back to article As we stand on the precipice of science fiction into science fact, people say: Hell yeah, I want to augment my eyesight!

Dude. Imagine, like, if you had – bear with me – a smartphone, right? But, like, in your HEAD?! Disregard the fact we already have nature's most powerful known computer sitting inside our noggins, with processing power that not even a million Arm cores running in parallel can replicate, a study from Kaspersky suggests folk are …

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

      Pascal Monett,

      There are hearing aids implanted in the ear. They're called cochlear implants, and have been around for a couple of decades now.

      There have been several experimental eye implants as well, I remember reading about one guy who went from total blindness to monochrom vision at a resolution of something quite a lot less than VGA. But I've not seen much about it since. Maybe they're still trying to find enough Matrox Millenium cards on eBay?

      In principal I could imagine an implant that would pump glycogen directly into your muscles - which wouldn't give you more strength - but would give you more endurance - so you could say sprint over longer distances.

      But the standard medical implants are things like insulin pumps, pacemakers and the like.

      Though in the more science fiction realms - some artificial limbs are now radio operated. Because the nerves in the amputation site tend to be damaged as well - it's much harder to make a standard operation that utilises them. So instead you chop some nerves that don't do much around the side of the ribs and implant a radio transmitter that they can control. Then do excercises to retrain the brain to use those to control arm muscles instaead, then have a radio controlled robot arm.

      Or there's a Parkinson's Disease thing where you have electrodes into the relevant bits of the brain. Feed current in from an external battery pack and hey presto! Full muscle control. Watching a guy on telly switch that box on and off again 15 years ago totally blew my mind.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

      Not a single word (so far) on Kevin Warwick? What is wrong with you people?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

        Nothing. Though we suspect there's something wrong with him.

        Actually, in recent years quite a few people (dozens, maybe) have had little RFID chips implanted in their hands for using public transport. It's no bigger than the contraceptive implant that many women have in their arms these days.

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime

          Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

          Obligatory XKCD https://xkcd.com/644/

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

        Not a single word (so far) on Kevin Warwick? What is wrong with you people?

        Well I only just got up, having been asleep while all this was going on!

        Ohh look lunchtime.....Time for a beer!

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

      > What would you implant ? I know of nothing that could even begin to do that.

      Read more. It's still cutting edge, but DARPA as well as the fringes of sports training are using electrical current to reduce inflammation and train harder.

    4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

      There are lab experiments trying to allow control of a mouse via thought, but I haven't heard that they're ready for market yet

      I wondered why you would want to control a mouse by thought. It's not like it's a big enough animal to do anything useful for you. In my house they're mostly controlled by mousetraps.

      Then I realised that you might mean a computer mouse. I still can't see any advantage. It would be far more useful to cut out the intermediary and control the screen cursor by thought.

      1. GloomyTrousers
        Pint

        Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

        You pedant.

        ...of which I wholeheartedly approve (as my kids will attest). Top marks, have one on me ->

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "testing the limits of what's possible"

        You misunderstood - the mouse controls you through thought

        It's all part of an experiment to find the question

  1. David Lewis 2
    Alert

    Yes, but No.

    While the concept is not new in the realm of science fiction, has many possible benefits and is probably inevitable, I foresee a huge problem in a real world implementation.

    With embedded augmented reality, this will just mean <$enter ad-flinger of choice> will be able to deliver advertisements directly to your retina.

    Or is this a sales pitch by Kaspersky for a new opportunity for an ad-blocker?

    1. Eclectic Man Bronze badge

      Re: Yes, but No.

      "Huge problem in real world implementation"

      No1: Setting off every security check alarm when entering any venue, airport, football stadium etc.

      Everyone would have to be frisked by a person, so vastly more human security guards will be needed.

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly

      Re: Yes, but No.

      Go read up about Robert Gu's expirence with augmented reality...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_End

  2. Homeboy

    If it can be done, it probably will be done.

    The idea of not just repairing but improving/augmenting our bodies is being research in way too many places for it now not to happen. Whether we ever get as far as some of the SF scenarios of the far distant future is debatable. But there will be folk walking this earth with improved bits and pieces in the fairly close future. Not radical upgrades at first, but that is only a matter of R&D once the problems of integration with the Mark 1 human body have been solved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the Mark 1 human body

      As an amusing bit of pedantry, one might claim the the Mk1 human body originated with genus homo about 2 million years ago, and that each subsequent generation produced new versions. Assuming a 25 year generation (well, I have to assume something), that would suggest we're on about Mark 80k :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        Re: the Mark 1 human body

        Up to Mark 80k? A bit like Windows -still no good

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      On the other hand

      If my increasing deafness could be reversed or even halted, I could listen to Bach and Schubert and Sinatra and Torme and Fitzgerald and Davis and Marsalys and Clapton all day and be very content.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      CSIR Mk 1

      I was born in the year that Australia's CSIR Mk 1 computer was first operational. But besides having vague memories of an Mk 1 computer, I had to search to find the details.

