This is a great, thought-provoking read from Stanford neuroscientist, David Eagleman about the malleability and elasticity of the brain.
I was particularly captivated by the chapters on the augmentation of the body and adding new capabilities to our brains.
One experiment that stands out, is one in which a number of blind subjects mounted cameras on top of their heads for an extended period of time. As they moved about, the video signal was passed to their brains through electrodes placed on the back of their necks. As the human brain is so open to receiving new streams of information and finding patterns in them, these non-sighted subjects were able to garner a new form of ‘sight’ based on the brain’s interpretation of the camera feed. So much so, they could ‘see’ if things were in their way and avoid them.
I suppose it’s like a ‘visual’ equivalent of how cochlear implants work. Either way, it’s mind-blowing and fascinating stuff in equal measure and there’s a whole host of other incredible examples between this book’s covers. Recommended.
Livewired appeared in Issue 5 in the Read section.