicating.
But the interesting thing is, if he sends
a particular -- let's say, a triangle --
a particular shape, then the person
even if they haven't tried it before,
will say, "Yes, that's a triangle."
But if we ask them
to draw the triangle, then some people will draw it
the right way up, some people draw it upside down
and sideways, all sorts of different dimensions to it.
We are not sure why. It is the routing
from the tongue up to the brain is very very rapid
and people can learn to use it to communicate very quickly.
But there seems to be a particular way that it's wired
that we have a lot to learn about.
So it's one of those things with the research,
you end with more questions than you started with.
Now, some of you -- this is where
if you want to go ahead with this,
it could be dangerous for you now, but it might be something
you want to do when you are technically dead.
So, it's the sort of thing to put, not before, but as I die,
could I try this, please.
And that is, when you think of a robot,
you think of either a computer-controlled device,
or perhaps something that's remote-controlled.
Well, what we are developing are robots with their own brains.
And, what we do -- you see, on the right hand side
of the picture here, is the physical robot.
I mean, typically, because it is a laboratory
and there we use a little robot on wheels.
It has ultrasonic sensors.
just like we saw on the baseball cap.
But the brain of the robot is not a computer.
The thing that says MEA is Multi-Electrode Array
that's all right, you don't have to learn this.
I'm not gonna test you on it later on.
What does it say? (Laughter)
About two people. Yes. All right.
What is Multi-Electrode Array?
What it actually is, is a little dish
on the bottom of which are electrodes.
What we do is take brain cells
from rat embryos, separate them, and then
squeeze them into this little dish, and grow them.
We have to feed them using minerals and nutrients
-- a little pink liquid that is amazingly expensive
in comparison with Lucozade -- oh, advertising again
I shouldn't say it. But it does roughly the same stuff.
And they are kept in an incubator, at 37ÂșC
That's where they grow. And then we link them up
to a robot body. So the physical body of the robot
is a technological body, but the brain
is a biological brain that's growing.
And what we are looking at, is trying to figure out
particularly how memories appear in the brain.
How it learns and adapts and so on and so forth.
We can see -- witness it learning
simple tasks at the present time.
Importantly, at the moment, the rat brain robot,
as it were, has about 100,000 brain cells.
Where us humans have -- how many brain cells do we have?
Audience: Six.
Kevin Warwick: Six! This is a Manchester United supporter, obviously.
(Laughter) (Applause)
Don't clap on this stuff, isn't scientific!
So, any advance on six?
Audience: A billion.
KW: A billion. I mean, it depends.
Most of us have a hundred billion.
I thought, "No, who counted this?"
Americans say it's two hundred billion,
but that's -- you know -- that's them, obviously.
For the rest of us is a hundred billion.
So we are talking here of 100,000.
We're now growing these things --
this is the little dish on the left hand side.
That's where they grow. We have to keep it moist
and so on, it can't let it dehydrate.
The right hand side are the electrodes, there you see.
And the neurons grow in there, link up with each other.
It's quite amazing, these brain cells!
You put them down, they've got no connections.
Within a few minutes you can see them putting out
what look like tentacles.
And these tentacles then start linking up --
You have to try this! Take a few
of your brain cells out tonight, try and see --
They start linking up with each other very quickly
to form the dendrites and the axons,
the inputs and the outputs.
And with just over a week gone,
we've got this brain-like activity
that we can use for the robot.
And what we are using now, not just rat neurons
but we are growing in three dimensions,
which takes the number up to 30 million,
and we are also using human neurons,
because it links more closely to memories
and things like that. So it's exciting research,
and something you could do
in the future, if you want.
Deep Brain Stimulation is a medical process
that's used to help people with Parkinson's Disease.
You can see, it actually involves electrodes
positioned in the central area of the brain.
And what we are doing -- This is typically
the sort of information that we have.
The top line is the electrical activity in the brain
as a patient -- this is from an actual patient --
experiences the sort of tremors that occur
with Parkinson's Disease.
So the bottom line is the muscular activity.
And what we are trying to do is use artificial intelligence
to learn to recognize the electrical activity
so that, with the stimulators -- At the moment
the battery only lasts about two years
and it has to be replaced.
We are trying to make the battery to last lot longer
by making the stimulator intelligent,
so it only stimulates when it needs to stimulate.
So what the artificial intelligence system does
is actually predict from the electrical activity
when tremors are going to start, and then
it stimulates just when it needs to.
if you see what I mean. So it's to save the battery.
Now the final area -- you may be all been waiting for this.
Those of you that are already enhanced, probably would say,
"Oh dear, we know all that."
But there's other possibilities, if you thought,
"Why should I bother with enhancement."
I've just gone through them quickly.
Memory, obviously, we forget all sorts of things.
Communication is the big one, because, I'm sure anybody,
all of us here, anybody [who] uses a computer
is really embarrassed in how they have to communicate.
Because, compared to technology, how we communicate
is absolutely pathetic, isn't it, we have to admit.
