Matrix-style brain stimulation tech being tested to teach real-world skills

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Mar 6, 2017, 4:30 PM EST

One of the coolest things about The Matrix was the way Neo and the gang could simply download new skills and abilities with the press of a button. Now ... what if that were actually (kind of) possible?

Researchers at HRL Laboratories are working on technology designed to stimulate the brain and modulate the learning of complex real-world skills. Put simply: It'll help program your brain to be able to perform a skill. Whoa, indeed.

The research is being handled by HRL's Information & System Sciences Laboratory. The early experiments measured the brain activity patterns of six commercial and military pilots and then transmitted the patterns into novice subjects as they learned to pilot an airplane in a realistic flight simulator. According to a study on the experiment published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience journal, the pilots who received brain stimulation actually saw their piloting skills improve more quickly than those that did not.

These techniques have previously been used to help stroke patients recover, but this is the first time it's been used to help people learn skills more quickly and efficiently. If additional testing continues to look promising, researchers believe this technology could become more commonplace for everything from learning a new language to pilot/driver training.

Now we just need to find the kung-fu disc …

(via HRL Laboratories)