      If I could have my brain augmented to improve my memory I'd do it (as long as it supported an ad blocker). I suspect many aging technophiles would as well.

      I also suspect that I'll be long dead before it's an option.

      What the topic again?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: CSIR Mk 1

        "If I could have my brain augmented to improve my memory I'd do it (as long as it supported an ad blocker). I suspect many aging technophiles would as well."

        Ageing technophiles are the least likely to consider it, I'd have thought, without being sure proper safeguards are in place. Looking at the internet nowadays, implementing and using those safeguards might negate the advantages. Young technophiles, on the other hand....

  3. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Why bother?

    Improving my eyesight would only give me a better view of the misery squalor and degradation that is modern britain, as we plunge headlong into the bleak winter with our international trade ruined, national health service stretched to breaking, food shortages likely, on a train driven blind by the least capable political leadership in living memory. Improved eyesight? All I can see is death. Death death death.

    Have a super day.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Why bother?

      I had to give you an upvote: (a) because you sound in need of cheering up and (b) because you're probably right...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why bother?

      Upvoted, but... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmc819RMVUE

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Why bother?

      Go for a walk in the countryside and try to forget about things for a while. Before it pisses down next week.

      Heck, even a walk in a downpour can be a lovely sensual experience if your boots and jacket are up to the task. You can perhaps feel even more insulated from the horrible wider world than you would on a sunny day. (Waterproof and breathable jacket. Not a cheap one from Mountain Warehouse. Clothing, our species original augmented skin.)

    4. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Why bother?

      "All I can see is death. Death death death."

      Damn you optimists & your shiny happy personalities!

      *Shakes a palsied fist*

      Don't make me call Marvin the Paranoid Android on your butt!

      =-)P

      *Hands you an extra tall tankard of something yummy to drink*

      Drink up. It's not so bad out there. Why, the Vogons aren't due to erase this place for at least a-

      *No Carrier*

    5. DS999

      Re: Why bother?

      I didn't realize Trump campaign ads were airing in the UK as well.

  4. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Terminator

    "No vacuum cleaner should give a human being a double polaroid!"

    "Well, uh, when I was a mechanoid, the right nipple-nut was used to, uh, regulate body temperature, while the left nipple-nut was used mainly to, uh, pick up shortwave radio transmissions. Now, what I'm saying is, no matter how hard I twiddle it, I can't seem to pick up Jazz FM." <LOL>

    I'll agree to getting "enhanced" when they can guarantee, on penalty of THEIR death in case of failure, that what is implanted cannot be hacked, pwned, or otherwise interfered with without my permission. What's that you say? Not a fat chance in hell of that ever happening! Guess I'm going to the grave un- enhanced then. I'll leave the enhancing to those who have a fervent desire to become part of the Borg.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "No vacuum cleaner should give a human being a double polaroid!"

      Classic.

      "How do I zoom in?"

      "Well, you move your head closer to the object"

      "Ah yes, that seems to work"

  5. David Roberts

    Pancreas?

    Nobody so far has mentioned the work towards creating an artificial pancreas.

    So far, insulin pumps linked to blood glucose monitors with some open source software to do the clever bits.

    Each generation should be smaller, cheaper, smarter.

    Permanent implant to cure T1 diabetes would be a major step forward.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pancreas?

      Been holding my breath for 36 years so far....

  6. druck Silver badge
    Happy

    The Six Million Dollar Man

    I'm still waiting for my bionic eye with zoom capability, being to lift up a car with one hand, and to run in slow motion at 60mph.

    1. MisterHappy
      Meh

      Re: The Six Million Dollar Man

      Knowing my luck I'd only be able to afford the upgrade for one leg & be able to walk normally or run really fast in tight circles!

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: The Six Million Dollar Man

        Next time you won't skimp on the insurance premium.

    2. Jay Lenovo
      Trollface

      Re: The Six Million Dollar Man

      Today's version of the "Six Million Dollar Man" is played by a guy who gets two artificial knees, a couple of aspirin, and must fight off collection agencies because six million dollars still hasn't reached his out-of-pocket deductible.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The Six Million Dollar Man

        The downside of PAYG healthcare instead of "free at the point of use"

  7. Eclectic Man Bronze badge

    Pedant Alert

    The article states the humans have the most powerful computers on the planet in their heads.