Highly complex electrochemical signals
-- thoughts, images, concepts, emotions --
and when we want to communicate
those to somebody else, what do we do
we convert them into mechanical pressure waves.
Oh dear -- And then (Laughter)
those signals travel very slowly
and somebody's ears will pick them up,
convert these mechanical signals back
into electrochemical signals --
What century are we living in here?
The possibility of communicating
directly from brain to brain --
we have to be working on that sort of thing
so we can communicate not in terms
of this simple coded messages
but in terms of images and thoughts
and emotions and feelings.
Anybody that's been married
now twenty, thirty years,
you have no idea what it is
your spouse is trying to tell you. If your brain
was linked up you'd know exactly.
If she's saying to you, "Yeah that's great, that's great."
Now you'd actually know whether it's great, it's great.
What I've done about this -- well this is
the Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
That's me on the operating table.
This was two hours of neurosurgery to have
this little thing implanted into my nervous system.
It's called the Utah Array, because that's
where it comes from --that's Utah, not Array.
There's no place called Array.
And it's got one hundred spikes on it.
The electrodes [are] two micrometers -- they are very very small,
but that's same sort of size as nerve fibers
and brain cells, that sort of thing.
And this was fired into the median nerves of my left arm
and it was there for just over three months
for the purpose of the experiment.
Now, what could we do with it, in terms
of the different experiments, 'cos partly
was partly looking at, could we use this technology
to help people who are paralyzed or have difficulties in that way.
But also where could we go with enhancement.
And we saw earlier,
Jawish feeling ultrasonic signals,
feeling distance. One of the things
that I was able to do, was to feel distance,
but this time more directly.
It took me six weeks to learn to recognize pulses
that we were inputting into my nervous system
and when we did this experiment,
as an object came closer, my brain
was receiving pulses of current that increased
in frequency the closer an object came
and then decreased as the object moved further away.
So with a blindfold on, I was able to detect objects
and could detect pretty accurately
if they moved closer or further away.
This is my wife, Irina, who is with me today.
She helped in a number of ways with the experiment
the jewellry was put together by a student
of the Royal College of Art. So you see,
students can do useful things.
Just, you know, take it as an inspiration.
The jewellry changes color from red to blue.
It was linked to my nervous system
which I could, open and it's blue,
close my hand and it's red.
But if you can imagine now the best way --
If I'm calm and relaxed the jewellry is blue
and if I get excited, the jewellry starts flashing red.
Now she didn't work in the university
and if you could imagine there, she's in her office
and she's working around, and the jewellry is blue,
"Fine, he's not doing anything he shouldn't,"and then
it starts flashing red, "What is he doing?!
And more importantly, who is he doing it with?"
How she could be so suspicious, I don't know.
This was taken at Columbia University, New York.
And, if any of you have been there --
A film box here -- What film was filmed at Columbia University?
Ah! Brilliant! Got it. Yes. Be louder.
Audience: Ghostbusters.
Kevin Warwick: Thank you very much, excellent.
You win a Jamboree bag, ready for you are the back.
Ghostbusters was filmed -- they also do research there.
Sometimes. Sorry, Columbia.
What we did was plug my nervous system
live into the Internet, and linked up to a robohand
which was back at Reading University in England.
So when I moved my hand in New York, my brain signals
went across the Internet to move the robohand.
When it gripped an object signals were sent back
across the Internet, so that I could feel how much force
the robohand was applying on another continent.
So one thing with this technology, you extend your body.
Your brain and your body do not have to be
in the same place. So, go for it.
The final clip, which for me was the biggest thing
This is my wife again, now what she had
-- you can try this tonight, just push some electrodes
into your nervous system. (Laughter)
It goes by the name of "microneurography",
so it sounds great. What it is, though --
is you will find it's extremely painful.
(Laughter) We thought that she was going to have
some anesthetic but the doctor said,
"No no no, I need to make sure I made a good contact."
So he pushed the electrode in, she screamed,
and the doctor said, "Ah, I think we made a good contact there."
We actually pushed two electrodes in,
went back to the lab, and linked
our nervous systems together electrically.
So when she moved her hand, my brain received the pulse.
So what we did was a telegraphic communication.
She went, tick, tick, tick,
and my brain received, tick, tick, tick.
So it was a telegraphic communication directly
nervous system to nervous system.
That's what we actually achieved.
Now where we go from here, clearly
is brain to brain communication.
Implants in one person's brain, another brain,
and let's communicate in a much more effective way
directly brain to brain. I have to say
my wife Irina, for some reason
feels that's a little bit dangerous, I'm not sure why.
So presently I'm looking for a volunteer,
so if there's anybody (Laughter) anybody there
that doesn't mind having a brain implant
and would like to communicate in a whole new way --
I know it's only my thoughts
that you are gonna be receiving, but that's just the start.
So I will leave you, thank you very much,
and if any of you want to volunteer, please let me know.