    However, the average volume of an adult human brain is about 1260 cc.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_size

    The average volume of an adult sperm whale brain is 8000 cc.

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/news-blog/are-whales-smarter-than-we-are/

    There are of course considerations of brain size to body size ratios and folding of the neocortex etc. to be considered, but the Scientific American article shows it is quite a complicated issue, and we simply do not yet know who is the smartest species of them all.

    All I know is that it is Friday, I'm TIRED of Brexit and Covid-19 and my personal brain hurts, and is not feeling very clever at the moment.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Pedant Alert

      Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time.

      But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.

      1. Eclectic Man Bronze badge

        Re: Pedant Alert

        Thumb up, because, well, why didn't I think of that? And you cheered me up, a bit.

        Feeling more and more like a personality prototype. Here I am, brain the size of a planet ....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pedant Alert

      "The article states the humans have the most powerful computers on the planet in their heads".

      Yup. Unfortunately they mostly seem to be running BBC Basic.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Pedant Alert

        Today, mine's been running Windows ME.

  8. Eclectic Man Bronze badge

    On second thoughts...

    The article finishes with "Anyway, when and if we get there, I'll have the one with the extendable [that's quite enough of that – ed]. How about you? "

    Now if we could fit each politician on standing for office with a nose that extends when they lie, that would be a great boon to democracy.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: On second thoughts...

      > fit each politician on standing for office with a nose that extends when they lie

      Also that nose production would vastly improve GDP!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: On second thoughts...

        "Also that nose production would vastly improve GDP!"

        What makes you think there'd be a export market? It'd be like adopting leaves a national currency!

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: On second thoughts...

      Now if we could fit each politician on standing for office with a nose that extends when they lie, that would be a great boon to democracy.

      I don't know, it would certainly end up in piercing injuries to the press during press conferences as the nose extends to many metres nearly instantaneously, spearing the journo's asking the questions.

      1. skeptical i
        Devil

        Re: On second thoughts...

        So, when elections are deemed too close to call, would the contestants settle the matter by engaging in "swordfights" using the weapons-grade schnozzes grown during the campaign? A "I have consistently ..." here, a "On day one, I will ..." there, and sooner or later we're talking duelling narwhals.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now if we could fit each politician on standing for office with a nose that extends

      I'm afraid you still live in the times long past. These days, the non-augmented reality is that politicians are no longer ashamed, or even in the slightest embarrassed about lying in public, and / or being caught lying in public. Then they just grin (think Boris-grin), mumble-mumble something irrelevant, visually shrug and continue, nose or no nose.

  9. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Health? Huh!

    For Health read ‘the ability to lie around filling your face with junkfood and guzzling alcohol and why not smoking stuff as well and not suffer any side effects such as obesity, a bad back, bad skin, heartburn, body odour and lung cancer’.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Health? Huh!

      Combine a health correction implant with nanobots to pick the physical pollutants1 out of the bloodstream and many decades of carefree enjoyment and good health await. All pangs of guilt about that last slice of pizza vanish as the automated system effortlessly works to keep you the size you wish to be.

      Al this is yours for a low monthly payment, and there's more, every month you'll receive an updated report showing how well the implant has improved your life and personal offers from selected partners.

      1wifi access required for monthly activation license update, body odour, bad breath, alcohol and other stimulants are addon elements at additional cost, see website for details

      There's far more money to be made from the lazy & indulgent.

  10. Dave 126 Silver badge

    No mention of the EyePhone from Futurama?

    I despair of you lot sometimes! :)

  11. Spanners Silver badge
    Meh

    BSOD ready

    I have had epilepsy since the mid 1970's. As I explain to people, if I don't take my medicine, I can do a BSOD without a computer.

    I like the idea of peripherals that can improve things but I don't anyone tinkering with my, already faulty, Personal Operating System (POS).

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: BSOD ready

      A few friends if mine have it. One, in the 1990s, carried for a few weeks a Walkman-sized device on his belt to collect data from skull electrodes to better help diagnosis.

      Another passed away in the mid 2000s. He could have been saved if he hadn't been home alone at the time - the living situation was his deliberate choice to strike out on his own in the big city and away from family. If dogs can spot an oncoming epilepsy attack in their owners before the human does, then it's not inconceivable that a properly tuned device on the skull might - and mere seconds might allow a person to adopt a recovery position or get off a ladder. Even if not, it seems a trivial task for a smart watch to detect an epileptic fit in progress and summon help - which would also boost chances of survival significantly.

  12. R J
    Alien

    Deus Ex

    No mention of Deus Ex?

    Currently replaying the series. Seems more relevant than ever these days. Even forces you to consider the moral and ethical problems related to augmentations.. and other things.

    You played the first two, you get the icon :)

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